Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Veterans Day tribute to Pfc. Milczark set


This plaque honoring Pfc. Matthew Milczark will be displayed at the new pavilion near Riverside Arena, Moose Lake, set to be dedicated on Veterans Day, November 11.

The new pavilion in Earl Ellens Park near Riverside Arena will be dedicated as a memorial to Marine Pfc. Matthew Milczark, a 2003 Moose Lake High School graduate, who lost his life at Camp Victory in Kuwait on March 8, 2004.

The dedication ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 11, Veterans Day, at the pavilion at 2 p.m. or in the arena if weather doesn't permit an outdoor ceremony. A plaque to honor the life and service of Milczark will be mounted on the pavilion wall above the entrance.

Milczak is the son of Mary Nordland and Greg (Linda) Milczark of Kettle River.

In his obituary, Superintendent Tim Caroline said Milczark was a leader. He had been the homecoming king in high school.

Milczark joined the Marine Corps and left for Camp Pendleton on June 24, 2003, it was stated in an article on the Military Times website. He was assigned to the Second Battalion, Fourth Marines, First Marine Division.

His body was found in the chapel at Camp Victory on Sunday morning, March 8, 2004. According to the Military Times website, Milczark died of a non-combat wound as he was on his way to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Milczark was the first to die in the Marine Corps in that large-scale deployment to Iraq, the Military Times article stated.

Less than a month later, his friend, Moises "Moy" Langhorst, died in combat in Iraq on April 5, 2004. Langhorst is the son of George and Judy Langhorst of Moose Lake.

A Battlefield Cross monument stands in memory of Langhorst across from the pavilion along Arrowhead Lane.

"The cities of Moose Lake and Kettle River and the surrounding area were hit hard, very hard, by the deaths of these Marines," said Mary, Milczark's mother, in a telephone interview. "They had been classmates. Another Marine from Carlton County, Levi Angell, lost his life on April 8, just days after Moy died. The three are still pictured on a billboard on I-35. Lamar, the sign company, said that they would leave the billboard up for six months, and it is still there, 11½ years later.

"When Mayor Ted Shaw called and told me about this dedication, I was surprised and pleased. Matt would not be forgotten. I feel very honored."

Greg and Linda Milczark said, "We would like to thank everyone responsible for the building and the dedication of the pavilion in Matt's honor. It is the perfect place - near the river and the arena, where Matt spent so much time as a kid.

"His memory will live on forever here, both as a hometown boy and as a proud Marine."


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