World War II Veteran Merlin Staatz celebrated his 98th Birthday

Sunday, June 30, 2024

98 year young Merlin Staatz
Photo by Doug Cerretti
By Doug Cerretti

WW2 veteran and Shoreline resident Merlin Staatz celebrated his 98th birthday this past Saturday, June 22, 2024. His actual birthday is on Flag Day, June 14. 

Several dozens of Merlin’s family, friends and neighbors attended the Birthday Party. Party guests were well fed and given the envious task of choosing from several different birthday cakes. 

Merlin was born in Woodbine, Kansas in 1926 and enlisted in the US Army in 1944 at age 18. He soon joined the 43rd Infantry Division in the Philippines and was immediately assigned as a scout. 

The joke was that “scouts only last about three days, and then we need to replace them.” 

On Merlin’s second day of patrol as a head scout, he was wounded by a grenade. After recovering from his wounds, Merlin returned to active duty as a scout. 

A choice of birthday cakes
Photo by Doug Cerretti
When WW2 ended, Merlin used the GI bill to obtain a bachelor’s degree at Emporia Teachers Collage and a master’s degree from Pittsburg State College. 

With degrees in hand, Merlin taught industrial arts in schools in Kansas, Oregon and Washington including King’s High School in Shoreline. 

He retired from teaching after 25 years.

Photo by Doug Cerretti

For his service to his country, Merlin received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. 

Philippine Liberation Medal
Photo by Doug Cerretti

He was recently awarded the Philippine Liberation Medal from the Philippine government. 

Congressional Gold Medal
Photos by Shelly Staatz

A special honor was bestowed when he received the Congressional Gold Medal as a member of the United States Army Forces in the Far East. In the accompanying letter, Washington Senator Patty Murray said,

 “There is no higher honor Congress can bestow than the Congressional Gold Medal. Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. 
"With this recognition, know that your sacrifice and service will be remembered for years to come - both here and in the other Washington.” 

Merlin is an active member of the Starr Sutherland, Jr. Post 227 of The American Legion and attends Heroes CafĂ© in Shoreline and Lynnwood. 


Anonymous,  June 30, 2024 at 11:01 AM  

Living in this era of the youth expecting entitlements, it is difficult to imagine the courage and dedication of this 18-year-young man who put his life on the line to defend the nation. That same spirit appears to have carried him through life - leading to a Masters degree in education and 25 years of fostering wisdom and morality in America's youth in Kansas, Oregon and Washington. All honors bestowed on him by the grateful country are very richly deserved.

It will be an honor to meet you some day soon, Mr. Staatz, at the Hero's Cafe. I salute you, sir.

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