Historical Uniforms: A story of two Wing ND men in the Air Force

Published: Nov. 11, 2019 at 7:11 PM CST
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Many North Dakota veterans have donated their war memorabilia to the State Historical Society.

The Thorson brothers from Wing, ND donated some of their uniforms in the 90s from their time in the Air Force.

Cal was a missile launch officer and Steven was a pilot.

Their stories live on within the walls of the Historical Society.

On the ground floor of the state Historical Society is a room where pieces of history are kept intact.

This is Cal Thorson's uniform. He was in charge of nuclear weapons during his time serving in Grand Forks.

"I was a deputy commander at age 21 and I commanded a flight of 10 minute man missiles. Everything about them, launching them, monitoring to make sure they're maintained at age 22," said Cal Thorson.

His brother Steven was a pilot and was one of the crews called upon for the fall of Saigon in 1975.

Steven Thorson said: "It was pretty traumatic. People were running for their lives. People were clinging to the passenger aircraft, they were trying to evacuate people and actually falling off the landing gear trying to get out of there. It was a pretty traumatic thing to think after all those years of trying to prevent communism spreading into the southern half of Vietnam that we just backed it up and left them."

Both North Dakota boys with stories to tell for decades.

"Living a life of service we don't always see the impact we're having while we're doing it," said Cal Thorson.

An important mission for the Thorson brothers was to raise their families in the same place they grew up.

"Took an effort to bring ourselves and our families back to North Dakota so they could appreciate the way we do about having roots here to North Dakota," said Steven Thorson.

Their uniforms are a piece of history that's been put on display for the community to see several times.

Steven Thorson said: "When your flight suit is hanging up in the Historical Society, you know you're getting pretty old. Because you're historical."

"Well, when they put our uniforms on display here it was kind of a sense of deja vu. You don't recognize the importance of what you're doing when you're doing it but when you look back in older age... yeah we did do something important for our fellow men," said Cal Thorson.

Cal and Steven's uniforms are being kept in mint condition by curators until they're displayed again in the future.

Both agree history is important. They never imagined a part of their war journey would be kept at the historical society to show people for decades to come.

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