Three generations of Kluball family military service commemorated with Honor Banners
For the Tomahawk Leader
TOMAHAWK – You may have noticed the new Veteran Honor Banners hanging in downtown Tomahawk for the 2022 season.
Several banners on the east end of W. Wisconsin Ave. commemorate the veteran descendants of the Rudolph (Rudy) Kluball family from Tomahawk.
“Dedicated service of the Kluball family spans from World War One through today, spanning four-plus generations,” the Kluball family said. “Kluball service and duty to the Armed Forces and community is continuing through the fourth generation.”
The veteran patriarch of the Kluball family is Rudolph G. Kluball (Rudy). Rudy was the son of immigrant Mathias Kluball.
Pvt. Rudolph G. Kluball (U.S. Army, WWI)
Rudy served in the Army Corps of Engineers. After basic training, he was stationed at the Aberdeen, Md., testing grounds. Rudy’s military responsibilities were in Tank Ordnance. He would make sure that tank weapons systems, vehicles and equipment were ready and available and in perfect condition at all times. He also assisted to manage the developing, testing, fielding, handling, storage and disposal of munitions. While in service, he also learned mechanical work.
After service, Rudolph and wife Margaret Kluball had six sons and one daughter: Charles G. Kluball, Robert J. Kluball, Delmar R. Kluball, JoAnn Kluball Scheffler, JoAnn’s twin Jerome G. Kluball, Ralph G. Kluball, Darwin R. Kluball and Delmar R. Kluball (Rudolph’s grandson).
Plt./Sgt. Charles G. Kluball (U.S. Army, WWII)
Charles, son of Rudolph Kluball, was in the 32nd Infantry Division of the U.S. Army during WWII. He was a Staff Sergeant in the 1st Armor Division in the South Pacific.
In a 2007 issue of the Tomahawk Leader, Kluball recalled the Manila Massacre in the Philippines. Kluball and his men pulled a nurse from a trench where the dead lay en masse after being executed. The nurse, who survived the massacre, was named was Nan, and she was from Minnesota, Kluball later learned. Two decades later, while Kluball and his wife were attending an after-church luncheon at the home of a friend, who was an Air Force Captain in Georgia, Kluball and Nan were reunited. As it turns out, Nan was a relative of the Captain.
After active service, Charles joined the Wisconsin National Guard and also served as Commander of the Tomahawk American Legion.
Pvt. Robert J. Kluball (U.S. Army, WWII)
Robert, son of Rudolph Kluball, was a T/5 sergeant in the Signal Corps of the 11th Army 31st Division in the South Pacific Theater during WWII. He was in the service from Jan. 1943 to March 1946. Bob was in New Guinea, Morotai (Netherlands Indies), Zambales and Luzon in the Philippine Islands, and Japan. His main job was to drive a Colonel Cox around. He also drove visiting Generals around quite a bit, according to his handwritten notes.
In 1945, Charles and Robert were briefly reunited in the Philippines after being separated for two years. Prior to their chance reunion, both of their units were serving in New Guinea. However, the brothers never had the oportunity to meet due to their units being engaged in different operations.
During their brief encounter, Charles and Robert compared letters and experiences and made a few fervent wishes for the quick downfall of Japan, the March 22, 1945 issue of the Tomahawk Leader said in covering the brothers’ get-together.
S/Sgt. Delmar Rudolph Kluball (U.S. Army)
Delmar, son of Rudolph Kluball, was inducted into the Army on Oct. 26, 1950 and served in the Korean War.
He attended basic training at Camp Pickett, Va., and was sent to Germany in an occupational unit, some of it in service at Czech border for Iron Curtain duty. He returned to the U.S. during Oct. 1952 and served with the Ready Reserve Unit until Dec. 13, 1956. Delmar was honorably discharged at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Corp. Jerome Gerald Kluball (U.S. Marines)
Jerome, son of Rudolph Kluball, served in the United States Marine Corps from Feb. 1952 to Feb. 1954, achieving the rank of Corporal. He attended boot camp at Camp Pendleton and saw service in Japan during the Korean War.
During his service, he achieved the National Defense Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and the United Nations Service Medal. As a naturally-gifted athlete, he was on the Marines’ seven-man football champs of Japan and numerous other sports teams for the Marines.
As a father, brother, grandpa and husband, he always expressed the pride he held of his service to our country through the Marines.
Corp. Ralph G. Kluball (U.S. Marines)
Ralph, son of Rudolph Kluball, started his service as a Marine with basic training in San Diego, Calif. He started his time as a seagoing Marine in Hawaii on the Shangri-La ship, where his brother Duds had been serving for about a year. The ship docked in ports throughout the Far East – Hong Kong, Japan, Okinawa, the Philippines and many islands in the Far East.
Ralph was one of three expert marksmen in his platoon of about 130 members. He also spent three months in Seattle Marine base on the shooting range and also spent time at San Francisco Marine base.
Corp. Darwin F. Kluball (U.S. Marines)
Darwin, known as “Duds” to friends and family and son of Rudolph Kluball, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1955 to 1958. He attended a 10-week boot camp at Camp Pendleton, San Diego. Duds requested sea duty and felt fortunate that he was assigned to the CVA 38 Shangri-La carrier. Duds and five other Marines were flown to the carrier for duty. Duds said after missing their first landing attempt, the second attempt was successful.
In Hawaii, his brother Ralph joined him on the Shangri-La (Grandma Kluball requested that her two sons serve together). The Shangri-La continued its journey to Japan, China and other small islands.
Duds loved being on the water. He holds such great Marine memories and loves to share about his time in the service.
GMCS Delmar Ray Kluball (U.S. Navy)
GMCS Delmar Ray Kluball, son of Delmar Rudolph Kluball and grandson of Rudolph G. Kluball, retired from the United States Navy on March 31, 2007, after 26 years of service. Some of the countries he served in during his career included Japan, Philippines, Australia, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, Spain, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Djibouti, India, Thailand, Singapore, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia and South Korea. He successfully completed training and earned the “Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS)” and “Master Training Specialist (MTS)” designation.
He served in many capacities and operations during his career, including, but not limited to, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Delmar has been recognized and received many military awards and commendations for his service. He and his wife, Betty, have a wonderful family in western Wisconsin.
The next Kluball generation
Service to God, family, community and country does not end with the above-mentioned Honor Banner Rudy Kluball descendants. The Kluball legacy of service continues into the next Kluball generation:
Kevin A. Kluball, son of Jerome Kluball and grandson of Rudolph Kluball, served his country in the United States Marine Corps from 1982 to 1985. He achieved the rank of Lance Corporal as a Rifleman with the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He attended boot camp at Camp Pendleton and saw service in the United States, Japan and the Philippines during West-Pac deployment. During his service, he achieved the Rifle Marksman Badge, Pistol Marksman Badge, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Good Conduct Medal and a Certificate of Meritorious Mast.
The Marines gave Kevin a battle-hardened exterior with a soft family heart. He loved his family and was always proud of his service to God, Corps and Country.
Charles (Chuck) Preston Kluball, grandson of Charles Kluball and great-grandson of Rudy Kluball, joined the Army in 2009, attended basic training and commissioned as an Infantry Officer later that year. As a Lieutenant, Chuck led an infantry mechanized platoon and a mechanized mortar platoon with the 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Benning. After promoting to Captain, Chuck joined the 101st Airborne and deployed to Afghanistan, where he was the chief of operations for the Kandahar region and the base located there.
Chuck left the Army in 2016 and currently works with many different veteran organizations to support veteran employment and integration.
Jonathan Warren Kluball, son of Delmar Ray and Betty Kluball, grandson of Delmar Rudolph Kluball and great-grandson of Rudolph Kluball, joined the Navy in 2019. He went to boot camp at Naval Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes Illinois in Oct. 2019. After additional training and advancement, he is currently assigned to Beach Master Unit II (BMU 2) at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Va., until 2025. ET3 Kluball was awarded the Humanitarian Service Medal for Haiti earthquake relief efforts provided by his unit. He also has received the National Defense Service Medal, Navy Rifleman (Expert) and Navy Pistol (Sharpshooter).
Jonathan currently lives in Chesapeake, Va. He is a fourth-generation in the family line to serve his country in the military service.
Kluball family celebrating Fourth of July in Tomahawk
Tomahawk welcomes the Kluball family here this week during their Tri-Annual Kluball Reunion. The Kluballs will be on “Kluball Corner” at the intersection N. 4th St. and W. Wisconsin Ave. for the Pow Wow Days Parade on July 4.
The multigenerational Kluballs regard Tomahawk, Wis., as their family home.