27 September 1968 – Kuldar “Koot” Visnapuu was serving with the 174th TFS Phu Cat “Bats” in Vietnam. Lt. Kuldar Visnapuu’s had just taken off from a base in South Vietnam when his Supersabre was hit by enemy fire. He turned the plane toward the South China Sea and ejected safely, watching as his jet
Darrell E. Lake
Darrell always loved airplanes. He spent a lot of time reading about them and making balsa wood models to fly. He earned his private pilot license during his college years and became an owner of two aircraft and spent great times flying.
In 1957, with a draft notice forthcoming, he joined the Iowa Air National Guard as a military pilot trainee and received his wings in 1958. He flew T-33, F-84, RF-84, F-100C with the Air Guard, flying the F-100C for 174 combat missions when the Guard was called up for a year in Vietnam during the Pueblo Crisis. After 28 years he retired from the Guard in 1994 as a Lt. Col.
The other great love (besides his wife and family) was his love of his dance orchestra. His father started a small four-piece group in the late 1930s which Darrell joined when in high school. When his dad passed away in 1986, Darrell took over the Mearl Lake Orchestra (keeping the name in honor of his dad) and expanded it up to 11 pieces. In the band’s 70+ years of existence, it has performed a myriad of events, even for the President of the United States during one of his visits to Sioux City. Memories never to be forgotten.