Paul Raddatz was born in Hutchinson, Minn., and graduated from Hutchinson High School in 1985.
He attended college at Moorhead State University, graduating in 1992. He served in the United States Army, United States Army Reserve and Minnesota National Guard.
Paul went to Basic Training at Fort Benning, Georgia, serving in both Infantry and Armor.
He was stationed at 2/36INF 1st Bde 3rd Armored Division in Kirchgoens, West Germany, Ayers Kaserne; C Co. 1/409INF 205th Bde. in Paynesville; the 1/340th Reg. 5th Bde. 85th Div. Arden Hills; and the HHC 1/194th Armor Division in Brainerd and Camp Ripley Training Center.
During his career in the service, Paul started out as a private, serving in Europe as a battalion radio telephone operator in a Mechanized Infantry Battalion. He finished his tour in Germany as an assistant draftsman in the Operations section of the headquarters company.
When Paul entered the Army Reserve he was excited to get back to his Infantry roots doing good “grunt” training in an Arctic Light Infantry unit, and was promoted from E-5 to E-7 in the Reserve component, finishing as a lanes training evaluator for units preparing to become combat ready for operation.
Paul finished his last five years of service in the Minnesota National Guard, including first sergeant at HHC 1/194 Armor and also the Operations sergeant major. He also served in that same role at Camp Ripley.
“I have met many quality people in the service that have helped shape my military career as well as my professional career as an educator. Teaching middle school is certainly a lot like dealing with young and enthusiastic soldiers,” Raddatz said.
“I have encouraged many of my students to serve in the Armed Forces. The military provides self discipline and encourages leadership development. The friendships that you make through shared hardships and experiences will last your entire life,” he continued. “For me, my military service represented some of the best experiences of my life, and it helped prepare me for a career in education. Most importantly, it gave me an opportunity to serve and defend the values, rights and freedoms of our nation and to do my part to extend those freedoms to future generations.”
Paul retired as sergeant major (E-9) after 20 years of service.
His awards and decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal (one oak leaf), Army Commendation Medal (two oak leaves), Army Achievement Medal (four oak leaves), Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (four oak leaves), Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NCO Professional Development Ribbon, Minnesota Service Ribbon and the Minnesota State Active Duty Ribbon (four oak leaves).
Paul has been a grade 7-12 social studies teacher and coach at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School for 27 years.
He and his wife, Carrie, have two daughters, Brianna and Mackenzie.
The next time you see Paul, please thank him for his service.
The Pilot-Independent staff compiled the information for this article and will highlight a different area veteran each week.