Honoring members of the University of Wisconsin’s ‘Greatest Generation’ on Veterans Day

Karl Eisele, Jr. (center) was a cheerleader in the early 1940s.

The attention of most outdoorsmen was probably on a favorite woodland where deer were in the peak of the rut, or on a marsh or field in search of game birds.

But on this Veterans Day, 100 families participated in an event on the field in Camp Randall Stadium in Madison that honored many who had come back from World War II and purchased season tickets to the University of Wisconsin football games.

This year is the 100th anniversary of Camp Randall Stadium, and as part of the festivities, the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department honored the 100 longest-tenured season ticket holders.

Many of those individuals are deceased, but their families continued the tradition of purchasing season tickets and supporting their favorite team.

My youngest brother, Mike Eisele, and I were included in that group as our father, Karl A. Eisele, Jr., had returned to Wisconsin after being stationed in England with the Eighth Air Force. He flew 23 missions as a  bombardier/navigator on B-24’s bombing the Nazi war machine.

Growing up in Madison, he had always followed the Badgers and, while attending the UW in 1942 and 1943, prior to going into the Army Air Force, was selected to captain the cheerleading team. Back then the cheerleaders were all men and they traveled with the football team to other stadiums, as well as cheering at Camp Randall Stadium.

Though Dad passed away in 1988, the family continued purchasing season tickets and supporting the Badgers.

Mike and I did not duck hunt or deer hunt on Nov. 11 because we were invited to be a part of the group that went out on the field during halftime of the Wisconsin-Iowa football game that day. We watched the half-time activities and participated in the annual singing of “Varsity.”

The oldest season ticket-holder who was present and honored was 101 years old and he was also a World War II veteran who came home and began buying season tickets.

It was a memorable experience, and a way to honor “The Greatest Generation” in a historic stadium. To see the video, click here.

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