Fallen Hero PFC Howard M. Bissen, United States Army

PFC Howard M. Bissen

March 2, 1947 - January 8, 1968
United States Army

Howard Matthew Bissen, born in Stacyville, Iowa was the third child of twelve children born to Fred and Myrna Bissen. He was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Catholic Church in Johnsburg, MN and attended grade school at St. John’s School. He graduated from Visitation High School in Stacyville in the class of 1965 and assisted his father in their farming operation until his induction into the Army on June 26, 1967.

After completing his basic training at Fort Campbell, KY and his AIT training at Fort Polk, LA, Howard arrived home on November 3rd of 1967 for a 30-day leave. He left on December 3rd for Fort Lewis, WA. From there on about December 6th he landed at Cam Ranh, along the South Vietnam coastline and immediately moved north along the coastline of North Vietnam. It was there on January 8th that Howard died as the result of gunshot wounds while engaged in hostile enemy gunfire.

I was asked by two of Howard’s sisters, Emily and Elly, if I would paint Howard’s portrait. This large loving family has been missing Howard for 46 years! His father is now 96 years old, and living in a health care home in Stacyville, IA. The same day that Emily picked up the painting from my studio, she took it immediately to her father who had been waiting patiently to see the painting of his son. His room was flooded with visitors for days……even classmates of Howards came to see the portrait. These friends would be close to Seventy years old now. Howard was twenty years old when he died. He would be sixty-nine now. Taken so young but never forgotten.

I was honored to paint this portrait of a brave young soldier from the Vietnam War Era.

Portrait sponsored by: