By Joan Frayer

As we begin our celebration of the 4th of July, Dr. Odell and his staff at Neuropathy and Pain Centers of Las Vegas would like to honor all our veterans who served and fought for our freedom and independence.

We wouldn’t be the country we are today, enjoying the freedoms we sometimes take for granted, without the men and women who served and were willing to risk their own lives to save ours. We would like to honor two heroes for their years of service, heroism, and patriotism. We have gotten to know them as patients at our clinic and want to introduce them to you.

They are Marine Colonel Ed Mockler and Army Sargent Alex V. Lopez.

Marine Colonel Ed Mockler

During his 30-year military career, Colonel Ed Mockler rose up through the ranks starting as an infantry officer where he served in command of billets ranging from infantry platoon, company commander and battalion XO in Vietnam. He commanded the

Marines Corps largest infantry Regiment, The 3rd Marines. As a Lieutenant Colonel, he was praised for his efforts in establishing the Marine Corps Infantry Officer’s School in Quantico, VA. This was the first school of its kind in the Corps to provide second lieutenants with the extensive training necessary to become efficient and effective combat infantry officers. As a Colonel, he commanded over his years of service 8,500 marines and sailors of the 1st Force Service Support Group. In addition, he served as

Marine Corps liaison to the US Senate and House of Representatives. Later, he was appointed as the Executive Assistant to the Commander of the Marine Corps. Colonel Mockler has received numerous medals, Legion of Merit and Navy Commendations, both with Combat V and Star and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry along with many more during his years of service to our country. It is a great honor to say “thank you” for your years of outstanding leadership, service and defense of our country.

Army Sargent Alex V. Lopez

Army Sargent Alex Lopez was only 19 years old and in Nuremberg, Germany when the United States and its allies restored freedom in Europe. It was his birthday on May 7, 1945 when a burst of machine-gun fire announced that the war was over. Alex had been in a lot of battles having fought the last day of the Battle of the Bulge with the 79th Infantry Division. His days of service did not end there. His unit was packing up to return home but unfortunately, Alex didn’t have enough points to join them. Instead he was sent over to the 1st Infantry Division military police selected to guard the Nazi prisoners to stand trial at Nuremberg for war crimes. Clean-shaven and dressed in his pressed uniform, white helmet, belt and gloves, he was assigned to guard Hermann Goering, Luftwaffe commander and Gestapo founder and one of the highest-ranking Nazi officials. Occasionally, he was asked to watch Rudolf Hess, Hitler’s deputy. However, his experiences guarding Goering were not quite as interesting as his time fighting on snowy battlefields in Alsace-Lorraine where his feet got frost-bitten. His regiment was under attack in Czechoslovakia and again in Haguenau, France. His worst experience was crossing the Rhine where sixteen heavy artillery guns had cleared the opposite shore. Finally, Sargent Alex Lopez returned to the US and was honorably discharged at Camp Beale, CA on July 31, 1946.

Alex wearing his World War II hat with the Combat Infantryman Badge (light blue and silver musket) pinned to it. He wears it with immense pride and a smile on his face. Alex turned 92 years old on May 7, 2018 and we were honored to have him our clinic the following day to wish him a Happy Birthday. He served and protected us with valor. Thank you for your service. You are a true hero