((erin)) time now for this week's ''hometown hero".
John koehler served in vietnam aboard an aircraft carrier, well away from the ground war.
((tom)) but this u-s marine corp veteran is now fighting for those impacted by agent orange, no matter which side they fought for.
Local five's terry kovarik has kay- ler's story.
[:00] terry kovarik; john koehler was looking to put his life on a different track after high school.
The united states marine corps was his vehicle.
John koehler : "i was looking to get out and beyond my original scope out of eau claire county.
And see the world and learn a little bit about people and fulfill my military obligation."
[:21] terry kovarik: after basic, koehler served aboard the aircraft carrier u.s.s.
Ticonderoga protecting fellow marines, sailors and key parts of the ships arsenal.
[:30] john koehler :"we ran the ship's brig and we had nuclear weapons on board.
And we provided security for them.
And i was also nco in charge of the gun mounts."
[:45] terry kovarik: the ticonderoga did it's part in helping wind down u.s. involvement in vietnam.
It launched aircraft that dropped mines in haiphong harbor, north vietnam.
[:55] john koehler :"they stepped up bombing again around christmas, 1972 christmas to get the peace talks going again.
And that seemed to have a positive affect in getting the north vietnamese back to the peace table."
[1:10] terry kovarik: after koehler was discharged from the corps, he made a successful career as a teacher and a consultant.
But koehler never talked about the war or got involved in veterans organizations.
That is until fellow he served with started showing symptoms of exposure to the defoliant "agent orange".
[1:27] john koehler :"my brother was a vietnam veteran and he ended up with some physical and mental disabilities and ended up committing suicide in 2005."
[1:39] voice of: john koehler :"it's an issue that not only continues and hurts the veteran himself but it continues for like seven-generations.
[1:47] terry kovarik: koehler is looking for more hard data on agent orange's long-term impacts.
So next month he and other veterans will return to vietnam to see how post-war generations there have been affected.
[1:59] john koehler :"they estimate that there's roughly four-million people over there that were exposed to it.
And there's been four-hundred thousand deaths related directly to agent orange."
[2:11] terry kovarik: koehler wants to learn how agent orange victims are being helped there and share with veterans and anyone who can make a difference.
[2:20] john koehler :"talk a little bit about what i found, take some pictures and talk with some doctors."
[2:27] keeping it local in appleton, terry kovarik.
Local 5 news.
((tom)) we are still accepting your nominations for a hometown hero..
Write terry kovarik at the address on your screen .