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Leinenkugel's brews new beer that honors Operation Desert Storm vets

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Adriane Hodges

Adriane Hodges of Temple, Texas, whose father died in Operation Desert Storm in 1991, spoke at the Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls on Tuesday about creating a beer after him, named Capt. Jack. Dick Leinenkugel, background, will be making it at his brewery in Chippewa Falls and donations from the sale of the beer will help fund a Desert Storm Memorial to be built in Washington D.C.

Just 96 U.S. soldiers died during Operation Desert Storm in the spring of 1991, according to the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

Unfortunately, Jonathan R. Edwards was among them. Edwards, a Marine Corp. helicopter pilot, died on Feb. 2, 1991. His daughter, Adriane Hodges, was 8 years old at the time of his death.

“This has been a huge part of my life, and made me who I am,” she said.

Hodges, now 40, opened Bold Republic Brewing with her husband in Temple, Texas, in 2018. When Hodges learned about plans to construct a National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial in Washington D.C., she came up with the idea of creating a beer to honor her father, with proceeds from sales going toward the memorial project.

Thus, Capt. Jack beer was born. She described it as a “helles bock” style brew, in a traditional German style.

“We created this recipe and gave it to the world,” Hodges said Tuesday. “We’ve had 20 breweries make it. Our goal is to have one brewery in every state.”

Now, Capt. Jack has a new manufacturer, as Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company has started making the beer.

A ceremony was held at the Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls on Tuesday to celebrate the release of Capt. Jack beer. Leinie’s brewmaster John Hensley said they are making a seven-barrel batch inside the Lodge. Each barrel is about 31 gallons of beer.

“We plan to keep brewing it through Veteran’s Day,” Hensley said. “We’re happy to do this.”

Dick Leinenkugel, president of the brewery, said he hadn’t heard of Capt. Jack, or the efforts to build the Operation Desert Storm memorial, until he received an email about it. Leinenkugel noted that his father, his brother Jake and two of Jake’s sons all served in the Marines.

“This was near and dear to my heart,” Leinenkugel said.

Kent Shively, deputy director of planning and design for the National Desert Storm War Memorial, said the memorial will be constructed immediately north of the Lincoln Memorial and west of the Vietnam War memorial in Washington D.C. Shively said the memorial is estimated to cost $40 million.

Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to fund the project, but they have raised the money through private donations. Shively said they continue to raise money because of expected cost overruns.

“Some people said it was such a short war, why do we need a memorial?” Shively said. “Operation Desert Storm was the last winning war this nation had, because we had an exit strategy.”

Shively, who served as a U.S. Marines infantry squad leader in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm, is proud of his service there; he arrived on New Year’s Eve at the end of 1990 and left in April 1991.

“We want to celebrate how the world came together, and we did what was right,” Shively said. “Leinenkugel’s putting their names behind this puts a whole other level of legitimacy to this project.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held July 14. The actual construction should start in early 2023, with the goal of completion by Veteran’s Day in November 2024, Shively said.

Hodges beamed as she talked about how her beer is helping make this memorial come to fruition.

“This war charged the course of history, and it’s often overlooked,” she said. “This project is about honor and gratitude for those who served. I hope we can all raise his glass today.”

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