Col. Delbert Townsend Scholarship

Delbert L. Townsend was born April 6, 1921, in Norcatur, Kansas. He spent his early childhood days on a farm near Danbury, Nebraska. He attended school for the first ten grades at Danbury and then attended Decatur Community High School where he graduated in May 1938. He remained out of school for just over a year working at various jobs from a farm near Kearney, Nebraska, to the dam in Ogallala, Nebraska.

In August 1939, he enrolled at Kansas State College and graduated in December 1942 with a degree in Agriculture Economics. He entered the U.S. Army in early January 1943. In May 1943, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry and joined Company A, 194th Glider Infantry, 17th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall, North Carolina. He completed glider training at camp Mackall and the Parachute School at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. He was shipped over to England in August 1944 with the 17th Airborne Division to join the war effort in Europe.

On January 7, 1945, he was wounded during the Battle of the Bulge and spent nearly two months in the hospital in England. He returned to Company A, 194th Glider Infantry just in time to make the Rhine River crossing in a CG4A Glider. He remained with Company A until VE Day.

With the end of the war in Europe, he transferred to the 82nd Airborne Division in June 1945 for a short tour of duty in Berlin. He returned to the States with the 82nd Airborne for the big parade in New York City in January 1946. Following the parade he moved with the Division to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he spent the next five years in various airborne assignments. He accepted his regular army commission in February 1947.

The remainder of his military service was standard for a career officer. He completed the Advanced Infantry School, the Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The school assignments were integrated into another tour of duty in Europe and Berlin, thirteen months in Korea, a three-year stint with the ROTC at the University of Kansas, and nearly twelve years in the Pentagon in three separate tours. He did manage to spend a year at Fort Rucker, Alabama, learning how to fly an airplane and a helicopter. This was followed by two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 52nd Aviation Battalion and the 16th Aviation Group.

He retired from the U.S. Army on July 1, 1973, as a Colonel after nearly thirty-one years of service.

The awards that he has received include the Glider and Parachute Wings, Senior Pilot Wings, Combat Infantry Badge, and three battle stars for service in Europe. Decorations include the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, four awards of the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, two Army Commendation Medals, several Air Medals, and three Vietnamese Army decorations. He completed sixty-eight parachute jumps and logged over 2,500 hours of flight time as a pilot.

Following active duty and an eleven-year tour of the retail sales arena, Colonel Townsend was active in local civic and community activities. His major accomplishment was establishing the Colonel Delbert L. Townsend Scholarship Program at the University of Nebraska Foundation and at the Kansas State University Foundation as well as the Colonel Delbert L. Townsend Scholarship at the Greater Salina Community Foundation.

Colonel Townsend passed away on January 26, 2010.

Three new $2,000 scholarships plus a $500 computer allowance for each recipient.  This scholarship is eligible for renewal for one year.

Students attending Decatur Community High School, Oberlin, KS


  • Applicants must be qualified for graduation from Decatur Community High School.
  • Applicant must have attended DCHS for at least two years.
  • Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA.
  • Preference will be given to students attending community college, vocational school or technical school.  Students attending a 4-year school other than Kansas State University may apply.

Scholarship is merit based.  All other qualifications on criteria being equal; need will be a consideration.

  • ACT Test Composite
  • GPA and Rank
  • Attendance
  • Leadership and Participation
  • Citizenship
  • Essay – Explain your education and career goals in at least one double spaced typed page
  • Application
  • Reference Evaluation Forms – Four required; Two will be completed by school personnel randomly selected by school officials and two are to be selected by the student from the community sent directly to the school

Scholarship recipients are eligible to apply for a one-year renewal by meeting the following criteria:

  • Recipient must maintain a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA.