By Shereen Siewert

A 52-year-old military veteran suffered traumatic injuries early Saturday after a violent assault outside a Schofield tavern.

The alleged victim, a U.S. Navy veteran who lives in Schofield, was walking home from Hoehn’s Huddle, 840 Grand Ave., and was in the parking lot when he was attacked by two men, officials confirmed. The victim’s girlfriend told Wausau Pilot & Review that had it not been for the quick thinking of the bar owner who pulled one of the men off the victim and called 911, she feared her boyfriend could have died in the attack.

Two men are now facing charges in connection with the beating, which Everest Metro Police Captain Clay Schulz described as “brutal.” Schulz said videotape of the beating was hard to watch and included one of the suspects kicking the victim repeatedly in the face and the other holding the victim in place while he was being beaten.

Trey Houghtaling, 34, of Merrill, faces charges of first-degree recklessly endangering safety, substantial battery-intend bodily harm and disorderly conduct. Charges were filed June 1 in Marathon County Circuit Court, where Judge Gregory Strasser allowed Houghtaling to be released on a signature bond.

A second suspect is also free on a signature bond. Kevin Westin, 39, of West Bend faces charges of substantial battery-intend bodily harm, as party to a crime, and disorderly conduct. Both men were ordered to have no contact with the victim as the case moves forward. Their next court appearances are in June.

During initial appearances on Tuesday, Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Patrick McMenamin offered no details for the judge about the attack and did not ask for a cash bond for either of the men.

Chief Schulz said a motive for the beating is unclear. Officers responded minutes after the tavern owner called 911, at about 2:50 a.m. Saturday, while the beating was underway.

The alleged victim, who is not being named to protect his privacy, was rendered unconscious and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. He suffered an orbital floor fracture and several additional serious injuries, according to an emergency room report shared by the victim with Wausau Pilot & Review.