Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Welcome Home to Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans

Left to right: Mel Shane, Jim Miller, David Norman. Shane and Miller are from Troy; Norman is from Piqua.
Soldiers returning from deployment to Vietnam were told what to expect. There could be anti-war signs at the airports, shouting protestors, and at times, they would be spat upon.

Jim Miller, Army Distinguished Flying Cross medal winner for delivering supplies to U.S. Special Forces under assault by thousands of North Vietnamese on a hilltop in Vietnam, says, “I never thought I would need to sneak back into my own country.”

Hear Miller’s story and the story of U.S. Army veteran Mel Shane as he describes his 23-days aboard the USS Barrett to get to Vietnam and the changes he underwent on that voyage. Listen to U. S. Marine David Norman give his account of being one of the last 11 Marines to leave the rooftop of the US Embassy in Saigon on the day the city fell in April of 1975.

President Ford’s orders had been to leave those 11 Marines. Their rescuers, however, thought otherwise, and once they knew that these 11 were still there, they flew in under fire, landed the copter, loaded the men, and took off under fire.

It’s time , way past time, to pay tribute to the men and women who served during the Vietnam Era. The Miami Valley Veterans Museum has been designated as one of the organizations to pay tribute this year on the fiftieth anniversary of the U.S. putting boots on the ground in Da Nang, Vietnam.

The date of the commemoration is April 23rd, and the program is scheduled for 7 pm at the theatre at Edison Community College in Piqua. Admission is free, and the public is invited.

Participants can come early and stay late as Thien Snipps, a seven-member group of musicians with two military veterans will perform a mini concert at 6:30 before the program in addition to performing three patriotic songs during the program.

At the conclusion of the program the Veterans Elite Tribute Squad, under the direction of Vietnam Era Army veteran Commander Chuck Norris, will fire a salute to the veterans and will play “Taps” and “Echo Taps.”

For those who want to enjoy the ambiance following the program, Vietnam Era U.S. Coast veteran Theodore “Ted” Jones will be showing an 18-minute montage of area veterans who have given their oral histories as part of the Veterans Voices program that has been airing for over a year on local cable channel 5 in Piqua and Troy.

All Vietnam and Vietnam Era Veterans will get special recognition during the program, and a cash prize will be awarded to the oldest veteran present , regardless of the time in which he/she served, as well as to the youngest.

Refreshments and hosting services are being provided by employees of Edison Community College, and two among that group are U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonels.

Several groups, in addition to the museum and the college, have assisted with the program including the Piqua Community Foundation. For further information , contact Dr. Vivian Blevins at (937) 778-3815 or

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