Army Launches 50th Anniversary Commemoration of Vietnam War
By J.D. Leipold, Army News Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 30, 2013 – The afternoon in the Pentagon auditorium on Aug. 28 was a time for reflection on a war that spanned 10 years and cost the country the lives of more than 58,000 young men and women. It was also an occasion to honor and thank nine Vietnam War veterans who’d served a total of 14 tours in-country and 225 years in uniform.
Kicking off the Pentagon’s first event commemorating the 50th anniversary of the conflict, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, deputy chief of staff for logistics, opened the ceremony recalling personal memories as well as his broader experiences as a young American citizen.
“I was a young Army brat and it was difficult for me to watch my dad come back after his third tour in Vietnam and not get treated appropriately, at least in my mind,” Mason said. “I was just a pretty young guy at that time, but I could feel that it wasn’t right. It struck me, and I knew if I ever had the opportunity to make that right I would do the best I could.
“Today, we are recognizing nine of our patriots and their families who stood up to the test of their generation and their decade,” he continued. “I think it’s well overdue. Nothing is more important than pausing and reflecting on the sacrifices of what these great men and women did and those who gave their last full measure.”
On March 8, 1965, America’s ground war in Vietnam began when 3,500 Marines were deployed with the American public’s support. By Christmas, nearly 200,000 soldiers, Marines, airmen and sailors were in the country. At war’s end on April 30, 1975, nearly 3 million Americans had been on the ground, in the air and on rivers of Vietnam. More than 58,000 Americans lost their lives.
While the official 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War will be in 2015, the president and Congress requested the secretary of Defense to begin planning the Vietnam War commemoration in 2007.
The goal is to get more than 10,000 corporations, civic groups as well as government and community organizations to join as partners and help sponsor hometown events to honor Vietnam veterans, their families and those who were prisoners of war and missing in action.
To date, 4,921 commemorative partners have signed on, including Army logistics, or G-4, which became the first.
Following Mason’s remarks, Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John F. Campbell thanked him and his team for leading the way to celebrate the contributions of Vietnam veterans.
The son of an Air Force senior master sergeant, Campbell told of his years growing up on military bases around the world before attending West Point, and then recalled his first interaction with Vietnam veterans while a lieutenant in Germany.
“Both the battalion commanders were Vietnam veterans … all the platoon sergeants, all the first sergeants, all the company commanders were Vietnam veterans,” Campbell said. The vets, he said, instilled in him their hard-fought lessons-learned from Vietnam and wanted to make sure the young lieutenants and soldiers wouldn’t make the same mistakes they had.
Retired Army Lt. Gen. Claude “Mick” Kicklighter serves as director of the U.S. Vietnam War Commemoration. During the Pentagon event he previewed the timeline of plans for honoring Vietnam veterans across the country over the next few years.
“Veterans of Valor,” a 30-minute documentary with the nine honorees recalling humorous and somber anecdotes of their war experiences and interspersed with still photographs of themselves in Vietnam was also premiered.
RELEASE No. 037-11
January 14, 2011
DOD Announces Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program
The Department of Defense announced today its program to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The program will:
- Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action,for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
- Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.
- Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
- Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
- Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
DoD representatives will coordinate with other federal agencies, veteran groups, state, local government and non-government organizations for their input in Vietnam War commemoration activities. For more information call 877-387-9951 or visit the official website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com/.
U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Department Begins Project for Vietnam War Veterans
Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:55:00 -0600
Department Begins Project for Vietnam War Veterans
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2011 – More than three decades after the war’s end, the Defense Department has begun a project to pay tribute to the nation’s Vietnam War veterans.
The 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration was spawned from the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act.
“It was a very important time period for veterans, because most Vietnam veterans as a whole never received the homecoming that our troops receive now,” said Army Lt. Col. Hunter Holliday, public affairs officer for the
At the center of the project is a website, “50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration,” at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com, which will serve as a clearinghouse for information on the war once it is fully functional, a milestone expected this spring.
Information gleaned from the website is expected to be used for myriad purposes, such as to chronicle facts, provide educational materials, and offer resources for a commemorative partners program, Holliday said.
The partners program will comprise guidance and materials for agencies, veterans groups, local government and nongovernment organizations to conduct their own Vietnam War commemoration activities.
The website is expected to play a major role in the campaign, said Jeff Wilson, who handles marketing for the project, noting it will be highly interactive and will include content on historical events, a timeline, photos, documents, video and audio. A calendar will list major Defense-sponsored events.
The website offers a prelude of activities and ceremonies to:
– Honor Vietnam War veterans and their families — including prisoners of war and those listed as missing in action — for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States.
– Highlight Armed Forces service during the Vietnam War, in addition to contributions made by government and private organizations.
– Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by U.S. citizens.
– Highlight the advances in technology, science and medicine in military research made during the war.
– Recognize contributions and sacrifices made by U.S. allies during the war.
“Hopefully [the commemoration] will be a healing process for the veterans who were never recognized properly when they came home,” Holliday said, noting the volatile political landscape that surrounded the war.
50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration <http://www.vietnamwar50th.com>
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 400-12
May 18, 2012
DOD to Host Vietnam War Commemoration Ceremony at Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta will host a ceremony on Monday, May 28, 2012, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to thank and honor America’s Vietnam Veterans on behalf of a grateful nation. This ceremony will serve as a public kickoff of efforts to partner with communities across the United States. Invited guests include thousands of Vietnam Veterans, their loved ones, Gold Star families and leadership from the military services, Cabinet and Congress. There will be a limited viewing area open to the general public.
The Memorial Day ceremony marks the beginning of the national commemoration of the Vietnam War’s 50th anniversary program and is a joint effort between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the National Park Service and the Department of Defense. The event will include remarks, a moment of silence, music and ceremonial elements that will begin at 1 p.m. EDT. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, Secretary of Defense and Senator Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam Veteran, and other dignitaries are scheduled to speak.
Due to space limitations, the event is open to a limited number of registered correspondents with pooled TV and still photographers. Correspondents wanting to cover this event must RSVP by email to PA_vnwar50th@wso.whs.mil by noon Wednesday, May 23 to receive set instructions. Registration will be confirmed by e-mail and badges will be issued at the media check-in desk on Monday, May 28, 2012 at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The DoD Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration Program will partner with other federal agencies, veterans groups, state, local government and non-government organizations to:
* Thank and honor veterans of the Vietnam War, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
* Highlight the service of the armed forces during the Vietnam War and the contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with, or in support of, the armed forces.
* Pay tribute to the contributions made on the home front by the people of the United States during the Vietnam War.
* Highlight the advances in technology, science, and medicine related to the military research conducted during the Vietnam War.
* Recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies of the United States during the Vietnam War.
For more information on the Vietnam War Commemoration, please call 877-387-9951 or visit the official website at http://www.vietnamwar50th.com.