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BVVM Dedicates Vietnam War Memorial

Saturday’s dedication of the Vietnam War memorial at the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial (BVVM) was attended by a crowd estimated at 1,000. The gathering not only filled the bleachers, but in some areas stood four rows deep.

Hosting the 70 minute program was the President of the BVVM Board of Directors, Randy House. The retired Lt. Gen. piloted and jumped out of Huey helicopters into hot landing zones, or “HOT LZ”. That was the theme of the 2,000 pound memorial created by J. Payne Lara of Navasota.

Click below for opening remarks from Randy House.

053114-Comments-from-Randy-House.mp3

 

The dedication took place 50 years following the start of the United States involvement in the Vietnam War. BVVM Vice President Fain McDougal, who served two tours in Vietnam, recognized Lara as well as VFW Post 4692 Commander Johnny Velasquez, whose likeness Para used for one of the three soldiers in the memorial.

Click below for comments from Fain McDougal.

053114-Comments-from-Fain-McDougal.mp3

 

Also recognized were three Texas A&M graduates who are still missing in action (MIA); Murry Wortham (Class of 1965), Neal Ward (Class of 1967), and Ron Forrester (Class of 1969).

Wortham’s daughter, who lives in College Station, attended the program. Forrester’s daughter, Karoni, lives in Austin and was among the speakers. She is the Texas state coordinator of the National League of POW/MIA Families.

Click below for comments from Karoni Forrester.

053114-Comments-from-Karoni-Forrester.mp3

 

The featured speaker was Bob Hesselbein, a retired Air Force Lt. Col. who is President of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association. It was during his remarks that a Huey flew over and received applause from the crowd. Hesselbein says of 11,000 helicopters flown in Vietnam, 7,000 were Huey’s that were designed and built in Texas. 5,000 helicopters were destroyed, 3,300 of them Huey’s. Hesselbein also says the American death toll in Vietnam included 5,000 pilots and crew members and more than 20,000 infantrymen associated with airborne duty.

Click below for comments from Bob Hesselbein following the Huey flyover.

053114-Comments-from-Bob-Hesselbein.mp3

 

The BVVM generated $150,000 for the Vietnam War memorial.

Fundraising has started for the Civil War memorial, with the goal of dedicating it in April 2015, marking the 150th anniversary of the end of the war between the states.

Click HERE to read the BVVM Vietnam War memorial program, which lists the order of speakers.

Click below to listen to the entire dedication program, led by the President of the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board of Directors, Randy House.

BVVM Vietnam War Memorial Dedication May 31 2014

 

Fain McDougal, BVVM Vice President, dedicates the memorial.

Fain McDougal, BVVM Vice President, dedicates the memorial.

 

Huey helicopter prepares to land at Veterans Park during the memorial program.

Huey helicopter prepares to land at Veterans Park during the memorial program.

 

The Huey helicopter parked across the drive from the Vietnam War memorial.

The Huey helicopter parked across the drive from the Vietnam War memorial.

 

Following the program, the crowd taking pictures of the new memorial.

Following the program, the crowd taking pictures of the new memorial.

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Posted by on May 31 2014. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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