Association of the United States Army
Arsenal of Democracy Chapter
Event Recap – Tribute to Vietnam Veterans
01 August 2015
The Lest We Forget Vietnam Veterans Tribute was held June 19‐21, 2015 at the Benton Harbor Airport. Four Medal of Honor Recipients were in attendance: Duane Dewey, Marine – Korea; Joe Marm, Army; Gary Wetzel, Army; and Don Ballard, Navy – Vietnam. In addition to hearing these men talk about their experiences, we heard from COL(R) Tony Nadal from the Battle of Ia Drang and COL(R) Bill Dismukes who was a chopper pilot on a Bell UH‐1 Iroquois (Huey) that was shot down in Vietnam and who was the pilot during the battle for which Gary Wetzel received his Medal of Honor. Many other Vietnam veterans and heroes attended and spoke.
COL (R) Scott Davis, CSM (R) Charlotte Randazzo and SGT (R) Ray Galmiche presented Purple Heart plaques to three Medal of Honor recipients and one Vietnam POW. COL (R) Sandy McLeod, President 2nd Region, AUSA, and COL(R) Nick Straffon recognized each Medal of Honor recipient, COL(R) Tony Nadal (Battle of Ia Drang), COL(R) Don Alsbro (event organizer) and LTC(R) Dennis Gillem (Armed Forces Network Talk Show Host) with AUSA Arsenal of Democracy coins and hats. AUSA Arsenal of Democracy members, COL(R) Nick Straffon, CSM (R) Charlotte Randazzo, SGT Jim Harris, SGT (R) Al Karras, plus seven other veterans, presented Purple Heart and Vietnam commemorative plaques to the families of 32 Berrien County Gold Star families that lost loved ones in Vietnam. Karen Straffon presented handmade memory quilts to MOH Gary Wetzel, MOH Joe Marm, MOH Don Ballard and POW Joe Kernan.
Displays included two Hueys, a scout helicopter, Vietnam and WWII aircraft, APCs, an M114, Jeeps, and armament. Re‐enactors used the equipment in battlefield reenactments, and Huey and scout rides were offered. A similar event is being planned for next Father’s Day, June 19, 2016.