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Local veteran Rodger J. Johnson, 75, saved seven men from burning helicopter wreckage during a training exercise more than 50 years ago. Slowed by a stroke, he says instinct kicked in on that day in October 1963.
Leon and Dale Brown beat the odds, both surviving a year as corpsmen in Vietnam − and coming to each other’s aid on the battlefield and at home.
Their cremated remains have been in storage at mortuaries and churches throughout the state, some for more than 40 years. On a blustery Tuesday morning, in handcrafted boxes of purpleheart wood from Central America, 46 veterans and one military spouse were laid to rest at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery in Medical Lake. Some of those, placed in the row of niches, served overseas in World War I.
AMES, Iowa — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump criticized Sen. John McCain’s military record at a conservative forum Saturday, saying the party’s 2008 nominee and former prisoner of war was a “war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
Baby boomer Darrell Kerby, a 1969 graduate and former Bonners Ferry mayor, didn’t fight in Vietnam. He was spared the horrors of war by his lottery number, 173. On his Facebook wall on Veterans Day, Darrell shared his deep appreciation for those who did serve: “I have stood at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and traced my classmate’s name. I have stood in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s exhibit of articles left at the Vietnam Wall. I saw and read the messages from sons to fathers they had never met. I read love letters from girlfriends whose boyfriends had never returned. I saw ladies’ panties, baby shoes, letterman’s jackets and sweaters, varsity letters, footballs and basketballs. Items so personal, painful, and meaningful you would literally need to have been born without a heart to not be moved to uncontrollable tears.” The beautiful essay goes on to tell of Darrell’s visits to Normandy, Pearl Harbor and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, concluding: “I have attended dozens and dozens of Veteran’s Day remembrances. I get it. My fellow Americans get it. Veterans, there is truly no way to appropriately say thank you. You and your families know intimately firsthand that freedom isn’t free. What I know is … we must never … ever … forget.” Bingo. 65 and holding
The state of Idaho has found a concrete way to recognize Vietnam War veterans in a year that marks the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident. On Tuesday, the state officially declared Interstate 84 in Idaho as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway.
In August 1969, a lanky and bushy-haired Army Sgt. Leon Strigotte stooped to inspect makeshift booby traps laid by Viet Cong near Bong Son, a village near the coast in south-central Vietnam. An Army photographer captured the moment in black-and-white, the young soldier gazing intently at explosives not unlike the land mine that wounded him and killed two others following a day of intense fighting near the city of Hue less than 18 months before.
At the sight of me cradling an M-60 like the one he carried in Vietnam, Grady Myers would have rocked back on his heels and wiped tears of laughter from under his thick eyeglasses. Julie, complete with silver swoosh in her hair, was a 5-foot-3 machine gun granny.
When Hugh Smith lifted the bandaged body of Joe Mann from the battlefield near Best, Holland, in September 1944, he didn’t know he was carrying a former high school football rival. “All I knew was that he was the guy that jumped on the hand grenade,” said Smith, known as “Smitty” in the corridors of the Evergreen Fountains retirement home in Spokane Valley where he resides with his wife, Anita.
An emotion-choked crowd honored the service of veterans Friday at a traveling exhibit of the Vietnam Memorial Wall at Hayden City Park. Hundreds of people turned out for the opening ceremonies of The Wall That Heals, then stayed to browse through the names of more than 58,000 fallen and missing soldiers from the Vietnam conflict.
WALLA WALLA, Wash. — The remains of an Air Force pilot who died in the Vietnam War are being returned to Walla Walla for burial.
A couple of disabled military veterans met their match on Crab Creek recently with Hilary Hutcheson, a bundle of positive fly-fishing energy who stands 5-foot-2 in wading boots. The host for Trout TV, a syndicated fly-fishing program, let the veterans run the show as her cameraman filmed an episode about Project Healing Waters. But she had the right fly when the fishing was tough and spot-on presentation when trout had to be caught.