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Press Release

February 26, 2024

Contact: Steve Hawkins
Oklahoma History Center Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society
Office: 405-522-0754

Oklahoma History Center Museum to Host Eighth Annual Vietnam Veterans Day Event

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma History Center, in association with VillagesOKC, the local offices of Humana, Oklahoma Warriors Honor Flight, Navigating Medicare and the Force 50 Foundation, is proud to host a pinning ceremony honoring all the servicemen and servicewomen, active or reservists, who served anywhere in the world during the Vietnam War-era. Family members of any veteran unable to be present may also receive this pin. The event will be held in the Devon Great Hall of the Oklahoma History Center on Friday, March 29, from 10 a.m.-noon, with doors opening at 9 a.m. This event is free and open to the public.

March 29 was designated as Vietnam Veterans Day by the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, to be commemorated with annual nationwide events. Guided by the stipulations in that act, only Vietnam War veterans and their families are recognized. However, the Vietnam War Commemoration organization is providing recognition pins to honor any US veteran who served on active duty or in the reserves in the US Armed Forces at any time during the period of November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location, Vietnam or otherwise. Family members of any veteran unable to be present may also receive this pin.

The keynote speaker will be Colonel “Chuck” DeBellevue, who has been deemed “Ace of Aces,” one of only five to achieve that status from downing six North Vietnamese MiGs. He logged 550 combat hours while flying 220 combat missions, with 96 over Vietnam. His decorations include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, 18 Air Medals and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Device. In 2012, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame and received the Congressional Gold Medal.

Also speaking will be Colonel Peter Plank, one of the founders of the Liberty Jump Team. This team has taken more than 100 World War II veterans back to the battlefields of Normandy and Belgium at no cost to the veterans. “Taking them to the battlefields they fought in and the villages they liberated is a humbling experience. Being a part of the Liberty Jump Team preserves the memory of those that came before us alive. We owe them that,” says Plank.

Michael Do, an Oklahoma City businessman, will speak on behalf of the Oklahoma City Vietnamese community and the South Vietnamese military. Music will be provided by the 145th Army Band, known as “The Governor’s Own.”

The Oklahoma History Center is located at 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. in Oklahoma City. It is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma and its people. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit okhistory.org.


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