Vietnam War–Era Veterans Pinning Commemoration Ceremony
March 29, 9:30 a.m.
The Oklahoma History Center Museum (OHCM), 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. The event will be held in the Devon Great Hall of the OHCM on Friday, March 29, from 10 a.m. to noon, with the 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. Altogether he logged 550 combat hours while flying 220 combat missions; 96 over Vietnam. His decorations include the Air Force Cross, three Silver Stars, three Legions of Merit, six Distinguished Flying Crosses, eighteen 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 WWII veterans back to the battlefields of Normandy and Belgium, at no cost to the veteran. “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.”