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Veterans Forum

Welcome to the Mount Lebanon High School Message Forum.

WELCOME TO THE VETERAN'S FORUM

Most of us know of the sacrifice made by our classmate, William David Morgan, who heroically gave his life in Vietnam in 1969.  As far as we know at this time, he is our only classmate killed in Vietnam.  As a recipient of the Medal of Honor presented by the Congress of the United States of America, he deserves our respect and our gratitude

 

Along with honoring William David Morgan, this forum is designed to provide an opportunity for others of us who served to share memories and photos about their time of service.

This forum is open as well to any other classmate who wishes to post a comment or share a memory about a classmate they know who served our country.

Our purpose is to recognize and honor those who have served, not to revisit wounds from the past.

Thank you to all of our classmates who have served this country.

MARCH 29 
Proclaimend Vietnam Veteran's Day

____________________________________________

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2012

Presidential Proclamation -- Vietnam Veterans Day

VIETNAM VETERANS DAY

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon.  Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars.  Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true.  Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.

The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission.  It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved.  It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.  From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.  We must never let this happen again.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.  Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return.  Our Nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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07/28/15 04:00 PM #56    

 

Chuck Jordan

Mike, thanks for your service, glad you found this forum!


08/12/15 12:04 PM #57    

 

Susan Devlin

Having passed away from Agent Orange throat cancer, which must have been as heroic as dying in combat, we wanted to honor Daniel in the Vets Forum for the class.  As you will see, he was private about his time in Vietnam...as many are and were....Thank you for your service, Danny, may you rest in peace.

Obituary: Daniel P. Richtar/Local coach made athletics a lifelong passion

May 15, 1947 - Jan. 9, 2014

By Robert Zullo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Rudy Richtar says his brother "never met the right girl."

A bachelor his entire life, Daniel P. Richtar, a Vietnam veteran and longtime youth sports coach from Mt. Lebanon who died Thursday at 66, didn't have time for that kind of thing.

"He was too busy coaching his kids," said Rudy Richtar, 71. "Just teaching basics to the kids, teaching them that those basics would carry them through life, not just basketball."

Mr. Richtar's natural athletic ability and family pedigree -- his uncle Thomas "Pidge" McCarthy was a professional baseball scout, former president of the West Penn Basketball Officials and a member of the Pennsylvania American Legion and Western Pennsylvania sports halls of fame -- made athletics his lifelong passion.

"He was a wonderful athlete. He was not a good student," Rudy Richtar said of his brother. "He would have started for Mt. Lebanon's high school [basketball] team, but he could not make the grades."

Instead, he played Catholic Youth Organization basketball and joined the Army after managing to graduate from Mt. Lebanon, his brother said. He served 16 months in Vietnam and spent nine years in the Army before starting a job processing claims for a Department of Veterans Affairs office in Pittsburgh, where he worked for 23 years.

He rarely talked about his experience in Vietnam, though VA doctors later told him the throat cancer he was diagnosed with 11 years ago was related to exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical defoliant widely used to clear heavily forested jungles.

"Any time you brought it up, he changed the subject," Rudy Richtar said. "He never regretted it. ... He was very proud that he went."

Continuation of his obit may be found in his In Memory page.


10/27/15 05:50 PM #58    

 

Chuck Jordan

I haven't been on in quite awhile but I would add "Well done good and faithful servant!"


12/20/15 02:18 PM #59    

 

Russell Scott Wyatt

I thank the above classmates who served our country. I too am a veteran but I went in the Navy between 1982-1986  I served as a storekeeper SK2 on the USS Kiska AE-35. This ship was a ammo ship 600 feet long by 80 feet wide. We did a couple of west pac depolyments saw many ports and the Navy was an adventure. I thin got out with honorable discharge went back to civilian life as an Optician.


12/21/15 01:25 PM #60    

 

Susan Devlin

Russ, glad you picked up on this portion of our site.  We are so honored to have so many from our class and our school who supported and served our country.  It says something for the moral core we all have within and what a great up bringing we got from our families, community and School.  


12/31/15 10:04 AM #61    

 

Kirk Allen Thompson

I used to live amongst the giant redwoods of Humboldt county. One day there was a notice that one of the touring 1/3 sized model of the Wall was going to visit. It was in a beautiful grove of giant redwoods, all about 2000 years old, towering with ancient peace. I found the location of Bill Morgan's name, and went to find it with a slow step, wanting to see it and not also. Find it I did, and like everyone, cried and cried while the sunlight dappled through those timeless trees. I think Bill would have liked that setting. I cried at the Wall too. Many thanks to him, and to John Dragonis who made the monument happen. Fair winds and following seas my friend. 

 

 


01/01/16 03:17 PM #62    

 

Devon Hixenbaugh (Sloan)

Kirk, thanks for adding your beautiful comments.  Very touching.  I know we are all grateful for the men and women who have served our country well....so many from our own class.  Happy new year everyone!

 

 


01/02/16 12:10 PM #63    

 

Susan Devlin

Absolutely beautiful salute, Kirk.  Thank You.


01/06/16 04:01 PM #64    

 

Kirk Allen Thompson

In 1982 I lived in Trinidad CA. My business helped sponser the 4th of July fireworks display at the College of the Redwoods stadium. There were 15,000 or so there. There was a ceremony honoring each branch of the military. Following this the announcer asked if everyone in the audience who served during Viet Nam would please stand, there were about 200 of us. Everyone broke out clapping and whistling and cheering for us. I stood there with the biggest smile on my face with tears running down my cheeks. It was the first time I had ever been thanked. I still can't tell this without tears. It was simply grand! God bless us everyone. Rest gently noble warriers.

Kirk Thompson

 


01/07/16 08:22 AM #65    

 

Devon Hixenbaugh (Sloan)

Kirk, that was, unfortunately, so true of that time - it was so conflicting with that war.  I only hope in your heart that you know how many of us are so grateful to you and the other brave men and women (boys and girls, really) who risked their lives.  I THANK YOU!!

 


01/14/16 01:39 PM #66    

 

Chuck Jordan

Hi Kirk, I am very touched by your posts. I'm sure that all who are on the wall would have loved that scenery,I've been there and it's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It's been here in Albany, NY and it is moving to see. I saw Bill's name as well as Tom Bird's and Rich Lacey's. They were the reason that I volunteered. I've worked very hard to put behind me (NOT MY SERVICE) but the way we were treated every time I came home on leave, but also for years after discharge. When asked, we did our duty for our country. I've long since put away the bitterness in my heart and hold no malice to those who disagreed with the war other than Jane Fonda. After all what makes America different that when we serve our country we serve all americans, even those that disagree with us. I really feel that one of the legacies of the Vietnam conflict is that we treat the young men and women who have served since then with respect for their service. That is what I am most proud of especially today. I'm ashamed that Veterans Day is not a national holiday. In my 42 years in the workforce I never once was able to attend a parade to salute other veterans without having to take personal time. I wish you well my friend!


02/03/16 08:36 PM #67    

 

Kirk Allen Thompson

Thanks for your kind words Chuck. I was walking through Miami International in my whites in 1970. After getting his father's encouragement ran up to me and screamed "baby killer", spit on me and ran back to his seat very pleased with himself. In that moment I realized that we did what we did to give that kid the freedom to do that. It's different when your ass is on the pointy end of the stick. Never regreted my service, never will. See you pal.


03/20/16 12:01 PM #68    

 

Robert Charnell

I understand how you felt Kirk.  When I rotated back stateside in June 1970 from Vietnam, I was processed through Okinawa, then El Toro air base outside of LA.   There were several busloads of Marines being taken from the airstrip to the processing center.   Protesters lined the road shouting obscenities and hurling stuff at the buses.  

At one point they blocked the path of the buses.   These protesters had to be absolute idiots.   They really wanted to confront busloads of returning combat Marines.    Marines started getting off the buses and 'engage' with the protesters.  Engage is the nicest term I can think of.   Not sure the protesters were thinking about the consequences of their actions.   They started running in all directions.   It took a few dozen Shore Patrol police to break up the melee.

Not one of my nicest remembrances from those days.

 


03/21/16 02:57 PM #69    

 

Richard L. Montgomery

Kirk and Rob, I too have some "interesting" recollections.  After a year with the 101st Airborne in the A Shau Valley, fighting NVA regular army veterans, I came home through Seattle (SeaTac at the time, I believe).  As we walked into the terminal there was a group of protestors waiting with signs etc.  A girl whom I would have gladly dated prior to my service (lovely hippie chick) spat on me as I passed.  Peace and love were both AWOL.


03/22/16 12:42 PM #70    

 

Robert Charnell

I never regretted joining the Marine Corps in 1967.  I had a deferment because I was enrolled at Pitt.  I got tired of some students at Pitt creating a rukus about the war back then.  My brother was already serving in the Marine Corps and was stationed in Chu Lai, Vietnam.  I didn't have to volunteer for a 4-year stint, and my mother went absolutely hysterical when I came home and informed her.  I was 18 and she couldn't really talk me out of it.  It wasn't one of my more memorable moments to be sure.  I was pretty insensitive when I think back on it.

Back then 2 brothers could not both be in Vietnam at the same time, not like today.  My brother was making the Marine Corps a career and had to be redeployed to Okinawa when I rotated in-country to Vietnam in June 1969 through Okinawa.  Only time we ever got together in the 4 years I served.  I remember in May 1970, I was still recovering from malaria I had contracted, and heard about Kent State students had being shot by National guardsman.  I had already been in Vietnam for 11 months by then and my attitude about the war had changed.  Most of the Marines around me at the time also thought badly about what the National Guard had done to the students.  It just wasn't right.  The consensus was that if National Guardman wanted to shoot someone send them to Vietnam, not take it out on protesting students who didn't want to go to Vietnam.  Just my thoughts from back then for I had changed.


03/28/16 11:02 PM #71    

 

Lois J. Wilson

In the Ft. Lauderdale SunSentinel today there was a frontpage article about the Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, which will be celebrated on March 29th and 30th.  The date honors the day the last troops left southeastern Asia.  The proclamations and ceremonies are intended to honor those veterans who served in the Vietnam War.  According to the paper, 1 out of every 3 veterans living in Florida served in Vietnam. This amounts to more than 500,000 men and women.

A spokesman for the Florida Department of Veterans' Affairs said, "It's an opportunity to thank our veterans who were not thanked for their service when they initially came home.  It is time to recognize them now."   I could not agree more.

To those classmates who served in southeast Asia, thank you again for your service. Time may not erase the searing wounds inflicted on you.  But we can certainly take time now to thank you for your bravery and your willingness to serve your country. This honor is long overdue, but I join with those who worked to set aside this day, and honor you for stepping up to the call to service!

Thank you!

Lois Wilson 

 

 


03/29/16 11:04 AM #72    

 

Paul Yeager

Vietnam Veterans Day commemorates the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans and their families and is part of a national effort to recognize the men and women who were denied a proper welcome upon returning home more than 40 years ago.

Most states celebrate “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day” on March 29 or 30 of each year. Though there is some debate, March 29 is generally viewed as a more appropriate date, as it marks the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam in 1973.

_______________________________________________

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2012

Presidential Proclamation -- Vietnam Veterans Day

VIETNAM VETERANS DAY

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

On January 12, 1962, United States Army pilots lifted more than 1,000 South Vietnamese service members over jungle and underbrush to capture a National Liberation Front stronghold near Saigon.  Operation Chopper marked America's first combat mission against the Viet Cong, and the beginning of one of our longest and most challenging wars.  Through more than a decade of conflict that tested the fabric of our Nation, the service of our men and women in uniform stood true.  Fifty years after that fateful mission, we honor the more than 3 million Americans who served, we pay tribute to those we have laid to rest, and we reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful Nation.

The Vietnam War is a story of service members of different backgrounds, colors, and creeds who came together to complete a daunting mission.  It is a story of Americans from every corner of our Nation who left the warmth of family to serve the country they loved.  It is a story of patriots who braved the line of fire, who cast themselves into harm's way to save a friend, who fought hour after hour, day after day to preserve the liberties we hold dear.  From Ia Drang to Hue, they won every major battle of the war and upheld the highest traditions of our Armed Forces.

Eleven years of combat left their imprint on a generation.  Thousands returned home bearing shrapnel and scars; still more were burdened by the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress, of Agent Orange, of memories that would never fade.  More than 58,000 laid down their lives in service to our Nation.  Now and forever, their names are etched into two faces of black granite, a lasting memorial to those who bore conflict's greatest cost.

Our veterans answered our country's call and served with honor, and on March 29, 1973, the last of our troops left Vietnam.  Yet, in one of the war's most profound tragedies, many of these men and women came home to be shunned or neglected -- to face treatment unbefitting their courage and a welcome unworthy of their example.  We must never let this happen again.  Today, we reaffirm one of our most fundamental obligations:  to show all who have worn the uniform of the United States the respect and dignity they deserve, and to honor their sacrifice by serving them as well as they served us.  Half a century after those helicopters swept off the ground and into the annals of history, we pay tribute to the fallen, the missing, the wounded, the millions who served, and the millions more who awaited their return.  Our Nation stands stronger for their service, and on Vietnam Veterans Day, we honor their proud legacy with our deepest gratitude.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim March 29, 2012, as Vietnam Veterans Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Vietnam War.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of March, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA


03/29/16 01:01 PM #73    

 

Robert Charnell

Wow, I didn't know 33% of all Florida veterans served in Vietnam - that's amazing.  Thank you to both Lois and  Paul for the update on the newspaper article and presidential proclamation. 

I now have another day to celebrate - my brother always calls me on November 10th each year, the Marine Corps' birthday.

Thanks again..  


03/30/16 01:21 PM #74    

 

Elaine F. Marian (Albarano)

I agree that the honors for the Vietnam veterans are well deserved and sadly long overdue.  About three or four times a year my husband and I go with a group from the Sarasota Florida Elks to the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital in St. Petersburg and we bring lunch for the long-term patients, their families and the hospital staff.  Many of the men are Vietnam Vets and Korean Vets and there are still a few from World War II.  It is a very rewarding day and although the veterans all say thank you to us, we are the ones who are most thankful to our veterans.


03/31/16 09:15 AM #75    

 

Robert Charnell

Elaine, that's such an inspiring and sensational thing to do for veterans.  You should be commended for your service in helping them.  My hat is off to you, your husband, and others.  Thanks for sharing.


04/05/16 12:15 PM #76    

 

Chuck Jordan

As I was a junior year transfer from South Catholic and as I did my younger years at St. Bernards I did not get to know a lot of you in my years at Lebo. However when I visit this forum I consider all of you who served as my Brothers. I am always touched by the comments shared here and very much touched by the messages of thanks  by all who have commented for our service. I consider this a place for family! Thanks to all!

 


04/13/16 11:38 AM #77    

 

Paul Yeager

 

This PBS documentary is in production and will be released in 2017.

 

The Vietnam War


The Vietnam War, a film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, is a ten part, 18 and a half hour documentary film series that sheds new light on the military, political, cultural, social, and human dimensions of a tragedy of epic proportions that took the lives of 58,000 Americans and as many as three million Vietnamese, polarized American society as nothing has since the Civil War, fundamentally challenged Americans’ faith in our leaders, our government, and many of our most respected institutions, and called into question the belief in our own exceptionalism.

 

More info at:    http://kenburns.com/films/vietnam/

 

 

 


05/30/16 02:00 PM #78    

 

Chuck Jordan

Please think about the following people who we're freinds or brothers of friends on mine from Mt. Lebanon:

Cpl. William D. Morgan, rifleman, fire team leader and squad leader, Company H, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.; USMC, (MOH), KIA  in Operation Dewey Canyon south of Vandergrift Combat Base on 25 February 1969, his actions saved the lives of 2 of his fellow Marines and led to the overtaking on the NVA position  - please take a moment today to read his MOH Citation

1st Lt. Thomas A. Bird, USMC, helicopter pilot, HMM-363, 1st MAW;  KIA, date of loss 21 March 1966; AT 21;1610 hours, thirty UH-34D's from HMM-261, HMM-363 and HMM-364 escorted by 4 armed UH-IE's of VMO-6 lifted 2 companies plus a command group (405 troops) of 3rd Bn., 1st Mairnes from Ky Ha Air Facility to an unsecure LZ as BS 494 806. Automatic weapons and .50 cal fire was recieved from numerous areas surroundind the LZ, hit by a severe burst of fire the helicopter rolled inverted and crashed at BS 495 815, Lt. "T. Bird's" co-pilot, 1st Lt. noah M. Kraft, pilot,  GySgt. Calvin Chow and GySgt. Benito Igarta Jr. were the crew along with 6 passengers, all but Lt. Bird and Lt. Kraft were killed on impact. Lt. Bird and Lt. Kraft were severly burned and shot but died after evac from the injuries.

SP5 Richard J. Lacey, U.S. Army, Long lines detachment South, Regional Communications Group, 1st Signal Brigade; MIA, TET Offensive, date of loss 31 January 1968; SP5 Lacey and SP4 William Charles Behrens left the Phu Lam on the road to Cu Chi passing thru Cholon while attempting to reach Regional Communications Group Saigonto relays the many calls for help from areas under seige when their jeep came under heavy maching gun fire. Later as the area was cleared of the enemy, Williams body was found but no trace of Richard was ever found. It is presumed that Richard was taken prisoner and was never heard from again.

Walter J. Lacey, U.S. Army, Richards brother who because of his brothers loss was exempt but joined anyway, recently deceased he was never the same after his brothers loss and his service.

It is good to know the stories of those we knew who gave their all for their brothers in arms in defense of our country not only in our war but in all wars. Grandfathers, fathers, sons, daughters,and friends.Hold them close in your hearts as you celebrate today.

Also please remember all who are in harms way this very day protecting us and our families from all enemies both foriegn and domestic!

I salute you all!

With greatest regards, Chuck

 


05/31/16 10:24 AM #79    

 

Devon Hixenbaugh (Sloan)

Chuck, your message brought tears to my eyes.  Of course, Bill was the only one I knew personally, but when you think of those young lives suffed out in a jungle...wow, it gives pause, and brings gratefulness for their sacrifice.  Thanks for reminding us of what yesterday was really all about.  See you in a couple of months........

Devon


05/31/16 01:38 PM #80    

 

Lyn K. Morander (George)

It's good to remember that all the names on walls and tombstones are so much more than names....thanks for the reminder!


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