Many Vietnam veterans did not come home to open, welcoming arms. Many people did not honor these veterans for their service, but members of the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron on D-M got to honor one Vietnam veteran on Feb. 19.
In 1969, as a field maintenance squadron personnel, Stanley Clark was deployed to Vietnam, where he was injured during an attack. During a bombardment in the early part of his 365-day deployment, Clark received injuries to both of his knees while trying to make it to a hardened cover. After receiving the injuries, Clark still managed to get himself to safety. Clark’s knees were never the same; however, he not only managed to finish his tour, but also served for 10 years in several career fields.
Over 40 years after the injury, Clark was awarded the Purple Heart for the injuries he sustained during the attack.
In a show of respect for the decoration he would receive and the career field in which he served at the time of the injury, Clark requested the 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron on D-M present him with the Purple Heart.
Field maintenance squadrons were re-designated as equipment maintenance squadrons around the 1980s. Clark along with Maj. Richard Worcester, 355th EMS commander, decided that holding the ceremony, which few current military members have ever seen, in front of the 355th EMS would be best.
Before the ceremony ended, Clark left the men and women of the 355th EMS with some advice that he says took him years to figure out.
“Everyone that serves in the military has been given the greatest gift,” Clark said. “You have been given the gift of honor to serve your country.”