The Transportation Corps, in partnership with the U.S. Army Quartermaster and Women’s museums, hosted a 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War Aug. 17. Hundreds of Vietnam veterans joined with the soldiers at Fort Lee, Va., to pay tribute to those who served during the war.
“When the Vietnam War veterans came home, there were no parades or welcoming parties and some groups wanted to make them ashamed of their service,” said Brig. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen, chief of transportation and commandant of the Transportation School. “It is the least we can do to pay homage to them now, during this 50th anniversary. It is truly my honor and privilege to express my thanks for your service and sacrifice.”
Highlights of the event included displays of Vietnam-era equipment, collections and reproduction vintage military “gun trucks.”
During an afternoon ceremony, attendees listened to remarks by guest speakers Farmen, and retired Col. Emit Knight, operations officer with the 57th Transportation Helicopter Company, one of the first Army units deployed to Vietnam.
Knight talked about his experiences as one of the first soldiers to be deployed to Vietnam in December of 1961. Stories of how he spent 22 days aboard a ship, in sparse accommodations and with limited resources, and the perils of the initial combat engagements painted a vivid picture of what life was like.
After the ceremony, soldiers and veterans mingled as they posed for pictures with the gun trucks and exchanged stories of past and present wars. The Fort Lee commemoration was set to coincide with “The Gathering,” a reunion of Transportation Corps veterans of the Vietnam War that was being held in the local area this year.
This was the first event the Transportation Corps hosted in support of a 13-year long national program to honor and thank the Vietnam veterans for their service. Further events are in the planning process to coincide with major campaigns of the war.