Vietnam vets remembered on special day


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — Sixty-five people came to celebrate National Vietnam War Veterans Day on Wednesdya, March 29 at the Vietnam War Memorial at Bear’s Mill. Approximately 40 veterans that served in or in support of Vietnam were honored during the ceremony.

The annual program was led by members of Fort GreeneVille Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The chapter is a Vietnam Commemorative Partner and works to recognize Vietnam veterans that came home and honor those who lost their lives while serving in the armed forces during that deadly war, as well as their families.

Fort GreeneVille DAR Regent Penny Weaver said it was a privilege for the local chapter to host and honor Vietnam veterans and their families at the Bear’s Mill Vietnam Memorial. She explained the national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense and launched by the president in 2012. “Its primary purpose is to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice,” she said. The recognition of Vietnam veterans on March 29 became official in 2017. March 29 is significant as it was on that day in 1973 the final American troops left South Vietnam. Weaver held a moment of silence to recognize those whose names appear on the “The Wall” in Washington, D.C.

Two local families were recognized during the ceremony.

Debbie Nisonger, Fort GreeneVille DAR, said, “We recognize those who served, but are no longer among us, as well as their families who endured untold sacrifices in supporting their service. It is the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice…cutting into our hearts the same way their names are engraved in this memorial.” She pointed to the granite Vietnam Memorial with the names of all Darke County servicemen who lost their lives during the war. The two families honored on Tuesday were those of Jack Beam and Robert Fowble. Jack’s brother, Steve, and Fowble’s sister, Joanna Fowble Simmons, were recognized.

Pvt. 1st Class Jack Beam was from Union City, Ohio and began his tour of duty with the U.S. Army on July 15, 1966 with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade, 2nd Battallion, 1st Infantry, B Company. He died when hit with an artillery rocket mortar during hostile action in South Vietnam’s Quang Ngai Province on Dec. 21, 1966. Beam was posthumously honored with the National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, Vietnam Campain Medal and Vietnam Service Medal.

SP4 Robert Fowble, of Greenville, died in Tay Ninh, Vietnam. He was killed after he received multiple fragmentation wounds in South Vietnam. He was said to be the last one killed that day on Nov. 23, 1966.

Nisonger continued, “On behalf of a grateful nation and the Department of Defense, we honor your patriotic service and the significant sacrifices made by you and your family for the cause of freedom and democracy during the Vietnam War. Thank you for being an enduring inspiration and example of duty, valor, honor and dignity for the citizens of the United States of America. Our nation is forever indebted to you and extends its deepest respect and admiration.”

Darke County Commissioners Matt Aultman and Larry Holmes were also present for the event. Aultman shared a proclamation signed by himself, Holmes and Marshall Combs. He read from the proclamation, “Whereas today, March 29th, marks the sixth anniversary of the National Vietnam Veterans Day; Whereas, the history of our state and nation, countless individuals have answered the patriotic duties, including Vietnam veterans who endured unspeakable hardships and risked their lives fighting for the ideals of democracy.” He spoke of the 3.4 million individuals who were called to serve and the 2.7 million persons who served in a war zone. Aultman also recognized the 58,000 individuals from across the national who were killed and the many who were wounded. He pointed out there were over 3,000 veterans from Ohio killed in this war. The proclamation also recognized the Vietnam veterans who returned home to their families. Aultman, Holmes and Combs proclaimed March 29, 2023 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day in Darke County.

Vietnam veterans on-hand for the ceremony were recognized and given a Vietnam Commemorative lapel pin.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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