First Lieutenant Gerald B. Greendyke Memorial Highway officially named


By Dawn Hatfield

GREENVILLE — On Saturday, June 10, 2023, the family of First Lieutenant Gerald Greendyke received a profound honor, a memorial highway dedication in his honor. Fort GreeneVille Chapter DAR, on behalf of the Greendyke family, submitted the highway dedication request to State Senate President Matt Huffman on Sept. 17, 2022, which was signed by Governor DeWine on Jan. 5, 2023, in the form of Sec. 5534.153. of Sub. H. B. No. 578, stating, “In addition to any other name prescribed in the Revised Code or otherwise, the northbound and southbound lanes of state route number forty-nine between the northernmost intersection of that route and Heritage road and the intersection of that route and Arcanum Bears Mill road, in Darke county, shall be known as the ‘First Lieutenant Gerald B. Greendyke Memorial Highway.’ The director of transportation may erect suitable markers along the highway indicating its name.”

VFW Post 7262 at 219 N. Ohio Street in Greenville was filled nearly to capacity with family, friends, classmates, veterans, and community members celebrating the recognition of Greendyke’s service and sacrifice. Known to be an outstanding athlete at Greenville High School, lettering in football, basketball, and track, as a member of the class of 1960, Greendyke joined the Army in 1962. After his initial discharge, the Army made him an offer to return to service as an officer. He attended Officer Candidate School (OGS) and became an Artillery Forward Observer in advance of the heavy machinery. Greendyke was deployed to Vietnam in August of 1967. Within two months of arriving in Vietnam, he displayed heroism on October 22, 1967, during operation Shenandoah II.

On February 2, 1968, Lieutenant Greendyke’s radio-telephone operator fell wounded, and despite the intense hostile fire, Greendyke immediately began to administer first aid. The numerically superior Viet Cong force began to close in on his position but Lieutenant Greendyke remained at his wounded radio-telephone operator’s side, firing his weapon and administering aid. He was told to pull back but he refused to leave the wounded man and continued to adjust devastating artillery fire upon the insurgents. The large Viet Cong force finally overpowered the smaller group’s position and Lieutenant Greendyke fell mortally wounded. First Lieutenant Greendyke’s unquestionable valor in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with the finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army. He was awarded posthumously the Silver Star medal on March 8, 1968, as well as the bronze star medal with the “v” device on March 26, 1968.

To begin the “First Lieutenant Gerald Greendyke Memorial Highway” Dedication, the posting of colors was carried out by Wapakoneta Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1126. Master of Ceremony Jim Buchy welcomed the attendees and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Kathy Bowen, Veterans Co-chair, Fort GreeneVille Chapter DAR, led the invocation and invited Fort GreeneVille Chapter DAR Vice Regent Debbie Nisonger to the podium, who spoke of Greendyke’s valor. Having been classmates and friends of the Greendyke children, Nisonger spoke from the heart about their father’s courage and sacrifice.

Guest speaker Rich Lovelady of Vietnam War Commemoration Future and Current Operations addressed the crowd and pinned the family of First Lieutenant Greendyke. State Representative Angie King, Ohio House District 84, and Ben Thaeler, Deputy District Director on behalf of U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson, then provided the dedication of H. B. No. 578 and bestowed upon the family members replicas of the “First Lieutenant Gerald B. Greendyke Memorial Highway” sign.

Wapakoneta VVA Chapter 1126 President Mike Borges offered a commendation and also invited the attendees to visit the new Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in Wapak before Fort GreeneVille Chapter DAR Veterans Co-chair Kathy Bowen offered a closing prayer and Wapakoneta Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 1126 retired the colors.

A procession led by Greenville Police Chief Eric Roberts then proceeded to the sign unveiling at the historical Studabaker Schoolhouse located at State Route 49 and Heritage Road followed by gravesite honors where Greendyke rests at Abbottsville Cemetery. The GHS class of 1960 placed a remembrance wreath, and the Darke County Honor Guard performed “Taps” in Greendyke’s memory.

This special event was hosted by Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution, a Vietnam War 50th Commemoration Commemorative Partner, and refreshments were provided by Fort GreeneVille Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution and Greenville VFW Post 7262 and Greenville American Legion 140.

Reach Daily Advocate Reporter Dawn Hatfield at [email protected] or 937-569-0066.

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