Darren Doyle, story and photo:
Edmonson County Vietnam War veterans, those present, absent, and the fallen, were honored today at a ceremony held at the Brownsville Community Center, and presented by the Wand B. Doyle Unit 32 Disabled American Veterans & Auxiliary.
Today's featured speaker was Vietnam veteran Larry Moore, who was a U.S. Army Sergeant from C Company, 502nd Infantry Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. He told the crowd that he wasn't an Edmonson County boy, but he married an Edmonson County girl, who is Lenda Davis Moore, from the class of 1965, and he said they have been married 55 years.
Moore began by referencing the war in Ukraine and likening it to Vietnam.
"It's not any difference. It's one country trying to take over another one and I think about them people in the Ukraine and what they're going through," he said.
The three-Purple Heart recipient discussed some of experiences in the Vietnam war and his 13-month tour of duty that began on June 5, 1965.
"I was the company commander radio operator," he said. "Everything went pretty well in Vietnam until September 17, 1965."
That's when they were moved to another landing zone that turned out to be the center of Vietnamese headquarters, where there were about 200 American soldiers against 2,000 Vietnamese.
"The first person killed was my company commander," an emotional Moore said. "The second one killed was Jerry Underwood, he was my best friend, from the same machine gun."
Moore talked about being wounded and being placed in a hospital for a month then facing monsoon season, laying in the mud, working in the mud, sleeping in the mud, and the mosquitos that bit through his poncho and spread malaria, which he eventually contracted. After another several-month stay in the hospital, he returned to his company as a radio operator and also worked as what was known as a "tunnel rat."
"I fit all the categories (of a tunnel rat)," he said. "I carried a .45, I carried a flashlight, and I was little."
As Moore gathered himself once more, he said "13 months and 3 Purple Hearts later, we finally did go home, and we had one saying over there. 'If you come out this and make it home, every day is nothing but gravy."
All Vietnam veterans in attendance were asked to stand and be recognized and eleven fallen Edmonson County veterans killed during Vietnam were honored by the tolling of the bell for each name. Those included were:
The ceremony was concluded outside in the courtyard as the VFW Honor Guard conducted a 21-gun salute after the honorary wreath was placed by DAV member and Vietnam veteran Johnny Russell.
It was also the final Vietnam veteran ceremony over which would be presided by Jack Hasty. Commander Hasty said he would be stepping down from his post this year. He told the Edmonson Voice that the 2022 Memorial Day ceremony would be his final local ceremony as DAV Commander.
After 30-plus years of service to veterans, Hasty said he intends to spend more time with his wife who has experienced some health issues. He still continues to serve at the state level as a committee member.