Team Hill Vietnam Commemoration Committee builds tribute to veterans

In 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 28, 2012, to Nov.11, 2025, as the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.This is a 13-year Department of Defense initiative that serves to give thanks to Vietnam veterans for every year they endured and sacrificed through one of history’s most brutal wars. In August of 2014, Hill AFB became a Commemorative Partner of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.

In support of this initiative, the Team Hill Vietnam Commemoration Committee was established with the sole cause of honoring Vietnam-era veterans.

In the same year the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War was established, President Obama announced March 29 as National Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day by proclamation. He urged all federal, state and local officials to honor all Vietnam veterans with appropriate programs and events. In addition to supporting base and community events honoring Vietnam veterans, the Team Hill VCC is also developing programs to educate our community about the Vietnam War and the people who fought and died there.

This tribute is the first step in the committee’s efforts to recognize our Vietnam veterans, focusing on those from right here in Utah. The Team Hill VCC has been granted permission from the Virtual Wall at www.virtualwall.org to use photos and data from the wall for this tribute. This Hilltop Times issue’s tribute is the first of many, as it will run town-by-town until all 364 Vietnam veterans from the state of Utah who perished in Vietnam have been honored. The tribute is beginning the week of National Vietnam War Recognition Day, March 29, 2015, and will end by next year’s recognition day, March 29, 2016. 

This effort not only informs the public about the Gold Star families from their communities, but it also raises awareness for the Vietnam Veterans currently residing there. It is also the committee’s goal to acquire a photograph of every Utah service member featured throughout the year.

The Team Hill VCC has also partnered with several local and state veterans organizations to help bring recognition to Vietnam veterans. Most recently, the VCC has partnered with the Northern Utah Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America to assist in the VVA’s efforts to bring an 80 percent replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall to Utah permanently. When successful, Utah will be home to one of only two permanent replicas in the United States. 

The committee is currently working on several projects to help the VVA raise the $300,000 it will cost to purchase the replica wall. They are assisting the American Legion Post 129 in Huntsville in hosting a Vietnam Veterans Benefit Concert on May 16 and organizing a 2K/5K/10K roll/walk/run to take place at the Sounds of Freedom event in Layton on June 13. 

All proceeds from these events will be donated to the VVA to put towards the Wall fund. The Team Hill VCC is also assisting the VVA in organizing a Homecoming Parade in Layton city to take place in conjunction with the Sounds of Freedom event on June 13. This parade will provide Vietnam Veterans with the homecoming they never received, but have always deserved. Vietnam-era veterans and veterans from all eras, to include veterans of current wars, are welcome and encouraged to walk in the parade. 

If you are a family member of or know the family of any of the Utah fallen and you would like to submit a photograph for an individual who is currently missing one, you are a veteran who would like to walk in the June 13 parade, or you would simply like to get involved with the committee, please contact 2nd Lt. Amy Polaneczky or Master Sgt. Kevin Hammer at 801-777-7584 or 801-777-5501.

As part of the Department of Defense’s commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, each week we’ll publish a town-by-town list of all 364 Utah service members killed in the war. Photos will be published when available in the print edition of the Hilltop Times.

AMERICAN FORK

Spc. Four Ronald K. Allgood, USA

May 24, 1951-Oct. 2, 1970

19 years old

Helicopter Repairer

Spc. Four Michael H. Hippach, USA

June 23, 1949-Jan. 15, 1970

20 years old

Vehicle Mechanic 

3 years of service

Sergeant Marion L. Draper, USA

Sept. 5, 1945-Nov. 1, 1966

21 years old

Infantryman

Spc. Four Dean F. Fox, USA

April 30, 1946-March 7, 1967

20 years old

Infantryman

BEAR RIVER CITY

Cpl. Gary W. Thorpe, USA

April 1, 1947-Feb. 23, 1968

20 years old

Anti-Tank Assaultman

BEAVER

WO1 James B. Low, USA

June 13, 1951-April 3, 1971

19 years old

Attack Helicopter Pilot

BICKNELL

Sgt. William W. Johnson, USA

May 19, 1948-May 4, 1968

19 years old

Infantryman

1 year of service

BLANDING

Spc. Five Lyle C. Palmer, USA

Nov. 21, 1943-May 12, 1969

25 years old

Infantryman

1 year of service 

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