My upcoming story this Sunday, May 21, 2017, will be on Sgt. Joe Oreto

19690000 Oreto wcap copyMy upcoming story this Sunday, May 21, 2017, will be on Sgt. Joe Oreto

http://kevindayhoff.blogspot.com/2017/05/my-upcoming-story-this-sunday-may-21.html

Biên Hòa Memories # 32 – Biên Hòa Air Base 1960-1970 – VNAF

May 15, 2017

On May 29, Carroll County will mark its 150th continuous annual observance of Memorial Day with a parade and ceremonies at the Westminster Cemetery. The annual tradition was first organized by Mary Bostwick Shellman on May 30, 1868.

Please remember why we have Memorial Day. The day is not set aside to have a cookout with hamburgers and hotdogs or eat crabs. It is not day off from work to go buy 3 tires and get one free. I try to keep track of businesses that have Memorial Day sales and then vow, if at all possible, to never-ever do business with them.

My upcoming story this Sunday, May 21, 2017, will be on Sgt. Joe Oreto, who died in Tay Ninh Province Việt Nam up along the Cambodian border, during Operation Toan Thang II, on April 13, 1969. http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/search/dispatcher.front?Query=Kevin+Dayhoff&target=all&spell=on

He was 21 years-old and had only been married for six months to a local Westminster girl who lived on Augusta Drive. He was deployed to Vietnam in November 1968, right after he married Georgia Croft, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Croft, Westminster, in October 1968. According to a Carroll County Times article on May 28, 1989, “He was against killing of any kind, but felt he should do his duty,” a relative said at the time of his death.

I lost track of the Croft family, many years ago. Have any of my Facebook friends kept-up with the family. Where is Georgia today? Does the family still live in Westminster?

I am amazed by the folks I hear from by way of Facebook. Folks I served with almost 45-years ago. I hear from the families of the folks I have written about, from all over the world.

19670600-SouthvietmapMy law enforcement friends might note that when he was drafted, after two-years of college at St. Mary’s College – then a two-year school, he was a cadet training to be a police officer with the Washington D.C. Police. His father was a U.S. Marshal stationed in Chattanooga, TN.

On May 29, Carroll County will mark its 150th continuous annual observance of Memorial Day with a parade and ceremonies at the Westminster Cemetery. The annual tradition was first organized by Mary Bostwick Shellman on May 30, 1868.

20060521-CCVNV-triptyThe Carroll County Maryland Vietnam Memorial Park at the corner of Willis and Court Street, next to the historic Courthouse was dedicated on May 28, 1990. Ever since then many of us who served, stateside, as I did, or were deployed, have spontaneously gathered there after the Memorial Day Services at the Westminster Cemetery.

There we pay homage to our friends, colleagues, and loved ones from Carroll County who made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam, to tell their stories for them…

The faces of the nineteen names on the monument, 17 killed in action, one missing in action, and one prisoner of war, are frozen in time. Some we knew. Some we didn’t. But they were all someone’s son or father or brother or uncle – or a cherished childhood friend. Their faces have been silent for many years, but they all have a story to tell.

The first person listed on the Carroll County Vietnam memorial was Ronald Kenny, February 1966. The last was Herbert Mulkey, Jr., March 1971. The deadliest year for Carroll County – and the war – was 1968, when Carroll County lost seven men to the memorial.

In past columns, I have shared the stories of eight of the eighteen fallen heroes from the Vietnam War whose faces are etched in the black granite memorial in the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial Park on Willis Street.

The stories of Fred Magsamen, Christopher Jesse Miller, Jr., Stanley Groomes, Joseph Blickenstaff, Herbert Eugene Mulkey, Jr., James Norman Byers, Ronald Kenny, and Sherman E. Flanagan, Jr., have been re-told in hopes that they will not be forgotten.

Of the 19 names on the monument at the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial, two served in the famed 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR) – known as the Black Horse Regiment.

On July 18, 2009 members of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Air Cavalry Troop – the Black Horse Regiment, came from all over the world to hold a memorial service to remember the fallen from the Vietnam War at the Carroll County Vietnam Memorial Park at Willis and Court Streets in Westminster.

Oreto was stationed at the Bien Hoa Air Base, about 16-miles above Saigon and killed in Tay Ninh Province up along the Cambodian border, during Operation Toan Thang II.

Not that any of the Vietnam years – or the 1960s were easy, but 1968 and 1969 were especially difficult years.

Many folks who grew-up in the 1960s remember Walter Cronkite for many different reasons. I mention this because in the late 1960s, I referred to his newscast as “Walter Cronkite and the blues.”

It was sometime after the Tet Offensive began on January 30, 1968 that I wrote one my first essays on Vietnam. I called it “There is nothing casual about casualties.”

In that essay, which I have since, unfortunately, lost, I questioned the strategy of the war; especially why Cronkite was so fixated on the numbers.

I suggested in the essay that all those numbers had a painful personal story and that something was wrong with the picture… I felt that the death of American servicemen – in ever-increasing numbers – was certainly more meaningful than a statistics box on the screen over the shoulder of Walter Cronkite.

I guess I got into a little hot water over the essay… I guess that’s a long story for another time; but by the end of 1968, 536,040 American servicemen were stationed in Vietnam, an increase of over 50,000 from 1967. In 1968 the war cost 14,584 Americans their lives – a 56 percent increase over 1967.

For those not familiar, there is a YouTube about the Biên Hòa Air Base 1960-1970: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTLV-9pR_-k

https://www.facebook.com/notes/kevin-earl-dayhoff/my-upcoming-story-this-sunday-may-21-2017-will-be-on-sgt-joe-oreto/10154600883092654/?pnref=story

Labels: Dayhoff Media Carroll County Times, Dayhoff writing essays military, History 1957 1975 Vietnam, Military Vietnam, Military Vietnam CC Memorial, Military Vietnam CC Memorial names, Military Vietnam Oreto Joe

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