Last updated: May 28. 2014 9:08AM - 1432 Views
By - cvincent@civitasmedia.com



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ELIZABETHTOWN — At the heart of Military Appreciation Month in May, the Battle of Elizabethtown Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution held a luncheon to honor the veterans of the Vietnam Conflict


That group of veterans was chosen specifically because it is the 50th year since the United States officially joined the conflict, though it was never declared a war by President Lyndon Johnson.


“We just thought those who fought there were never given the proper respect they deserved,” said Ethelyne Barnes, a member of the local NSDAR chapter. “We wanted to pay a tribute to the brave, young men from Bladen County who gave their lives for our country —as well as honor those who fought there and, thankfully, are still with us.”


The luncheon was held May 10 at Elizabethtown Presbyterian Church.


The event attracted a large group of folks who joined in paying tribute to those Bladen County residents who died during the conflict. Those who were killed in action included:


— Sgt. Derris Brown of Bladenboro, 1940 to 1968 — and infantryman killed in Quang Duc Province, South Vietnam, during small arms fire. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel W42, Line 26.


— Corp. Albertis Williamson of Abbottsburg, 1949 to 1968 — an infantryman killed in Hau Nghia Province, South Vietnam, during ground fighting. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 38E, Line 74.


— Pvt. 1st Class Hansel Brown of Council, 1945 to 1966 — an infantryman killed in Binh Long Province, South Vietnam, during ground fighting. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 8E, Line 118.


— Staff Sgt. Ernest Kelly Jr. of Bladenboro, 1936 to 1966 — an infantryman killed in Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam, during small arms fire. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 13E, Line 98.


— Pvt. 1st Class Thomas E. Russ of White Lake, 1941 to 1967 — an infantryman killed during ground fighting in Hau Nghia Province, South Vietnam. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 26E, Line 3.


— Pvt. 1st Class Sonnie Stephens of White Oak, 1943 to 1968 — an infantryman killed in Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam, during small arms fire. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 43E, Line 62.


— Pvt. 1st Class William R. Russ of Elizabethtown, 1948 to 1967 — an infantryman killed in Kontum Province, South Vietnam, during small arms fire. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 29E, Line 43.


— Specialist Five Arthur R. Newkirk of Elizabethtown, 1947 to 1969 — a helicopter repairman killed in Phu Yen Province, South Vietnam, as a ground casualty. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel W24, Line 105.


— Pvt. 1st Class Willie F. Shipman of Bladenboro, 1944 to 1968 — an infantryman killed in an explosion in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 41E, Line 3.


— Specialist Four David Smith II of Elizabethtown, 1947 to 1968 — an infantryman killed in Long An Province, South Vietnam, during small arms fire. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel W55, Line 24.


— 1st Lt. Thomas F. Swann Jr. of Elizabethtown, 1942 to 1968 — an infantry unit commander killed during ground fighting in Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 58E, Line 16.


— Navy Commander Frank C. Elkins of Bladenboro, 1939 to 1977 — killed when his aircraft was shot down over Tho Trang, North Vietnam, during a strike mission. He is located on The Virtual Wall of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 11E, Line 068.


“It (the luncheon) was a very emotional and, in some ways, somber time,” Barnes said. “We all spent quite a bit of time looking at all the information about each Bladen County man who was lost during that conflict.”


The luncheon also featured an honoring of four local veterans who served during the Vietnam Conflict: Jeff Smith, U.S. Army; Linda Smith, U.S. Air Force; Elvin Meares, U.S. Army; and Bobby Ludlum, U.S. Air Force. Ludlum also served as the luncheons guest speaker.


 
 
 
 
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