FAIRMONT, W.Va. – On Monday evening, a service was held at the Marion County Vietnam Memorial near the Wave Pool to honor those who sacrificed their lives.
Those in attendance at the memorial said that it is important and special to honor those who have sacrificed. They also expressed that Memorial Day is not for veterans, but that Memorial Day is for those that have fallen giving the ultimate sacrifice. Names of those Marion County residents who were lost during the Vietnam war were read aloud and honored.
“So, this day is special to all veterans, it should be, especially those who have seen combat. And it is a real honor to do this. And like I say, it’s not for veterans, it’s for those who didn’t come home, and for those we try to remember,” said Capt. John Leandro, a Vietnam Veteran who served as the Second Platoon Leader in the 336th Assault Helicopter Company.
Many of the veterans in attendance stated that they had a lot of friends who were lost to war. Also, Bombardier refurbished a UH1H Huey helicopter that is on display at the memorial park.
“That aircraft looks terrific for being over 50 years old, and they’re responsible for that. So, I want to thank them, I want to thank the town of Fairmont for letting that happen,” Leandro said. “The aircraft is a UH1H Huey. It was few as a light ship. It used to go out at night and kind of fly protection over our airfield and over the Delta. We flew down into Delta, it was heavily armed, it had a mini gun, it had a 50-caliber machine gun on it, it had a light cluster. And it was very, did a lot of damage it was a good aircraft.”
The UH1H Huey replaced an aircraft named “Lucky Strike” that Leandro said was hit by a B-40 rocket losing the entire crew. He said it took a lot of courage to man the Huey going on their special mission. At the end of the memorial service there was a 21-gun salute as well as the playing of Taps.