Vietnam Vets Remembered at Little Creek Ceremony

Ravage

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., July 22, 2008 -- Members of the Mobile Riverine Force Association and the Gamewardens of Vietnam Association (GWVN) attended a ceremony in honor of their fallen shipmates at Naval Amphibious Base (NAB) Little Creek July 19.

The ceremony, held every two years, rededicated the GWVN East Coast monument and a refurbished patrol boat river (PBR) MK I. This monument, along with its West Coast counterpart, contains the names of 290 Sailors of the "Brown Water Navy," Task Force 116 Operation Gamewardens, who patrolled the rivers and canals of the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam conflict.

"We were one of the first lines of defense to keep the Viet Cong from crossing the Mekong," said Al Maxon, a retired boatswain's mate who served with SEAL Team Attack Boat Squadron (STAB) 20 in 1970. "Our breed is dying off, and nobody has ever really told the story of what these guys have done for their country. It's extremely important for our children and their children to remember the contribution we made."

The Viet Cong (VC) were the communist guerilla army which invaded and attacked South Vietnam leading to the Vietnam conflict.

Maxon said VC soldiers made several attempts to cross the river, and it was the Sailors' job to intercept and stop them before they could get across.

The ceremony kicked off with the singing of the national anthem by retired Navy Capt. Fred Olds, of the GWVN Mid-Atlantic Chapter.

"I've heard it so many times before. I just never sang it before, and I could see the tears forming in people's eyes."

During the ceremony, a wreath was laid at the GWVN monument to pay tribute to those men who paid with their lives.

"We made a contribution to our country, during a time when our country didn't want to make contributions to us," said Maxon.

A communications officer for Task Force 116 and current GWVN member, Eric Silver noted the modern-day riverine squadrons are trained to face the some similar dangers faced in Vietnam.

In 2001, the PBR boat, now displayed at NAB Little Creek, was discovered in a storage yard at the Washington Navy Yard by a member of the GWVN. It is owned by the Naval Historical Center (NHC) through an agreement with the NHC, it was made available for display.

The current numbers on the bow, 105 and 109, honor two River Patrol Section 531 boats that frequently patrolled together. Former Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Elliot Williams earned the Medal of Honor for his command of PBR 105. The monument stands in its fifth and final location since its original dedication in August 1980.

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Virginia Beach, Va. (July 21, 2006) - Tom Glickman of the Gamewardens of Vietnam Association (GWVN) takes a moment to look at the 290 names on the East Coast Monument at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va. GWVN rededicated their East Coast Monument and a refurbished MK1 River Patrol Boat in a ceremony for the fallen Brown Water Sailors whose names are engraved upon its surface. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Leistikow.)
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Virginia Beach, Va. (July 21, 2006) - Tom Glickman of the Gamewardens of Vietnam Association (GWVN) takes a moment to look at the 290 names on the East Coast Monument at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va. GWVN rededicated their East Coast Monument and a refurbished MK1 River Patrol Boat in a ceremony for the fallen Brown Water Sailors whose names are engraved upon its surface. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Leistikow.)
 

Ex3

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Very cool.



This was part of the SEAL reunion weekend. I sat in front of this group of men at the demonstration on Saturday.
 
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