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Guardsmen who fell during Vietnam era to highlight Memorial Day ceremony at Frankfort monument


By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

The Kentucky National Guard will hold its annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday at the Guard Memorial on the grounds of the Boone National Guard Center here.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the return to the Bluegrass from Vietnam following a 12-month tour of duty for the 2nd Battalion, 138th Field Artillery. This year’s ceremony will highlight Guardsmen who fell in the line of duty during the Vietnam era. The actual flag that flew over Fire Base Tomahawk by the 2-138th will be flown at the Memorial for the event.

The Kentucky National Guard Memorial in Frankfort. (Photo by SSG. Scott Raymond)

The unit was deployed to Vietnam in 1968 to provide support to the 101st Airborne Division at Firebase Tomahawk in what was then the northern part of South Vietnam. They were attacked by soldiers of the North Vietnam Army in June 1969. Although they successfully fought off the assault, 14 Americans were killed, including eight Kentucky Guardsmen.

A total of nine Kentucky Guardsmen were killed in Vietnam, with seven more who died in the line of duty elsewhere during the Vietnam era.

Three names are being added to the Memorial, bringing the total to 272 men and women who have fallen in the line of duty since 1912.

They are:

Captain Samuel Edward Gipe, 39, of Daviess County, (October 24, 1916)
Private Ross L. McCord, 18, of Christian County, (October 25, 1922)
Horseshoer Eddie Stafford, 31, of Calloway County (14 October 1918)

The ceremony, which is open to the public, takes place at 2 p.m. EDT and is planned to last around 45 minutes. Parking for the event will be near the ceremony site on the Boone National Guard Center property and those attending are asked to arrive a few minutes early to allow for potentially congested traffic flow and time to accommodate parking.

Families of any of the fallen honored on the Memorial are especially encouraged to attend and be recognized.


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One Comment

  1. John Deleone says:

    They were all hero’s.

    RIP MY BROTHERS.

    John DeLeone.
    Dizzyhd1@aol.com

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