Former Vietnam War POW retired Col. Ken Cordier, left, his wife Barbie, and former POW retired Col. Elmo “Mo” Baker at the Frontiers of Flight Museum for the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration event on March 21 in Dallas. Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)
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AFA In Action: AFA’s Seidel Chapter Holds Vietnam Veterans Commemoration Ceremony

April 27, 2023

Some 50 years after of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords and the end of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War, the Air & Space Forces Association’s Seidel Chapter commemorated the anniversary March 21 with other Dallas-area veterans groups at the Frontiers of Flight Museum.

About 450 Vietnam-era veterans and family members joined in, and veterans were individually presented with commemorative Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins. Several spouses of deceased veterans received the Surviving Spouse pin.

Rep. Keith Self (R-Texas) offered remarks. Recently elected to the seat held for 29 years by the late Rep. Sam Johnson, a retired colonel and former prisoner of war, Self declared: “It is our obligation to remember the courage of those at Hue and Khe Sanh, at Tan Son Nhut and Saigon, from Hamburger Hill to the B-52 missions in Operation Linebacker and the Wild Weasel anti-SAM missions. Future generations deserve to know that those we honor today won every major battle they fought.”

Seidel Chapter member and U.S. Air Force Academy graduate Jen Colby pins a Vietnam Veteran lapel pin on at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)

Prisoner of War Pins and certificates were presented to retired Cols. Ken Cordier and Elmo Baker, who both spent six years as POWs and earned Silver Stars for bravery.

Other speakers included retired Capt. Allen Clark, who lost both legs in Vietnam and earned the Silver Star, and Natan Ton-that, who emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 11 and later served in the Peace Corps and the U.S. Army. Captain Clark recalled the combat medics who saved his life after he was wounded.

“You veterans here in this museum today, who served your country, are the nobility of the United States,” Ton-that said. “There are hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese Americans who are here in America because of you. You fought for us and came back to a country that did not appreciate your service. Today you should be proud that you served a noble cause.”

Featured during the ceremony were 18 portraits of Vietnam veterans from Texas. Painted by artist, author, and Seidel Chapter member Colin Kimball, the portraits will remain on display at the Frontiers of Flight Museum as a reminder of the contributions of the brave men and women who served in the Vietnam War.

Angela Bennett Engle, left, daughter of Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Steven Bennett, who was killed in action in Vietnam when she was 2 years old, talks to Texas Congressman from the 3rd District, retired  Lt. Col. Keith Self, and portrait artist and Air Force veteran Colin Kimball as they view a picture of her father and his Medal of Honor.  Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)
Master of Ceremony Scott Murray describes the Commemoration program to the members in the audience at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)
Master of ceremony Scott Murray, left, thanks Lt. Gen. John Campbell (Ret,), former Seidel Chapter president and event coordinator, during the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration. Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)
Retired Lt. Gen. John Campbell, left, and Texas Congressman retired Lt. Col. Keith Self, present a Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin to U.S. Air Force veteran Fletcher Sharp from the American Legion Harding-Blaine Post 321 Color Guard. Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Nugent, USAF (Ret.)