Marines observe National Vietnam War Veterans Day

29 Mar 2018 | Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

The Marine Corps honored Vietnam veterans during National Vietnam War Veterans Day March 29.

The holiday started as a regional observance on either March 29 or March 30 through a patchwork of state resolutions since 1973. In 2012, it was named a national holiday by Presidential Order, and signed it into law under the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017 by President Donald Trump.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War,” said Maj. Gen. Vincent A. Coglianese, the commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Command.In recognition of the their valor and sacrifices, I encourage the members of Marine Corps Installations Command to salute our brave Vietnam veterans who, in service to our Nation and in defense of liberty, fought gallantly against the spread of communism and defended the freedom of the Vietnamese people.  It is imperative that we remember the more than 58,000 whose names are memorialized on the black granite wall in our Nation's capital for having borne the heaviest cost of war.  We must also pay tribute to the brave patriots who suffered as prisoners of war and the 1,253 heroes who have not yet returned to American soil.”

This past January 31 marked the 50th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of Hue City. North Vietnamese troops captured most of the city at the start of the surprise offensive and Marines had to fight house-to-house and street-to-street to drive the enemy back. During three weeks of intense fighting, 142 Marines were killed and another 857 wounded. Three battalions consisting of fewer than 2,500 Marines attacked and defeated more than 10,000 entrenched enemy troops in a city.

Over 9,000,000- military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam War. Out of more than 3,400 Medals of Honor awarded to the nation’s service members, 240 of them were awarded during the Vietnam War. In observance to National Vietnam War Veterans Day, the Department of Defense conducted a wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

I ask Commanders to promote awareness across the installations as to the importance of this day and to support Commemoration Ceremonies,” said Coglianese. “Ensure these heroes who served in Vietnam feel welcomed, appreciated and recognized aboard our installations every day, but in particular on their day of March 29. Our relationship with those who have served before us is the foundation to the sustainment of our heritage and traditions.”