The 3rd annual University Lodge Veterans Day program took place on Friday, November 8. This year, veterans who served in Vietnam were particularly honored. We were pleased to hear from 3 men who served in the First Aviation Brigade, who all retired as Lt. Colonels, and who also happen to be either current or past district 5 deputies of the Grand Master. Pictured here are our three speakers together with the Master of the lodge.
VWB Chuck Brockway (far right) was the first presenter and shared his experiences as a helicopter pilot during two tours in Vietnam. His first tour was in the southern part of Vietnam-IV Corps, and his second tour was all the way at the other end of South Vietnam in I Corps. He served with distinction throughout all of his various Aviation Officer assignments. This highly decorated pilot readily kept everyone’s attention as he shared stories about some of his most harrowing missions.
VWB Michael (far left) then discussed his arrival in Vietnam from his previous assignment in Fort Richardson, Alaska. It was quite a temperature change! VWB Michael served as a Personnel Officer, Chief Command Personnel Inspection Team, HQ, 1st Aviation Brigade. He was continuously under the watchful eyes of the Viet Cong as he visited all 22 Battalion personnel offices throughout Vietnam.
Dr. Bob Stacy (not pictured)-Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the UW-was the ensuing speaker. Although he was not a Vietnam Vet, Bob brought us back to the present and gave a somber but heartwarming presentation about his son Sgt. Will Stacey, a Marine who was killed in Afghanistan.
Finally, VWB Tom Eastman spoke about his experiences as a helicopter pilot. Although he endured the many stresses of war flying combat helicopter assault missions for two different units, he thought himself lucky during his tour-- no helicopter he flew in Vietnam ever took a hit from enemy fire! Many of the audience laughed as he shared some close calls and discussed the rigorous duty of being the escort Officer for Miss America-Phyllis George-during the Bob Hope USO tour.
The evening was made all the more memorable by the attendance of two dozen cadets from the UW ROTC program. We began with a social hour that included live classical music and plenty of libations. Several of our speakers brought along memorabelia from their tours abroad, which they spread on tables that were soon surrounded by curious guests. The social hour was followed by a sit-down dinner after which the program began.
All three branches of the service were represented, and we hope these young men enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed hosting them. The veterans present were particularly touched that these gentlemen turned out in uniform on a Friday night to honor the service of our vets. We hope they'll join us again next year.