Lake Placid Man Speaks at Vietnam Memorial Event in Mineral Wells, Texas
Mack Payne of Lake Placid, Florida spoke at the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemoration celebration at the National Vietnam War Museum in Mineral Wells, Texas. The event held last Saturday is a part of the Department of Defense program to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the war in Vietnam where U.S. involvement took place from 1959 to 1973. More than 2.5 million Americans served in the military during that time. More than 58,000 Americans were killed and, at present, more than 1,600 remain missing in action.
Payne spoke to a crowd of about 250 that included Vietnam Veterans, their families and friends and local and state dignitaries. The program was chaired by Dr. Jim Messinger, a member of the Board of Directors of the National Vietnam War Museum.
The museum was sited at Mineral Wells rather than Washington, D.C. because almost all helicopter pilots who served in Vietnam received their initial flight training at Fort Wolters which was located at Mineral Wells. Because helicopters were such a large part of that war it was decided that it would be most significant to put the National Vietnam War Museum where so many Vietnam pilots were trained.
Payne was one of those aviators who learned to fly at Fort Wolters. Today he is a professional speaker who speaks on behalf of the Vietnam Veteran Generation. At Saturday’s event he spoke about his two years in Vietnam that included a tour as a Cobra gunship pilot with the 101st Airborne Division. He then went on to explain why the Vietnam Veteran Generation is as great as any who fought for this country and how all Vietnam Veterans should be proud of their service to their country. It was also pointed out by the speaker that the country is finally beginning to recognize and appreciate that generation’s greatness.
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- Mack Payne
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