“We must never forget the pain and suffering that our brave men and women experienced then and now; nor should we ever stop paying respect to those who fought with honor and distinction in the name of freedom and democracy,” said Mayor Jim Brainard. “Carmel takes great pride in honoring our military veterans. We hope you join us for this very special occasion.”
Special unit Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry, Indiana Army National Guard was the only ground maneuver sent to Vietnam, with almost every member both parachute and jungle qualified. Four members of Company D died in Vietnam, with two additional deaths resulting from a helicopter crash. The Indiana Rangers were decorated 538 times in Vietnam; no other single Army Infantry company was as decorated during a one-year period of time.
Sgt. Davis served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and was awarded the Nation’s highest military medal for valor, the Medal of Honor. Nicknamed “The Real Forrest Gump,” footage of Davis’s Medal of Honor award ceremony was used in the 1994 film Forrest Gump, with actor Tom Hanks’ head superimposed over that of Davis.
Bob Beck, U.S. Navy (Retired) and Carmel American Legion Commander, will lead the program designed to recognize, thank and honor all U.S. military veterans who served during the Vietnam War period. Each Vietnam Veteran in attendance will be presented with a special Vietnam Veteran lapel pin as well as a 50th commemorative Challenge Coin from Mayor Brainard. The event will also include The Mobile Vet Center, a mobile vehicle which provides confidential counseling space for veterans, service members and their families in need of services.
As United States Vietnam War Commemorative Partners, this is the third of several commemoration events scheduled to take place through 2018 as Carmel and the nation celebrates this milestone 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.