March 29 was National Vietnam War Veterans Day. For the second consecutive year, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service honored Vietnam veterans for their service and sacrifice with a brief ceremony to present the veterans their Vietnam Veteran Lapel pin at both Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield's Post Exchanges.

Fifty local Vietnam Veterans were presented Vietnam Veteran lapel pins at the Hunter ceremony, by Command Sgt. Maj. Lavander Wilkerson, Hunter Army Airfield command sergeant major.

"The Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is a lasting memento of the nation's thanks and is provided in partnership between the United States of America's Vietnam War Commemoration and AAFES," Wilkerson said. "I am honored to be able to help honor service members who served before me and their families who served beside them."

The Hunter Army Airfield garrison commander, Lt. Col. Kenneth Dwyer, was on-hand to help hand out pins at the Fort Stewart event.

Dwyer expressed his appreciation for the nearly 40 veterans and spouses who participated in the Stewart event. He said today's Soldiers and their Families share a bond with their Vietnam era brethren, realizing the sacrifice that Vietnam veterans made then, and the continued service veterans continue to make in supporting our Soldiers and their Families.
Many of the veterans and their Families in attendance said they appreciated the observance.

"I am grateful for Hunter Army Airfield and AAFES to honor my fellow Vietnam veterans," said Jeffrey Irving, an Army veteran who served in a long-range reconnaissance unit in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam, attending the Hunter event. "So many Americans answered our nation's call to duty and served not just honorably but with valor, yet were denigrated when we came home. This small ceremony means so very much to us."

Note: Contributing author Pat Young, Fort Stewart Public Affairs.