On March 29 local northwest Roanoke resident, Perry Keeton, was honored to have been part of a ceremony held at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington, DC. During the ceremony, Keeton’s former squadron mates, a group of Vietnamese linguists known as the “Doggers”, part of the Air Force Security Service, presented construction bricks recovered from the Hanoi Hilton prison camp to three deserving organizations in recognition of their service to the veterans of the Vietnam War.
These special bricks were presented to the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Medal of Honor Society, and to the National Park Service (via the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund). The bricks were donated as a special remembrance of former squadron mates, Vietnamese linguists Clarence Boone and Todd Melton, who perished when their aircraft were downed during the conflict.
The Doggers were specially honored to have Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient, Brian Thacker, receive the brick in behalf of the Medal of Honor Society. Mr. Thacker also received, for the Society, a vial of sand taken from the beaches of Iwo Jima as recognition of the sacrifice made during that 2-month battle, which resulted in the award of 27 medals of Honor, highest of any battle in WWII.
These bricks will now become a permanent part of displays for the organizations, as a reminder of the courage, service and sacrifice not only of the POWs, but also the millions of American veterans that answered their country’s call-to-duty during the Vietnam War including the more than three hundred Vietnamese linguists of the US armed services that perished in the conflict.