AIR, LAND and SEA sponsored by Lest We Forget

AIR, LAND and SEA sponsored by Lest We Forget will take place on June 22 - 23, 2019 at 275 Upton Drive, St. Joseph, Michigan. Featuring the United States Navy, “Anchors Aweigh” will include presentations from two Medal of Honor recipients.​ Donald E. (Doc) Ballard, ​a Navy Corpsman (medic), “volunteered” to be a medic for the Marines. He was assigned to Vietnam (VN) in ‘67 where he officially received 3 Purple Hearts but it should have been 8 as he treated himself on 5 occasions. One of his heroic actions was to smother a hand grenade so that it wouldn’t injure a group of Marines.
 
Fortunately, it never went off. Doc later joined the Army and retired as an Army Colonel. He operates a funeral home in Missouri and provides funerals for veterans who don’t have funds. ​James  McCloughan​ was ​drafted into the United States Army in 1968 and became a combat medic​. In May 1969 he distinguished himself in fighting near​ ​Tam Kỳ  at Nui Yon Hill, in which he treated the wounded while fighting​ ​North Vietnamese​ and​ ​Viet Cong​ forces. McCloughan was wounded multiple times during the battle but refused evacuation. After his discharge from the army, he returned to his hometown of​ ​South Haven, Michigan​, where he became a high school teacher and athletic coach. 
 
 The National Museum of the American Sailor representatives, ​Tricia Runzel and Kelly Duffy,​ will present ​"The Skies Above Great Lakes." It is about the Naval Aviation History at Naval Station Great Lakes. This discussion begins by informing on how the Navy became involved with aviation. They then address Great Lakes association with Naval Aviation during both World Wars and conclude with the wider regions efforts to advance Naval Aviation during World War II. To continue this story Daniel Brandt from the Restoration Department at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo will discuss the restoration of two WWII aircraft recovered from Lake Michigan. The Douglas Dauntless SBD-2P and FM-2 Wildcat met a watery fate when WWII pilots trained with carriers steaming through Lake Michigan.  
 
 Jason Kuntz will tell the story of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. In 1945 ​the ship was​ torpedoed​ by the Imperial Japanese Navy​ submarine​ I-58​ and sank in 12 minutes. Of 1,195 crewmen aboard, approximately 300 went down with the ship. Learn the fate of the remaining 890 sailors.  
 John Meeks​ ​attended Scout Dog School at Fort Benning, Georgia. When he arrived in VN Meeks became the sixth handler to an experienced scout dog named Artus. The German shepherd was killed in action on Dec. 11, 1970. Meeks says, “The dogs of Vietnam, the dogs of today all serve with honor, courage and loyalty.” John and his recently retired military dog have a great story to tell. 
 
Adam Gray learned to SCUBA dive and saw the plane that went down in 1944 where the remains of his great-uncle, Bud Rybarczyk, were recovered in 2017 and returned to St. Joseph for burial. Learn more about the life of Albert “Bud” Rybarczyk how he has changed Adam’s life. 
 
 In addition to these speaker presentations there will be several displays. The ​USS Silversides ​(Ss-236), a Gato-class submarine, was one of the most successful submarines in the Pacific Theater of World War II, with 23 confirmed sinkings. The Silversides received a Presidential Unit Citation for cumulative action over four patrols and twelve battle stars. She presently serves as a museum ship in Muskegon, Michigan and is a National Historic Landmark. The ​USS LST 393​ is an LST-1-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Of 1,051 built this LST is one of only two to survive in original configuration. She is now a museum ship in Muskegon. The ​USS Edson,​ a Forrest Sherman-class destroyer, served in the Western Pacific/Far East, operating particularly in the Taiwan Strait and off the coast of Vietnam. Her exceptionally meritorious service in 1964 in the Gulf of Tonkin was recognized with the first of three Navy Unit Commendations. During the following years she was shelled by North Vietnamese land forces, and apparently received friendly fire from the US Air Force. She is now a museum ship docked in Bay City, Michigan.  
 
Master modeler, Jerry Lindquist, has military artifacts and several base camp dioramas with 1000s of green chiclets for sand bags.  20th Century at War Museum is a hands on experience. Their armory and motor pool 
will educate and thrill kids of all ages. Historian Bill Sheets has a Naval display and will also narrate the five scheduled reenactment battles including the use of a flame thrower. The Spirit of America Flag designer Dale Hemphill, Armed Services Recruiters, the Red Cross and more will be on site. 
 
LWF welcomes back three WWII boats, an LVT-2 Buffalo, a DUKW and a Higgins Boat. Membership in Lest We Forget includes rides in all 3 watercraft.  Attendees will be able to join LWF on site. One year membership dues are as follows: Individual $10, 2 Adults & Children 17 and under $25, 1 Adult & Children 17 and under $15 and  80+ years old is free. The American Huey 369 offers Honor Flights to member/owners. A $100.00 donation will make you a member/owner for one year. 
 
The Fortunate Sons, the world's greatest tribute to America's greatest band: Creedence Clearwater Revival, will perform a free concert Saturday from 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Based in Chicago, the band tours nationally and internationally to keep the tradition of CCR's timeless music alive. Using original vintage gear and instruments, accurate costumes, and spot-on musical ability, The Fortunate Sons instantly conjure up the full experience of seeing CCR in their prime. You are encouraged to bring your own lawn chair. 
 
Food vendors will be on site. For a complete list of activities and speaker time schedule visit www.LestWeForgetUSA.org. 



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