NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS CEREMONY – MARCH 29 IN PATASKALA

Pataskala Mayor Mike Compton and the Pataskala Rotary Club will hold a special ceremony on Friday, March 29, at noon, at Veterans Green to commemorate the Vietnam War Veterans Day.   American Legion Post #107, Cpl. Jerrald R.  Thompson Post 107,  will assist the Mayor with the ceremony.   Cpl. Thompson, of Pataskala, was killed in Vietnam in 1966.   His story appears in the book “Hill 488”.

All Vietnam era veterans, their families, and the public are invited to this event. 

The Depot Street Coffee House in Pataskala will offer complimentary coffee to the veterans and their immediate families following the ceremony.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

March 29 has been designated as National Vietnam War Veterans Day according to the Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act of 2017. March 29 was chosen to be celebrated in perpetuity as March 29, 1973, was the day Military Assistance Command Vietnam was deactivated. By Presidential Proclamation, The U.S.A Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration honors all United States veterans who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces from November 1, 1955, to May 15, 1975, regardless of location. November 1, 1955, was selected to coincide with the official designation of Military Assistance Advisory Group-Vietnam (MAAG-V); May 15, 1975 marks the end of the battle precipitated by the seizure of the SS Mayaguez.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that today there are 6.4 million living Vietnam veterans and 9 million families of those who served during this time frame. No distinction is made between veterans who served in-country, in theater, or who were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period. All were called to serve and none could self-determine where they would serve.

Congress outlined a total of five objectives for this U.S.A. Vietnam War Commemoration, with the primary objective being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the Nation, with distinct recognition of former prisoners of war and families of those still listed as missing in action. The four remaining objectives highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens; highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war; and recognize contributions by our Allies.

By Presidential Proclamation, The U.S.A Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.

Additional Background

U.S. involvement in Vietnam started slowly with an initial deployment of advisors in the early 1950s, grew incrementally through the early 1960s and expanded with the deployment of full combat units in July 1965. The last U.S. personnel were evacuated from Vietnam in April 1975.

This national commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense, and launched by the President to thank and honor our Nation’s Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice. In 2007, the 110th Congress incorporated language in House of Representatives (H.R.) 4986 authorizing the Secretary of Defense to conduct a program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

H.R. 4986 was signed into law as the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2008 by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2008.

44th U.S. President Barack Obama officially inaugurated this Commemoration at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012.

Section 598 (Public Law 110-181) of the 2008 NDAA specifically addresses Commemoration activities.
Congress outlined a total of five objectives for this U.S.A. Vietnam War Commemoration, with the primary objective being to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the Nation, with distinct recognition of former prisoners of war and families of those still listed as missing in action. The four remaining objectives highlight the service of our Armed Forces and support organizations during the war; pay tribute to wartime contributions at home by American citizens; highlight technology, science and medical advances made during the war; and recognize contributions by our Allies.

By Presidential Proclamation, The U.S.A Vietnam War Commemoration will continue through Veterans Day, November 11, 2025.

National Vietnam War Veterans Day joins six other military-centric national holidays codified in Title 4 of the United States Code §6 (i.e., Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, Navy Day, Veterans Day).

Pataskala American Legion Post 107 was issued a permanent charter on July 5th, 1921. On December 5th, 1960, the permanent charter was replaced with a new charter, a new post name – Milon Edward Rardon – and a new location in Kirkersville, Ohio. Mr. Roy H. Rardon and his wife, Ida (ne Neville), of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and with the assistance of their daughter, Mrs. May Petery (ne Rardon), gave permission to allow the use of their son’s name, Milon Edward Rardon, to name the new Kirkersville American Legion Post 107.

In April of 2012, Pataskala was invited to merge with the Kirkersville post to form the new Pataskala American Legion Post 107.

On November 11th, 2015, the Post was renamed to Cpl. Jerrald R. Thompson Post 107 to honor a local veteran who was killed in combat during the Vietnam War. Thompson, a U.S. Marine, died in 1966 while fighting in Vietnam. The former Pataskala resident was a squad leader who served with the First Platoon, Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division. His exploits and the exploits of his fellow Marines appear in the book, “Hill 488.”

Cpl. Thompson was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism as a squad leader serving with the First Platoon, Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division (Reinforced) in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 June 1966. While occupying an observation post at 0100 on Hill 488, Quang Tin Province, deep in enemy controlled territory, the platoon of 18 men was subjected to an intense assault by a North Vietnamese unit estimated at battalion size. Corporal Thompson immediately ordered his squad to withdraw to a predetermined defensive perimeter. Braving a hail of small arms fire, automatic weapons, and mortar fire, the small band of courageous Marines fought their way to the relative safety of the defensive position. In the course of this action, Corporal Thompson was painfully wounded by an enemy hand grenade and was unable to proceed. Armed only with a knife, he engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat and killed two before he fell, mortally wounded. By his indomitable spirit in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds he was instrumental in the defense of his platoon’s position. Corporal Thompson’s courageous action under hostile fire reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.

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