Local group named DoD partner

Published 4:10 am Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Washington Republican Parish Executive Committee (WRPEC) has been named a partner of the United States Department of Defense for the 50th Anniversary Commemoration of the Vietnam War.

Congress passed Public Law Sec. 110-181 SEC.598, establishing the Vietnam War 50th Commemoration, and charged the Department of Defense with reaching out to former service members to assure they are recognized for their service. Nearly nine million people served in the armed forces during the years 1955-1975, the years cited by Congress for acknowledgement. The Department of Defense sought partners to help them reach eligible members of the armed forces.

As a partner, the WRPEC is able to conduct events on behalf of the Department of Defense to honor Vietnam Era service members who served in the armed forces between 1955 and 1975, in any capacity.

“Anyone who enlisted in the armed forces and took an oath to defend the United States is a hero,” said Phillipp Bedwell, WRPEC chairman. “They could not choose where they would be ordered to serve.

“The Vietnam war became very unpopular and people confused their dislike for the war with the soldiers who fought the war — causing many to be criticized upon their return home. They deserve our acknowledgement and appreciation for their service.”

WRPEC is organizing events to accomplish the congressional mandate to thank these heroes for their service “on behalf of a grateful nation.” In addition to armed forces personnel, the program also acknowledges former living American prisoners of war; family members of those who are still unaccounted for; family members of those veterans whose names are inscribed on “The Wall” (the Vietnam Memorial); and the deceased Vietnam veterans’ surviving spouses.

“All of us who serve on WRPEC are proud to have this opportunity to be an extension of the United States Department of Defense to thank and honor the Vietnam Era heroes who served our nation,” Bedwell said.