Monday, May 18, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Panel on Thursday, May 21

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is hosting a panel discussion featuring three Vietnam War veterans at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 21 in the lobby of Lansing City Hall.

Valerie Marvin, president of the Historical Society, said that the program is being held in conjunction with the Lansing Goes to War exhibit which features more than 150 items representing wartime and civilian experiences from the Civil war to the first Gulf War.

"In recognition of the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War the panel discussion will explore one of the United States' most complex engagements from the viewpoint of three men who served on the ground there."

The panel will be moderated by Scott S. Shattuck of Mason.  Shattuck has been a high school teacher for more than 30 years; is a member of the Ingham County historical Association and on the Board of the Mason Historical Society.  In addition, he is a collector of military memorabilia.

The panelists include Ronald Springer, Larry Emery, and William Murphy, all from the Lansing area.

Murphy, who is retired from the State of Michigan, is also an author of seven books and has written a book, "Souvenirs of War," on his experiences in Vietnam.

Murphy served 13 months in Vietnam, as a Marine Corps' infantry rifleman and was in-country from mid-February 1968 to late March 1969.

He was in the 3rd Battalion of the 27th Regiment for one-half of his tour, and in the 2nd Batt 9th Marine Regiment for the second half.

Both of these battalions were front line units and he was involved in 12 major combat operations as a fire team leader (small 5-man units).  Besides the usual service medals for service in Vietnam he received two Purple Hearts and the Naval Achievement Medal with a combat "V" for valor.

With two friends Spring volunteered for the draft and entered the US Army from Lansing on May 6, 1969.  He took Basic Training at Ft. Knox, KY and Advanced Individual Training, (AIT) in Infantry at Ft. Polk, LA.  He was then sent to Ft. Benning, GA for NonCommissioned Officer's School (Infantry) and then back to Ft. Polk for training with an Infantry AIT company.

He served in Vietnam from April 1970 to March 1971 with Co A, 1/502nd Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile).  His positions included Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant (acting) and Platoon Leader (acting) with the 1st Platoon.

His unit operated in the lowlands and triple canopy jungle mountains 10-20 miles west and south of Hue, known as Military Region 1 or I Corp in the northern region of then South Vietnam.

Firebases in his area included Arsenal, Bastogne, Birmingham, Brick, Jack, and Rakkasan.

His military decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Infantry Badge.

A third member of the panel was recently added and did not provide biographical information.

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