Ceremony Honors Long Island’s Vietnam War Veterans

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Long Island’s Vietnam War veterans will receive the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemorative Medal in a solemn ceremony signifying the official end of United States involvement in the Vietnam War.  Conducted by the Long Island Air and Space Forces Association and hosted by the American Airpower Museum, the ceremony takes place on Saturday, May 11, 2024, starting at 11:30 a.m., and honors 30 local veterans who served various branches of the U.S. Military during the Vietnam War period.

Conducting the ceremony will be Colonel Bill Stratemeier (ret), LIAFA Treasurer, a United States Air Force pilot who flew supplies into Vietnam between 1972 and 1974.  “Many vets were criticized for their service in Vietnam, but we’re proud to honor them over five decades later,” Stratemeier said.  He noted LIAFA began honoring Vietnam veterans with the commemorative medals in 2015.  “To date, LIAFA has honored over 1,300 veterans with such medals,” he added. he United States Department of Defense (DOD) Vietnam 50th Anniversary Commemoration program has been going on for nine years now (ends at the conclusion of 10 years).  The Long Island Air and Space Forces Association (LIAFA) is a DOD 50th Anniversary Commemoration Sponsor.

“UH-1D Iroquois helicopters airlift members of the 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, from the Filhol rubber plantation area to a new staging area during Operation Wahiawa, a search and destroy mission conducted by the 25th Infantry Division, northeast of Cu Chi.” Photographer: James K.F. Dung, National Archives.

Local public officials, as well as the honorees’ families, will be on hand for this historic ceremony. “This special ceremony honors Vietnam veterans who will receive long overdue recognition and thanks for their service” said Fred DiFabio, President of the LIAFA who served in Vietnam.  “Honoring our Vietnam Vets with the commemorative medals means a lot to these guys, especially since their families will also be there to bear witness,” DiFabio added.  The ceremony will include a Presentation of Colors, Introduction of Distinguished Guests, Dignitary Comments, Presentation of Medals, and Singing of God Bless America and the National Anthem.  The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla Band will perform the popular “Armed Forces Salute,” featuring six official melodies of the U.S. Armed Forces:  Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Forces and the Coast Guard.  The program is free and open to the public.

One of the reasons American Airpower Museum (AAM) was chosen for this ceremony is their exhibits include actual Vietnam era fighter-bomber aircraft that were used during the Vietnam War.  Jeff Clyman, AAM President explained: “Our Museum is the ideal site for these veterans and their families to gather, commiserate and reminisce.  Please come and applaud our home-grown heroes, show them respect, that we appreciate and honor their service,” he said.   ABOUT THE AIR FORCE ASSOCIATION

The Air Force Association (AFA) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.  AFA’s mission is to promote a U.S. Air Force that is second to none and a strong national defense.  AFA honors our Air Force heritage and accomplishes our mission by: Educating the public on the need for strong aerospace power and technically superior capability to ensure U.S. national security; Advocating aerospace power and STEM education; Supporting the total Air Force family and promoting aerospace education.  The Long Island Air and Space Forces Association Chapter (LIAFA) merged with several other local chapters in 1998 and became the LIAFA chapter #202.  For more information, please go to: www.liafa.org.


American Airpower Museum is an aviation museum located on the landmarked former site of Republic Aviation at Republic Airport, Farmingdale, NY.  The Museum maintains a collection of aviation artifacts and an array of operational aircraft spanning the many years of the aircraft factory’s history.  The Museum is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Educational Foundation Chartered by the New York State Board of Regents.  For more information, please go to: www.americanairpowermuseum.org.


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