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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

2006 Veterans Day at The Wall

04 November 2006


Forty years after losing his brother in the Vietnam War, Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne will be honoring that brother, Patrick Edward Wynne, during the annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, announced Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

The annual Veterans Day Observance at The Wall, co-hosted with the National Park Service, will take place on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 1:00 p.m. More than 3,000 are expected to attend and pay tribute to all who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War and America’s other conflicts, including Afghanistan and Iraq.

In addition to Secretary Wynne, other featured speakers include: U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., MPH; former NASA astronaut Capt. Frederick Hauck, USN (Ret.); and CM2 Elizabeth Lopez, USNR. Vikki Keys, superintendent, National Mall and Memorial Parks, and Laureen Otto, secretary of the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Foundation, will also provide remarks. Jan Scruggs will serve as master of ceremonies. The ceremony is generously sponsored by the Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA.

“This year’s Veterans Day program has a broad array of speakers, whose experience includes everything from serving in Vietnam and Iraq to exploring space,” said Scruggs. “We are pleased that so many distinguished Americans will be joining us to honor our nation’s service members at The Wall.”

The national anthem will be sung by Master Sgt. Jonathan Deutsch of the U.S. Army Chorus. Bagpiper Chris Jackson will also play. Ft. Hood’s 1st Cavalry Division and Ft. Bragg’s 82nd Airborne Division will serve as honor guard during the ceremony. The Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington will post colors. The ceremony will conclude with wreaths being laid at The Wall by veterans organizations.

Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne
In 1966, Michael W. Wynne and Patrick Edward Wynne were both officers in the U.S. Air Force. While Michael went on to a distinguished career in the military and private sectors, ultimately becoming secretary of the U.S. Air Force, Patrick met a different fate. He lost his life in the Vietnam War on Aug. 8, 1966. Patrick is remembered on panel 9E, line 119 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

As secretary of the Air Force, Wynne is responsible for nearly 370,000 men and women on active duty and 180,000 members of the Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve, as well as 160,000 civilians. Wynne graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and served in the Air Force for seven years, ending his career as a captain in 1973. He was general manager of space launch systems for Lockheed Martin Astronautics from 1974-1977, then went on to a variety of other private sector jobs, including senior vice president of General Dynamics. Wynne joined the government in June 2005 as undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, assuming his current position in November 2005.

Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu, M.D., MPH
Rear Adm. Kenneth P. Moritsugu will also address the crowds at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day. Moritsugu has served as surgeon general since 2002. He held various positions in the surgeon general’s office, including deputy surgeon general, and served before that as assistant bureau director and medical director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Moritsugu has provided his expertise to a variety of international organizations and governments, and has been a vocal advocate for organ and tissue donation and transplantation since 1994. He is an adjunct professor of public health at the George Washington University School of the Health Sciences and adjunct associate professor of preventive medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Moritsugu is a medical doctor with a master’s degree in public health.

Capt. Frederick Hauck, USN (Ret.)
Capt. Frederick “Rick” Hauck, who has the distinction of having flown missions in Vietnam and in outer space, will also address the Veterans Day crowd at The Wall. Hauck’s Navy career spanned over 15 years. He was commissioned when he graduated from Tufts University in 1962 and served several assignments before commencing flight training in Pensacola, Fla., in 1966. He earned his Navy wings in 1968. Deployed to the Western Pacific, he flew 114 combat and combat support missions in Southeast Asia off the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea.

NASA named Hauck to its astronaut corps in 1978. He piloted the Challenger space shuttle in 1983 and was commander of Discovery during launches in 1984 and 1988.

CM2 Elizabeth Lopez
Veterans Day is an occasion to honor all veterans, so it is fitting that the audience at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will hear from a soldier who served in a more recent conflict.

CM2 Elizabeth Lopez, USNR, is an Iraq War veteran who joined the U.S. Army in 1999 as a Patriot missile crew member, serving in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. She completed her enlistment with an honorable discharge, but continued her military service as a reservist in a Seabee Naval Reserve unit. She was called up to active duty again in June 2005, serving in Iraq, where she was the first female gunner for the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 22 with the Navy Seabees attached to a Marine unit.

Lopez was honorably discharged from the Navy Reserve in April and returned to her current job as a readjustment counseling specialist with the Veterans Center in El Paso, Texas.

The Veterans Day Observance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is free and open to the public. A Web cast will be available on the Memorial Fund’s Web site at www.vvmf.org and www.tvworldwide.com.

Established in 1979, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization authorized by Congress to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Today, through a series of outreach programs, it is dedicated to preserving the legacy of The Wall, promoting healing, educating about the impact of the Vietnam War and is building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center, an underground educational facility, near The Wall.
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