Vietnam veteran Bill Reynolds has been invited to join 30 Second World War veterans who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on a visit to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, scene of the historic attack.
A nonprofit group called the Greatest Generations Foundation is devoted to honoring America’s veterans, by sending them back to the battlefields on which they fought such as Germany and Italy.
In April, the foundation expanded its scope, sending Vietnam vets back to the Vietnam for the first time, inviting Reynolds – The Signal’s Director of Veterans Affairs – to help them.
“My whole relationship with the founder of the Foundation, Tim Davis, happened after he saw Brothers In War,” Reynolds said Thursday, referring to the Brothers In War 2014 documentary produced by the National Geographic Channel.
The film chronicled the boys of Charlie Company – Reynold’s unit – who went to war in the Mekong Delta in 1967.
“He contacted me after that and then, within a month, planned for me and three others guys who served in Vietnam to go, fully funded, back to the battlefield,” Reynolds said.
Now, the foundation has called on Reynolds to help them with their latest venture – a plan to take 30 Second World War vets to Pearl Harbor for its 75th Anniversary Pearl Harbor Educational Promo.
Foundation officials explain the special tribute on their website as a “unique opportunity for the American people to honor the remaining survivors and support the mission of The Greatest Generations Foundation.”
“We must never forget those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States,” it says. “We owe them a debt of gratitude that we can never truly repay.”
The surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy happened on the morning Dec. 7, 1941. At least 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.
Eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, four of them sunk. All but the USS Arizona were raised. Also destroyed in the attack were 188 U.S. aircraft.
The delegation of 30 Pearl Harbor veterans is scheduled to leave Dec. 1 for 10 days, taking in the special military service at Pearl Harbor on the 75th anniversary of the attack.
The upcoming trip now presents Reynolds with a second opportunity to honor the memory of veterans of that historic battle.
His trip to Vietnam with the foundation was documented by Reynolds in a series of stories in The Signal last April.
Reynolds and his three “brothers in arms” from Charlie Company 4th of the 47th Regiment, 9th Infantry Division, were the first Vietnam vets to make the journey to Vietnam as part of a new program launched by the Greatest Generations Foundation.
Four vets set out on that trip in support of a long-standing program that arranged for World War II veterans to return to battlegrounds on which they fought.
“That was our inaugural trip to Vietnam,” Reynolds said, describing the success of that trip paved the way for other vets to return to the scene of their battles and thereby finding solace.
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