The Trail of Honor has hosted many veterans who have been Medal of Honor Recipients, Ex-POWs, Navy Cross Recipient and surviving members of previous wars such as the, Tuskegee Airman WWII and Pearl Harbor WWII.  It is such a great honor to have these gentlemen and ladies educate us on their experiences during combat. Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

The American Civil War marks the first time that a Medal of Honor was issued. It is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. To receive such an honor, a recipient must risk his or her own life and go beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States.

The Trail of Honor has hosted the following veterans over the years, many of which will be present at this year’s events.

 

Wetzel, George Gary

Medal of Honor Recipient / Army, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) CITATION: Sp4c. Wetzel, 173d Assault Helicopter Company, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp4c. Wetzel was serving as door gunner aboard a helicopter which was part ...Read More

Rose, Gary M.

Medal of Honor Recipient / Army, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) CITATION: Sergeant Gary Michael Rose distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Special Forces Medic with a company sized exploitation force, 5th ...Read More

Thornton, Michael Edwin

Medal of Honor Recipient / Navy, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while participating in a daring operation against enemy forces. PO Thornton, as assistant U.S. Navy adviser, along with a U.S. Navy ...Read More

Emond, Francis “Frank”

Pearl Harbor Survivor / Navy, WWII
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Chief Warrant Officer Frank Emond – In December 1941, Frank was a French Horn player in the band of the battleship USS Pennsylvania, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet. The ship was in the dry-dock in Pearl Harbor on the ...Read More

Richard, Joseph W.

Pearl Harbor Survivor / Navy, WWII
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) A Ship fitter from Louisiana in the U.S. Navy stationed at Pearl Harbor Hawaii when it was attacked.  Joseph was below deck on the USS Rigel when he heard explosions. Read more at: https://heartoflouisiana.com/pearl-harbor/ (Past Trail of Honor VIP Years: 2007)

Gaither, Earline

Rosie the Riveter / Army Air Corp, WWII
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Earline Gaither is a native of Fulton, Mississippi, and was a “Rosie the Riveter” during World War Two. She worked in the finishing line oiling the guns, installing the flying instruction pocket, and ensuring curtains properly fit the windows on ...Read More

Lane, Michael C.

Silver Star, POW / Air Force, Cold War 1964-1988, Vietnam 1966-1973
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Silver Star Citation reads: For the Period December 1966: This officer distinguished himself by gallantry and intrepidity in action in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force during the above period while a Prisoner of War in North ...Read More

Wells, Kenneth Roth

Distinguished Flying Cross, POW / Air Force, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 2, 1926, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to First Lieutenant Kenneth Roth Wells, United States Air Force, for extraordinary achievement while participating ...Read More

Lewis, Keith H.

Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation, POW / Air Force, Cold War 1963-1991 Vietnam1965-1966, 1972-1973
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Bronze Star Medal w/Valor Citation reads: For the Period 6 February 1973 to 29 March 1973: This officer distinguished himself by heroic actions against an opposing armed force while a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam during the above period. ...Read More

Waddell, Dewey Wayne

Silver Star, POW / Air Force, Cold War, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads: Major Dewey W. Waddell distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an F-105 Pilot over North Vietnam on 5 July 1967. On that date, ...Read More
Bill Robinson

Robinson, William “Bill”

Air Force Cross Recipient, POW / Air Force, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Bill Robinson was born in 1943 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on November 22, 1961, and was trained as a helicopter maintenance technician at Sheppard AFB, Texas. His first assignment was as an ...Read More

McNish, Thomas M.

Silver Star, POW / Air Force, Cold War, Vietnam
His 1st (of 3) Silver Star Citation reads: First Lieutenant Thomas M. McNish distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against opposing armed forces near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on 4 September 1966. On that date, as pilot of an F-105D Thunderchief, Lieutenant McNish ...Read More

Larsen, David R.

Navy Cross Recipient / Navy, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Gunner’s Mate Third Class David R. Larsen, United States Navy, for extraordinary heroism on 2 August 1969 ...Read More

Arcuri, William Y.

Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation, POW / Air Force, Cold War 1965-1976 Vietnam War 1972-1973
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads: First Lieutenant William Y Arcuri distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-52 Copilot near Hanoi, North Vietnam, on 20 December 1972. On that date, while engaged in one of ...Read More

Fields, Wes

62 decorations and awards, Aerial Gunner AC-130H Spectre Gunship / Air Force, Desert Storm
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) Master Sergeant Wesley Fields Master Sergeant Fields is a 24 year highly decorated combat veteran earned 62 decorations and awards while serving in the United States Air Force as an Aerial Gunner on the AC-130H Spectre Gunship assigned to the ...Read More

Hudson, Joseph Neal

Iraq POW / Army, Iraq
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2022) A group of about 20 members of the 507th were ambushed near An Nasiriyah, Iraq on the fourth day of battle by civilian-clothed Iraqi forces. The soldiers were supplying the 3rd Infantry Division in its drive to Baghdad in central ...Read More
Woody Williams

Williams, Woodrow ‘Woody’ Hershel

Medal of Honor recipient / Marines, WWII
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2018) For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as demolition sergeant serving with the 21st Marines, 3rd Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, ...Read More

Galanti, Paul E.

Silver Star, POW / Navy, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2015) Paul Edward Galanti is a former United States Navy officer active from 1966 to 1973 who was a Prisoner of War during the Vietnam War.  17 June 1966, Paul E. Galanti, who had flown 97 combat missions in an A-4C ...Read More

Collins, Thomas E. III

Silver Star, POW / Air Force, Cold War, Vietnam
His 1st (of 2) Silver Star Citation reads: Captain Thomas E. Collins, III distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an Aircraft Commander over Southeast Asia on 18 October 1965. On that date, Captain Collins was assigned ...Read More

Vaughan, Samuel Richard

Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation, POW / Air Force, Cold War, Vietnam
His Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads: First Lieutenant Samuel R. Vaughan distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a Weapon Systems Officer on 18 December 1971. On that date, Lieutenant Vaughan participated as the Air Defense cover for a highly sensitive ...Read More

Livingston, James

Medal of Honor recipient / Army, Vietnam
Citation For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Commanding Officer, Company E, in action against enemy forces. Company E launched a determined assault on the heavily fortified village of Dai Do, ...Read More

Morris, Melvin

Medal of Honor recipient / Army, Vietnam
Citation: The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor to: MELVIN MORRIS United States ArmyFor conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk ...Read More

Norris, Tomas R.

Medal of Honor recipient / Navy, Vietnam
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a SEAL Advisor with the Strategic Technical Directorate Assistance Team, Headquarters, U.S. Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. During the period 10 to ...Read More

Crandall, Bruce Perry

Medal of Honor recipient / Army, Vietnam
Citation: On February 26, 2007, Crandall was awarded the Medal of Honor by President George Bush for his actions at the Battle of la Drang. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty: Major Bruce ...Read More

Lemon, Peter C.

Medal of Honor recipient / Army, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2015) Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company E, 2d Battalion, 8th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division. Place and date: Tay Ninh province, Republic of Vietnam, April 1, 1970. Entered service at: Tawas City, Mich. Born: June 5, 1950, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and ...Read More

Hardy, George

Congressional Gold Medal, “Tuskegee Airman” dated “1941-1949.” / Army Air Corp, Tuskegee Airma, WWII
George, Hardy, began his military career as a member of the 99th Fighter Squadron, flying 21 combat missions over Germany during the final two months before V-E Day in World War II in a P-51 “Mustang” fighter plane.

Jefferson, Alexander

Purple Heart, POW / Army Air Corp, Tuskegee Airmen WWII
Served with the Red Tail, 332nd Fight Group, 301st Fighter Squadron as a P-51 fighter pilot in Ramitelli, Italy. Flew 18 missions before being shot down and captured as a German Prisoner of War. (Past Trail of Honor VIP Years: 2014)

Stewart, Harry Jr.

Distinguished Flying Cross / Army Air Corp, Tuskegee Airmen WWII
At 17, Stewart signed up for war service, volunteering before being drafted. He was called up promptly after turning 18 and passed the exams to qualify to train to become a pilot, and heading off shortly after to Tuskegee Army Air Field for initial flight ...Read More

Freeman, Bradford “Brad”

Band of Brothers / Army, WWII
Mississippi Native, Bradford “Brad” Freeman, Easy Company, Second Battalion, 506th, Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division.  The book “Band of Brothers”, is based on the harrowing events that made-up their military careers and later on became the popular HBO miniseries.   http://www.theredstonerocket.com/news/article_73002bb0-148b-11e7-9532-773a58560b69.html https://www.warhistoryonline.com/instant-articles/living-legacies-real-band-brothers-vets-just-wont_quit.html

Woodward, Daphne

Royal Naval Air Service (WREN) / Air Force, WWII
The Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS; popularly and officially known as the Wrens) was the women’s branch of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy.  First formed in 1917 for the First World War, it was disbanded in 1919, then revived in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War, ...Read More

Yuill, John H.

Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor, POW / Air Force, Cold War 1954-1979; Vietnam 1970-1973
Distinguished Flying Cross w/Valor Citation reads: Lieutenant Colonel John H. Yuill distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial flight as a B-52 Aircraft Commander over Southeast Asia on 21 December 1972. On that date, Colonel Yuill participated in high-priority bombing missions against vital military ...Read More
Herschel Ryan

Ryan, Herschel

Silver Star Recipient / Army, Vietnam
Herschel Ryan served in Vietnam from 1967 until 1968, commission as a 2nd Lieutenant, a helicopter pilot. Ryan lost his left hand in Vietnam when he was shot by a 50-caliber round. (Past Trail of Honor VIP Years: 2016)

Crandell, Charles H.

POW / Navy, U.S.S. Pueblo Incident
On January 23, 1968, the U.S.S. PUEBLO was attacked by North Korean naval vessels and MiG jets. One man was killed and several were wounded. The Eighty-two surviving crew members were captured and held prisoner for 11 months. The U.S.S. Pueblo remains a commissioned vessel ...Read More
Al Agnew

Agnew, Al

POW / Navy, Vietnam
Al Agnew was born in 1940 in Mullins, South Carolina. He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet program on March 3, 1961, and was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1962. Agnew then completed WC-121N Super Constellation replacement pilot training before joining Airborne Early Warning Squadron ...Read More
Thomas J. Curtis

Curtis, Thomas J.

POW / Air Force, Vietnam
Tom Curtis was born in Teague, Texas, in 1932. He enlisted in the Aviation Cadet Program on October 30, 1952, and was awarded his pilot wings and commission in the U.S. Air Force on December 18, 1954. Lt Curtis was next trained as a helicopter ...Read More

Herlik, Querin E.

POW / Army, Vietnam
(Trail of Honor VIP: 2015) Quin Herlik was born in 1932 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve on September 10, 1954, and was commissioned a 2nd Lt of Artillery through the Army ROTC program at St. Norbert College, Wisconsin, on ...Read More

Conetto, Al

Operation Hump Survivor / Army, Vietnam
Al Conetto spent more than five years on active duty including 17 months in Vietnam. He left the Army as a captain and is now retired and lives in Walla Walla, Washington. Operation Hump, the first major battle between the U.S. Army and the Viet ...Read More