Vietnam Veteran Marine Tommy May praises Governor and ADVA secretary at the Vietnam Veteran Day wreath laying event

Monday, March 29, 2021 11:33 am
Vietnam Veteran Marine Tommy May praises Governor and ADVA secretary at the Vietnam Veteran Day wreath laying event

http://https://fb.watch/4xMleNopcw/

Facebook live video

High res and more images of the ceremony:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131231660@N04/albums/72157718815480302

All Flicker photos by Randall Lee Photographer, Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson


Photo by Randall Lee Photographer Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson

Main image:

Command Sgt. Major Steven Veazey speaks with Vietnam Veteran Marine Tommy May before the ceremony Monday (March 29, 2021)  at the Arkansas Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Capitol.


Image title

Photos by Randall Lee Photographer Office of Governor Asa Hutchinson

Governor Asa Hutchinson and Maj. Gen. Kendall Penn move to lay wreath during the ceremony Monday at the Arkansas Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the Capitol

Mr. May's speech:

TODAY, MARCH 29, IS NATIONAL VIETNAM WAR VETERANS DAY. THIS IS A SPECIAL DAY FOR ME, AS I AM REMINDED OF THE MANY SACRIFICES VETERANS AND THEIR FAMILIES GAVE FOR OUR COUNTRY.  THOSE OF US WHO RETURNED, WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER THOSE SOLDIERS THAT GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM.  WE ALL REMEMBER THAT VIETNAM WAS A VERY UNPOPULAR WAR, BUT OUR VETERANS WERE NOT ASKED TO VOTE ON WHETHER TO PARTICIPATE, WE SIMPLY RESPONDED TO THE CALL.  WE DID IT WITHOUT A SECOND THOUGHT, THAT IS WHAT WE DO.  WHILE THE VIETNAM VETERANS SUFFERED THROUGH THE IRE OF MANY, BOTH AT THEIR DEPARTURE AND RETURN, TODAY, WE HONOR THEM AND REMEMBER THOSE WHO DID NOT RETURN WITH HEARTFELT GRATITUDE OF “SERVICE BEFORE SELF”.  

I SERVED IN VIETNAM WITH THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION HEADQUARTERS NEAR DaNANG.  I LEFT COLLEGE AFTER TWO YEARS, WELL, MY DAD HELPED ME LEAVE COLLEGE AFTER MAKING THE COMMAND DECISION THAT I WAS NOT APPLYING MYSELF.  I WORKED IN THE OIL FIELDS WHERE THE MOSQUITOS WERE AS BIG AS SPARROWS.  SO, I DECIDED THE MILITARY WOULD BE A LOT EASIER, MY SECOND MISCALULATION. 

I JOINED THE MARINE CORPS IN JULY 1967, AND ARRIVED IN VIETNAM IN JANUARY OF 1968 AND LEFT IN MARCH 1969, THUS SERVED THROUGH TWO TET OFFENSES.  HOWEVER, IT WAS MY TOUR OF DUTY IN THE MARINES AND VIETNAM THAT HELPED ME MATURE RELATIVELY QUICK, AND I NEEDED IT.  I’M SURE THAT IS A STORY THAT MANY OF YOU CAN RELATE TO. 

BY THE LUCK OF THE DRAW, I WAS ASSIGNED TO THE FIRST MARINE DIVISION G-5, SPECIFICALLY AS A MEMBER OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS (ALSO KNOWN AS PSYOPS).  OUR RESPONSIBILITY WAS TO BE PRESENT DURING DISCUSSIONS WITH THE VC/NVA, OR OTHERS WHO SURRENDERED.  WE WOULD WORK WITH INTERPRETERS TO PROMPT QUESTIONS THAT WOULD ASSIST US IN DEVELOPING A PLAN TAILORED TO INFLUENCE HIS FELLOW VIETCONG TEAM MEMBERS TO SURRENDER/DEFECT (AKA CHIEUHOI).  THE PROGRAM RESULTED IN OVER 100,000 DEFECTORS OVER THE LIFE OF THE PROGRAM.    WE LIKED TO REFER TO OUR MISSION AS “WINNING THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE ENEMY”.  

MY WIFE SAYS I MUST HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD, BECAUSE I STILL ASK THE SAME QUESTION SIX OR SEVEN DIFFERENT WAYS TO GET THE RIGHT ANSWER.  BOTTOM LINE, THE MILITARY IN GENERAL, AND VIETNAM IN PARTICULAR, MADE ME A MORE MATURE MAN, AND A FEARCELY LOYAL SUPPORTER OF OUR FLAG AND COUNTRY. 

THE MILITARY IS A BIG MACHINE OF MANY MOVING PARTS, AND IT ONLY WORKS WHEN ALL PARTS ARE WORKING TO FULL CAPACITY AND HIGH VALUES; WORKING HARD AND DOING RIGHT-- DAILY- ALL DAY.  THE MILITARY REAFFIRMED FOR ME THAT VALUES ARE STANDARDS YOU SET FOR YOURSELF. IF YOU HAVE TO CONVINCE YOURSELF YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING, YOU’RE PROBABLY NOT.  DOING RIGHT IS A VALUE THAT WE ARE NOW TEACHING OUR GRANDKIDS.  A GREAT EXAMPLE OF DOING THE RIGHT THING AT THE RIGHT TIME, HAS HAPPENED UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF COL. NATE TODD, A GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON APOINTEE.  SECRETARY TODD HAS BEEN A GREAT ADDITION TO THE GOVERNOR’S TEAM.  OUR ARKANSAS VETERANS ARE VERY FORTUNATE TO HAVE A GOVERNOR THAT IS VERY SUPPORTIVE OF THE MILITARY, IN GENERAL, AND VETERANS IN PARTICULAR.  

I HAVE HAD THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING GOVERNOR HUTCHINSON FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND I VALUE HIS LEADERSHIP. OUR GOVERNOR SIGNED A LAW THAT EXEMPTS THE RETIREMENT PAY OF VETERANS FROM STATE INCOME TAX; IN ADDITION, THROUGH THE ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN AFFAIRS, HE PROVIDED THE COUNTY VERTERAN SERVICE OFFICERS THE SUPPORT THEY NEEDED TO SERVE VETERANS IN THEIR OWN BACKYARDS – A HUGE BENEFIT TO AN AGING POPULATION ---FELLOW VETERANS, THAT WOULD BE YOU AND ME. 

OUR GOVERNOR HAS BEEN AMONG THE BEST IN BRINGING NEW BUSINESS TO ARKANSAS, REDUCING TAXES, AND PROACTIVELY MANAGING OUR TRAVELS THROUGH THE COVID CRISIS.  

PLEASE JOIN ME IN WELCOMING ONE OF OUR NATION’S BEST GOVERNORS, A FRIEND, AND A HUGE SUPPORTER OF OUR MILITARY AND VETERANS, THE HONORABLE GOVERNOR ASA HUTCHINSON.

Program with bio of the Governor and Mr. May

folded program VIETNAM WREATH.pdf