Vietnam Era Veterans welcomed home Matt Martin at the group’s first meeting of the new year.
Matt is now a U.S. Army veteran, discharged in October 2012. A Ranger in Afghanistan, Matt is the grandson of Vietnam veteran Roland Finchum. Roland, also an Army Ranger, has been attending Vietnam Era Veterans since the group’s beginning in June of 2010.
Dr. Derek Frisby, a middle Tennessee native and a professor at Middle Tennessee State University, was the event’s featured speaker. Derek, who grew up in Manchester, remembered going to historic military sites like the Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro. A “Living Memorial” was constructed at Murfreesboro’s MTSU to honor veterans who were students at the university. MTSU has been quite involved in military history, naming student dormitories in remembrance of the Civil War.
During WWII, MTSU had a great number of male students who were enlisted or drafted for the war. The president of the university at that time was a former U.S. Navy officer, Allan Sewart. A Tennessee native, for whom Sewart A.F.B. was named, was an MTSU alumnus.
Derek told the large group of veterans about a student-organized function on the MTSU campus called BRAVO — Blue Raiders American Veterans Organization, which has its own lounge in the campus student union building. Any military veteran is invited to the BRAVO lounge to mingle with ROTC and veterans who are students on the MTSU campus.
Dr. Frisby said the best way to educate students in military history is to take student to historic military sites. During the spring semesters of 2010, 2011 and 2012, he has taken students to WWI and WWII sites in Europe, Guam and Iwo Jima, just to name a few. This spring 2013, Frisby is taking students to Vietnam. Dr. Frisby will return to the Vietnam Era Veterans group in October of this year to tell of the students’ travel to Vietnam.
Vietnam Era Veterans of Shelbyville/Bedford County will meet next on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 6:30 p. m. at the American Legion Post #23 located at 721 Kingree Road, Shelbyville. February’s speaker will be Dr. Carl Bailey, retired U.S. Marine.
For more information, call Tom Taylor at 931-684-2557 or Bob Eid at 931-680-9679.