$(document).ready(function() { $(window).scroll(function() { if ($('body').height() <= ($(window).height() + $(window).scrollTop()+500)) { $('#upnext').css('display','block'); }else { $('#upnext').css('display','none'); } }); });
Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006
Photo 1

Brattleboro attorney Tom Costello is helping to organize a tribute to the 11 area men who were killed in action during the Vietnam War.

News

Legion post plans tribute for Vietnam War veterans

Event to honor memory of 11 area men killed in action in the military action that escalated 50 years ago

Complementary dinners will be served by Post 5 to the families of the honorees and to all Vietnam veterans and their escort. Additional tickets are available for $15. For further information and reservations, call Carolyn Peck at Costello, Valente & Gentry, P.C., at 802-257-5533, ext. 102, or twcoverseas@gmail.com.

BRATTLEBORO—Fifty years ago, in 1965, the first sizable contingent of U.S. combat forces was deployed to Vietnam.

That was “the year the Vietnam war really got going,” said Brattleboro attorney Tom Costello, a Marine officer from 1968 to 1971, with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart among his combat decorations from his service.

American Legion Post 5 in Brattleboro is planning a ceremony at the post home on Linden Street on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 5 p.m., to honor the 11 area men who were killed in action in Vietnam: Stanley M. Baker, William K. Bassignani. John C. Blake, Paul R. Dartt, Darwin James Delano, Fred C.H. Frappiea Jr., Howard W. Kaiser, Joseph R. LaRose, William W. O’Neil, Ernie Sanville, and Jan Alan Ulmer.

“We’re trying to bring together as many of the family members of each of these men as we can locate,” said Costello. “And we’d like to gather as many of the area Vietnam vets as possible for this ceremony.”

The 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade arrived in Da Nang on March 8, 1965. A few months later, the first major conventional battle of the war took place in the Ia Drang Valley on Nov. 14-18, 1965. It pitted two brigades from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division against two regiments of the North Vietnamese Army.

By year’s end, more than 200,000 U.S. service personnel found themselves in Vietnam, including several from southeast Vermont and southwest New Hampshire. In Brattleboro Union High School’s class of 1964 alone, 24 men served in the war.

Similar to the Memorial Day ceremony that Costello helped to organize earlier this year to mark the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, a group of Brattleboro Union High School students will read the names and a brief biography of each of the 11 men.

Costello said BUHS social studies teacher Bill Holiday led the student effort, which involved interviews with surviving members of the families of the fallen service members as well as historical research.

Afterward, a brief address will be given by Dr. Robert Tortolani, a combat battalion surgeon during the Vietnam War.

The toastmaster of the event will be retired Navy vice-admiral Barry M. Costello, who served in the Navy from 1973 to 2007. A decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf War, he was the commanding officer of the Navy’s Third Fleet from 2005 to 2007.

Both brothers are Rutland natives. Tom Costello said his brother, who now lives in Seattle, is coming back to Vermont at his own expense to participate in this event.

Costello said his motivation for helping to organize this memorial event is twofold.

First, “we want to recognize these people, and what our country owes them,” he said.

But he also wants “to connect the Vietnam guys and help them to reach out to the younger vets” who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And to “help them out in any way we can,” he said.

Like what we do? Help us keep doing it!

We rely on the donations and financial support of our readers to help make The Commons available to all. Please join us today.

What do you think? Leave us a comment

Editor’s note: Our terms of service require you to use your real names. We will remove anonymous or pseudonymous comments that come to our attention. We rely on our readers’ personal integrity to stand behind what they say; please do not write anything to someone that you wouldn’t say to his or her face without your needing to wear a ski mask while saying it. Thanks for doing your part to make your responses forceful, thoughtful, provocative, and civil. We also consider your comments for the letters column in the print newspaper.

Comments

We are currently reconfiguring our comments software. Please check back if you’d like to read or leave comments on this story. —The editors

Originally published in The Commons issue #331 (Wednesday, November 11, 2015). This story appeared on page A1.

Share this story

Links

{12702}

Related stories

More by Randolph T. Holhut