Milton to honor fallen Vietnam vet

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MILTON, Ga. – The Vietnam era was a tumultuous time for America and the servicemen who fought over in Asia. For one local soldier, Cpl. Harry Kenneth Vaughan, like so many of his comrades, the war took his life.

Some local veterans and soldiers will pay their respects to the young man May 22.

Vaughan was from a local family. A native of the Hopewell community, Vaughan graduated from Milton High School in 1967 and within a year, he was drafted into the Army. He served in the 9th Infantry Division in Bien Hoa Province in Vietnam.

During action on March 7, 1968, Vaughan’s armored personnel carrier hit a mine and blew up. Vaughan died just seven days shy of his 21st birthday.

For his service in Vietnam, he was given the Bronze Star and Purple Heart posthumously.

To remember this local hero, the men and women of the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association will honor Vaughan at Milton High School’s football field May 22, a few days before Memorial Day.

The effort is led by Milton resident Ronnie Rondem, himself a Vietnam veteran.

“We do it to honor the individual who was killed and give the family closure,” Rondem said. “That’s probably all the closure the mother got.”

Vaughan’s mother has since died. However, he still has family in the area. His brother lives in Cumming, and he will also be present with four of his other siblings.

Each year, the AVVBA holds a memorial service for a fallen Vietnam soldier in the community from which they came. This year, it is Milton’s turn.

Soldiers from Vaughan’s unit, the 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry at Fort Benning, will be on hand, providing the Color and Honor guards.

Every year, the group tries to find a speaker who may have served with the fallen. This year, the featured speaker is retired Lieutenant Gen. J. Ron Helmly.

After the service at Milton’s football field, the dedicated monument to Vaughan will be erected at Freedom Park, on Deerfield Parkway, said Milton Councilmember Bill Lusk.

A more permanent memorial will be made when Milton City Hall is built.

“I would like to see a memorial park somewhere around City Hall,” Lusk said. “It’s only fitting we locate a monument to this young man at City Hall.”

The memorial service for Vaughan will be held 11 a.m. May 22 at Milton High School’s football stadium, 13025 Birmingham Highway, Milton. Milton’s Memorial Day ceremony will be the following Monday, May 26 at 10 a.m. at Milton City Hall, 13000 Deerfield Parkway.

If you go

What: Memorial to Harry K. Vaughan

When: 11 a.m. May 22

Where: Milton High School, 13025 Birmingham Highway, Milton

For more info, visit www.avvba.org

MH 05-14-14