Cadet Airman Matthew Power locates the engraved name of his great-uncle, John W. Power.
(From left) Cadet Airmen Vincent Moeykens and Matthew Power and Cadet Basics Alex Woychosky and Robert Carlock at the POW/MIA Missing Man Table.
Cadet Basics Robert Carlock (foreground) and Alex Woychosky sign in at both set up by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 771
Photos by 1st Lt. Diana Hayes, Vermont Wing
1st Lt. Diana Hayes
Public Affairs Officer
Springfield Composite Squadron
VERMONT – The Springfield Composite Squadron’s honor guard was on hand July 14 to add a ceremonial touch for the formal opening of the Vietnam Moving Wall's five-day presence at the Riverside Middle School football field.
The cadets appeared after Vietnam Veterans Association Chapter 723 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Vermont Post 771 asked the squadron’s commander, Lt. Col. Tom Hayes, to provide an honor guard. Hayes served in Vietnam as a pilot with the Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3 Seawolves – the most highly decorated helicopter combat squadron in U.S. history.
The Moving Wall, which was on display July 12-16 in Springfield, has been taken from state to state since 1984, reflecting the vision of John Devitt, a veteran from San Jose, Calif., who wanted thousands of relatives and friends of fallen soldiers to be able to pay their respects even though they would never able to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C.
A three-fifths-scale replica of the original, it's 300 feet long and 6 feet tall and consists of individual aluminum panels powder- coated in jet black with names engraved in white.
The name of Cadet Airman Matthew Power’s great-uncle, John W. Powers, is one of those engraved, as are the names of six of Hayes’ fellow members of the U.S. Naval Academy’s Class of 1968.
The cadets had the opportunity to search for and find these names through a simple system the Vietnam Veterans Association has set up for those viewing the wall. Cadets with no personal affiliation to a name were assigned one of their commander’s classmates to seek out.
“This really helps make it more real to me,” said Cadet Airman Vincent Moeykens.
Added Senior Member Chris Carlock, who provided oversight for the cadet guard, “I and the kids all want to fly, of course, but this is the most meaningful duty we may have for a long time.”