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. He was discharged in October 2012, after being a Ranger in Afghanistan. Matt is the grandson of Vietnam veteran Roland Finchum.
Roland, likewise 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 grew up in Manchester, and said he remembers going to historic military sites like the Stones River Battlefield.
The group learned that a "Living Memorial" was constructed at MTSU, to honor veterans who were students at the university. MTSU has been quite involved in military history, for example naming student dormitory's after the Civil War. During WWII, MTSU had a great number of male students that were enlisted or drafted for the war. Derek told the large group of veterans of a student organized function on the MTSU campus called BRAVO. BRAVO stands for 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 that are students on the MTSU campus.
Dr. Frisby said he thinks that the best way to educate students in military history is to take students to historic military sites.
During the spring semesters of 2010, 2011, and 2012, he took students to WWI and WWII sites in Europe, Guam and Iwo Jima, to name a few. This spring, Frisby is taking students to Vietnam.
Dr. Frisby will return to the Vietnam Era Veterans group in October of this year to tell about 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 Rd., Shelbyville. February's speaker will be Dr. Carl Bailey, retired U. S. Marine.
-- Submitted by Tom Taylor