Edison State to present tribute to Vietnam War vets


PIQUA — The Edison State Community College diversity committee, on Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., will host a readers theatre production to pay tribute to 11 men who died in the Vietnam War at the Battle of Angel’s Wing on March 8–9, 1969.

The most-visited memorial in Washington, D.C., is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or simply The Wall, with over 58,000 names of the deceased inscribed on the black granite.

At 6:30 that evening, Whomsoever, an old-time country quartet, will perform numbers such as “House of Gold,” “Traveling the Highway Home,” and “Build Me a Cabin in Glory.” The group is led by Steve Skinner, a Vietnam War veteran who on his 18th birthday was aboard the USS Independence CVA-62 in the South China Sea south of the Mekong River providing coastal defense and stopping the North Vietnamese Navy from smuggling weapons/munitions and impressing men into military service. Joining Skinner are vocalists Anita Rowe and Dianne Stedman and bass player Terry Petty.

The readers theatre production, titled “Dispatch: The Battle of Angel’s Wing,” tells the stories of survivor John Looker and the 11 men in his battalion who died in that battle: Leon Beard, Ronell Boykins, Stephen Charles Erbentraut, David Hordern, Richard Arthur Lameiras, Calvin Norman, Michael Patrick O’Connor, Douglas Noel Rowe, Donald Lee Shirley, and Jesse Brent Stevenson.

The script was written by Dr. Vivian Blevins based on the government’s After-Action Report, documents, interviews, and inscriptions on the Remembrance Wall. Looker, recipient of two Purple Hearts, will play himself, and the cast will include Eli Biddle, Wyatt Biddle, Enrique Rivera Cerezo, Daniel Chavis, Joshua Dennis, Kim Kiehl, Adam Looker, James Maloney, Christian Martin, Zach Martin, Ayden Rench, Maurice Sadler, and Broaddus Wade Shamblin.

The Miami Valley Veterans Museum, with the expertise of curator John Bankowitz, who spent 33 years in the U.S. Marines and Air Force and served in Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Operation Enduring Freedom, is providing period set pieces. Ted Jones, Vietnam Era veteran and president of the board of the museum, and Cindy LaPointe Dafler, widow of Joseph “Guy” LaPointe, CO, Medal of Honor recipient and combat medic who died in Vietnam in June of 1969, will provide the images for the overture. The music is being provided by William Loudermilk, Edison State professor, and Mike Ullery, photographer for the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

The emcee for the evening will be Vietnam Era veteran and Edison State professor Steve Sykes. Admission and parking are free. The program is not suitable for children. For more information, email Dr. Blevins at [email protected].

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