Green River Star -

By STEPHANIE THOMPSON
People Editor 

Library receives book honoring Wyoming Vietnam veterans

 

October 11, 2017



Sometimes all one has to do is ask.

That’s how all of this started, Doug Uhrig, Wyoming Veterans Commission member and Commissioner for District No. 3, said, as he tapped the card-covered book in his hand.

Uhrig said the formation of the book “They Served with Honor: Stories from Wyoming Vietnam Veterans,” started because Wyoming Veterans Commission Director Col. Larry Barttelbort asked the Casper Star-Tribune a question.

According to the book, Barttelbort asked them this question “I wonder if the Star-Tribune could do something to help thank Wyoming’s Vietnam veterans for their service.”

It was 2015, when Barttelbort asked the question when the commission was in the process of planning a reunion for Vietnam veterans. The reunion was a way to mark the 50th anniversary of the war.

According to the book, Barttelbort didn’t want free ads or a front page story about the reunion, although those things would have been welcome too. No. He wanted them to write stories about Wyoming’s Vietnam veterans the way the Star-Tribune and Casper Journal did for the 104 World War II veterans. The culmination of these stories was published in a hardcover book.

“Barttelbort was not shy -- he asked for a repeat performance for Wyoming’s Vietnam veterans -- and we readily agreed.” Star-Tribune General Manager Dale Bohren stated in the “about the book” portion of the book. “We interviewed and photographed veterans from every corner of Wyoming and all points in between.”

The profiles written on each veteran tells the story of their service in the Vietnam War and what they did when they returned.

“The Vietnam War was a confusing time for the country and its veterans. Many came home from their time of service and were instructed to take off their uniform before leaving the airport so they would not be harassed... There was no parade to welcome soldiers home, and few thanked them for their service. Many never told their stories,” Bohren wrote.

“Our country has come a long way in paying the tribute due to the men and women who served in the United States military during the Vietnam War,” Governor Matthew Mead stated in the book.

Uhrig said once a limited amount of books were published, he and other Commission members were busy giving them to local libraries and that’s what was doing now.

Uhrig has already presented the Sweetwater County Library and the White Mountain Library with copies. Since there was a limited amount printed, the Commission wanted to make sure public libraries had them for residents to check out.

The veteran’s stories in the book are amazing. None of them are the same, Uhrig said. He also thought it was interesting that several Vietnam veterans went on to continue serving their communities.

For example: one became a Wyoming Legislator, a couple became county commissioners and four, including Hank Castillion, became mayors. All of those stories and more can be found in this book, which is already at the library.

 

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