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Medal of Honor recipient to share war experience at NY event

ALBANY, N.Y. — Vietnam War veterans, including Medal of Honor recipient Gary Beikirch, will discuss their wartime experiences at a Vietnam Commemorative event scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday in the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs.

The commemoration, sponsored by the Capital District of New York Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, is open to the public. Saratoga Springs is a Vietnam War Commemorative Partner with the U.S. Department of Defense. The program is built around the 50th anniversary of the costly war in southeast Asia, and pays tribute to Americans who fought in it.

The museum wrote small profiles of the five panelists who will speak. Here they are:

Army Sergeant Gary Beikirch. Beikirch enlisted in the Army in 1967 and was selected for Special Forces Training. He deployed to Vietnam as part of the 5th Special Forces Group in the summer of 1969 in Vietnam’s Central Highlands. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions in April, 1970, when he ignored his own personal safety and wounds to rescue numerous American, Vietnamese and Montagnard casualties during an assault from North Vietnamese troops.

Former City of Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Lew Benton. Benton was drafted in 1969 and served as a Combat Medic, Specialist Grade 5, deploying to Vietnam from October 1970 through October 1971. Benton provided medical care as part of a surgical hospital to U.S. and Republic of Korea forces.

Retired Army Brig. Gen. Barry Hartman. Hartman, with 31 years of military service in the Army, served two tours in Vietnam, first in 1967 and again in 1972.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Nick Laiacona, a 1966 graduate of Siena College, Laiacona served 24 years in the Army and deployed to Vietnam in 1968-69.

Marine Corps Captain Dave Wallingford. Wallingford graduated the College of the Holy Cross, receiving a commission as a Marine Corps lieutenant in 1966. He served in Vietnam in 1968-69 with the 3rd Marine Division along the Demilitarized Zone.
 

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