Vietnam veterans were honored at a Statehouse ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the start of the war. One unit was singled out for recognition.
During the Vietnam War only a handful of National Guard troops were called up to serve in combat roles. Rhode Island National Guard’s 107th Signal Company was one of them. Warner Dauphinee of Scituate remembers the 12 month tour of duty this way:
“I didn’t want to be there. It was hot, uncomfortable,” said Dauphinee, “not a place I’d ever vacation that’s for sure.”
Many of the 351 soldiers in the 107th were in the House chamber as lawmakers and Gov. Lincoln Chafee honored their service. Rhode Island National Guard General Charles Petrarca said he hoped veterans are never maligned again, as some Vietnam veterans were when they returned home.
“The two things that I hope as we progress as a nation is that we will never be as indifferent ever again as we were to our Korean War veterans or as terrible as we were to our Vietnam veterans,” said Patrarca. “I’d like to think that we have matured as a people and will no longer treat our soldiers like that.”
Of the 351 members of the 107th Signal Company, three died in Vietnam.
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