By Patrick Bray
DLIFLC Public Affairs
MONTEREY, Calif. – The Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center observed Memorial Day during a ceremony on Soldier Field at the Presidio of Monterey, California, May 25 and honored three fallen linguists from the Vietnam War era.
Col. Phil Deppert, commandant, and Ben De La Selva, founder of the DLI Alumni Association, unveiled the plaque of the Institute’s graduates who lost their lives in Southeast Asia with the three service member’s names added.
Sgt. Clarence L. ‘Boone’ McNeill was killed in action February 5, 1969 when the aircraft on which he was serving as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist was downed by enemy fire over Laos.
Spc. 5 Richard Jay Hentz went missing March 4, 1971 when the aircraft on which he was serving as a Voice Interceptor was downed by enemy fire over Vietnam.
Staff Sgt. Todd Michael Melton was killed in action February 5, 1973 when the aircraft on which he was serving as an Airborne Cryptologic Linguist was downed by enemy fire over southern Laos.
The Institute has honored fallen linguists dating back to 1963, when official documentation began, which includes more than 330 graduates who gave their lives for their country.
The annual ceremony consists of a formation of troops in their dress uniforms representing all four service detachments, ceremonial cannon fire and the playing of taps.
Memorial Day dates back to the end of the Civil War as towns across America honored those who died in the war. The tradition continued as the U.S. fought in other wars, and it became an official federal holiday in 1971 as a special day for Americans to honor and remember all who have died while serving in the Armed Forces.
Posted Date: 31 May 2017