It was 40 years in coming, but the Londonderry veteran said it’s one of those events in his life that he’ll always remember.
Along with the National Defense Ribbon and Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Ouellette said he is most proud of the 27 air medals with “V” distinctions he earned for flying in helicopters for a year in Vietnam, where he served as a door gunner.
He was 20 years old.
“You know, I couldn’t vote for president. I couldn’t drink or sign papers,” Ouellette said, “but I could shoot a machine gun out of a copter.”
Ouellette said when he returned to his Arlington, Mass., home, he was told he could receive just one year of dental work on the government’s dime from the Veteran’s Administration.
“I’ll never forget when I came home to Boston from Vietnam and stepped off the plane with two other officers. There were two fathers with children around 6 or 8 years old, and when they saw us, they turned their backs and walked away,” Ouellette said.
Ouellette said he is proud of how the country is receiving the war veterans of today.
“The war is controversial, but don’t spit on the soldier,” he said.
“When I go under bridges with names and flags, I get tears in my eyes.”
For the full story of this event by Suzanne Laurent in the Derry News Read “Londonderry veteran honored for service in Vietnam”
Photos in this story by Cathie Chevalier.
For more photos of the event read the rest of the story.