This was the 12th year for the veterans to meet and the third time at Jellystone, said Edgardo Papino Colon, one of the veterans. The ceremony, part of a reunion with other activities, is specifically for those who served in the Army’s Third Platoon, Bravo Troop, First Squadron, Fourth Calvary during the Vietnam War. He noted the platoon is otherwise known as the “Third Herd.”
Reunions have been held in South Carolina, West Virginia, Michigan and other locations. They are typically held during the summer months. “We try to work around the Fourth of July so as not to disrupt their activities,” Colon said.
This year approximately 15 of those who served in the platoon attended the ceremony wearing bright yellow T-shirts bearing their unit name. They came from several states including New Jersey, North Carolina, Illinois and others.
The ceremony included retired Army Lt. Col. Jay Ward, one of the platoon members and a lieutenant during the war, reading the names of those in the platoon who died during the war. The names of those who have died since the war ended, including one in July, were also read. Ward noted the intent of the ceremony is to honor fallen members of the Third Herd and chairs are placed in a row representing each of the deceased soldiers.
Ward gave additional remarks about the fallen soldiers and Colon also added remarks. John J. Heims Sr., a World War II prisoner of war from Sept. 11, 1944, to April 29, 1945, was present, honored with a gift of appreciation and saluted.
Gene Raynes, another member of the Third Platoon, is credited with starting the annual reunion by deciding to locate fellow members on the Internet and it has grown since.
ADDRESSING HIS COMRADES — Edgardo Papino Colon, foreground, Vietnam War veteran, addresses those who gathered for a ceremony July 13 as part of a reunion of Third Platoon, Bravo Troop, First Squadron, Fourth Calvary.
GIFT OF APPRECIATION — Edgardo Papino Colon, left, presents John J. Heims Sr., a World War II prisoner of war, a gift of appreciation during a ceremony July 13 at Jellystone Campground.