Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has gone to bat for Utah's Vietnam veterans.
The senator is disturbed that when the vets dedicate their memorial at the Utah Capitol Oct. 14, there will not be a ceremonial flyover by the 388th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base.When the flyover was denied by the U.S. Department of Defense, Hatch complained to the top man.
In a letter of Oct. 2, 1989, Hatch told Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney that "it would be grievous mistake to ignore it.
"Dick, you know the importance of this tribute to our veterans of Vietnam, who have been deprived in so many other ways," Hatch wrote. "I am therefore requesting that you authorize the mission."
The senator pointed out that under existing statutes and regulations applicable to DOD, missions such as flyovers that fulfill a training purpose may be routinely authorized.
The $300,000 memorial, which is nearly complete on its site immediately west of the Capitol, is being built by Utah Vietnam Era Veterans Memorial Committee Inc., with mostly private funding.
Dedicatory ceremonies will begin at 2 p.m., although preliminary activities, including performances by the 23rd Army Band and the Jay Welch Chorale will begin at 1:15 p.m.
The names of soldiers killed or missing in Vietnam will be read by relatives and friends of the 388 men and one woman from 10 a.m. to noon and again at 6 p.m. after the dedication service. Those wishing to read a name should contact Ted Livingston at 377-2262 or 785-2171.