American Legion Post 133 is doing all it can to recognize those who served in the military. The American Legion is hosting the first “Salute to Service” Veterans Ball dinner and dance.
“It’s a way to recognize the years of service of those who served in the military.” Brian Brickhaus said.
The event will be Saturday May 6 from 5-11 p.m. at the American Legion. The dinner will be $20 for an individual or $35 for each couple. A person can reserve a table of eight for $140. The dinner will be chicken breast, potatoes, vegetables and salad.
Brickhaus thought that now was a good time to host such an event to honor all veterans.
“The Marines have a military ball, but there’s never really been anything that bring the veterans together,” Brickhaus said. “We have things in Perryville like Veterans Day or Memorial Day, but this is a more formal event.”
The event will have a keynote speaker as Col. John Clark will address the crowd. Clark is a retired from the U.S Air Force and a six year POW and Vietnam War veteran.
Clark was born in 1940 in Columbia, Missouri. He was commissioned through the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Missouri-Columbia on June 5, 1962. Clark graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training and was awarded his pilot wings at Reese AFB, Texas, in August 1963. He next flew C-131 Samaritan transports with the 12th AeroMedical Transport Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, from October 1963 to June 1965. Clark then completed RF-4C Phantom II Combat Crew Training and served at RAF Alconbury, England, from June 1965 to October 1966. He began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia with the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Udorn Royal Thai AFB, Thailand, in October 1966. On March 12, 1967, Capt Clark was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was immediately captured and taken as a Prisoner of War. After spending 2,170 days in captivity, he was released during Operation Homecoming on February 18, 1973. He recovered from his injuries at the USAF Medical Center at Scott AFB, Illinois, and then went back to college through an Air Force Institute of Technology assignment at the University of Missouri-Columbia in October 1973. Clark then served as an instructor pilot at Vance AFB, Oklahoma, before leaving active duty on June 10, 1977. He spent time in the Missouri Air National Guard before joining the Air Force Reserve. He retired from the Air Force on January 12, 1992.
“They say his speech is crazy,” Brickhaus said. “Who better represents the United States military than someone like Clark?”
Brickhaus is hoping to fill the building the night of the event.
“We want to get as many people as we can,” he said. “There are limited tickets available and we want to honor our veterans any way we can.”
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