After graduating from high school he enlisted in the Naval Air Force and served from 1965-69. He spent two years at Cubi Point Air Station at the edge of Naval Base Subic Bay in the Philippines.
As a crewman serving aboard Grumman S-2 Trackers, Thorpe delivered mail and medical supplies to aircraft carriers in the 7th Fleet and several bases in South Vietnam. “I really enjoyed landing and taking off on the aircraft carriers,” he recalled. “That’s a thrill that a lot of people can’t experience.”
After serving his country he earned education degrees from Lock Haven State College and Slippery Rock University. He moved to Indianapolis in 1978 and retired from Perry Township Schools in 2010.
He and his wife, Lynn, raised two children and have one granddaughter.
“I chauffeured a colonel during part of my enlistment,” he said, “and I liked that.”
Hughes is a retired roofer and sheet metal worker from Local Union No. 20.
He has four children, a lot of grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Sears stays in touch with about eight of his Army buddies, and they go out to eat twice a year.
Veterans can eat for free
The menu includes a variety of chicken dishes and other entrees.
“We are thankful for the opportunity to show our appreciation to the military,” said Eddie Hall, restaurant president. “Supporting the military is very important to us and something we are committed to doing yearlong.”
Last year the company served more than 58,000 complimentary meals to veterans at 200 restaurants.
VFW post will honor veterans
The United States had around 21,000 advisers in Vietnam just before the beginning of ground operations. On March 8, 1965, 3,500 Marines from the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade landed in Da Nang.
Other combat troops arrived shortly thereafter from the 173 Airborne Brigade, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division and elements of the 1st Cavalry Division.
The VFW – through the Department of Defense’s Vietnam War Commemoration Partnership Program – is working in area communities to recognize the sacrifice, service and tremendous contributions Vietnam War veterans have made to the country.