BRIDGER VALLEY — Two Bridger Valley residents are the Wyoming veterans who will be inducted into the ‘In Memory’ Program for 2020.
Both men took the oath, both men served in Vietnam and both returned home. Later to suffer illnesses brought on by their service in Vietnam and being exposed to Agent Orange. These two Mountain View men, graduates of Mountain View High School, returned home to live out their lives where they had grown up and build a life after the military. They are Louis Allen Hamblin, who served in the U.S. Army, and Leland jay Stoddard, who also served in the U.S. Army. Hamblin was 73 when he died and Stoddard was 70.
Allen served in the US Army in Vietnam. He was assigned to intelligence and went to Texas to learn Vietnamese. While in Vietnam he worked covertly to interrogate and identify the enemy. He received several commendations for his expertise.
Stoddard played football, basketball and participated in track for the Mountain View Buffalos while in high school. He served in the Brazil Sao Paulo Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, before joining the Army and going to Vietnam.
Nearly 600 veterans, including the two from Mountain View, will be inducted in the “In Memory” program for 2020. The program honors Vietnam veterans who returned home and their lives were cut short as a result of their service after they returned home.
The induction ceremony will be held next Friday, Oct. 15, on the East Knoll of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of each of the 591 honorees for 2020 will be read aloud. Both Mountain View men died the fall of 2019, but the ceremony was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The ‘In Memory’ program is a program of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) and honors those vets who fearlessly took on the challenge to serve in Vietnam, but still suffered consequences after they returned home.
“For many Vietnam veterans, coming home from Vietnam was just the beginning of a whole new fight. Many never fully recovered, either physically or emotionally, from their experiences. As these veterans pass, it is our duty and solemn promise to welcome them home to the place that our nation has set aside to remember our Vietnam veterans,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF.
These veteran will be honored by a plaque at the memorial. The plaque that honors these veterans was dedicated as part of the memorial site in 2004. The plaque reads, “In Memory of the men and women who served in Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.”