A Wreaths Across America ceremony set 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 14 at the Camden Wyoming Fire Co., 200 E. Camden-Wyoming Ave., will feature retired U.S. Army Col. Roger Donlon and his wife, Norma.
“We will highlight three pillars of Kent County life; the men and women of Dover AFB — military and civilian and their families — our first responders and our hope for the future, our children,” said Dennis Desilet, who, along with Michael Passero has organized the event. Both are retired Air Force veterans.
Desilet, a state probation officer, and Passero, a heavy equipment operator at Dover Air Force Base, are working in conjunction with Dover AFB, Dover Fire Pipes and Drums, Fifer Middle School and Caesar Rodney and Polytech high schools to enhance the program.
“We believe these critical parts of our community match the WAA's mission of Remember, Honor and Teach,” Passero said. The ceremony is the second stop for the convoy in Delaware and the only stop in Kent County on the way to Arlington National Ceremony in Washington, D.C.
On Dec. 5, 1964, then-Army Capt. Roger Donlon was awarded the first Medal of Honor of the 14-year Vietnam War for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. On July 6, 1964, the 30-year-old Green Beret officer was wounded multiple times as about 800 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese soldiers stormed his 300-man South Vietnamese government outpost in a valley near the border with Laos, he said.
For five hours, the combatants exchanged mortar, grenade and machine-gun fire, often at point-blank range, across a darkened battlefield illuminated by burning huts, explosions and flares. All nine surviving members of his Special Forces Team A-726 joined Donlon in the East Ballroom of the White House to witness former President Lyndon B. Johnson bestow the medal around his neck.
Donlon and Norma, who have been married since 1968, live in Leavenworth, Kan. They have five children and six grandchildren.
The public is encouraged to attend.