April 18, 2021

Community News

VIETNAM HELICOPTER PILOTS ASSOCIATION MEMBERS MEET WAR ORPHAN, DAUGHTER OF FALLEN VIETNAM CREW CHIEF & WAR HERO
April 7, 2021

Posted Courtesy of Wright Enterprises San Francisco~Dallas Community Spotlight~~~

Arlington, Texas-Members of the Vietnam Veterans Helicopter Pilots met with the daughter of Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr. today to share details of the association's mission.  Jackie Wright, the eldest of the four children of Sp5 Wright, found the organization over the Internet.  

Sp5 Wright died serving as an honor guard for the man who is deemed as "the architect of the Vietnam War," then U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara.  The U.S. Army helicopter crash in the Mekong River happened on March 9, 1964 taking the lives of 33-year-old Sp5 Wright and 20-year-old PFC John Francis Shea, at a time when the soldiers in Vietnam were called advisors.

"It was an honor for me to meet with soldiers who served in Vietnam," said Jackie Wright, a filmmaker, whose short documentary, "Love Separated in Life…Love Reunited in Honor," won Columbia, South Carolina's Freedom Festival International Award for Best Veteran Short Documentary; won The Houston International Film Festival Best Short; and screened at the San Francisco Black Film Festival, The San Francisco Veterans Film Festival, The Oakland International Film Festival, and the San Diego Black Film Festival. "My father was a member of the 114th Aviation Company out of Fort Knox, Kentucky and the work of crew members was imperative for the work of pilots."

In the documentary, Wright ,at the time, of San Francisco and her three siblings, Joe Wright of Columbus, Georgia, a U.S. Army Veteran; Stanley Wright of Orangeburg, South Carolina;  and Phyllis Wright Cameron of Antioch, California, find out that the airbase of the 114th Aviation Company was named after a pilot, 1Lt. Kenneth A. Shannon and their father, Sp5 Wyley Wright Jr., a Helicopter Crew Chief.  The airbase in Vinh Long, Vietnam was named the Shannon Wright Compound.  More about the film that chronicles the March 2014 exhumation of Wright from a segregated cemetery in Jacksonville, Florida  and reburial at Arlington National Cemetery with his beloved wife Ouida Fay Wright during the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement and the 150th Anniversary of Arlington Cemetery, can be found at www.lovereunited.org.

The  Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association is dedicated to preserving the history of the soldiers who served in Vietnam from the perspective of the soldiers who fought in the controversial war.  The website states: "As a last man standing organization, the VHPA and its members are in our twilight years.  As we prepare to "pull pitch" for the last time it is important that our legacy is well established.  This is especially true because of the controversial nature of our war, the Vietnam War.  The biased news media and so- called peace movement versions of the war are not the same as our reality or what really happened.  It is important that each of us provide our piece of history to counter the incorrect version of the Vietnam War."

Art Price, Vice President of VHPA and Mike Sheuerman, VHPA Scholarship Committee Chairman, met with Wright along with Office Manager, Sherry Rodgers.  While admiring the work of Joe Kline that graces the front of the office, the three met Lou Castillo, who served as a U.S. Marine in the 3rd Marine Division and 2nd Supply Battalion 1972-1975.

(CONTINUE HERE FROM PRLOG.ORG: https://www.prlog.org/12865042-vietnam-helicopter-pilots-association-members-meet-daughter-of-fallen-vietnam-crew-chief-war-hero.html.

"Having Mr. Castillo, a U.S. Marine, join us in a group picture, with social distancing," I experienced the camaraderie of Vietnam veterans," said Wright. From the VHPA Aviator Newsletter to their archives housed at Texas Tech University, The Vietnam Center & Sam Johnson Vietnam Archive (https://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/) to the reunions, at which this year twelve students will be receiving up to $2,500 per scholarship, I commend these dedicated soldiers for ensuring 'no one is left behind' even in memory," added Wright.

In 2020 $91,500 in VHPA/QUAD-A Scholarships were given according to Scholarship Committee Chairman, Mike Sheuerman as reported in the March/April 2021 Newsletter Magazine, "The VHPA Aviator."

The 2021 VHPA Reunion is slated for August  3-5, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Attendees will enjoy receptions, A Gold Star breakfast, Quilters Show & Tell, The Billy Graham Library, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Comedy City Tour and more.

The Executive Council members of the VHPA are Art Jacobs, President; Art Price, Vice President & President Elect; John Sorensen, Past President; Donald Le Master, Senior Member; John Powell, Midterm Member; Frosty Price, Junior Member; John Shafer, Secretary/Treasurer; and Larry Clark, Founder.  For more information about the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, visit  https://www.vhpa.org.


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