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Veterans urge Americans not to forget them

| Monday, May 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Frank Voytek, Vietnam veteran and past president of the Fayette County chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Incorporated, speaks to the crowd.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Lou Giachetti (right), commander of American Legion Post 61 of Uniontown, hugs Debbie Hall, a Gold Star mother who lost her son in Iraq in 2003.

For Frank Voytek, 70, of Uniontown, coming back to the United States from Vietnam after his tour in 1963-64, was not traumatic, as many in the military later experienced.

“People were not really bothering them,” he said. “And I had my family and friends for support when I got back.”

Voytek was in a quartermaster unit, providing supplies to units in the field, such as the Green Berets, after picking items up in the old French warehouses along the docks of the Saigon River.

He said the only real complaints he heard were from those in units in the field about what supplies they were not getting. Most of what he picked up and transported came to him from Navy supply units.

One gripe he had was having to pull guard duty at night in the supply compound. He said lights were installed so that they pointed inward, having been installed before the war heated up. No one had thought to change the lighting so that it would be hard for someone outside the compound to see what was going on inside. It could have made him an easy target.

Voytek is the past president of Vietnam Veterans Inc. in Fayette County.

Lou Giachetti, 87, of Uniontown hauled supplies and personnel in the South Pacific and later in Korea as a member of the Army. Now, he is president of the American Legion Post 61 in Uniontown, a life member of the VFW, Catholic War Veterans and Knights of Columbus.

In World War II, he was a master sergeant in the Army based on Saipan, Guam and Tinian in an anti-aircraft group, with the 425th Truck Depot Company.

He agreed with other veterans and parents that the military offers a great way to help young people become adults.

“It's a great experience for anyone,” he said. “I would advocate any high school graduate should go in the military for at least two years.”

Giachetti had harsh words for many citizens.

“The American people are forgetting about our veterans every day,” he said. “They seem to forget the sacrifices they went through and the ones who gave their lives so freedom could be free.

“They died for us. They fought for us. In return we should show respect to really honor them at the gravesites.”

He said Americans should go up (to the cemeteries) “every holiday, every Memorial Day, to honor them for the sacrifice they made for this great country of ours.

“Please remember all holidays (to) remember our veterans. Remember who they are. When you see a veteran, go up to him, shake his hand and give him a hug and thank him. That means more to him than any medals we can give him that he received in the service.”

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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