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‘A Lasting Memento of Our Nation’s Thanks’: Exchange to Honor Vietnam Veterans at Commanders’ Classic

On behalf of a grateful Nation, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service and The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration will honor four Vietnam Veterans during an on-field ceremony Nov. 6 at the Lockheed Martin Commanders’ Classic presented by USAA.

During the Army vs. Air Force football game at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Exchange Director/CEO Tom Shull and retired Maj. Gen. Pete Aylward, director of the Vietnam War Commemoration, will present Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pins to:

  • Army Sgt. Glen Copeland of Ennis, Texas. (Copeland’s daughter, Tonya Borcherding, is a marketing business analyst at the Exchange, and his wife, Janice, is an Exchange retiree.)
  • Marine Corps Sgt. James Painter of Wolfe City, Texas.
  • Navy Seaman Don Foster of Arlington.
  • Air Force Lt. Col. Dennis Haessig of Arlington.

“We are honored to partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration to give our heroes the thanks they so rightly deserve,” said Shull, an Army Veteran who served during the Vietnam War period. “The ceremony at Globe Life Field provides a great opportunity to honor four heroes from the past in front of the West Point and Air Force Cadets who will be at the game.”

The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration is administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The Commemoration was authorized by Congress, established under the Secretary of Defense and launched by the President in 2012. It will continue through Veterans Day 2025.

“These four heroes—a Soldier, Airman, Marine and Sailor—made selfless sacrifices for all Americans,” Aylward said. “They represent all Vietnam Veterans—our Nation’s blood and treasure from a generation ago—who never received the gratitude and respect they so richly deserve. This Vietnam Veteran Lapel Pin is a lasting memento of our Nation’s thanks.”

For Copeland, the on-field honor will represent only the second time he has been publicly recognized for his service in Vietnam. The first was decades ago, when he received the Army Commendation Medal with V device.

“Vietnam Veterans were not treated well when they came home,” said Copeland, who was drafted in 1966 and served one tour in Vietnam. “I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t dwell on this. I went and did what I had to do and came home.”

This on-field moment, he said, isn’t just about him. It’s about all who served during the Vietnam era.

“I wish all Veterans could receive this for their service,” Copeland said.

The Exchange has been a Commemorative Partner with the Vietnam War Commemoration since 2013, planning and conducting events and activities that recognize Vietnam Veterans and their families. Since 2018, the Exchange has honored Vietnam Veterans with commemorative lapel pins in ceremonies at stores around the world on March 29, National Vietnam War Veterans Day.

The Exchange is a supporter of Army West Point Sports and Air Force Athletics. The Army Black Knights will battle against the Air Force Falcons at Globe Life Field, marking the first time the game has been played at a neutral location. The service academies have faced off on the football field every year since 1971.

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