Side A:Piqua's Vietnam Home Front
Local views on the Vietnam War mirrored national attitudes of pride and confusion. Piqua citizens participated in the "Letters for Life" campaign in 1970 for prisoners of war. Piqua Daily Call assistant news editor James W. DeWeese traveled to Paris in a frustrated attempt to deliver the letters to the Hanoi Peace delegation. The state activated the local Ohio National Guard unit in 1970 to help suppress anti-Vietnam student rioting in Columbus. The military conflict came home in 1966 when William Pitsenbarger became the first of eleven men from Piqua to die in Vietnam. In 1967, Piqua High School graduate Air Force Major William J. Baugh was shot down over North Vietnam and taken prisoner. He remained a P.O.W. until 1973.
Side B: William H. Pitsenbarger
William H. Pitsenbarger graduated from the Piqua High School in 1962 and joined the Air Force in 1963. After extensive training he qualified for Air Force Pararescue duty. In Vietnam, Pitsenbarger served on more than 250 combat missions to rescue individuals, including saving a South Vietnamese soldier from a burning mine field, for which he was awarded the Airman's Medal. On April 11, 1966, Pitsenbarger volunteered for a helicopter medical evacuation mission. When the rescue mission came under Viet Cong fire, the helicopter became disabled and withdrew. Pitsenbarger stayed on the ground to help the wounded. He was killed in action saving the lives of others. He was awarded the Medal of Honor on December 8, 2000.
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