Congressman Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) last week handed over 12 interviews of Valley veterans - including Walt Butler of Ceres - to the Library of Congress as part of the Veterans History Project, with remarks from the Librarian of Congress and Veterans History Project director.
The Veterans History Project was created through an act of Congress in 2000 and invites veterans from conflicts ranging from World War I to the Iraq War to share their story through audio or visual interviews, memoirs or photographic documentation for archival with the Library of Congress.
Denham and his staff recorded stories from 12 veterans living in his district, with excerpts from 11 shared on his Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages as part of his #TVT initiative. Thank-a-Vet Thursday (#TVT) is a social media initiative Denham created to spotlight and thank veterans for their service.
Denham interviewed Butler with a one-minute, 10-second snippet viewable on YouTube by searching for #TVT Walt Butler. Former Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Butler recounted his early days in the Navy and his basic training experience over his winter break as a senior in high school. He later served in combat during the Vietnam War.
Other veterans interviewed were:
· World War II Veteran Robert Allenby, 93, who recounts his time in "A-school" and his first assignment to a secret squadron working on radio controlled drones.
· Former Seaman Sandy Placencia who describes building the newly-authorized rockets aboard the USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
· Retired U.S. Army Captain Sue Max who recounts her struggle to reintegrate into civilian life after returning from service in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
· Retired Rear Admiral and almond farmer Mike Seward who tells of his arrival in Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope with the U.S. Coast Guard.
·Veteran Al Menshew remembers hearing the U.S. was at war. He shipped out to Korea for six months shortly after.
· Retired U.S. Army Specialist and Afghanistan combat veteran Jack Griffith who shares his pride for his country and offers advice to future generations.
· Vietnam veteran Ron Cruz who shares the ‘Welcome Home' plaque given to him by his wife.
· Marine Jerry Macias, a Vietnam War veteran, remembers using what he could find on the ground to help him see movement in the pitch black of night. Jerry later was awarded a Navy Commendation medal for putting his life on the line to help a squad of Marines overtake enemy guns.
· Larry "Butch" Teague shares photos and recounts his arrival in Vietnam as a marine at age 18.
· Roy Lee Haury, a Korean War combat veteran, recounts his introduction to night vision while deployed and Denham presenting him with his brother's missing Purple Heart at the World War II memorial during an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. Haury's brother, Marvin, died in World War II.
Rep. Denham invites and encourages social media users to post words of gratitude, photos or videos of veterans in their community using #TVT to recognize and raise awareness of the great history of the nation's armed services and servicemembers.