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Vets Plan Vietnam War Museum
old Army fort has spawned a growing campaign to build a national Vietnam
War museum in North Texas. Thousands of Vietnam helicopter pilots learned
to fly at Fort Wolters near Mineral Wells.
pilots think it's a perfect spot to reflect and learn about the war.
they ever flew over the jungles of Southeast Asia, helicopter pilots
buzzed the rocky countryside of Parker and Palo Pinto Counties.
all Vietnam helicopter pilots trained at Fort Wolters. Five years ago,
some of those pilots gave wings to the idea that this would be a fitting
place for a national Vietnam War museum.
Messinger did two tours in helicopters in Vietnam. He'd like his next
tour to be through an educational Vietnam museum.
our main entrance way. Through the museum, come back out here facing
the reflecting pool," said Messinger.
says the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association launched the concept.
Two years it ago bought land for the museum off highway 180 west of
Weatherford. A few months ago, they started a nationwide fund raising
campaign with help from Senator John McCain and actor Harrison Ford
who hosted a documentary. The associations goal is $20-milllion.
tired of Vietnam memorials. We want and educational museum to teach
people something, going to a memorial is not enough. You need to learn
about the Vietnam era, the war, what happened and why," said Messinger.
an uphill battle. The war itself remains a painful memory. And the site
is not in a city close to a large population center. Messinger remains
undaunted. After all, he's been in tough spots before.
we can do that, I think we can do this," said Messinger. "It's
much more difficult than what we're trying to do here."
hope to open their museum in 2004. That's not much time to raise $20-million.
If that sounds impossible, the Veteran pilots who are doing it will
tell you they've had tougher missions.
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