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Vietnam Vets awarded diplomas from Joliet Township High School

12/22/2015, 10:32 p.m.
Two Joliet Central alumni who left their classrooms to serve their country in Vietnam were awarded high school diplomas by ...

Two Joliet Central alumni who left their classrooms to serve their country in Vietnam were awarded high school diplomas by the Joliet Township High School Board of Education recently.

Donald S. Boyer and Gregory Earl Warren received diplomas presented by Board President Jeff Pierson, Superintendent Dr. Cheryl McCarthy and Alumni Director Lynne Lichtenauer.

“The district has been awarding diplomas to our veterans since the close of the JTHS centennial year as part of the national program “Operation Recognition,”’ said Lichtenauer.

“One day these veterans were young students carrying textbooks and the next, they were carrying weapons,” she said, adding, “The sacrifices they made changed their lives and made ours better.”

“This year, 2015, marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War,” said Lichtenauer. “We honor and give great thanks to all our Vietnam veterans for their courage and sacrifice on behalf of each of us.”

About the recipients:

Donald S. Boyer – Mr. Boyer would have graduated with the class of 1969 from Joliet Central had he not enlisted in the US Army in 1968 and later deployed to Vietnam which Mr. Boyer refers to as “his senior trip.”

Don was a Combat Engineer disarming mines and booby traps. He earned the rank of Sgt. E-6 after serving for 9 years with the Army.

After Vietnam, Don taught explosive demolition to West Point cadets where he was voted best instructor earning him the Commandant’s Award.

Included among Don’s medals are the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal Marksman M14.

Don is District Commander of VFW Post 9545 and every Wednesday he oversees a support group for veterans at the Joliet Armory.

To always remind him of the sacrifice that was made, Don wears a bracelet that bears the number 58,479 which is the number of soldiers that were killed in the Vietnam War.

Gregory Earl Warren – Gregory would have graduated with the Joliet Central Class of 1968 but instead enlisted in the US Marines Corps in December of 1967. He earned the rank of Lance Corporal E-3 and served as a rifleman with the Infantry First Marine Division.

On December 1, 1968, he was in the D’nang Quay Nam Province where he was seriously wounded by a land mine that killed his friend and another nearby fellow soldier.

For his service on the battlefield, Gregory received the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnamese Service Medal with three bronze stars, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Presidential Unit Citations with Ribbon Bar and Bronze Star.

He was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps on December 12, 1973.