March 29 is National Vietnam Veterans Day and Martinsburg VA is honored to share in the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War Commemoration.

This commemoration is significant to Martinsburg VA as we take the opportunity to recognize employee Sam Powell for his service in Vietnam.

Powell is a dedicated Facilities Management Service employee who has worked to serve his fellow Veterans as a senior design engineer for over 10 years. Powell sat down for a special podcast to share his story.

Vietnam Veteran Sam Powell

100 reconnaissance missions in unarmed Cessna

Powell explained that he was drafted and sent to intelligence training. He was soon sent to Vietnam and flew over 100 low-level reconnaissance missions in a small, unarmed Cessna plane.

Always vulnerable to ground fire, Powell said that “The only weapon we had was surprise.” His unit’s motto was Search, Detect, Identify, and his work provided vital intelligence to U.S. commanders about enemy movements and activities in the areas he flew to.

Forever grateful to all Vietnam-era Veterans

“You’re still carrying that on your shoulders,” he said. “I knew why I was there, and the enemy knew why I was there.” His experience still affects him to this day, but looking back, Powell said that his time spent in Vietnam makes him appreciate everything in life a little more.

The Martinsburg VA Medical Center is forever grateful to all Vietnam-era Veterans for their service and sacrifice.

Be sure to follow to listen to the full podcast when it premiers on March 29.

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