PRINCETON — Local Vietnam War veterans whose sacrifices did not become apparent until that war was over are being recognized in October for making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Almost 600 Vietnam veterans, including 12 from West Virginia, will be inducted Oct. 15 into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s (VVMF) In Memory Program for 2020. The program honors veterans whose lives were cut short as a result of their service after they returned home from Vietnam.
The VVMF will host its 2020 In Memory ceremony on the East Knoll of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., where the names of each of the 591 honorees for 2020 will be read aloud. The ceremony was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The late John Carl Blaylock, Sr. of Princeton and the late Raymond Osval Beverly of McDowell County will be among the 2020 Vietnam veterans being honored. Both men served in the Army.
A second ceremony will be conducted Oct. 16 at the same location to induct the Memory Program’s 2021 inductees, according to the VVMF. The almost 400 Vietnam veterans to be honored during that ceremony will include the late James Henry Rose of Princeton, who served in the Army.
Louise Beverly-Blaylock of Princeton, the wife of John Carl Blaylock Sr. and the sister of Raymond Beverly, said that both her husband and brother were exposed to dioxin, better known as the defoliant Agent Orange, during their service in Vietnam.
Both of their deaths were directly linked to being sprayed with Agent Orange, she said. Her family learned about the Memory Program and decided to get John and Raymond’s names added to the list of Vietnam veterans being honored in 2020.
“We had to get a lot of information together and the death certificates, so it was a long and lengthy ordeal,” she recalled. “But we just wanted something to memorialize them and acknowledge their service to their country, and the price they paid for it.”
John Carl “Johnny” Blaylock Sr. passed away on April 20, 2011 at the age of 62 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina after a long fight against cancer. Born Nov. 16, 1948, he was the oldest child of Carl Buster Blaylock and Neville Mullens (both deceased), according to the memorial’s profile.
He worked at the Capels Coal Mine for 14 years and later worked at the Princeton Post Office and the Princeton Detention Center, according to his memorial’s profile. He was a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the American Legion and the United Mine Workers of America.
Raymond Osval “Red” Beverly of Pineville was born Nov. 18, 1942, the third of five children of Bert Beverly and Esther Cook Beverly. His brothers were David and Douglas and his sisters were Shelby Jean (husband, James Sites) and Louise (husband, John Blaylock). Raymond was born and raised in a small town, Wolfpen, between Pineville and Welch where his paternal grandparents, Kelly (J.K.) Beverly and Mariah Ford Beverly, operated the post office and a general store, according to his profile.
Beverly grew up hunting in the surrounding mountains and became a sniper when he was drafted into the Army. He received the Army Commendation Medal while serving with the 4th Infantry Division near Pleiku, Vietnam, according to the profile. He earned the award for meritorious service as a rifleman in Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion of the division’s 8th Infantry.
Beverly passed away on Aug. 13, 2009 at the age of 66.
James H. Rose was born Feb. 20, 1949 in McDowell County, according to his profile. He spent most of his growing up years in foster care determined when he got old enough that he would make something of himself. In 1967, he quit high school and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was sent to Germany and then on to Vietnam.
Returning home, Rose married Sharon Jane Smith, having no children. There were no jobs available to veterans at this time, he reenlisted and was again sent to Germany. He achieved the rank of sergeant, according to his profile. After leaving the Army he worked at various jobs until 1989 when he was hired to be a West Virginia service officer for the Veterans Affairs at which he worked for 18 years until his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) forced him to retire early. His first wife died in 1993, and he married Carol Jean Walker, who had two sons.
In October 2019, Rose was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away on March 17, 2020.
“For many Vietnam veterans, coming home from Vietnam was just the beginning of a whole new fight. Many never fully recovered, either physically or emotionally, from their experiences. As these veterans pass, it is our duty and solemn promise to welcome them home to the place that our nation has set aside to remember our Vietnam veterans,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF.
The plaque that honors the veterans was dedicated as a part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial site in 2004. It reads: In Memory of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War and later died as a result of their service. We honor and remember their sacrifice.
To learn more about the VVMF, visit www.vvmf.org or call 202-393-0090.
Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline. com