Vietnam Guest Speakers

Guest Speaker Richard Lorenz, said a “ a hero is someone who does something extraordinary.”  On Wednesday April 27th my classes at South Western High School had the privilege to have to local Heroes speak about the experiences in the Vietnam War.  William Fissel and Richard Lorenz presented to my 11th grade American History Classes.

One of the guest speakers was William Fissel, a South Western graduate, class of 1964.  He is a long time resident of Hanover whose children and grandchildren are proud Mustangs. He along with other SW classmates were drafted to fight in Vietnam in 1967. Mr. Fissel was part of the “Mekong Delta River Rats.” This was a joint venture with the Navy and the Army.  He provided critical aid and supplies to soldiers in the form of defense, c-rations, and military supplies.

The second guest speaker was Richard Lorenz, a grandfather of a current South Western junior.  Mr. Lorenz was on active duty in the USAF in October 1965 at the height of the build up in Vietnam.  He was selected to serve as an aircraft maintenance officer.  He was actively involved in two activities critical to the mission in Vietnam – the air rescue of downed pilots using a specially equipped C-130 and aerial delivery systems to deliver supplies to field army units.  His unit was apart of the “Blind Bat” mission.  This unit conducted night flare missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail over Laos and Cambodia in an effort to detect and stop North Vietnamese troops that were entering South Vietnam.

Both Mr. Fissel and Mr. Lorenz spoke about their phenomenal experiences of the trials and tribulations in the Vietnam. War.  Students learned about advanced Air Force technology, fighting during the war, and personal stories about local graduates killed in action, as well as the residual effects of the war that are still experienced today. Mrs. Seideman said “although we strive to provide the best instructional experiences we can for our students, we cannot replicate the experiences Mr. Fissel and Mr. Lorenz presented.”

There were many positive comments about the quality of their presentations. Junior Breanna Ruppert said, “I really appreciated the fact that you came and allowed us to learn from your first hand experiences instead of just learning from text books and etc.”  Junior Haley Brigs said, “It made the whole thing much more real and personal, seeing people who actually went through it and saw all we talked about. I think it’s terrible the ways some were treated when they came home, regardless of if us as Americans agree with war or not you did an incredible thing fighting over seas for us and for those you were told to help and protect.” Mr. Fissel and Mr. Lorenz are a true inspiration to all and their contributions are greatly appreciated! Thank you for serving our country and we are proud to call you a hero.

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