Posted: Friday, August 21, 2009 12:44 pm
The Messenger, August 21, 2009
At a meeting of the Obion County Commission Monday, Messenger reporter John Brannon addressed the commission and presented two items to County Mayor Benny McGuire — an aluminum spoon and a framed copy of The Stars & Stripes newspaper dated Saturday, Nov. 18, 1944.
McGuire plans to have both items on permanent display at the Obion County Courthouse.
Both items came from Vietnam veterans who flew missions over Laos with Brannon.
The aluminum spoon was provided by Tom Kerner of Chicopee, Mass. A social studies teacher in public schools, he has used summer breaks to visit Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam on several occasions. On one such visit, he found aluminum spoons, forks, knives and plates being sold in a village market. A guide told him they were once part of a U.S. aircraft. “The locals would go to a crash site and harvest the aluminum from a helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, melt it down and make these things,” Kerner told Brannon in a letter.
The Stars & Stripes newspaper was provided by Robert Vybrenner of Tamaqua, Pa. His father, the late Joseph S. Vybrenner, was among a combat engineer force that went onto Utah beach on D-Day 1944.
Vybrenner sent Brannon three copies of the Stars & Stripes and one copy of The Army Times, all of which were published in December 1944 in Europe.
The newspapers were recently discovered. Each is in good condition.
Obion County Commission