St Marys Oracle –January 21, 2015
Newport Vet Killed in Vietnam Honored –
By John Armstrong
Burl Denton “Denny” Hewitt graduated from Newport High
School in 1964. He was born Aug. 14, 1946 in Newport to the late Burl Dale
Hewitt and Audra Clarice Hart Hewitt. Friday Jan 16, 46 years and 8 months
after he was killed in action on May 13, 1968 In Quang Ngai province in
Republic of South Vietnam, Cpl. Hewitt was honored for his service to the
Approximately 240 Newport Elementary Students, faculty,
family and friends were on hand to honor Hewitt.
Staff Sargent (SSG) Time Peterson of New Matamoras, a
Vietnam Veteran himself, was asked to speak at the service.
Sargent Paterson was drafted in 1967. He served in Vietnam
from May 1968-May 1969 as part of the Americal Division, 196 Light Infantry Brigade.
Peterson Volunteered for a 7 man Zapper team special operation and received a
Combat Infantry Badge (CIB) and Two Bronze Stars.
“We are here today to honor a fallen American hero thanks to
the efforts of individual in this community,” Peterson said.
Sargent Peterson was referring to Rema Robbins and her
husband Wayne who first got the idea when the 1962 Class picture was hung in
the Newport School.
“I would look at this picture on the wall and I just felt we
needed to honor him.” Rema explained following the service. “I finally
approached his brother about it and that set things into motion.”
“Denny was called to perform this military duties, which he
did.” Peterson stated.
Corporal Hewitt was enlisted as an infantryman through the
Selective Service Act (Draft) in to the United States Army. He served as an
11B10 in the Army and in one year of service, he attained the rank of CPL/E3.
Denny Hewitt began his tour of duty January 13, 1968 after
completing basic training at Fort Jackson, SC and Jungle training at Fort Polk,
“Something happened that was unprecedented in American
history,” Peterson told the assembly. “The honor and respect that returning
veterans had received in previous conflicts were not given to the Vietnam
Veterans. The country had grown weary of the war and the military personnel
were attacked personally be their peers during this era.”
“When I returned home, I put my uniform in the back of the
closet because I was ashamed to wear it.”
“We, (Vietnam Veterans) knew the personal sacrifices we had
made it Vietnam. We would greet one another by saying ‘welcome home’. The
mistakes of the past have been righted. The proof of that is in this ceremony
today honoring Denny Hewitt. I want to give Denny a heartfelt ‘welcome home’. Peterson
Peterson then spoke directly to his young audience.
“Young people, look at this family. This is the reality of
was. No one know what the future will hold. This could be your family someday.
Every casualty of was has real face behind it. And these are some of those
faces.” He said.
Immediate family members attending the ceremony at the
school were his brother Gary and his wife Peggy Hewitt of Newport, Richard and
wife Jody Hewitt of Newport, Sisters Patricia and husband Eddie Beavers of
Newport and Tammy Welch of Marietta.
Denny was a member of [the] Church of Christ. He was never
The flower arrangement for the cemetery was provided by
Sandra Binegar, Oopsa Daisy Florist in Newport.
Burl Denton Hewitt was a member of Company A, First
Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade,
Americal Div. U.S. Army.
Cpl Hewitt was awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star,
Vietnam Wall Panel 59e, line 23 of the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C.
“There are over 58,000 families of the Vietnam War that
share the same grief over the loss of a loved on as does the Hewitt family. Let
me personally Extend my gratitude and appreciation for Denny’ Hewitt’s ultimate
sacrifice while fighting for the Untied Stated of America. Thank you for giving
me the honor and privilege of speaking on this behalf today.” Peterson concluded.