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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 nation.

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, LA.

“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 stated.

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 married.

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.