Veterans from 22 states gathered for a memorable reunion

Over 100 Vietnam veterans gathered at the Rushmore hotel for the Counterparts reunion.
Published: May. 7, 2023 at 12:27 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Vietnam military combat advisor veterans from 22 different states made the journey to the Rushmore State for a reunion that only happens once every year.

About 100 former military combat advisors gathered for the Counterparts Reunion at the Rushmore Hotel. The reunion is a way for the veterans to catch up with each other, as many of them were deployed to remote areas supported only by Vietnamese forces as part of MACV teams. Those teams’ job is to support a more active U.S. operational effort in the war against communist insurgents in South Vietnam.

“For some of us, it’s closure of what happened over there and just to get together and have a good time and reflect and see how they are mentally as well as physically,” said Vietnam Counterparts Group executive officer Henry “Hank” Choy.

“It’s just nice to get together once a year with everybody and commemorate our different things we did over in Vietnam and how our lives are going here in the US. Sometimes we have good suggestions on how to fix something or whatever,” said a retired MACV advisor Gary Rice.

In addition to checking up on each other, a retired US Army colonel said that having this reunion is a way for the older generation to inspire the younger folks.

“Sharing that with the junior guys because they’ve got to pass the torch. I’m the youngest guy here, and I’ve served 30 years. So, the younger folks we’ve got right now, you know we’re failing in our recruiting missions across all services; we’ve got to bring in the next generation, and that’s what’s important about these guys as our senior mentors,” said retired US Army colonel Denton Knapp.

The MACV teams, which served within South Vietnam’s 44 provinces and over 200 districts, were assigned to ARVN divisions, which operated in several provinces.