Presentation of the Reunion Flag
Every year we present the Reunion Flag to a worthy member of our group. Someone whose support and commitment to the bond we hold for each other and the well-being of our veterans. This year is no exception. The person chosen this year is Roger Shiley and unfortunately he can’t be here today.
Roger joined the Florida National Guard in 1956 while he was a junior in high school. In 1960, his company commander convinced him to attend OCS at Ft. Benning, Georgia. He graduated from OCS and returned to the National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant. In March 1965, he applied for active duty. Initially his application was rejected as the Army did not need any company grade officers. But in October of 1965, with Vietnam heating up the Army approved his application.
He reported to Ft Gordon Georgia to attend the Signal Corps Officer Basic Course and from there he was sent to Vietnam. He had just been promoted to Captain when he went to Vietnam, and was assigned to the 18th Signal Detachment (Technical Intelligence) in Saigon. His detachment processed all captured communication equipment and translated captured enemy documents.
After his tour was complete he attended flight school becoming a helicopter pilot. His second tour was as commanding officer of Avel Central at Phu Loi. Avel Central had one soldier with a master's degree, six that had a bachelor's degree, and seven that had, at least, one year of college. Needless to say this presented its own set of challenges for a commanding officer with two years of college credit.
After his second tour he was able to finish his college degree. He remained in the Army until his retirement after serving a total of 31 years. During his career he commanded units from the size of a 14-man detachment to a battalion that had over 1,400 soldiers.
During his career he was awarded the Legion of Merit, two Bronze Stars, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Air Medals and several Commendation Medals.
Roger has been a strong supporter of our reunions and attended the first one in 2010. He has been a strong advocate of veteran Agent Orange issues and has helped many of our veterans obtain their proper benefits.
He lost his wife, Jane earlier this year. She was a wonderful woman who attended all of our reunions. Roger had some health issues of his own recently and was forced to cancel his attendance here a few days before the reunion.
Roger, thank you for all you have done for us. Welcome Home.