Cedar Springs will honor past and present veterans with the landing of a Chinook Helicopter at Skinner Field on Veteran’s Day, November 11 and a special memorial service at Veteran’s Memorial Park.
CW3 Instructor Pilot Timothy Miller, Army National Guard, based at Selfridge Army Base near Mount Clemens, and five other pilots will man the helicopter scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. at the field located adjacent to Morley Park in downtown Cedar Springs. It will be on display for the general public following the landing.
The twin engine, tandem rotor Chinook Helicopter was first used by the U.S. Army in Vietnam to transport ground forces, supplies, ammunition and other battle critical cargo in combat and other operations. It is being brought to Cedar Springs through the efforts of resident Wayne L. Price and City Manager Christine Burns.
Price’s brother, 2nd Lt. Jack L. Price, was killed July 16, 1969 in South Vietnam while piloting a Chinook Helicopter on a test flight. Price had been in his 10th year of service in the U.S. Army and on his second tour of duty in South Vietnam when he lost his life.
Over the years Wayne Price had met with several soldiers who served with his brother gleaning what information he could regarding his brother’s death and in 2003 created two online memorial sites. Through them he got in touch with others who had served with his brother. One of those contacts led him to a Chinook instructor pilot based at the Selfridge Army National Guard Base in Michigan. Through that pilot Timothy Miller’s efforts and Burns, who submitted a request to the Pentagon for permission for the helicopter to be flown to Cedar Springs, Price’s wish to honor his brother and all veterans will be realized.
“I want this event to pay honor to all those who gave their lives for our country, to those who have served and to all those now serving to keep our country free,” said Wayne Price. “I understandably also want this event to pay special honor to my brother Jack. It’s been 42 years since his death and I miss what could have been.”
Price and his wife June, along with Jack’s widow, Darlene and members from the American Legion Post 287, the Cedar Springs High School Band, the Cedar Springs’ Ministerial Association, the Cedar Springs Historical Society and Dan Brown, uncle of fallen Cedar Springs soldier Timothy Brown formed the Cedar Springs Veteran’s Memorial Remembrance Committee. They have coordinated events to take place November 11.
Events to take place following the landing of the helicopter at 11:00 a.m. feature a special military display at the Cedar Springs Historical Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as a memorial remembrance service at Veteran’s Memorial Park at 1:00 p.m., including a prelude by the Cedar Springs High School Band; an invocation, an Armistice Day History, guest speaker Tom Noreen, U.S. Army Colonel, a firing squad and benediction.