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Huntington seeks reunion for wartime women's group

The Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located

The Suffolk County Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located on the top of Breakneck Hill Overlook in Farmingville. It was constructed in 1971-1972. (July 14, 2011) (Credit: Carl Corry)

The Town of Huntington is hoping for a reunion this month for a wartime women’s group who kept alive the memories of Huntington’s soldiers killed in Vietnam.

The town is seeking surviving members of Women in Support of Our Men in Vietnam, along with any service members who received the care packages of socks, smoked hams and other comforts that the group regularly sent during the war.

Women in Support of Our Men in Vietnam was founded in 1966, and was behind the creation of the first living memorial to the fallen soldiers — 43 Kwanzan cherry trees planted on the village green at Park Avenue and Main Street.

The reunion is scheduled to take place during the town’s Memorial Day wreath ceremony on May 27 at Veterans Plaza in front of Town Hall.

In addition to planting the grove, which was expanded by six trees in 2010 to recognize soldiers who were declared missing or later killed, Women in Support of Our Men in Vietnam sponsored lectures and blood drives and collected signatures in support of prisoners of war.

The group disbanded in 1973, after the release of Air Force Capt. David E. Baker, a Huntington native who was held prisoner of war after his plane was shot down over Cambodia.

A 25th anniversary reunion of the group was held in 1997, and members estimated at that time there were only 30 of their group left in Huntington, down from the wartime peak of 400. The group’s founder and president, Joy Wellman, who now lives in Florida, is scheduled to attend.

Members of the group and Vietnam veterans who received the packages are asked to call Carol Rocco, the town’s coordinator of veterans services, at 631-351-3012.

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