STRASBURG – A Strasburg man was recognized for his military service during the Vietnam War at a ceremony on Friday.
Leonard Alsberry, 73, received a “Welcome Home” pin in a ceremony held at the Martinsburg VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The pins were provided by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and the ceremony was designated by President Barack Obama in 2012 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.
“It was really a blessing,” Alsberry said. “I can’t complain. I really enjoyed it and I got to share the moment with a couple of other Vietnam veterans.”
Simone Alsberry was happy to see her husband recognized for his service during the Vietnam War.
“It was one of the proudest moments of his life to be recognized,” she said. “It was a great deal of effort on his sister’s part to bring this all together.”
Simone Alsberry said it was great to also see the other veterans be recognized, including her husband's friend, Otis Fry.
“It was a great day,” she said.
Alsberry served in Vietnam as a part of the 33rd Ordnance Division in the Army from August 1966 to June 1968. His campaign took him from Saigon to Cam Rahn Bay in Vietnam.
“We supplied mortars and whatever [the soldiers] needed,” he said.
Alsberry said that his daily life in Vietnam was loading and unloading trucks full of munitions. He remembered that he would help unload 25 trucks-worth of munitions a day.
“They would come in from Saigon,” he said. “We’d unload [whatever was in the trucks] and another guy would be loading the trucks.”
One of the things Alsberry remembered from his time in Vietnam was the long hours he would put in.
“You got six hours of sleep and then you went on guard duty and worked your other job at the same time,” he said. “That took up a lot of energy.”
Alsberry’s brother John served in an infantry unit in the Army at the same time Leonard Alsberry was in Vietnam. He said that his brother arrived in Vietnam a month before he did.
“I never saw him while we were over there,” he said. “We just wrote letters to each other.”
While Leonard Alsberry served in Vietnam, his wife gave birth to the couple’s only child Kate.
“It was a great feeling knowing she was healthy with 10 toes and 10 fingers,” he said. “She was definitely well taken care of.”
After Leonard Alsberry’s tour came to an end in 1968, he returned home to Strasburg and immediately got a job at Viscose Fibers - later named Avtex Fibers - in Front Royal. Alsberry never returned to Vietnam.
“[Simone] didn’t want me to go back,” he said. “I did have quite a few buddies that did go back, especially from West Virginia. One of them came home and saw there were no jobs where he lived. He just went on back.”