By Dick Martin
War movies and books about men in combat often depict the plight of new recruits and their tendency to quickly become casualties. Combat relies on instincts that come from experience. Lee Merchen was keenly aware of this as he spent most of his tour in Vietnam, honing his skills and instincts as a helicopter pilot. As the war receded, a surplus of helicopter pilots developed and Lee was assigned to his detail branch, the artillery. He was then attached to an infantry unit as a forward observer. This new position required Lee to develop an entirely new set of skills and instincts; something that was rarely required of the troops in Vietnam.
This web page is a work in progress. It has been created through the donated efforts of Laura Genant Martin, Dick Martin, and Jim Hornstra. When Laura was made aware of what we needed, she took the initiative to research and educate herself on how to create a web site to identify, respect and honor the military veterans in Springfield. The web site had to be easy to navigate and had to provide the viewer a method of providing feedback. Most of the written material has been provided by Dick Martin over the past couple of years with some important contributions from others, i.e. Jim Kirk. Jim Hornstra has been the reliable source as he has been the collector of information concerning Springfield Veterans and has provided Laura much of what has gone into the web site.