COLUMBUS- On Friday, a Waverly Vietnam War veteran was inducted posthumously into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame.
Capt. Everett Dennis Keaton received a Silver Star for gallantry in action, ultimately sacrificing himself for another man in his company. Serving in the U.S. Army, Keaton was the Commanding Officer of Company E, 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division.
Now, more than 50 years after his heroic act, Keaton joined the Valor Class of 2021 and the 437 inductees since the hall’s foundation in 2000.
Ted Mosure, a Vietnam veteran and President of the Ohio Military Hall of Fame, presented Keaton’s wife, Betty Keaton, with the accommodation.
“Although mortally wounded by the explosion, Captain Keaton saved the life of one of his own men,” he said at the event held at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium. “Captain Keaton’s heroic actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.”
On Jan. 20, 1970, Keaton led his company through a dense, jungle area within proximity of Long An Province in the Republic of South Vietnam. He suspected the area of being heavily booby-trapped, so he moved just behind the point man for the security of his fellow man.
As Mosure told the crowd, the point man tripped a wire leading to an explosive device as they made their way to a woodline. Instantly recognizing the sound of a grenade being activated, Keaton pushed him out of the way of the explosion and shielded his comrade from the blast with his own body.
For his sacrifice, his fellow soldiers subsequently renamed their base camp in Vietnam Camp Keaton in his honor. Keaton is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Gov. Mike DeWine served as the event’s keynote speaker, calling it an honor to recognize this year’s 15 inductees.
“We’re eternally grateful to you, we’re eternally grateful to your families,” he said to the medal recipients and their families.
Joining Keaton were:
This year’s class of 15 inductees includes:
- W. Wallace Stover (Posthumous), Army, WWII, Distinguished Service Cross, born in Columbus.
- Robert J. Labadie, Army, Vietnam, Silver Star, entered service from Westerville.
- Barry D. Smith, Army, Vietnam, Silver Star, entered service from Lancaster.
- Jesse L. Brown, (Posthumous), Navy, Korea, Distinguished Flying Cross, born in Mississippi, entered service from Columbus, first black Navy Aviator.
- William J. Craine (Posthumous), Army, WWII, Bronze Star, entered from Columbus Shamus O. Goare (Posthumous), Army, Operation Enduring Freedom, Air Medal with “V” Device, entered service from Danville, Ohio.
- Jerry H. Durre, Army, Vietnam, Commendation Medal with “V”, lives in Gahanna.
- Glenn T. Lewis, Army, Vietnam, Commendation Medal with “V”, lives in Newark.
With his induction, Keaton also joins fellow Pike County and Vietnam veteran Capt. Roy N. McCann, Air Force, as members of the Ohio Military Hall of Fame.
McCann was inducted in 2016 with a Distinguished Flying Cross, following his contribution during the March, 5, 1971 air raids over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos.
Flying an AC-130 Gunship, he encountered antiaircraft fire and positioned the aircraft over each target, programming his Fire Control Computer to place his ordnance as close to the target as possible.
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