- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) - Eighteen former fighter pilots have journeyed to an unfinished memorial at a park in northeast Nebraska and honored those who died in the service of their country during the Vietnam War.

During a reunion of their 174th Tactical Fighter Squadron last week they remembered those who didn’t come back from Southeast Asia.

“One of the guys we lost in Vietnam is on the wall right here,” said Dick Pietro, referring to a polished black granite wall that contained the name of Warren Brown, the lone 174th pilot to be killed in action. The name of another member of the unit, Harold Berg, is also on the wall. He died in an accident in Vietnam.

The wall is a half size replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., and is being erected as part of the still-unfinished Siouxland Freedom Park in South Sioux City.

The veterans who had made the pilgrimage had all flown missions for the 174th, which was part of the 185th Tactical Fighter Group. The 185th has been reconstituted as the 185th Air Refueling Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard and is based in Sioux City, Iowa.



The wall has already drawn other visitors to the park, which is still rounding into shape for its May 28 dedication ceremony. The park has been a dream of local residents since the traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial stopped in South Sioux City in 2007.

Mike Newhouse, president of Siouxland Freedom Park Inc., said it’s hoped that ground will be broken this summer on a 12,000-square-foot interpretive center. The group needs $1.5 million more to finish the park, which he said was “a diamond in the rough that we’re polishing daily.”

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