NewsCovering Kentucky


Ceremony To Honor Berea Soldier Who Disappeared In Vietnam War

Posted at 7:19 AM, Jan 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-05 07:19:23-05

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — A man who made the ultimate sacrifice will be honored Saturday for his bravery and service in Vietnam.

It’s been 50 years since Capt. Hugh “Mac” Byrd and Lt. Kevin O’Brien last were heard from.

Their plane is believed to have gone down Jan. 9, 1969, in rugged, heavily forested mountains.

Byrd was the pilot on a visual reconnaissance mission. He had radioed that weather conditions were deteriorating and the plane was low on fuel. Eventually, transmissions stopped.

Search operations lasted several days but the pair’s remains never have been found.

On Saturday, the organization Rolling Thunder will place a wreath in Byrd’s honor at Berea Cemetery as a reminder that decades later he is not forgotten.

“The Vietnam-era, they didn’t get a very good welcome home,” said Todd Matonich, a member of Rolling Thunder’s Kentucky chapter. “For the ones that did come home, and for the ones that were left behind MIA POW, it’s important for us to remember them.”

Byrd’s sister will make the trip from Virginia for the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. Members of his unit in Vietnam also are expected to attend. The public also is invited to come and show their support.