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#VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Dale Throneberry

Vietnam Veteran and “Veterans Radio” cofounder Dale Throneberry hosts a weekly broadcast to feature Veterans’ “stories of struggle, sacrifice and success in and out of military service.” Regular fare includes a Veterans Benefits Hour on the last Sunday of each month, when an expert panel is on hand to answer called-in questions and offer free guidance on what benefits are available and how to claim them.

Throneberry’s time in the Army, from 1967 to 1971, was during the Vietnam War. He was convinced that “If you were in the military, you have this certain thing that’s kind of in your soul, that you can relate to the other guys, because you know that they went through the same thing. Or women. It’s this common bond that you have.” Believing that this bond helps Veterans and those in the military open up, Throneberry offers his Veteran-run radio station as an understanding environment. It’s also where he first heard stories about his own father earning a Bronze Star in World War II.

Throneberry received his draft notice in 1967, after growing up on the Jersey Shore and dropping out of school. He immediately went down to the local military recruiting offices and joined the Army as a helicopter pilot. Following basic training in Fort Polk, Louisiana, he learned how to fly the Bell UH-1 Iroquois helicopters (Hueys) at Fort Rucker, Alabama, before shipping off to Vietnam in December 1968. He flew 1,142 hours in Vietnam over the next year with the 195th Assault Helicopter Company.

Known as Skychief 20, Throneberry flew as air commander for the first time on April 8, 1969. He flew special forces into Cambodia, made frequent landings at the previously-targeted Ton Son Nhut Air Base and managed to land his helicopter in an enemy-surrounded rice paddy after an engine was shot out.

Throneberry returned from Vietnam as a Chief Warrant Officer 2, becoming an instructor for replacement pilots at the Aviation School in Fort Rucker until his discharge in May 1971. His last flight was on April 8. From 1973 to 1975, he used the G.I. Bill to obtain a BA in education and a MA in communication from the University of Michigan.

When Throneberry heard wartime stories from fellow Veterans who had never shared their experiences before, he wanted to create a radio platform to connect, support and provide a voice for those in the military and for Veterans. He and two other Veterans began broadcasting “Veterans Radio” on Nov. 15, 2003, in a tiny radio station in Ypsilanti, Michigan, before expanding across eastern, central and pacific time zones. The station also holds a yearly Salute Heroes event appreciating Veterans and active-duty military.

Throneberry lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he teaches at Washtenaw Community College and is a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America. He continues hosting “Veterans Radio” and related events to enable the healing that he believes more-open discourse provides.

We honor his service.

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Writer: Michelle A. Shade

Editors: Ashley Shaut, Mary Margaret Brennan

Researcher: John Bergstrom

Graphic Designer: Leon Saul

This post, #VeteranOfTheDay Army Veteran Dale Throneberry, was originally published by the Veteran's Administration.

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6 days ago

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