The FB-111 on New York Road in Plattsburgh flew into the Lake City in 1972 and was flown by veterans who still live in the area.
The North Country Veterans’ Association began with three members and operated out of a van, and now they’re doing everything they can to help out veterans in the North Country.
“I deployed with the 111’s out of Nellis air force base in Las Vegas, Nevada to Vietnam in 1972, finished off the war over there, though we were assigned in Thailand where we were still classified as Vietnam in country,” said Robert Jean, a Vietnam veteran who is part of the veterans’ association.
The association started as the North Country Vietnam Veterans’ Association, but changed their name to be more inclusive to all veterans.
The building in West Chazy has a food shelf, winter clothes, and other resources for veterans in the area.
“My first active assignment was here in Plattsburgh, in 1964,” said Doyle Frost. January of ‘64, that old B-47 sitting out there, I worked on her the day she came for her last flight.”
The air force has a long history in Plattsburgh, where the air force base opened in 1955; and many veterans in the area today served at the base when it was open.
“I spent 27 years in the air force, I have two different combat tours in Vietnam, two different airplanes, C-130 then the KC-135, I was also in long enough to do Gulf 1, I was over there for 9 months,” said Joe McNichols.
McNichols helps run the air force museum in Plattsburgh and spoke about what it means to be part of the veterans association.
“That’s the thing you miss the most about the military is the camaraderie aspect of it,” he said. “You know you have your buddies, and your fellow aviators, it doesn’t exist anymore with the base being gone.”
The Association welcomes any veteran from the North Country to join along with their families, and get help if they need it.
Any help that is asked for will remain anonymous, so people aren’t discouraged from seeking the help they need. More information about how to help the association and local veterans can be found at ncvva.com and http://www.plattsburghafbmuseum.org/.