The approaching induction into the Ohio Military Hall of Fame, set for Friday at the Ohio Statehouse Atrium, includes several residents and former residents of Southwestern Ohio.
The 24th annual induction ceremony for the Class of 2023 is slated to start at 11:30 a.m. that day. The public is invited to attend.
Scheduled to be inducted are George Boyette IV, of Xenia; Mark Deam, of Sidney; and David Kass, formerly of Fairfield. Also to be inducted are Ron Marks, who entered the service from Dayton and lives today in Texas, and Rhonda L.S. Cornum, who was born in Dayton, according to the Hall of Fame. Robert Rice, who was killed in action while serving in Vietnam, and Roger See, of Springfield, are also slated to be inducted.
Mike Rice is the younger brother of Robert Rice. The Rice family lived in Springfield when Robert Rice entered the service. The younger Rice will attend the ceremony on behalf of his brother and his family.
The elder Rice was commissioned an Army officer on graduating from Xavier University.
“He had only been over there (in Vietnam) a few months when he was killed by a mortar,” said Mike Rice, who is a Army veteran himself — he worked as a aviation crew chief on Army helicopters — and still works as a civilian at Fort Bragg today.
The elder Rice was only 23 when he died.
“My brother, he always had the desire to be in the Army,” Mike Rice said. Their father and grandfather also served in the military.
Younger sisters and a brother — Martha and Carol, with Stephen — still live in Springfield, he said.
‘Complete disregard for his personal safety’
Roger See received a Silver Star for his service in the Army from 1966 to 1969. He said he served in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 and was nominated for the Silver Star by his then-company commander.
“It’s almost one of those things where you had to be there,” See said Monday when asked how he came to be nominated for the Silver Star.
According to a citation See shared with this news outlet, See and three others in May 1968 crawled under heavy fire across 50 meters of open rice paddies to arrive within hand grenade-throwing range of enemy bunkers while in a combat operation in Vietnam.
“With complete disregard for his personal safety, he (See) personally neutralized the enemy strongpoint, killing six of the enemy and enabling the troop to continue its advance,” the July 1968 citation reads.
The 24 honorees in this year’s overall Hall of Fame class include veterans with service in the Army, Army Air Corps, Marine Corps and Navy.
“These remarkable Ohioans have all gone above and beyond the call of duty and performed heroically in specific combat actions against armed enemies of the United States of America,” the Hall of Fame said in an announcement. “For their actions, members of this class have received such commendations as the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with ‘V’ device, the Commendation Medal with ‘V’ device and Navy Achievement Medal with ‘V’ device.”
This year’s ceremony will bring the total number of Ohio Military Hall of Fame recipients to 481 from all around Ohio.
This year’s inductees have connections to Athens, Butler, Clark, Columbiana, Darke, Delaware, Fayette, Franklin, Greene, Logan, Montgomery, Morgan, Ross and Shelby counties.
Of those, 14 were awarded the Medal of Honor, including Col. Paris D. Davis, who served as an Army captain in Vietnam, and received his award in March from President Biden in Washington D.C.
The Ohio Military Hall of Fame for Valor was established in 2000 to recognize Ohio servicemen and women who were decorated for heroism while in combat situations.
For more information, visit www.ohioheroes.org.