BY MELANIE BUCK –
Members of the Mena Lions Club welcomed a Vietnam Veteran to their most recent meeting. Billy R. Wood, retired Army Veteran with more than 5,000 helicopter flight hours told stories of his time in Vietnam. Wood retired 19 years ago at the rank of Colonel. He grew up in Polk County for a time where his father owned a manganese mill in the Board Camp area. Wood also worked in the Pentagon for a time where he flew senators and generals. During his time in Vietnam, Woods said, “All I did was fly infantry soldiers to and from work everyday.” What he didn’t say was that it was no normal commute, taking on gunfire many times while trying to fly from one point to another. 2016 marks the 50th anniversary since the Vietnam War. “We attempted to give democracy to the Vietnam people but you cannot give Democracy. You have to be willing to fight for it, not have it handed to you,” Wood said of the lesson he believes was learned during the war.