Vietnam veterans pay respects to fellow soldier

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On September 12, 2018, two Vietnam Veterans made the trek from different parts of the country to Swain County to pay tribute to a fellow soldier who died in combat on September 12, 1968. 

Wayne D. Jenkins, born September 16, 1947, was drafted into the Army in 1966 along with his brother Carl. 

Last week, Carl and other relatives met with Robert Yahl and Steve Brinkmeier. First, they met at the BBQ Wagon for a meal then visited the Veterans memorial in town and finally met at the family cemetery where Wayne is buried to honor the man they served with. 

“We really appreciate these guys coming down and they served our country with honor and pride and my brother done the same thing,” said Carl Jenkins. 

Wayne Jenkins’ grave was decorated with flowers that included a flag for the Black Lions on the 50th anniversary of his death, by the two men from his platoon.

The Black Lions were a reconnaissance platoon in the 1st infantry division, 1st battalion, 28th infantry, in Vietnam. 

Yahl carried a machine gun for the first half of his service and a radio for the second half. Jenkins was a rifle man or point man. Brinkmeier was a medic. 

“We didn’t want to forget him,” Yahl said. “We came down to pay our respects and meet his family.”

Yahl was visiting from Kirksville, Missouri and Brinkmeier was visiting from Pearl City, Illinois. 

Smoky Mountain Times

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