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WKU to observe Veterans Day with ceremonies on Nov. 11

ROTC to conduct wreath laying, Hall of Fame induction

WKU will observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with a wreath laying and the ROTC Hall of Fame ceremony.

WKU's ROTC program will observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with a wreath laying at Guthrie Bell Tower. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

WKU’s ROTC program will observe Veterans Day on Nov. 11 with a wreath laying at Guthrie Bell Tower followed by the ROTC Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Diddle Arena’s Stansbury Concourse. (WKU photo by Bryan Lemon)

The wreath-laying ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Guthrie Bell Tower followed by the Hall of Fame induction at the Stansbury Concourse on Diddle Arena’s second floor.

The 2015 ROTC Hall of Fame inductees are Maj. David Mackey and Col. Ken LaPlante.

David R. Mackey, a 1963 WKU graduate, served two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Vietnam where he was killed in action in September 1969.

He began his military career when he entered the WKU ROTC program in 1958 and became a Pershing Rifleman. After graduation, he taught school in Slaughters before beginning active duty in 1964 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Capt. Mackey served his first tour of duty in Vietnam from December 1966 to November 1967 with Advisory Team 99 of the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam.

In 1969 he volunteered for a second tour in Vietnam and was assigned as an Operations Officer with the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. Mackey and 11 others died on Sept. 17, 1969, when an OH-6 Cayuse and AH-1 Cobra collided in the Mekong Delta southwest of Saigon.

Mackey had already been selected for promotion and was posthumously promoted to the rank of major. Mackey’s awards include two Silver Star Medals, seven Bronze Star Medals, two with the V Device, nine Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal with V Device and two Purple Hearts.

Kenneth A. LaPlante, a 1972 WKU graduate, serves as Vice President and Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at Global Strategic Analysis. During a 10-year career at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, he served as Acting Director (2013-2014), Deputy Director (2006-2013) and as CHDS Dean of Students and Administration (2004-2005). In addition to his Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from WKU, he holds a Master’s Degree in Management from Webster University, graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute’s Spanish course; is an MIT seminar XXI Fellow, and OSD-designated National Security Officer.

After a distinguished military career spanning more than 27 years, LaPlante retired as a Colonel (U.S. Army Retired), having held a variety of command and staff positions in Airborne, Light Infantry and Special Forces units including combat command of Task Force 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment during the Gulf War — Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He also served as a U.S. Army Foreign Area Officer specializing in Latin America where he had several assignments in the Western Hemisphere. LaPlante spent four years as a private consultant on Inter-American politico-military affairs to the U.S. Army. He returned to federal service in 2003 as a government civilian where he served, in Washington, D.C., as the first Executive Liaison and Operations Coordinator for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) located on Fort Benning, Georgia.

LaPlante and his wife, Norma Caroline, reside in Fairfax, Virginia. They have two daughters and four grandchildren.

Contact: WKU ROTC, (270) 745-4293

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