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Bridge in Monticello renamed for Vietnam War MIA Airman
Indiana Statehouse (July 7, 2017) —State Rep. Don Lehe (R-Brookston) today helped dedicate a local bridge in honor of a Vietnam War hero in Monticello.
The Washington Street Bridge over the Tippecanoe River will now be called the “Chief Master Sergeant Dean A. DuVall Bridge.” Lehe presented the new sign during a ceremony at American Legion Post 81 with Indiana Department of Transportation officials, Monticello Mayor Ken Houston and members of DuVall’s family.
State Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Buck Creek) and Lehe teamed up and successfully shepherded a resolution through the Indiana General Assembly, which urged INDOT to rename the bridge in memory of DuVall.
Hershman said DuVall graduated from Buffalo High School and joined the U.S. Air Force on his 18th birthday. He was deployed to South Vietnam where he was a member of the 4th Air Commando Squadron out of Da Nang Air Base.
“He served as an aerial gunner during the Vietnam War,” Hershman said. “His plane crashed in Laos on March 13, 1966, and he was designated as missing in action. He is a hero, and this is one way we can keep his legacy alive.”
Lehe said the crash site was identified in 1997, and excavation of the site took place from 2010 to 2014.
“Due to the extreme conditions during the crash and the passage of time, Chief Master Sergeant DuVall’s remains were never recovered,” Lehe said. “His service must not go unrecognized. We want the people of Indiana to know of his bravery and great sacrifice.”
DuVall’s brother, Jack (John B.) DuVall, said after the excavation of the site was complete the family began looking for a way to remember the fallen hero.
“We thought naming the bridge after him would be a fitting way to honor him,” Jack DuVall said. “We approached Senator Hershman about helping us. He enlisted the help of Representative Lehe who carried the resolution in the House. Now people using the bridge will see his name every day.”
Story by Jasper County Online News.