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New exhibit at Peterson Air and Space Museum commemorates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

Members of Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon’s family view Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibit on the Vietnam War on May 16, 2016. Staff Sgt. Aragon, a Colorado native, was killed during the Vietnam War and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions while serving at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

Members of Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon’s family view Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibit on the Vietnam War on May 16, 2016. Staff Sgt. Aragon, a Colorado native, was killed during the Vietnam War and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions while serving at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

A new exhibit featuring Staff Sgt. Jose “Mark” Aragon opened at the Peterson Air and Space Museum on May 16, 2016. According to the museum staff, the purpose of the exhibit is to provide a connection to educate the public about the military men and women serving at Peterson Field and Ent Air Force Base between 1965 and 1968.   (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

A new exhibit featuring Staff Sgt. Jose “Mark” Aragon opened at the Peterson Air and Space Museum on May 16, 2016. According to the museum staff, the purpose of the exhibit is to provide a connection to educate the public about the military men and women serving at Peterson Field and Ent Air Force Base between 1965 and 1968. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

Members of Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon’s family unveil Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibits honoring his service during the Vietnam War, May 16, 2016. An accident on Bien Hoa Air Base 50 years ago claimed the lives 27 Airmen including Aragon’s, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

Members of Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon’s family unveil Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibits honoring his service during the Vietnam War, May 16, 2016. An accident on Bien Hoa Air Base 50 years ago claimed the lives 27 Airmen including Aragon’s, who was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions that day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

Senior Master Sgt. Mark Aragon is joined by his children as he speaks at the opening of the Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibit featuring his father Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon, May 16, 2016.  Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon, a Colorado native, was killed during the Vietnam War and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions while serving at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

Senior Master Sgt. Mark Aragon is joined by his children as he speaks at the opening of the Peterson Air and Space Museum’s new exhibit featuring his father Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon, May 16, 2016. Staff Sgt. Jose Aragon, a Colorado native, was killed during the Vietnam War and posthumously awarded the Bronze Star for his actions while serving at Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber Grimm)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
A new exhibit commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, entitled “A Hometown Airman Deploys to Vietnam” opened May 16 at the Peterson Air and Space Museum City Hangar.

The exhibit not only shines a light on the service members who served during the Vietnam War, but it features the story of Staff Sgt. Jose “Mark” Aragon, a Colorado native, who was killed May 16, 1965 at Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam.

According to the museum staff, the purpose of the exhibit is to provide a connection to educate the public about the military men and women serving at Peterson Field and Ent Air Force Base between 1965 and 1968.

In attendance to witness the unveiling of the exhibit were about 30 members of Aragon’s extended family, including his son, Senior Master Sgt. Mark Aragon, U.S. Central Command superintendent of operations at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

“I was three years old when he died and so to me this was like hearing his voice,” he said. “It’s not just about hearing his voice, but hearing the voice of Vietnam.”

The ceremony included the reading of letters that his father left for Mark and his sister, Sandy Aragon Kruse, in the event of his death, the playing of a commemorative video highlighting the anniversary of the Vietnam War, a roll call for the 27 Airmen killed at Bien Hoa Air Base that day, and the unveiling of the exhibit.

The items for the exhibit were donated by Aragon’s family.

“His son and daughter decided it would be better to bring his personal effects back to Pete Field where he was stationed and allow the rest of our Airmen to see and use it as a connection between the generations,” said Gail Whalen, museum director.

Mark Aragon said the exhibit and the display of his father’s personal effects brought a sense of pride for following in his father’s footsteps.

“Even though I never heard my father’s voice, this museum is an incredible place where everyone can hear the voices of so many other people (and their stories.)”

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