October 24, 2018
By Editor Tamas Mondovics
and Veteran Ken Wiley
Local WWII veterans, Ken Wiley and H C Moretz, accompanied by Dorinda Moretz were honored guests at The National Museum Of The Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas last week. Arrangements were made for the visit when Jeff Copsetta, Educational Director at the museum visited Mountain City earlier this year. The two honorees spoke to High School ROTC classes, took part in public programs and book signings in the Nimitz Museum and participated in the mock Amphibious landing and shore combat show of the museum. The museum has restored an LCVP landing craft like the one Wiley drove in seven invasions in the Pacific war.
“Jeff and his crew of almost a hundred volunteers have done a great job of re-enactment of an actual amphibious invasion, that we conducted in our island hopping road to Tokyo in 1942-45,” Wiley said.
\Wiley and Moretz recently established a website (wwiiveteransvoice.com), to spread the popular Veterans Voice TV program of interviews and sessions of World War II veterans responding to their Local Veterans Video Museum program. Nearly 400 local Appalachian High Country veterans were interviewed, most of them are gone, but all of these programs are on DVD’s and available.
Sensing that the Library of Congress program to document all World War II veterans and host the documentation in the National Archives for Research purposes, needed help to capture the fast disappearing WW II vets, Wiley and Mayor Harvey Burniston organized a local program that interviewed 152 veterans and hosted the DVD’s in the local Johnson County Public Library. The program was created with the help of The American Legion. Soon the program, called, Local Veterans Video Museum, spread to Watauga county N C , resulting in almost 300 other veterans interviewed.
“These are priceless collectors Items,” Wiley said. “As we pass the baton down, hopefully others will follow on. There are many veterans of the twentieth century that need to be documented and there is no better place to do it than the community of their heritage.”