Memorial Foundation

The 173d Airborne Brigade Memorial Foundation was incorporated in the State of Georgia on 7 July 2006. Its mission statement was to build and provide perpetual care for the 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial.

Since the mid-1980s, Sky Soldiers had dreamed of building a world class Memorial on United States soil that would commemorate the service and sacrifices of the 173d Airborne Brigade’s Vietnam deployment during which nearly 1,800 assigned and attached services members were taken from us. Some unit memorials and headstones were built at locations around the United States, including a small Memorial located at Fort Campbell, Kentucky where the Brigade was deactivated in 1972, but Sky Soldiers wanted more.

It was not until July 2004 that the 173d Airborne Brigade Association leadership commissioned a committee to investigate the feasibility of building a memorial.  In January 2005 the Association approved a resolution authorizing the committee to develop a detailed proposal for the project.  In 2006, the 173d Airborne Association membership approved the formation of an independent Foundation to design and build a memorial.

The 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial Foundation, Incorporated, is a non-profit Corporation whose purpose is “… to perpetuate the legacy of the 173d Airborne Brigade by constructing and maintaining a 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial at the National Infantry Museum Campus near Fort Benning, Georgia.”

The Foundation’s Board of Directors is composed of members who are citizens and/or legal residents of the United States of America. The majority of the Board must be active members of the 173d Airborne Brigade Association. Currently, the Board of Directors is composed of seven members elected to staggered three year terms of office. The 173d Airborne Brigade Foundation has no members outside the Board of Directors, and all are volunteers who receive no reimbursement for their service.

In less than four years from incorporation, the Memorial Foundation designed and built the Memorial that stands in the place of honor at the head of the National Infantry Museum’s “Walk of Honor.” Ground breaking took place on 11 July 2008 and the Memorial was dedicated in the presence of more than 600 Sky Soldiers and friends on 1 June 2010.  Funds to construct the Memorial were provided by individuals, veterans and civic organizations, and corporate sponsors.

The 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial Foundation Board of Directors is a virtual corporation without a central office. It may be reached by communications through the U.S. Postal Service addressed to the Foundation at 124 Tugboat Lane, Summerville SC 29486 or via email addressed to kvsmith173@gmail.com.

Current Members of the 173d Airborne Brigade National Memorial Foundation Board of Directors are President Richard Weik, Vice President Bob Wolfgang, Secretary Ken Smith, Treasurer Floyd Riester, and Board Members Karen Riester, Raymond Ramirez, and Earl Rice.