St. Juvin VFW Post 1336 presents "The Vietnam Experience" at Coal City High School

Adjutant and Quartermaster Keith Roseland explains the significance of Lance Corporal Cecil Lee Russell's memorabilia along with Earl "Shorty" Fatlan (right).

St. Juvin VFW Post 1336 members shared recollections of their service in Vietnam with Coal City High School students on Friday, Feb. 23.

Post Adjutant, Quartermaster and Army veteran Keith Roseland has done this presentation for over 20 years, and other post members often join him to relate their memories. This year’s participants along with Roseland were Navy veteran Bill Bomba, who served as a Gunner’s Mate on the USS Ranger and Earl “Shorty” Fatlan, who served as a First Cavalry Air Mobile Infantryman with a Purple Heart and a Combat Infantry Badge.

The presentation’s core is the personal memorabilia of Lance Corporal Cecil Lee Russell of the Marines, who was the only person from Coal City killed in the war. He died in action Feb. 1968 whiles erving as an infantryman in Thua-Thien Province, Vietnam.

Russell’s US awards include a Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vientnam Cross of Gallantry with the Palm from the Republic of Vietnam. The display also includes his personal bible, letters he wrote to relatives, pictures, boot camp book and casket flag. Russell is buried at Braceville-Gardner Cemetery.

Russell’s legacy is a featured display on the second floor of the Coal City Public Library District’s local history section, and his memory is honored with a granite bench at the Community Veterans Memorial at Coal City Middle School.

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