Service will pay special tribute to Vietnam Era veterans

Duane Norman

Retired Air Force Reservist Duane Norman of Ramona, a disabled veteran and race car driver, will be the featured speaker at the Veterans’ Day Service scheduled at 3:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 11, at Miramar National Cemetery. 

The Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation will sponsor the fourth annual Veterans’ Day Service, which will pay special tribute to Vietnam Era veterans.  The service will be held in the cemetery’s Flag Assembly Area at the eastern end of the Avenue of Flags.  Veterans, active-duty, their family members, and the public are invited.  Parking will be available along cemetery streets.

Norman, 68, is a quadriplegic, having fractured his neck in a 1970 auto racing accident.  After rehabilitation, he earned a bachelor’s degree in science and a teaching credential from the University of Missouri.  He later earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation services, and worked at Sharps Memorial Hospital treating patients with brain injuries.  In 1988, he started his own company, Composite Medical Equipment, retiring in 2008.

Champion Race Driver

Duane Norman Race Car Driver

In 1999, he resumed his stalled racing career and, along with his wife and crew chief Felicia, built a racecar – a 1973 Datsun 510 modified with a special transmission, hand controls, and a power steering system adapted to his needs. 

In 2000, the husband-wife team won the Sports Car Club of America championship for street-modified cars.  Norman was the only disabled driver in the SCCA, and uses a wheelchair when he’s not behind the wheel.

Norman has served on the Board of Directors of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Cal Diego chapter since 1992.  He has been president of the organization for the past five years.

Charlie Inot, President and CEO of the Miramar National Cemetery Support Foundation, will welcome guests to this year’s Veterans’ Day service.  Inot served with the 82nd Airborne Division and with the 6th, 5th, and 10th Special Forces Groups during the Vietnam War.  He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for valor, and the Purple Heart Medal. 

Following his active duty service, he enlisted in the Army Reserve and served for 17 years in the 12th Special Forces Group.  He retired in 1994 with the Rank of Master Sergeant.  He also served in various assignments with the San Diego Police Department, and with the San Diego District Attorney’s office.

Sacrifices During Viet Nam War

In his remarks, Support Foundation Chairman Dennis Schoville will address the sacrifices American service members made during the Viet Nam War, and recognize those medical personnel who cared for them.  Schoville served as an Army helicopter pilot in Viet Nam.  He was awarded two Silver Stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, and three Purple Hearts, along with several other Air Medals and service awards.  Severely wounded in action, he was medically retired from the Army at the rank of Captain. 

Following retirement, he earned a law degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1973, and a master’s degree in law at Northwestern University in 1974.  He was a partner in two San Diego-area law firms, where he practiced personal injury, liability and insurance law.

Chaplain (Colonel) Rick Blank, California State Guard, will deliver the Invocation and Benediction.  A 1968 Naval Academy graduate, he was commissioned in the Air Force and served as a fighter pilot flying 248 combat missions with the 366 Tactical Fighter Wing during the Vietnam War.  He then served an additional four years with the 36th Tactical Fighter Wing in Germany.

Chaplain Blank is a graduate of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminar, and later earned a Master’s degree in Divinity.  Recalled to active duty, he was stationed at Homestead AFB as an F-4 instructor.  He was selected as Tactical Air Command Instruction for the Year in 1981.  During his military career, he earned multiple awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal, among others.  He retired from the Air Force in 1993. 

Miramar National Cemetery is located at 5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, between Interstate 805 and Miramar Road.

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