Vietnam vet honored 40 years later

Army Spec. Don Gerlla was killed in action when his helicopter was shot down over the Central Highlands of Vietnam. More than 40 years later, Gerlla is getting the hero’s tribute he deserved in his hometown of Laurel, Neb.

Gerlla and three other soldiers were killed Dec. 28, 1965, when their Huey was knocked out of the sky. They were missing in action until this summer, when their remains were discovered.

About a dozen Legion Riders from Columbus, Neb., joined the Patriot Guard in escorting Gerlla’s remains from Epply Airfield in Omaha to Laurel. Motorists stopped on the highway to pay their respects, and crowds of people stood at the side of their streets as the convoy rolled through their town.

On Sept. 26, around 275 motorcyclists delivered the remains to Laurel, where Gerlla was given a hero’s welcome. Veterans saluted and onlookers observed a moment of silence as the flag-draped casket was transported indoors. The funeral takes place Oct. 3 in Laurel.

Remains honored in Laurel

Motorcyclists drive through Nebraska