Rotary Club Hosts Talks by Vietnam Veterans

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Wynne Ritch with the American flag he carried to Vietnam, framed with badges from the war.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of America’s deployment of troops to Vietnam, the Malibu Rotary Club hosted a series of Vietnam veterans at their Jan. 13 meeting. Wynne Ritch was the meeting’s featured speaker and shared stories about his personal experience in Vietnam.

Ritch was deployed to Vietnam with the first Marine division in 1965 at age 20. He and his colleagues were expecting to arrive in the Philippines, and had little knowledge of Vietnam. The division reported 30 percent casualties on the first day alone due to heat stroke from 106 degree temperatures. 

Ritch read statistics about the war and interjected his comments and personal stories. He also spoke about his second tour of duty at age 23, where he was appointed to China Beach — one of the best duties in Vietnam. 

After returning from the war, Ritch served as an executive for Boy Scouts of America for 32 years. He is also an authority on the works of Norman Rockwell and owns over 200 of Rockwell’s works.

The Rotary Club will bring Ritch back on Feb. 24 to present “Walking Through Time with Norman Rockwell.”