Willis Park ceremony to honor veterans

Published 5:50 pm Friday, November 7, 2014

VFW Post 4904 Willis Park activities, directed by VFW Post 4904 Senior Vice Commander Chuck Lewis, will begin at 9 a.m. They will be highlighted by an address by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ronnie Betts.

The colors will be presented by Bainbridge High School Air Force Junior ROTC cadets led by U.S. Air Force retired Lt. Col. Dave Stewart. The National Anthem will be performed by the award-winning Bainbridge High School Band under the direction of Paschal Ward.

Decatur County Commissioner and VFW member Oliver Sellers will read the names of Decatur County veterans who have passed away since Veterans Day 2013.

Email newsletter signup

VFW Post 4904 Commander Hill Yates and American Legion Post 502 Commander Lester Burke will lay a wreath on the monument erected in memory of deceased Decatur County veterans of all wars.

Betts grew up on a farm south of Climax and graduated from Quincy Florida High School in 1965. He went to college at Emory-Riddle Aeronautical University and entered the Army in 1968. In 1969, he went to officer candidate school at Fort Benning in Columbus.

In 1970, he attended Rotary Wing Flight School at Fort Wolters in Mineral Wells, Texas, for four and a half months and at Fort Rucker in Alabama for four and a half months.

In 1970 and 1971, Betts flew UH-1 Hueys and OH-6 light observation helicopters in Vietnam. From 1971 to 1974, he commanded D Company, 426-signal battalion in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

From 1975 to 1978, he commanded an air traffic control unit in Mannheim, Germany. In 1981 he was adjutant of the 58th Aviation Battalion and commanded the 245th Aviation Company at Fort Bragg. He retired in 1990 after 22 years of service.

From 1992 to 2010, he worked with the Georgia Department of Corrections as a probation officer, southwest region assistant regional director and chief of security audits for prisoners statewide.