Kent Paxton, a recent resident of Issaquah, was recognized by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 for his service in Vietnam as part of Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day on March 29.
Paxton received a Vietnam veteran lapel pin to recognize his service at Issaquah City Hall, presented by Service Officer David Waggoner of VFW Post 3436. Paxton served in Vietnam several times before returning to California and working in emergency services.
“I went to Vietnam in 1964 and was there for a year and a half and did another tour in ‘67. I was an armed helicopter pilot. We flew missions all over the country,” Paxton said. “In ‘68, I went back to Vietnam with the state department and worked in a pacification program down in (south) Vietnam.”
When he returned home, he became the Emergency Services Manager for San Mateo County, and later served that same role for the city of San Francisco.
Paxton moved to Issaquah in November 2018 to be closer to his son and his grandchildren who live in Issaquah.
Waggoner, who presented the pin to Paxton alongside VFW members Quartermaster Ivan Lee and Post Commander Dean H. Van Dyke, said the recognition was one of several he has done this year for veterans of the Vietnam era.
Waggoner also cited steps the two most recent presidents have taken to recognize veterans. In 2012, President Barack Obama proclaimed May 28, 2012, through Nov. 11, 2025, as the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed a measure into law proclaiming March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Further recognition of Vietnam veterans is planned for memorial day weekend as well. Waggoner said a brand new Vietnam veterans memorial park at the Museum of Flight in Seattle will open on Saturday, May 25, with a large event, where more veterans will receive their pins, just as Paxton did.