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A Journey to Freedom: A special program to be held at Luther College


Fri, Nov 2nd, 2012
Posted in All Features

By Jade Sexton

There are war stories from around the world that have not been heard by many people, and one of the most fascinating comes from the Vietnam War. The story of the USS Kirk, a ship that saved more than 33,000 Vietnamese men, women and children is one that especially struck a young Micheal Foster from Decorah. He has since made it his mission to make sure the heroic story is heard and its heroes recognized.

Micheal’s father, Kent Foster is a photographer in Decorah. Foster said his son Micheal has become friends with some of the people who were on that ship, including Paul Jacobs, who was the Commander of the USS Kirk at the time.

Foster explained that during the fall of Saigon, the USS Kirk returned to shore to rescue people and vessels. They had no help from anyone until they reached international water, and it was a five-day journey.

“They only lost one person in those five days,” said Foster. “And that was a baby that aspirated from pneumonia.”

Foster described it as a very emotional experience, as there were thousands of people that left their homes and their country and sometimes family members, in order to be saved from the North Vietnamese army.

Micheal Foster, a sophomore in high school in Decorah, has been to California, the east coast, and many local places talking about this. According to his father, Micheal is a very articulate speaker, and wishes to be President of the United States one day. He met and spoke with Barack Obama during his visit to Decorah, and he has even created a website to spread awareness at www.usskirk.com.

A Journey to Freedom will be presented at Luther College on November 10, 2012, 1:30 p.m. at the Center for Faith and Life. The Decorah Corale and the Decorah High School Drumline will perform, and speakers are Vadm Adam M. Robinson, Jr., a retired Surgeon General for the US Navy; Paul Jacobs, Commander of the USS Kirk and retired US Navy Captain; and Jan Herman, Historian, and retired from the Naval Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

A documentary on the USS Kirk will be shown after the presentation. Foster said it’s a chance to invite veterans and their families to hear about humanitarian efforts during war, and his son was instrumental in getting the speakers to come.

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