Freedom Fighters: Jeffrey Basehore

VAN ZANDT COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - The land that the East Texas Veterans Alliance is waiting on, is land on which to build the East Texas Veterans Memorial, Jeffrey Lee Basehore is the architect of the memorial, but before that, he served our country in the Navy during the Vietnam war.

"We were basically fire support for the Marines," recalls  Basehore.

Basehore had joined the Navy at the age of 17, simply because his dad had been a Seabee and he wanted to fight for our country too.

"We went up in the river and about 2 o'clock in the morning, every morning, we would go in about 50 yards in the coast and fire our 2-inch guns, but otherwise we would sit about a mile off the coast and fire 5-inch guns," says Basehore.

The ship Basehore served on during the Vietnam war, already had a history from World War II.

"It was hit by a kamikaze in world war two and brought back up, sunk and then brought back up," says Basehore.

During the Vietnam war, the biggest danger to Basehore was being on the firing line surrounded by explosives.

"Afterwards, we would come back out and we would see where they hit the bulkheads on the ship," recalls Basehore.

Basehore left the Navy in 1969 to go to college where he got his degree in architecture. But it was his experience while still in the Navy that has made him a lifelong supporter.

"I was married at the time, my wife couldn't find a job, we couldn't find an apartment It was really difficult," says Basehore.

The discrimination was all because he was a serviceman and Vietnam wasn't a popular war.

"That's probably the reason that I'm into a lot of the Vietnam organizations right now," says Basehore. "Because I didn't want any of our guys coming back and feeling the way we did."

Basehore is not only the architect of the East Texas Veterans Memorial, he's a member of the East Texas Veterans Alliance, which is hosting a free open forum, March 24, at 5 p.m. at the Lone Star Church in Tyler.

"This is our first open forum and we want all the veterans to come and express what they want and what they need," says Basehore.

Our Veterans needs are many and the alliance hopes to be able to meet those needs.

As for Jeffrey Basehore, he is proud to have served out country...both then and now.

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