ASHLAND — The last time Col. Robert Springer came to Ashland, he talked about his time in space.
This time, the Ashland native will talk about the time he flew F4 Phantom fighter jets and Huey helicopters over Vietnam as part of a reunion dinner slated for March 25 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 400 Eastlake Drive.
Springer, a 1960 graduate of Ashland High School who grew up in a house on Duff Drive, served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot. He then flew in space shuttles for NASA.
He now lives in Florida, but he first spoke during Ashland County Historical Society’s 2022 Spring Speaker Series at his alma mater, where he told the audience stories about flying in space as an astronaut.
Col. Robert Springer
Col. Robert Springer addresses an audience as part of the Ashland County Historical Society’s 2022 Spring Speaker Series on Thursday, March 10.
By Dillon Carr, Staff Reporter
“Most people know him as the astronaut,” said Bob DeSanto, an Ashland attorney who organized the event with a group of veterans. “But he’s coming here to speak to us, to his fellow veterans, to speak about his experience in Vietnam.”
DeSanto, 77, served three years in the military during the Vietnam War. For a while, he was part of a small group of veterans who would get together informally before he and some of those people decided to put something together that was more formal.
The March 25 event will be the fourth of its kind hosted by the group in Ashland, which is associated with the The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, an effort to recognize Vietnam War veterans backed by the federal government.
Four days following the dinner will mark National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
Greg Gorell, 78, a co-organizer of the reunion dinner, said he’s looking forward to creating a space for all veterans — not just from the Vietnam War — to come and share about their time in the military.
“It’s an opportunity for Vietnam veterans to be in a safe haven environment — among other veterans and friends, spouses and grandchildren of veterans —for them to hear from somebody who actually served,” Gorell said.
The event’s doors will open at 5 p.m., where guests will get a chance to meet Springer and talk with other veterans. Dinner will follow at 6 p.m.
Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at DeSanto’s law offices at 432 Center Street in Ashland. Sales will stop on March 21 and the dinner will be capped at 350 people, DeSanto said.
For more information, call 419-289-1454.
400 Eastlake Drive
Ashland , Ohio 44805