When Lt. Col. Shirrel Martin reported to Vietnam, he signed a statement that he wouldn’t talk about what he did or saw during the war.
“Our missions were so classified that we were not allowed to carry any identification at all when we were flying over there,” he said.
Much of that classified information has been released now, but the retired Air Force officer says he still hasn’t talked much about it. So he was surprised to find that a new exhibit at Hill Aerospace Museum has a display focused on him.
The exhibit, “The U.S. Air Force in Vietnam,” officially opened on Saturday, Sept. 22. Offering an overview of the Vietnam War, with emphasis on the role of the Air Force, several panels of text and photos explore the efforts of Hill Air Force Base during the conflict.
Some displays focus on individuals with Utah ties — including Martin, of Kaysville, and Farmington’s Jay Hess. Uniforms worn by Hess are combined with information about how he and his crew rescued a downed fighter pilot. Hess was held as a prisoner of war, and his cell at the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” has been re-created in the museum.