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Russell Milberry honored in Union Bridge, 51 years after his death in Vietnam

From left, Jan Stambaugh, Dave Lease and Evan Staley attach a wreath to a new sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of Army Private Russell Milberry of Union Bridge, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
From left, Jan Stambaugh, Dave Lease and Evan Staley attach a wreath to a new sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of Army Private Russell Milberry of Union Bridge, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

More than a half-century after his combat death during the Vietnam war, Union Bridge native Russell Milberry was honored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Monday night with a ceremony to dedicate a memorial marker along Md. 75.

Friends and family members, as well as officials, filled the social hall at the VFW in Union Bridge to honor and commemorate Milberry’s life and legacy.

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“I am so glad,” said William Milberry, one of Russell Milberry’s cousins. “It’s been a long time coming. Us Vietnam veterans didn’t get too good a reception, but this here, it makes up for a lot.”

Russell Milberry was a U.S. Army paratrooper and a medic in Vietnam who was killed in action in 1968 shortly after he turned 20. Milberry is one of 19 Carroll countians who have their names etched into the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Joshua Milberry of New Windsor, 4th from right, poses for photos with Vietnam veterans, from left, Boyd McClain of Union Bridge, Walter Grooms of Westminster, William Milberry of Westminster and Sherwood Gambrill of Marriottsville, kneeling, at the Union Bridge VFW Union Memorial Post #8806 where Joshua Milberry was presented with a sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of his brother, Army Private Russell Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
Joshua Milberry of New Windsor, 4th from right, poses for photos with Vietnam veterans, from left, Boyd McClain of Union Bridge, Walter Grooms of Westminster, William Milberry of Westminster and Sherwood Gambrill of Marriottsville, kneeling, at the Union Bridge VFW Union Memorial Post #8806 where Joshua Milberry was presented with a sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of his brother, Army Private Russell Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

“He served his country and, as President Lincoln said, he gave his last full measure of devotion, not only for our freedom but the freedom of other people,” said Robert Finn, deputy secretary of veteran affairs. “We are especially honored to have someone who sacrificed his life for all of us, not just us, but for people across the world.

“So I think it’s appropriate, even though it’s 51 years later, that we’re here today to have this last memorial as we dedicate part of Route 75 for him as a permanent memorial and to remember his name and to honor his name so that nobody will ever forget PFC Russel Milberry and the sacrifice he gave to his country.”

Family and friends were happy to see Milberry get the well-deserved recognition.

“I feel grateful," said Marvin Brooks, who said he flew in from Atlanta for the ceremony. "Yeah, he was my best buddy, best brother — we grew up together. We did everything before we went to service together: work together, play together, had fun together.”

Russel Edward Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam, will have a stretch of Md. 75 dedicated to him on Aug. 19.
Russel Edward Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam, will have a stretch of Md. 75 dedicated to him on Aug. 19.

Family and friends of were sure to express their appreciation to Union Bridge Mayor Perry Jones for helping bring the ceremony to fruition.

“We had a good time,” said William Milberry, himself a Vietnam veteran. “We all went into the service around the same time and he was about a year ahead when he went to Vietnam.”

Anne Brooks said she grew up a couple of houses away from Russell Milberry and still loves the person he was.

“He was a friend; he was a neighbor and he was a brother. We played together, we fought, but bottom line is he was the most wonderful person,” said Brooks. “I didn’t even realize it was 51 years.”

She said when they were younger, times were difficult due to racial division, so it means a lot to her to see Milberry honored, even 51 years later.

Vietnam veteran Walter Grooms of Westminster, left, who was stationed in Chu Lai while serving in the Army from 1970-71, Joshua Milberry of New Windsor and his cousin Kathy Brumfield of Westminster gather together at the Union Bridge VFW Union Memorial Post #8806 where Milberry was presented with a sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of his brother, Army Private Russell Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968.
Vietnam veteran Walter Grooms of Westminster, left, who was stationed in Chu Lai while serving in the Army from 1970-71, Joshua Milberry of New Windsor and his cousin Kathy Brumfield of Westminster gather together at the Union Bridge VFW Union Memorial Post #8806 where Milberry was presented with a sign dedicating a portion of Md. 75 in memory of his brother, Army Private Russell Milberry, who was killed in Vietnam in 1968. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)

Joshua Milberry accepted the marker to be placed on Md. 75 in honor of his brother.

“We played, we fought, we did it all," he said. “Just natural boys.”

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