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The Yankee Express

Dudley Vietnam vet Randall Snow is grand marshal for parade

Parade Grand Marshal Randolph P. Parade Grand Marshall Randolph P. Snow

Veterans of Webster and Dudley will hold their 17th annual Veterans Day parade this year on Friday, November 11th.
In addition and prior to the regularly scheduled parade, veterans encourage everyone to attend a brief ceremonial tribute to local veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice in World War II at the monument located at the Memorial Beach entryway off Thompson Road. Veterans will also be placing a wreath at the newly erected Women’s Veterans monument. This ceremony will begin promptly at 9:45 a.m.


Top photo: fiery blowback of a howitzer was somewhat dangerous if anyone got out of position. This is the type of gun Mr. Snow was assigned to, a “self-propelled eight-inch howitzer.”

Bottom photo: Specialist E-4 Randy Snow in Vietnam.

Upon completion of the tribute, veterans will go by bus from the St. Louis School parking lot to the Dudley Municipal Complex for ceremonies beginning at 11:00 a.m.

Veterans will then march from Dudley to the Webster Court of Honor on Main St. for a similar remembrance.
All scouting organizations that plan to participate are asked to meet at the Dudley Municipal Complex at 10:45 a.m.
This year’s grand marshal will be Specialist E-4 Randolph P. Snow, an Army Vietnam veteran, who will be recognized for his service.


Tam Biet!
Goodbyes are emotional in any language. Randolph Paul Snow, Vietnam veteran, will relive those emotions as he leads the “Brotherhood” in a parade down Main St. on Veterans Day, November 11, 2022.
This is the story of Randy, the eldest of three boys in a typical Worcester family, living on Amber St. He was an active kid, playing seasonal sports while attending school at St. Peter’s. As a teen he had a role in the class play and sang solo in the Glee Club. He was no wallflower.
Randy worked at a lumber yard after school and in a hospital kitchen on weekends. After graduation from high school in 1966 he studied at Quinsigamond Community College.
There was a bloody war going on in Vietnam, a long way from home. Randy volunteered for the draft and was inducted in mid-December of 1967.
The U.S. Army promised “TRAVEL”…to Fort Dix for eight weeks of basic training, also called “indoctrination” into Army life: obey orders, stay in shape and remember the oath. Two months later the recruits were at Ft. Sill, Comanche County, Oklahoma, for an additional eight weeks of specialized training in the use of artillery, the big guns. It came as no surprise when VIETNAM appeared on Randy’s itinerary. It would be a long and uneasy flight to where the killing and the dying took place.
“Snowy” and a planeload of young men just like himself landed at Tan Son Nhut Air base near Saigon in May of 1968. The air was thick, the heat was draining and the smell was sickening. A truckload of casualties was being offloaded at the base hospital. Some were treatable, most were not. It put a lump in a soldier’s throat realizing that you were replacing a man covered with blood and mud.
Pvt. Snow was assigned to 7th Battalion, 8th Artillery, the gunner on a crew of five, manning a self-propelled eight-inch howitzer, lightly armored, but sufficient. Enemy mortars were their nemesis. The cannon had a ten-mile range and could fire off a projectile every two minutes or less. The vehicle was capable of 30 miles per hour when it was prudent to leave the scene, i.e., Bien Hoa, Xuan Loc and Ben Luc. These battles were considered “Adventure” in Draft Board vernacular back in Worcester, the Heart of the Commonwealth, the home of candlepin bowling, the monkey wrench and the Smiley Face!
Randy utilized the Free Health Care clause of his enlistment agreement at a hospital in Japan. Serious injuries suffered in an accident kept him out of the kill zone for a considerable period of time. Upon returning to duty “Snowy” was assigned to 5th Battalion 2nd Artillery. The Mission: Ground Support, Perimeter Defense of Base Camps, and Convoy Security.
The good news: Snowy was now a short timer, his time in hell was expiring. The plan: stay low, stay alive and do not volunteer. When Randy’s military commitment had been fulfilled, his orders arrived and a replacement was on the way.
Tambiet! It was time for “goodbyes,” the heavy weight of war had been lifted from his soul, he had survived, now he could breathe again. There would be no more mortar attacks and no fear of ambush, there was also a genuine sense of sadness, despondence over leaving his buddies to continue the fight, the survivor guilt, and the question of WHO decides which ones die…and which ones live?
The charter flight back to the United States was comfortable, full of excitement and packed with emotion. The exhausted and haggard Brotherhood of Shared Experiences was heading home!
Snowy arrived at the Army Personnel Center, Oakland, California, where he was honorably discharged after nineteen months of active service including fourteen months in ‘Nam. It was time for a vacation and relaxation. It was time to pause and smell the roses and forget the suffocating stench of Vietnam…and rats.
Separation only means that you came home alive. For the combat soldier the war never ends. Many vets were hard pressed to transition back to civilian life. Statistics show that adjustment periods are directly proportional to battlefield experiences.
After a year Randy returned to his studies. Using the G.I. Bill, he worked as a bank messenger, bank teller and mortgage lender. He took night classes at Fairfield University in Connecticut and became proficient in his chosen field of business while working at area banks. He retired as senior vice president of mortgage banking.
E4 Randolph Snow holds membership in the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans (chaplain), Veterans of Foreign Wars (Sr. vice commander) and Veterans Council Funeral Squad Honor Guard. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with three Battle Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon with Device and Sharpshooter Badge and Auto Rifle Bar.
Randy and his wife, Paula, reside in Dudley. They have three children, Kimberly, Matthew and Nicole.
Veterans Day Parade chairman is Richard J. Holewa with co-chairmen Andy Koslowski, Victor Jankowski and Ron Prest.