Honoring and Remembering Rocky Versace - 2CoolFishing
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Old 04-14-2017, 08:01 PM   #1
rockportfulton
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Flag Honoring and Remembering Rocky Versace

Humbert Roque "Rocky" Versace (Ver-says) was born in the Territory of Hawaii July 2, 1937. As the son of a West Point graduate (Class of '33) and career Army Officer, Rocky moved with his family frequently, but since he lived for five years on Forest Street in Alexandria VA, Rocky always considered Alexandria as home.

The Versace family was very active in Saint Rita's Catholic Parish where Rocky served as an Altar boy. Following his graduation from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point (Class of '59), Rocky served in Korea and next as an officer with "The Old Guard" at Fort Myer, VA.

By May of 1962 he was on assignment in South Vietnam where he was well known for his off-duty humanitarian efforts, especially projects benefiting Vietnamese children. During the summer of 1963, on a 6-month extension of his tour in Vietnam, Rocky made his decision to leave the Army at the end of his military commitment and enter a seminary to become a Maryknoll Missionary Priest. His goal was to return to Vietnam to help the children of that war-torn country.

On October 29, 1963, just weeks prior to his return to the U.S., Rocky was captured with two other American soldiers during a fierce firefight. For the next 23 months, Rocky was confined to a bamboo cage about the size of a coffin. Despite frequent torture sessions and the deplorable conditions he experienced, Rocky refused to collaborate with the Viet Cong and lived strictly by the Military Code of Conduct. He ignored the three bullet wounds to his left leg and attempted escape three times.

For his refusal to cooperate against the U.S., the Viet Cong executed Rocky on September 26, 1965. In 1970, Major "Nick" Rowe, one of Rocky's fellow POWs who escaped from his captors two years earlier, recommended Versace for the Medal of Honor (MOH). However, because of the political climate at the time, the Army downgraded the award to a Silver Star. In 2000, the U.S. Army Special Forces Command, after a thorough review of Captain Versace's sustained heroism while in captivity, resubmitted the MOH recommendation.

During a White House ceremony on July 8, 2002, President George W. Bush made a posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor to the Versace family in recognition of the valor "above and beyond the call of duty" of Captain H.R. "Rocky" Versace.

The Friends of Rocky Versace continue an outreach to the youngsters who frequent the Mount Vernon (Alexandria) Recreation Center and maintain a memorial honoring 67 Alexandrian war veterans (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines) six of whom are still MIA.

For further information please contact: [email protected]

Captain Rocky Versace Memorial Fund
Alexandria Commission for the Arts
1605 Cameron Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2704
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