After reading about Hugh Catron’s 43-year journey from Vietnam to Noblesville, Mayor John Ditslear honored him with a proclamation naming Jan. 15 as Hugh Thomas Catron Day in the city.
“I didn’t expect this,” Catron told the mayor after receiving the proclamation.
Ditslear thanked Current in Noblesville’s Robert Herrington for “bringing this to our attention” in the Dec. 11 edition of the newspaper. Ditslear shared portions of the story before Catron received the proclamation and a standing ovation from the council and community members.
At the age of 20, Catron was one of the 300 soldiers in the 155th Assault Helicopter Co. fighting the North Vietnamese Army’s force of 10,000 in Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam. In the early morning hours of Jan. 30, 1968, an intensive attack on Ban Me Thuot and the adjacent airfield began and led to four days of solid fighting.
Catron was also one of 24 soldiers who volunteered to secure the local missionary compound, which included lead pastor Ed Thompson and his wife, Ruth. Catron said the Thompsons died holding each other. When the bodies were pried apart, Catron said the couple’s Bible was between them, which he removed.
The Bible was kept by Catron from that day until he reached out to the Christian and Missionary Alliance on July 7, 2011. The 1809 copyrighted Bible was mailed to the alliance, which placed it in an acid-free archival envelope where it will be preserved in the alliance archives.