Congressman Pat Tiberi joined Senator Rob Portman to dedicate the VA clinic in Newark, Ohio, as the Daniel L. Kinnard VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. In the 114th Congress, Tiberi and Portman introduced legislation in the House and Senate to rename the facility in honor of Specialist Kinnard, who was a medic in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War and was killed in action rendering aid to his fellow soldiers on March 9, 1968. Their legislation was signed into law on December 16, 2016.
Excerpts of Tiberi’s remarks from the dedication ceremony on May 15:
“Today is a noteworthy day, not only for the Kinnard family, but for all the veterans and residents of Newark. To have this important, frontline treatment facility named after one of our own neighbors is a truly special occasion.
“I’ve struggled to find the words that can live up to this ceremony. Many of us never knew Daniel. We’ve come to know his story through his mother, Kathryn, or his brother Steven, or simply through the words outlined in his Bronze Star citation. That citation speaks of his heroism under fire, his disregard for his own safety, and his first and foremost duty – tending to his brothers-in-arms while under heavy enemy fire.
“Combat medics hold a special place within our military forces. Serving within small units, detached from robust medical facilities, they provide the kind of immediate triage and aid that can mean the difference between life and death.
“They also share the daily burden of life on the front lines. They live, eat and march with those they treat. They share every meal and every hardship. Combat medics assume all those burdens. Then when the situation is most dire for one of their ‘joes,’ they answer the call ‘medic up.’
“On February 17th, 1968, Dan did just that. Without hesitation he rushed into danger to aid his comrades and to organize their evacuations. All this, while he and his unit continued to engage enemy forces.
“When we pause to think about this, nearly 50 years later, it can be difficult for us to fully fathom what it required. We struggle to place ourselves in the shoes of a young man, trying to save his friends. But we know that Daniel was, in the end, like so many of his generation. He quietly assumed an incredible duty and faced remarkable dangers.
“Not one full month later, on March 9th, 1968, Dan gave what President Lincoln called the ‘last full measure of devotion.’ Today, we continue the work that President Lincoln started by consecrating another piece of our nation in the memory of one of its truest patriots.
“Mrs. Kinnard, no matter what we say here today, all of it will fall short of the love you have felt and continue to feel for your beloved son, Daniel. You and your family have borne a tremendous burden. You deserve our most heartfelt gratitude.
“I’m humbled and honored to have played a role in introducing the legislation that paved the way for this day of recognition. I’m grateful that the Kinnard family, and the veterans of Licking County entrusted this task to me.
“Today, we can be joyful that one of our own is being memorialized. As veterans enter this fantastic clinic, they’ll be reminded of one of their brethren. I think each of us, veteran and civilian alike, will walk a little taller, and hold our heads a little higher to honor Daniel’s memory.”
About Specialist Daniel L. Kinnard:
Daniel L. Kinnard was born on October 21, 1949 in Central Ohio. While living in Newark, Kinnard enlisted in the Army at Fort Hayes on November 14, 1966. He served bravely as a medic in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, the famed “Screaming Eagles,” during the Vietnam War. On February 17, 1968, Specialist Kinnard’s unit made contact with enemy positions in a hedgerow and two of the point men were seriously wounded. Without hesitation, Specialist Kinnard rushed through the heavy volume of enemy fire to reach the wounded men. With complete disregard for his own personal safety, Specialist Kinnard remained exposed to enemy fire while he treated the wounded men. Specialist Kinnard organized the evacuation under fire after he administered first aid. Specialist Kinnard was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor for his actions that day.
On March 9, 1968, Specialist Daniel Kinnard was killed in action rendering aid to his fellow paratroopers. Specialist Kinnard was awarded the Sharpshooter Badge with Rifle Bar, Parachutist Badge, Combat Medical Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Purple Heart and Bronze Star for Valor.