Navy Veteran who served during Vietnam War visits Washington; recalls time overseas

Hometown Heroes

WASHINGTON (KAMR/KCIT) — Maurice “Tinker” Cross is a Vietnam War Navy veteran who went on this year’s Texas Panhandle Honor Flight. There, in Washington, he reflected on his experiences.

During Cross’ service in the Vietnam War, he was aboard the carrier USS Saratoga CVA 60, which he was reminded of by a close replica ship in the museum at the Washington Navy Yard on his visit. Seeing it again, he got emotional. 

“It’s awesome, it really is. Tears could come to my eyes really easy,” Cross said.

Tinker said his trip to Washington is full of memories he will never forget, but one stood out. 

“I think I love the Capitol Building better than anything. Our Congressman, Mac Thornberry, took time and gave us a tour, explained things to us,” Cross said. “We got to sit in the House of Representatives seats and he probably talked to us for an hour and a half.” 

Cross described his time in the service as “an experience.” 

“Made a lot of friends but you know, it’s hard to keep in contact with them and so that’s part of my past,” he said.

Like many Vietnam War Veterans, Cross said it was not easy coming home after the war. 

“When I come back from overseas, I seen signs in Norfolk, Virginia that said sailors and dogs keep off the grass,” he added. “You know, everybody treated us…like we were less than human.” 

Cross said people thank him for his service now, but he can still remember the way he was treated after the war. 

“Well, as far as what happened there, the politics of it, I can’t tell you. All I know was we served. Our government asked us to go and we went,” Cross said.

The Honor Flight marked Tinker’s first trip to Washington and finally seeing the war memorials, which he said meant a lot to him. 

“Well, I’ve been telling everybody it’s worth the money even though I didn’t have to pay anything,” Cross said.

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