“A nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure.” Abraham Lincoln

How we honor those who have served in the military speaks volumes about us as a society.  In particular, how we honor the best of those who have served says even more.  Medal of Honor recipients are the best of the best, and deserve our respect and recognition.

Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Memorial

Located on the grounds of the Cornelia Community House on Wyly Street is a black granite memorial that was dedicated in 2001 to remember the life, service, and sacrifice of Captain Wilbanks.  His commanding officer, Col. Norman Mueller, gave the keynote address.


The Air Force Color Guard from Robins AFB, Warner Robins, Georgia presented the Colors and 21-Gun Salute.  Three Air Force F-16s from Shaw AFB, South Carolina performed a “Missing Man” Flyover as a tribute to Captain Wilbanks.  The ceremony ended with the Bird Dog Flyover by members of the International Bird Dog Association.


17th Air Support Operations Squadron Building Dedication

The 17th Air Support Operations Squadron, the most highly decorated Tactical Air Control Party unit in the Air Force, dedicated their new headquarters building at Fort Benning, Georgia in honor of Captain Wilbanks in 2001.


Class 55-P Memorial Bench Dedication

Captain Wilbanks’ Aviation Cadet Flight Training Class 55-P dedicated a memorial bench in his honor on the grounds of the National Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.  Also at this location the Air Force memorial park honors all Medal of Honor recipients.


Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame

Captain Wilbanks was among four inductees in 2001.  Other Inductees that year were Mr. Charles N. Coppi, Lieutenant General Robert E. Hails, Captain John W. Young.


Georgia Military Veterans Hall of Fame

Captain Wilbanks was among the first eighteen inductees in the Inaugural Year.  His nomination was submitted by the Hilliard A. Wilbanks Middle School in Demorest, Georgia.


FAC Tea Party Commissioned Painting

The original commissioned painting by artist, Stewart Wavell-Smith, called  "F.A.C. Tea Party" depicts Captain Hilliard Wilbanks piloting his O-1E Bird Dog over a tea field in Vietnam in 1967.  He flew to draw fire from a NVA force to allow a small group SVA to escape and in doing so gave his life. He was awarded the "Congressional Medal of Honor" for his Heroism.


Forward Air Controllers Memorial

The Forward Air Controllers honored 219 fallen comrades with a granite memorial at their first reunion at Hurlburt Field Airpark, FL.  Two FACs who received the Medal of Honor, Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks and Capt. Steven Bennett, were given special honors with their citations displayed on bronze markers in front of the airplanes they flew.


Hilliard A. Wilbanks Day Proclamation

At the Memorial Service sponsored by the Joseph Habersham Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, Mayor Margaret Ballard proclaimed February 24th as Hilliard A. Wilbanks Day.  Annual observances are held.


Hilliard A. Wilbanks Foundation

The Hilliard A. Wilbanks Foundation was formed in the spring of 2011 to ensure that Captain Wilbanks would continue to be honored, and that his legacy of courage, sacrifice and patriotism would be continued.  The Foundation awards scholarships in Captain Wilbanks' honor each year to deserving ROTC students to help build a next generation of leaders for our nation.  The Foundation also honors other veterans with the opportunity to award similar scholarships.


Hilliard A. Wilbanks Middle School

In an unprecedented move, in 2011 the Habersham County, Georgia Board of Education named a new middle school in Demorest, Georgia in honor and in memory of Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks, Medal of Honor Recipient.   Another Georgia native and Air Force Medal of Honor Recipient, Colonel Joe Jackson, provided the dedicatory address.


Purple Heart Society

Chapter 576 of the Purple Heart Society was chartered May 29, 1991 in Alpharetta, GA.  Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks was chosen as their namesake because he was from the North Georgia area and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam.  Chapter 576 is one of eight chapters in Georgia and operates out of American Legion Post 201 in Alpharetta.


State of Georgia

A tribute to Georgia's military heroes and veterans is housed in the Floyd Veterans Memorial Building in Atlanta.  The memorial includes a tribute to all of Georgia's Medal of Honor Recipients.


The Department of Veterans Service and the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association sponsored  A Tribute to Medal of Honor Recipients from Georgia at the State Capitol on March 25, 2014.  It was a special celebration honoring Vietnam Veterans from Georgia.  Pictures of the 12 Vietnam War MOH Recipients were taken to the capitol building for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  March 25th is National Medal of Honor Day.


Vietnam Wall

On this black marble wall are the names of 58,261 military personnel who died in the Vietnam War.  It reflects the very high cost of war.  Architectural student, Maya Ying Lin, submitted the winning design for The Wall.  The Yale student said, "This memorial is for those who have died and for us to remember them."  Lin's conception was to create an opening or wound in the earth to symbolize the gravity of the loss of the soldiers.


The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is located in Constitution Gardens, Washington D.C., and was built through private donations from the public.  It was dedicated in 1982 and has become an important pilgrimage site for relatives and friends of the American military casualties in Vietnam.  Captain Wilbanks' name appears on Panel 15 East, Row 088.


Copyright 2014 Hilliard A Wilbanks Foundation, Inc.