RANDOLPH, NY – The courage and sacrifices of a Randolph native who served with great distinction in the Vietnam War were posthumously honored today with the dedication of the “Sergeant David Lockwood Memorial Bridge.”
Sen. George Borrello and Assemblyman Joseph Giglio, sponsors of the legislation enacting the designation, were joined at the Randolph American Legion by Sgt. Lockwood’s family, friends and members of the community to commemorate the contributions of the Silver Star recipient.
“As a 19-year-old college student from upstate New York, David Lockwood answered his nation’s call to serve in the Vietnam War, and accepted all the sacrifices, hardships and risks that entailed. A soft-spoken but exceptional leader, he advanced quickly to the rank of platoon sergeant and inspired great respect from his men,” Sen. Borrello said. “He distinguished his company as one of America’s finest infantry units in Vietnam and was awarded several military honors, including three Silver Stars, the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States military.”
Sgt. Lockwood graduated from Randolph High School and was attending college and working as a carpenter’s assistant in 1966 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve during the Vietnam War. He served with the 1st Platoon, Alpha Company in the 5th Battalion of the 9th Infantry Division.
“Sgt. Lockwood’s valor on the battlefield was exceptional. He earned prestigious Bronze and Silver Stars for instances where his courageous actions saved the lives of his platoon members,” Sen. Borrello said. “However, when the war was over, he and his fellow Vietnam veterans didn’t receive the heroes welcome they deserved. Anti-war protests fueled hostility towards our troops, adding to the trauma endured by these patriots.
“Thankfully, time has healed some of those wounds and restored the great respect that is due to those who risked their lives fighting on behalf of our nation. The dedication of this bridge is an affirmation of the debt we owe Sgt. Lockwood and all of our military heroes.”
The Sergeant David Lockwood Memorial Bridge crosses Schoolhouse Road in Randolph. As a student before he went to war, Mr. Lockwood actually worked on the bridge that will bear his name. Following his service, Sgt. Lockwood graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology and worked as a mechanical engineer. He and his wife Patricia moved to the Town of Pavilion in Genesee County in 1974 and raised two daughters. He passed away in 2018.
Assemblyman Giglio reflected on Sgt. Lockwood’s lifetime of contributions.
“The dedication of the Sergeant David Lockwood Memorial Bridge is the culmination of a lifetime of service by Sgt. Lockwood, from his heroic actions in Vietnam to his many contributions here at home as a family man, engineer, and valued community member,” Assemblyman Giglio said. “It was an honor to sponsor legislation to ensure that Sgt. Lockwood will be remembered in the town that he loved. We are forever grateful for people like Sgt. Lockwood, who committed their lives to making the world a better place through service to their families, their communities, and their country.”
“I did not have the fortune of knowing Mr. Lockwood but wish I had met him. He epitomizes the quality of the veterans we have in Cattaraugus County from his sense of service to his heroism on the battlefield to his continued success after he returned to civilian duty,” said Steve McCord, Director of Veterans’ Services in Cattaraugus County.
Although Sgt. Lockwood rarely spoke of his time in Vietnam, in his later years he began attending biennial reunions with those with whom he served. One of those men, Barney Tharp, expressed his thoughts on his friend.
"David and I grew extremely close while in Vietnam and depended upon each other for survival on the battlefields. That's a bond that can never be broken by decades, distance, or even death,” he said. “I am so happy that he is being eternally honored with this bridge dedication. It is a well-deserved remembrance of a true American hero."