Tommy Joyner has given up his post as president of VVA Chapter 689 inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary, having been freed from prison after serving more than 30 years for killing a drug dealer in self-defense.
Joyner served in Vietnam in the Studies and Observations Group, Special Operations Augmentation, Command and Control North in Da Nang from 1967–1969 before being wounded and sent home. He attended Louisiana State University, married and divorced before being incarcerated in early 1975.
VVA Region 7 Director Allen Manuel, who is active in VVA’s Veterans Incarcerated, testified in front of a parole board on Joyner’s behalf, listing his many accomplishments. Joyner is the only incarcerated veteran in VVA history to be awarded the Commendation Medal.
“Allen had a detailed list,” Joyner said. “He remembered more about my accomplishments than I did. He has known me for over 20 years, and he hadn’t forgotten a single thing. He spoke so well on my behalf.”
Now 69, Joyner is re-acquainting himself with life on the outside as a member of Chapter 1052 in Independence, La. He continues to be active in the association, and is collecting funds to establish a veterans memorial on the grounds of the Louisiana governor’s mansion.