Paul Wayne Anthony had been an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) member while attending high school in Charlotte, having achieved the rank of lieutenant. He enrolled at UNC Charlotte where he hoped to earn a degree before starting a career in the United States Air Force. But Anthony ultimately decided he could not wait to serve his country in the Vietnam War. He withdrew from the University to join the Air Force in 1969.
Airman First Class Anthony, a member of the 6924th Security Squadron, arrived at Da Nang Air Base in Vietnam on April 3, 1970. He was killed five days later on April 8, the victim of a ground mortar attack on the base by a Viet Cong rocket that struck the building where Anthony was working. Anthony, just 20 years old, had been working his very first shift inside the communications center on base and was the only member of the 6924th Security Squadron at Da Nang to be killed in action in the Vietnam War.
Anthony’s service was short, but he is long remembered as a dedicated airman due to a scholarship established at UNC Charlotte in his memory.
The Paul Wayne Anthony AFROTC Scholarship is awarded to sophomore or junior AFROTC cadets enrolled in the University who show exceptional leadership and military achievement and maintain a 2.5 grade point average. The scholarships, established by members of the 6924th Heritage Association to honor their fallen member, are given to cadets each semester. Three cadets were awarded scholarships for the 2019-20 academic year. The award amounts vary, but an association representative said the latest round of awards will be $1,000.
The support from this veterans association is appreciated by the Air Force ROTC at UNC Charlotte, an institution that was established to educate veterans returning from World War II.
“One of the most important character traits of those who would join the military is a heart of service and a willingness to put the good of others before oneself,” said Lt. Col. Donald Land, commander of the University’s AFROTC program. “The 6924th Heritage Association demonstrates that act of service supporting AFROTC students here at UNC Charlotte, enabling us to grow, shape and pass on that same battalion of service to the next generation.”
In addition to the yearly scholarships, the 6924th Heritage Association has set up an endowment to provide larger scholarships to future cadets. The current scholarships are not funded from the endowment but rather donations from the association’s members.
“Every penny is from our membership,” said Paul Deshaies, a member of the association who lives in Charlotte. “We’re very proud of our unit and very proud of the University.”
Anthony had met Carol Sanderson, also a member of the Air Force, while attending communications technical school at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas. They married on Jan. 10, 1970, in her hometown of Brecksville, Ohio. It was Carol’s father, Kirk Sanderson, who initially established a scholarship in Anthony’s memory at UNC Charlotte.
In a June 1971 letter to UNC Charlotte’s Scholarship Office, Sanderson described his son-in-law as a “very likable young man who loved his country and people, and often expressed his hopes of returning to UNCC someday to complete his education.”
The Heritage Association began donating money for the Paul Wayne Anthony AFROTC Scholarship in the spring of 2004; the group established the endowment three years later.
Anthony was buried near his father in the veterans section of Evergreen Cemetery in Charlotte. His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
To support veterans programs at UNC Charlotte, contact the Office of University Development at (704) 687-6192.