I was in D.C. in April of 1982. My Challenge Coin from the 75th is in the concrete at the base of the memorial. The Memorial was dedicated Nov. 13. I was among the group of thousands of Veterans who marched to the site that day. Even though I could wear Full Dress, I chose as many to wear actual articles of clothing worn during our tours. (yes they still fit me to this day, ha ha).
My jungle boots, that are now bronzed, slant pocket jungle camos with black and yellow, and white name tags, and boonie hat. Even though I was a Command Sgt. Major, my uniform showed me as a E-5 Buck Sgt. Our VFW chapter had a guy who worked in printing. He made us all that went a "clippy plastic name tag thingy" that showed our current, or past rank, awards and medals and tours of duty in VN. Pretty freaking cool.
I studied MMH in college. I would love to see these same kinds of facts done on our other wars.
“Carved on these walls is the story of America, of a
continuing quest to preserve both Democracy and decency, and to protect a
national treasure that we call the American dream.” ~ President George Bush
SOMETHING to think about – Most of the surviving Parents are
There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black
wall, including those added in 2010.
The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken
from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is
hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.
Beginning at the apex on panel 1E and going out to the end of
the East wall, appearing to recede into the earth (numbered 70E – May
25, 1968), then resuming at the end of the West wall, as the wall
emerges from the earth (numbered 70W – continuing May 25, 1968) and
ending with a date in 1975. Thus the war’s beginning and end meet. The
war is complete, coming full circle, yet broken by the earth that bounds
the angle’s open side and contained within the earth itself.
The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North
Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been
killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his
son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed
on Sept. 7, 1965.
· There are three sets of fathers and sons on the
· 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.
· The largest age group, 8,283 were just 19 years old;
33,103 were 18 years old.
· 12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.
· 5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.
· One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.
· 997 soldiers were killed on their first day in
· 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in
· 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.
· Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.
· 54 soldiers on attended Thomas Edison High School in
Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.
· 8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.
· 244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during
the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.
· Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of
· West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per
capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.
· The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the
scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little
Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered.
They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses
along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest.
And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families,
the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine
Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned
· The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy
Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three
consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh
avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the
adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of
16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed
on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s
assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day.
Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor
· The most casualty deaths for a single day was on
January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.
· The most casualty deaths for a single month was May
1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.
For most Americans who read this they will only see the
numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the
war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel
the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away,
haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers,
husbands, wife’s, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just
My personal note:
If you are a combat veteran you will understand when I say, I lost 58,268 brothers in this war alone.
33 years was a very long time to endure the horrors of war.
I was not and am not a Warmonger. I was a soldier. It was my life. I would like to see a peaceful world, but Im also smart enough to know that will never happen. And regretfully, it is getting worse each year.
PLUS, we need to pull out of Afghanistan and bring our boys home, including my son who is on his 3rd tour of duty. Let them handle their own problems! They want us to pull back, I want us to pull out!
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