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Monday, May 12, 2014

New Names Etched Into Vietnam Veterans Memorial

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)Danny Joe Wilson is among the Vietnam veterans whose names were added to the Memorial Wall on Sunday. (Courtesy of the family and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund)Ed Gabrielsen is the brother of William Gabrielsen, whose name was added to the Memorial Wall on Sunday. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)Thomas Charles Little is among the Vietnam veterans whose names were added to the Memorial Wall on Sunday. (Courtesy of the family and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund)A Memorial Wall volunteer makes a rub of Thomas Charles Little's name. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)Alan Seamans is among the Vietnam veterans whose names were added to the Memorial Wall on Sunday. (Courtesy of the family and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund)The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. (Alex Ashlock/Here & Now)

There are 13 new names engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The Department of Defense recently determined these 13 soldiers died as a result of their wounds during the war, which stretched from the first American casualty in 1956 to the fall of Saigon in 1975. The new names join more than 58,000 others. Here & Now’s Alex Ashlock was in Washington yesterday for the adding of the new names and brings us this report.

I kept thinking how familiar this was, as I spoke to people at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, Mother’s Day. They were the families of 13 soldiers whose names have just been engraved on the Memorial Wall.

There were wives and sons and sisters who took care of their wounded men when they came home from Vietnam. Some did it for many years. It reminded me so much of my parents’ generation, friends of my mom and dad, a couple. The man came home from World War II paralyzed. The woman took care of him the rest of his long life.

Beth Wilson of Florence, Alabama, did that for Danny Joe Wilson. They got married after Danny came home wounded from the Vietnam War. She couldn’t remember how many surgeries he had after that. He couldn’t work, but he lived. He coached Little League. A family friend told me that before Danny died in 2012, kids from the teams he coached, grown up by then, came to the hospital to visit him.

“It was really special to come here for this,” Kathy Lawson said. “This was something he would have been so excited about. It’s a bittersweet day.”

Thomas Charles Littles of Brewton, Alabama, was drafted in 1966. He was wounded in 1969 during his first tour of duty in Vietnam. He died two years later at the age of 24. Thomas was one of 10 children. His brother Douglas was standing near the panel, which now includes Thomas’s name.

“Some folks would say closure, but it just says he served with pride and it’s finally being recognized by this great memorial,” Douglas Littles said.

One of the other names added to the Wall over the weekend was Michael Noel Faherty. There was no family there to see it though. He emigrated to Boston from Galway, Washington, and joined the Army in 1966, as a combat photographer. He caught malaria in Vietnam and died in 1968. His name is now engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, but he’s buried in Rahoon Cemetery in Galway City, Ireland.

Names Added To The Memorial

Staff Sgt. Jerry Leon Antrich, U.S. Army
June 20, 1930 – Aug. 10, 1969
Date of Casualty: Nov. 1, 1967

Sgt. 1st Class Frederick Joseph Baum, U.S. Army
Feb. 22, 1930 – Feb. 28, 1971
Date of Casualty: Unknown

Pfc. Henry John Drozdowski, Jr., U.S. Army
March 9, 1947 – April 30, 2011
Date of Casualty: Jan. 13, 1967

Spc. 5 Michael Noel Faherty, U.S. Army
Dec. 30, 1946 – July 25, 1968
Date of Casualty: Unknown

Pfc. Gregory Jackson Franklin, U.S. Army
July 19, 1949 – Feb. 12, 1979
Date of Casualty: Nov. 27, 1968

Spc. 4 William Arthur Gabrielsen, U.S. Army
April 2, 1947 – March 10, 1970
Date of Casualty: Aug. 12, 1968

Pfc. Ronald Hall, U.S. Army
July 20, 1948 – Oct. 2, 1967
Date of Casualty: Unknown

Spc. 4 Robert Kroptavich, U.S. Army
Oct. 26, 1942 – Sept. 10, 1968
Date of Casualty: Unknown

Spc. 4 Thomas Charles Littles, U.S. Army
Nov. 29, 1946 – June 3, 1971
Date of Casualty: Dec. 28, 1969

Pfc. Paul Luther Loidolt, U.S. Army
Aug. 30, 1948 – Feb. 21, 1969
Date of Casualty: April 4, 1968

Master Sgt. Walter Hugh Mauldin, U.S. Army
Sept. 9, 1931 – May 8, 1968
Date of Casualty: Unknown

Spc. 4 Alan Leslie Seamans, U.S. Army
June 10, 1949 – Jan. 25, 1998
Date of Casualty: Oct. 13, 1967

Pfc. Danny Joe Wilson, U.S. Army
July 8, 1944 – Nov. 16, 2012
Date of Casualty: Aug. 18, 1966

Reporter


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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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