Letter: ‘Lost sailors’ belong on memorial wall

Published: 9/12/2019 12:01:36 AM

I appreciated the Monitor printing my op-ed about the “lost sailors” of the USS Frank E. Evans.

The article was about 74 sailors who died in a tragic training exercise “outside the combat zone” during the Vietnam War and are not recognized on the Vietnam Wall.

As a Senate bill that will authorize the names of these sailors onto the Vietnam Wall is now forging through the tangled muck of congressional approval, the Washington Examiner reported on Sept. 10: “The National Park Service claims there isn’t space on the (Vietnam Memorial) wall for a large-scale addition of names.” Good grief. What a disgrace.

This is tantamount to saying we don’t have enough crosses at Arlington Cemetery so our heroes can no longer be buried there.

It is shameful the “Lost 74” Evans sailors (including two from New Hampshire) have not been recognized on the Vietnam Wall.

These men had been actively serving in the Vietnam War and had been awarded the Vietnam Service Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation for duty in May 1969.

They were also scheduled to return to the war zone after the training exercise.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan ordered the names of 59 U.S. Marines onto the Vietnam Wall who were killed in 1965 in a plane crash in Hong Kong while on leave for “rest and recuperation” from the Vietnam War.

President Donald Trump needs to follow Reagan’s lead and order the names of the 74 lost sailors onto the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Their shipmates and families have been stonewalled for too long.

JOHN MEINHOLD

Portsmouth




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