Subject: Locating Photos of Maryland KIA in Vietnam
From: Glenn Johnston
To: The American Legion Department of Maryland, Commander Lewis Trott
It was a pleasure meeting you at the Maryland American Legion State Oratorical Competition held in Towson earlier this year. I was one of the judges from Stevenson University. At the time I said I would be getting in touch with you, and now I'm delivering on that promise.
Several years ago my college president asked me to become involved in a task force readying for the 50th commemoration of the Vietnam War. The task force is chaired by Maryland Public Television. It came to light last year that of the 1,017 Marylanders whose names are on the Vietnam Wall of Remembrance in Washington, D.C., we were missing 192 photos of those same Marylanders from the online Wall of Faces. I volunteered the Stevenson University Public History Program to track down those photos.
In the last year we have scoured over 3,000 different newspaper titles through online databases, and we have spent hundreds of hours searching Ancestry.com, My Heritage, Classmates, E-Yearbooks, and high school reunion websites. In addition we have searched military unit reunion websites as well as veterans' webpages. As a result of that effort we have located 122 of those 192 photos that were missing last year. It remains to locate the 70 photos that still remain missing as of this time. Our target date o complete this mission is this coming Memorial Day.
We are requesting the Maryland Department ask its posts and its individual members to aid us in our search. To that end I have attached an Excel spreadsheet with the names of over 70 Marylanders whose photos are missing. The spreadsheet also contains all information we have gathered from public sources in our search. None of the information on the attached sheet is confidential. Please feel free to distribute this list throughout the state.
Download the Spreadsheet in PDF format:
The list can be downloaded online or this link can be put in your newlsetters: www.mdlegion.org/Forms/Vietnam_list_3_21__2016_.pdf
We ask that members of Legion posts throughout the Department help us locate photos of the service members whose names are attached. If located, they can simply e-mail the photo to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with their Post affiliation. When I post the photo on the Wall of Faces I will recognize your help as well. The photos need not be military in nature. They can be from yearbooks, family photos, church choirs, or just about any place.
Below are links that will further clarify the effort in which we are involved.
As a former combat arms officer I will not consider our mission accomplished until we have found a photo with which to honor each Marylander who died in Vietnam. When many of the service members on the attached list died, they weren't recognized in the Sun, the Afro-American, nor any other newspaper. Many never graduated from high school--yet each answered their county's call. Not all were killed in battle. Several died as a result of accidents, disease, or falling overboard, too many died as a result of friendly fire. At least one committed suicide. It is my hope that we can recognize each of them by locating a picture of them and posting it on the Wall of Faces online. They have earned that honor.
I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience.
Glenn T Johnston, Ph.D.
Chair, Humanities & Public History
1525 Greenspring Valley Rd
Stevenson, MD 21153
Stevenson University Public History Program Vietnam Project
Maryland Public Television Vietnam Effort
Wall of Faces