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Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

Five Names To Be Added to The Wall

07 May 2011


The names of five American servicemen will be inscribed on the black granite walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial over the next week, and the status designations will be changed for eight others whose names are already on The Wall.

A press event at 10 a.m. on May 8 will be held to honor one of the five servicemen: Army Spec. Charles J. Sabatier, whose name is being added to Panel 40E, Line 72. His widow, Peggy Griffin, will be a featured speaker at the event, to discuss her husband’s life and service. Sabatier was severely wounded during the Tet Offensive in 1968 when a bullet entered his spinal column and left him paralyzed. His death 2009 was deemed to be a result of this condition.

During the ceremony, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood will talk about the achievements Sabatier made during his lifetime as a disabled American. Last July, he was posthumously awarded the 2010 Universal Accessible Transportation Award by the Department of Transportation (DOT).

“After the sacrifice Charlie Sabatier made for his country in 1968, any ordinary person might have thought he had given enough,” said Secretary LaHood. “But Charlie was no ordinary person, and his tireless advocacy for those in wheelchairs helped to assure them the rights that belong to all Americans – the right to dignity, to independence, to security, and to opportunity.”

When Sabatier’s achievements were commemorated by DOT last year, Secretary LaHood presented the award to Sabatier’s widow, Peggy Griffin, and their three children. During the May 8 ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Griffin will also share memories about her husband’s life and service. JC Cummings, AIA, the architect of record for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and VVMF President Jan C. Scruggs will also offer remarks.

Work to add names and change designations began May 5 and will proceed through May 12. Because of rain expected on Sunday, May 8, Sabatier’s name will be added on Saturday, May 6, between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. and will be unveiled during the press event.

When names are added, the highly technical procedure requires meticulous work to match the stroke and depth of the surrounding names to within one-thousandth of an inch. The physical work of adding the names and changing designations will be performed by James Lee of the Colorado-based company Engrave Write.

“We will add the names as close as possible to their dates of casualty, so these servicemen can remain in the company of those they served with,” said Scruggs.

The five names being added this year meet the Department of Defense (DOD) criteria for addition to The Wall: all of the men died as a result of wounds sustained in the combat zone during the Vietnam War.

Names Being Added to The Wall
SPC Charles J. Sabatier, U.S. Army
Galveston, Texas
July 19, 1945 – June 11, 2009
Date of Casualty: Feb. 3, 1968
Wall Location: Panel 40E, Line 72
Spec. Sabatier was severely wounded in combat during the Tet Offensive. A bullet severed his spinal cord and left him paralyzed. His death in 2009 was a result of his wound and paralysis.

SPC Charles Robert Vest, U.S. Army
Lynchburg, Ohio
Jan. 14, 1943 – Oct. 7, 1974
Date of Casualty: July 26, 1967
Wall Location: Panel 24E, Line 30
Spec. Vest was mortally wounded in combat during the Vietnam War. However, he remained in a coma for seven years before he passed away in a nursing home in Ft. Thomas, Ky.

Sgt. Henry L. Aderholt, U.S. Army
Birmingham, Ala.
May 20, 1947 – Dec. 12, 1972
Date of Casualty: Feb. 14, 1970
Wall Location: Panel 12W, Line 83
Sgt. Aderholt was a door gunner who was wounded in action on Feb. 14, 1970 and died of those wounds on Dec. 12, 1972.

ETR2 Richard Lewis Daniels, U.S. Navy
Washougal, Wash.
Sept. 6, 1947 – March 1, 1971
Date of Casualty: March 1, 1971
Wall Location: Panel 4W, Line 108
ETR2 Daniels died as a result of gunshot wounds at Dong Tam, South Vietnam, while on board an APL-30 Navy barracks barge.

BT3 Peter Otto Holcomb, U.S. Navy
Grandy, Minn.
Jan. 26, 1946 – March 13, 1966
Date of Casualty: March 13, 1966
Wall Location: Panel 15E, Line 60
BT3 Holcomb died as a result of an accident aboard the U.S.S. Mahan.

Status Changes
Beside each name on the Memorial is a symbol designating status. The diamond symbol denotes confirmed death. The cross represents missing in action. When a service member’s remains are returned or accounted for, the diamond is superimposed over the cross. In addition to the five names being added this year, eight designation changes will be made as well. They include:

• Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Edward Dahill of Lima, Ohio, Panel 27W, Line 99
• Army CW3 George Andrews Howes of Knox, Ind., Panel 14W, Line 23
• Army Master Sgt. Charles Vernon Newton of Canadian, Texas, Panel 27W, Line 102
• Marine Corps Sgt. Samuel Eugene Hewitt of Walkerton, Ind., Panel 6E, Line 41
• Air Force Maj. Thomas John Beyer of Fargo, N.D., Panel 50W, Line 34
• Air Force Col. James Eugene Dennany of Mattawan, Mich., Panel 16W, Line 63
• Air Force Maj. Richard Gene Elzinga of Shedd, Ore., Panel 12W, Line 45
• Air Force Maj. Robert Leon Tucci of Detroit, Mich., Panel 16W, Line 68

Adding Names
These changes will bring the total number of names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to 58,272 men and women who were killed or remain missing in action.

The five new names will become “official” when they are read aloud during the annual Memorial Day Ceremony at The Wall taking place on Monday, May 30, at 1:00 p.m.

The Department of Defense sets the criteria for and makes decisions about whose names are eligible for inscription on The Wall. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund pays for the name additions and status changes, and works with the National Park Service to ensure long-term preservation and maintenance of The Wall.

Photos of the five men whose names are being added this weekend, as well as stories about their lives, are being collected from their loved ones to be used in the Education Center at The Wall, which is being built in Washington, D.C. near the Lincoln and Vietnam Veterans Memorials. The Education Center will be a living, interactive learning facility that will teach the values, tell the stories and show the faces of those who served. It will also showcase the remembrances left in tribute at The Wall and celebrate the rich legacy of service in this country. For information about this latest VVMF initiative, visit www.buildthecenter.org

Dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built to honor all who served with the U.S. armed forces during the Vietnam War. It has become known as an international symbol of healing and is the most-visited memorial on the National Mall.
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