A volunteer with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is nearing the end of a nearly 10-year quest of searching for photographs of soldiers who were killed in action during that conflict.
Janna Hoehn of Maui, Hawaii said the goal of the fund’s Wall of Faces online memorial is to put a face to each of the 58,276 names that are on the Vietnam Veteran Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
Hoehn and her husband first visited the wall eight years ago. They chose that memorial first because the Vietnam War was going on while she was in high school
“The goal, to put a face to put a face with every name that is etched on the wall,” Hoehn said.”I have always hoped I could do something for the Vietnam Veterans as the way they were treated when they returned, it was disgraceful. Here was my chance. What I thought would be a very easy project with Maui being so small, was anything but easy.”
Once she found photos of 42 soldiers from her community, Hoehn expanded her search statewide, and then she did the same for her native California. Hoehn’s search has since covered nearly all of America, including Queens.
“Out of all of the photos we needed we are down to needing 135 more photos to complete the project, 60 are from New York,” Hoehn said. “We are now into New York and have the numbers down to 60 from 4,125 of the fallen.”
This Veterans Day, Hoehn has narrowed her search to eight photos of those soldiers that were killed in action from Queens.
- Ronald Lee Bellinger, a helicopter door gunner who grew up at 163-46 Sayres Ave. in Jamaica
- Miguel Antonio Bynoe from 111-04 145th St. in Jamaica
- Alfred Patrick Clayton of 187-30 119th Road in St. Albans
- Jerry Jones, a South Carolina native who claimed Springfield Gardens as his home of record.
- Thomas Wayne Myers, subject of a 1988 book entitled ‘Fallen Angels” written by his older brother Walter Dean Myers. His home of record was in Jamaica.
- David Charles Nelson of Hollis, while his wife was Nannse Nelson of 8410 Rokaway Beach Blvd.
- William Matt Thompson, a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. His wife was named Sizu Thompson who died in 1999 having lived on Sloan Street in Jamaica.
- Vincent Torres who perished while serving in the fabled 101st Airborne Division where he earned the bronze Star Medal. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Torres of 134th Street in Jamaica.
Hoehn asks family, friends, classmates and neighbors of the fallen to contribute photos to the project. All of the photos will be submitted to the “Wall of Faces” online memorial with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, as well as accompanying the Healing Wall that travels all over the United States.
“Putting a face with a name changes the whole dynamic of the Wall,” Hoehn said. “It keeps our Fallen Heroes memories alive and will honor them.”
With the end of her mission near, Hoehn is asking for the help of Queens residents.
“If anyone is related, a friend or classmate to any of these young men on the list, I would very much appreciate hearing from you,” Hoehn said. “Even if you don’t have a photo but know which school any of these young men attended, it would be so helpful. We need to obtain a photo for every single Fallen Hero whose names are etched on the Wall. I’m also looking for an individual that would like to be my “boots on the ground” in your community if we do not find all the photos. It may mean a trip to the library to search for obituaries or to a high school to look through yearbooks.”
Please submit any photos or information to Janna Hoehn at email@example.com and for more information about the Wall of Faces, visit here.
“I do not wish for anyone to feel badly that their loved one or friend is not listed or forgotten,” Hoehn said. “We will never forget any of them.”
This story first appeared on our sister publication qns.com.