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VFW Magazine November 2017 : Page 41

TURNS Names by the Numbers 35 BY DAVE SPIVA COURTESY OF VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL FUND 58,318 Total names as of May 2017 1,604 Names of those missing in action, as of August 2017 376 Names added since 1982, as of December 2016 160 Medal of Honor recipients 120 Individuals from other countries 31 Sets of brothers 16 Chaplains 8 Women (all nurses) 3 Sets of fathers and sons Source: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund ITEMS LEFT AT THE WALL More than 400,000 items have been left at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial since 1982. Many of these items — ranging from let-ters to service members on the wall to ser-vice medals and ribbons — are displayed online at www.vvmf.org/items . The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund plans to display about 4,000 to 6,000 items left at the wall at the yet-to-be-built Education Center at The Wall. Above is a photograph featuring an unidentified serviceman posing with Vietnamese children. It was left at The Wall by an “anonymous donor” sometime in August or September 1989. This photo-graph is one of more than 400,000 items left at the wall since 1982. CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER VFW so far has contributed nearly $650,000 toward the construction of the memorial’s yet-to-be-built education center. It will be called The Education Center at The Wall. The plan is for the center to be an “interactive learning facility” in Washington, D.C., according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. Visit www.vietnamera.org. The Wall was designed to place the names of service members killed in Vietnam in chronological order of death rather than alphabetical order. Air Force Technical Sgt. Richard B. Fitzgibbon Jr. is the first American service member killed in the Vietnam War. He died June 8, 1956, but his name was not on The Wall until May 31, 1999. His son, Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, also was killed in the Vietnam War on Sept. 7, 1965. The last name on the wall belonged to Air Force 2nd Lt. Richard Vandegeer, who died on May 15, 1975. Vandegeer was killed on Koh Tang Island off Cambodia dur-ing an attempted rescue mission. Some of Vandegeer’s remains were buried in Arlington National Cemetery in May 2013, according to The Plain Dealer , a newspaper in Cleveland. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017   • WWW.VFW.ORG • 41

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