The Vietnam War was considered one of the longest wars in U.S. history, and as a tribute to the more than 58,000 service men and women who served, an online photographic memorial wall is under construction.
One woman is asking for the public’s help in obtaining photographs of four service members killed in action from the Webster Parish area. Janna Hoehn, a volunteer with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, has been collecting photographs of these men and women who served. In Webster Parish, there were 14 men who died in Vietnam, and she said she only needs four photographs to complete the photographic collection from Webster Parish.
Willie J. Cooper, of Cullen: He was born in 1946 and died in 1967.
James R. Garcia, of Minden: He was born in 1943 and died in 1967.
Phillip M. Myles, of Minden: He was born in 1946 and died in 1967.
Kenneth L. Thomas, of Doyline: He was born in 1944 and died in 1967.
“If anyone is related, a friend or classmate to any of the young men on the list, I would very much appreciate hearing from you,” she 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 of every single fallen hero whose names are etched on The Wall, all 58,315 of them.”
Collected so far are 10 photos of those from Webster Parish: George A. Branch of Minden, Allen R. Culpepper of Minden, David A. Floyd of Minden, Marvin N. Lindsey of Springhill, Paul D. Dukes of Minden, Billy R. Foster of Minden, David L. Gloer of Sibley, James W. Megehee of Minden, Willie P. Seamster of Minden and Thomas E. Welch of Springhill.
Hoehn is also looking for someone in the area to help find these photos if she does not.
About eight years ago, she and her husband traveled to Washington DC and made the trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, located on the National Mall.
She approached the wall, chose a name and made a “rubbing” of Gregory John Crossman, a serviceman listed as Missing In Action. She searched for his family for about six months with no luck. Her cousin, her family’s historian, found a college photo of Crossman six weeks later.
Two years after that, she saw a segment on a local news station about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
“The goal, to put a face to every name that is etched on the Wall,” she said. “I immediately sent in the photo I had of Crossman. Five days later, I received an email from Jan Scruggs, the founder and president of the Vietnam Wall. He thanked me for sending the photo.”
Hoehn said Scruggs, in his email, asked her if she would help him find the photos for those killed in Vietnam from Maui County, in Hawaii. Hoehn is a 26-year resident of Maui.
“I have always hoped I could do something for the Vietnam veterans as the way they were treated when they returned was disgraceful,” she said.
She now works as a team leader for the Wall of Faces Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. As photos are added, they will be displayed in the new education center in which the memorial fund is currently raising funds to build at the Wall. For now, all the photos collected are being displayed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website www.vvmf.org/thewall.
To submit photos or information to Hoehn, her email address is [email protected].