Photos needed of 11 Vietnam War dead

Nov. 02, 2013 @ 04:19 PM

I have a framed photograph of my dad as a handsome young man, before he married my mom and years before I came into the world.

He’s dressed sharply in a young Army officer’s uniform, the envelope-shaped hat on his head, and a large duffle bag on his shoulder. He’s standing in someone’s front yard with my grandparents nearby. My grandfather was a year away from retiring from the Army, a veteran of two wars and more than 20 years. The photograph was taken shortly before my dad went to war himself in Vietnam. It was spring of 1967.

My dad came home, married my mom and made a life. Many, many photos have been taken of him since. But there are thousands of American homes whose photographs of their soldiers stopped with those pre-deployment pictures. The soldiers were killed in action, and those photographs can become that much more precious. But not just for family members, photos of our war dead display the portrait of America, connecting faces with names on a wall.

Three North Carolinians have mounted a campaign to bring photographs to the names of those men from our state who were killed in Vietnam. They’ve asked newspapers to help get word out about the photographs they’re seeking, and I’m much obliged.

Jim Reece and Tom Reece, both of Wilmington, and Rosa King of Rowan County have set up pages of the dead on the website findagrave.com, with biographical information, words from loved ones about the soldiers, where they are buried and where their names are on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. The photographs also will become part of the new Vietnam Memorial Fund’s “Faces on the Wall” Project in D.C. What they still need are photographs of these men, 11 of Durham’s casualties during the Vietnam War:

  • William Edward Boone (1942-1970).
  • John Marshall Brown (1935-1966).
  • James Edward Farrar (1946-1966).  
  • Harold Lee Harris (1946-1966).
  • James Minick Moore (1936-1968).
  • McArthur Nichols (1942-1966, according to gravestone).
  • James Lester Parker (1922-1967).
  • Charles Earl Smith (1943-1969).
  • Douglas Bane Smith (1947-1968).
  • Alfred L. Thompson (1947-1968).
  • William B. Watson Jr. (1932-1966).

If you have photographs of any of these men, email Jim Reece at reecejim@yahoo.com or call 808-276-5118. Even if you didn’t know them, take a look at tinyurl.com/ko45x5a. Learn about the local men who lived and served and died. Many were married, some had children. They all lived here at some point in their short lives. Remember them.

 

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan may be reached at dvaughan@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6563.