New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation

New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation The NJ Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial and Museum honors the fallen and educate visitors of all ages. The Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
(181)

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, dedicated May 7, 1995, strives to encourage and foster patriotism and provide for recognition of the sacrifices, courage and valor of the New Jersey veterans of the Vietnam era. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center, dedicated in September 1998, strives to encourage and foster a thorough understanding of the Vietnam era, including the political, his

torical, social, cultural and military aspects that affected the United States, especially New Jersey. The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation depends on the support of individuals, corporations and organizations to help carry out the many programs at the Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center. Ways to help include purchasing a paver in the Memorial Walkway Paver, becoming a member, making a monetary contribution and/or underwriting an event. The Museum is located adjacent to the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial off the Garden State Parkway at exit 116 in Holmdel, N.J. The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is free to visit.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... John Hayden West was born on November 29, 1948, in Jersey City, NJ, to Elizabet...
03/07/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... John Hayden West was born on November 29, 1948, in Jersey City, NJ, to Elizabeth and James West. His home of record is North Bergen, NJ. He had two brothers and one sister. To his friends and family, he was known as "Jackie". Jackie graduated from North Bergen High School in 1965. He loved all sports, played football for 4 years, and was the victory game ball winner against St. Joseph's High School.

Jackie's ambition was to be an IBM programmer when he was discharged.

West served in the US Army and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

Jackie believed that if Americans were to remain free then all Americans had to do their share and he was doing his. His wife said that Jackie's morale was high until his last letter. She received it the day before he was killed. He wrote, "We are busy, things are hectic and we were out on a long mission in the jungle. We climbed up and down mountains." The letter continued, "Our mission captured 82 Vietcong and next to their camp, we found a camp of South Vietnamese who said they were shooting at us accidentally. Who the hell are we fighting here anyway?" In another letter, the young soldier said the South Vietnamese treated the Americans well and gave them bananas and other fruits.

West was killed in action on March 7, 1969, while under hostile fire in Kontum Province Republic of Vietnam.

West was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with "V" device, the Purple Heart, the Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palm Unit Citation Badge, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. In addition, he had previously received qualification badges for the Expert-Machine Gun Medal, the Expert-Automatic Rifle Medal, the Expert-Rifle and the Expert-Pistol Medals.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1385

Sources: Pamela Panagiotou (sister) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1385.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Roger J. Spence was born on April 8, 1945 to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy J. S...
03/07/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Roger J. Spence was born on April 8, 1945 to his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Roy J. Spence, and lived in Roselle Park, NJ. A native of Camden, Del., Sgt Spence came to Roselle Park with his family 14 years ago. He had two brothers: Dennis and Roy, and one sister named Pamela. He graduated from Roselle Park High School in 1963, and went on to attend Rutgers University for one and a half years, then transferred to Wilks College, Pennsylvania for two and a half years.

He was inducted into the US Army in September 1967. He did his basic training at Fort Dix, NJ, and received Advanced Infantry Training at Fort Jackson, SC. Spence was then sent to Fort Benning, GA, to Non-Commissioned Officers Training. Upon completion of this training, Spence was promoted to the rank of Sergeant (SGT).

He was sent to Vietnam in August 1968, and served with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry, and 4th Infantry Division.

On March 7, 1969, while engaged in a combat sweep operation, Spence was killed in action in South Vietnam, Pleiku Province. As his company moved through an area of previous enemy action, it was hit by intense automatic weapons fire from an unknown size enemy force. Roger received a fatal fragmentation wound and died instantly. He was 23 years old.

Spence was awarded the Bronze Star and the Army Commendation Medal, each with the V device for valor in two separate actions. The decorations earned by Sgt Roger J. Spence include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.

Roger Spence is buried in Camden, Delaware. Camden is about five-ten miles south of Dover, Delaware. Roger is buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/2218

Sources: Roy Spence (brother), the 35th Infantry Regiment Association, Tower Topics, and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/2218.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Stephen Arthur Rusch was born on July 28, 1943, to Hugh and Cynthia Rusch. His ...
03/07/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Stephen Arthur Rusch was born on July 28, 1943, to Hugh and Cynthia Rusch. His home of record was Lambertville, NJ. Stephen grew up in West Amwell, NJ. Stephen had one sister, Cynthia. His father was an inventor and vice president of Opinion Research Corp. in Princeton, NJ. Stephen graduated from the Hun School of Princeton Township. In high school, Stephen was a lifeguard at Pretty Brook Tennis Club.

Stephen was characterized as an accomplished musician. He played guitar and banjo and sang and composed folk songs. On weekends, he played gigs at coffee houses in New Jersey and Greenwich Village, NY. He was attending Drew University when he met his future wife, Judy. They were both studying math.

He served in the US Air Force as a Captain (CAPT) in the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Rusch was a weapons systems operator.

On March 7, 1972, Rusch was the weapons system officer in an F-4E Phanton II aircraft attacking enemy targets in Salavan Province, Laos. The plane was number two aircraft in the flight of two. When Rusch's aircraft was cleared to begin its second run over enemy targets, the flight leader of the number one aircraft lost sight of Rusch's plane and observed enemy ground fire followed by a large explosion. An immediate search was begun, but all attempts to establish radio contact and later search efforts were unsuccessful. He was listed as missing in action.

Rusch was survived by two daughters, Sharon and Rebecca, and his ex-wife, Judy.

During the summer of 2007, human remains were found in the wreckage of an airplane in the Salavan Province. These were positively identified as Rusch's. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1324

Sources: Newspaper clippings, POW Network and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1324.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... John C. Haines, Jr. was born in Mansfield Township, NJ, on November 25, 1931, t...
03/07/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... John C. Haines, Jr. was born in Mansfield Township, NJ, on November 25, 1931, to John C. and Eva May Haines. His home of record is Bordentown, NJ. He was the oldest of five children - John, Richard, Katherine, Robert, and Eva. He attended St. Mary's Grammar School and Bordentown High School. His childhood was spent on an 11-acre farm stocked with horses and pet animals. He always had an interest in working on cars and trucks.

He continued his education at UCLA studying Engineering.

He enlisted in the US Navy in 1951, and served in the Mobile Construction Battalion 4 (Seabees) where he attained the rank of Equipment Operating Chief (EOC). Haines' uncle, Bill Haines, had been a Seabee during World War II, and that led to John's interest in joining the Navy Mobile Construction Battalion.

On March 7, 1967, at the age of 35, Haines was killed in action during a deployment when the jeep he was driving hit a mine buried in the road.

He was a career Navy man with 16 years of service. He was very proud to be a "Chief" in the Seabees. He was viewed by his men as the "old man". He loved a "good time" and had friends all over the Pacific Rim, West Coast and back home in NJ. He had planned to be married after his tour.

Haines received the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat Distinguishing Device and the Purple Heart. Along with these medals, he also received the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

In addition to the medals Haines received the 12th Seabee camp in-country was dedicated to him on July 3, 1968. Camp Haines was a Helicopter Base used by the 158th Assault Helicopter - 101st Airborne Division. It served as a repair and overhaul base.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1324

Sources: Eva Haines (sister) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1324

On this day lost, but never forgotten... David R. Wienckoski was born on January 13, 1948.  His home of record is Linden...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... David R. Wienckoski was born on January 13, 1948. His home of record is Linden, NJ.

He served in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

Wienckoski was killed in action on March 6, 1968.

Source: https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1831, brother.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Noel Luis Rios was born on April 3, 1941.  His home of record is Newark, NJ.  N...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Noel Luis Rios was born on April 3, 1941. His home of record is Newark, NJ. Noel and his wife, Dolores, had one son, Mark, and one daughter, Helene.

Rios entered the US Air Force and went to Vietnam where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSGT). He was assigned to 15 Aerial Port Squad, Danang.

Rios was listed as missing in action on March 6, 1968. In 2002, his remains were identified and his status was changed to Remains Repatriated.

In September 2003, the US Air Force held an official ceremony to bury the recently identified remains of Noel Rios along with the remains of the other active duty military people that died on March 6, 1968 in the airplane. It was a group burial and Noel and his crewmate, William Anselmo, were the last two people on the plane to be laid to rest. Since the Air Force had been able to identify all the other remains on the airplane well before the ceremony, the only remains left to identify were those of Noel and Anselmo. While the Air Force could not definitively say that remains were those of Noel and Anselmo, they had conclusively identified everyone else. Since they were known to be on the aircraft and there were two sets of inconclusively identified remains, the remains were finally declared to be theirs and the burial ceremony finally set up to take place. There were 30 Marines, 1 Navy Seaman, 4 US Air Force Airmen and 1 civilian on the airplane, a C-123 Cargo Master.

The Air Force conducted the burial ceremony. There were 23 Air Force airmen and officers, including an Air Force chaplain in the ceremony. They did a 21 gun salute, 3 volleys of 7 shots each, during the ceremony. After the chaplain finished his remarks, the flags used during the ceremony were folded by the color guard and presented to Rios' wife, Dolores, and to Anselmo's mother by the Air Force Senior Master Sergeant coordinating the ceremonial troops.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1659

Sources: Mark Lauer (son), POW Network and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1659.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Dennis W. Klein was born on September 24, 1947, and grew up in Middletown, NJ, ...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Dennis W. Klein was born on September 24, 1947, and grew up in Middletown, NJ, where he attended Middletown High School. He later moved to Keansburg, NJ. His home of record is Keansburg, NJ. He had a sister, brother and a twin brother. His father had died and Dennis took on the role as male head of the household. Dennis worked part time at Midland Glass in Cliffwood Beach. His dream was to be a disc jockey and he had a collection of 45 records and was an expert on musical groups of the 1950s. He had a sweetheart who was his true love.

Klein enlisted in the US Army and attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4). He was assigned to the 25th Infantry, 588th Engineers. He was stationed in Tay Ninh where he helped build barracks and worked as a radio communications engineer. When he had served for 11 months, so close to finishing his term overseas, his mother had become quite ill. Dennis' sister attributes their mother's illness to the stress of having a son in Vietnam. Dennis' mother requested him to return to help take care of the family. Dennis wrote a letter to her begging her to allow him to finish his tour. Dennis felt he was helping South Vietnamese children and families, and he wanted to continue making a difference in their lives.

He was killed in action on March 6, 1968, in South Vietnam, by mortar attack. An attempt was made to helicopter him to medical safety. He had only 40 days left until he would have returned stateside.

Klein's hometown of Keansburg named a court in a new playground in his honor.

Sources: Temple Shalom and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/999.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gregory Patrick Kernahan, Jr. was born on November 16, 1942.  His home of recor...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gregory Patrick Kernahan, Jr. was born on November 16, 1942. His home of record is Avon-By-The- Sea. He had one sister, Mary. He attended Neptune High School.

Joe Ryan, a former teacher from Neptune High School who taught Greg Kernahan had this to say:

Capt. Kernahan was in my US History Class in 1960 - excellent pupil and a member of my Junior Historical Society. He was also a member of the student council. Nice boy all around. Worked after school.

Kernahan served in the US Army where he attained the rank of Captain (CAPT).

On March 6, 1968, at the age of 25, Kernahan was killed in action in Gia Dinh, South Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Purple Heart.

Frank Donohue first met Kernahan while stationed at Fort Lewis, WA, while serving with the 75th Engineer Battalion. This is how he remembers him:

Greg helped me and another fellow GI with some personal problems. I never forgot him or his kindness and willingness to help others! I was hospitalized when the 75th deployed to Vietnam, and when released I volunteered for service in Vietnam, where I wound up being stationed at Pleiku in June 1967 to June 1968.with Co. B, 815th Engineer Company to which the 585th was attached. I visited the 585th at their "club" on a regular basis, and got to speak to Greg and some of his troops on a regular basis. Anyone who served under or knew Kernahan knew him to be a "Great Officer", but beyond that, just a great person.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1569

Sources: Mary DeAngelo (sister), Joe Ryan, Frank Donahue and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1569.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Frank Dennis Joynes, Jr. was born on July 31, 1948, to Frank and Florence Joyne...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Frank Dennis Joynes, Jr. was born on July 31, 1948, to Frank and Florence Joynes of Newark, NJ. Dennis, as family and friends called him, was educated in the Newark Public School System at Newton Elementary School and Central High School.

Dennis served with 1LT Mel Grevstad. They worked together to lead their comrades through the guerilla warfare in Pleiku, South Vietnam. Mr. Grevstad's testimony details that Dennis was high spirited and brave. He possessed leadership qualities on the battlefield, which showed his courage. Mr. Grevstad recalls that Dennis was "a good man and a good person." He was the squad leader of eight men and an exceptional soldier. "Dennis always pitched in whenever an extra man was needed. In one instance, their company had a series of hostile contact over several days. Grevstad's strategy to initiate return fire was using a point man that served as the front eyes of the platoon. He asked a man to walk the point, and without hesitation, Dennis volunteered to start their strategy. As he approached enemy lines with his scout dog and two other men behind him, a B40 rocket struck him in the head. Dennis and two other men died on contact, and the dog survived with wounds.

Dennis earned several accolades for his productiveness and leadership in South Vietnam. These include the distinguished Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. In addition, the 35th Infantry Regiment Association (Cacti) remembers Dennis on their website as one of several "Honored Dead" killed in action while in Vietnam. "He was a valiant leader, delightful, and a generous person for sacrificing his life for the sake of our country."

The decorations earned by Joynes include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1580

Sources: Yasmeen Barber (friend), various websites and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1580.

Empower our mission to honor and remember the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans in New Jersey.  Please check LINE 72 on you...
03/06/2024

Empower our mission to honor and remember the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans in New Jersey. Please check LINE 72 on your tax return. Your support makes a difference! New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation 🇺🇸

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Melvin B. Fenn was born on November 16, 1947, in Clopton, AL.  He was the ninth...
03/06/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Melvin B. Fenn was born on November 16, 1947, in Clopton, AL. He was the ninth child of ten children born to John H. and Rosa B. Fenn. In 1956, the family moved north, making Morganville, NJ their home. Melvin went to Marlboro Township Public School and graduated from Freehold Regional High School in 1967. Melvin was a lover of basketball, the culinary arts, and singing in the church choir. His quiet manner and personality won the hearts of all who knew him.

Fenn enlisted in the US Army in February 1967, in California, where he had gone to work. He completed basic training at Fort Bliss, TX. Fenn was later stationed at Fort Benning, GA, and Fort Campbell, KY, before going to Vietnam as a member of the 101st Airborne Division. He attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC).

In March 1968, the Fenn family received word that a search was in progress for Melvin Fenn, a missing soldier, who had been observed washing clothes on the bank of a stream on March 6, 1968, when he apparently fell in.

A subsequent telegram informed them that Fenn had drowned and that the body had been recovered and positively identified. Mrs. Fenn said that her son could swim.

Sources: Mollie F. Graham (sister), Calvin Fenn (brother), and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1285.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Ronald L. Warnett was born on May 30, 1946, to Frank and Lillian Warnett. His h...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Ronald L. Warnett was born on May 30, 1946, to Frank and Lillian Warnett. His home of record is Linden, NJ. He had two brothers, Bob and Frank, Jr. Ronald graduated from Linden High School in 1963. He attended Arkansas Tech for two years and then transferred to a college in New York.

Ronald was in the ROTC and headed the Civil Air Patrol in Newark. He worked at a TV repair shop in Linden.

Ronald served in the US Army and attained the rank of First Lieutenant (1LT). He served with the 6th Battalion, 29th Army.

Warnett was killed in action on March 5, 1969, during a mortar attack. Two days before he was scheduled to meet his wife, Mary Ann, for a six-day leave in Hawaii, he was killed in action. They had not seen each other for 6 months.

He is buried at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Francisco, CA.

Sources: Frank Warnett (brother) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1540.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gerald R. Thompson was born on July 12, 1940. His home of record is Penns Grove...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gerald R. Thompson was born on July 12, 1940. His home of record is Penns Grove, NJ.

He served in the US Army and he attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He served in D Company, 5th Bn, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division, USARV. He began his tour of duty on February 14, 1967.

Thompson was killed in action on March 5, 1967. He is buried at Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, NJ.

Gerald\'s name appears on the Penns Grove High School Vietnam War Memorial, dedicated in September 2010, which stands near Penns Grove Middle School.

Source: VVMF, https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/2154.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... David Shields was born on May 16, 1938, in Glasgow, Scotland. His home of recor...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... David Shields was born on May 16, 1938, in Glasgow, Scotland. His home of record is Rutherford, NJ. He had one sister, Margaret.

Shields served in the US Marine Corps and attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT). He was with troops sent to quell a rebellion in the Dominican Republic in 1965, prior to being sent to Vietnam. He was assigned to A Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines.

Shields was killed in action on March 5, 1966, during Operation Utah. David is buried at Long Island National Cemetery.

The following is an excerpt from The Record about David Shields dated Monday, January 29, 1973:

David Shields arrived in America from Scotland in 1962 and with a desire to serve his adopted country he enlisted in the Marines.

"It was David who first spoke up when his sister (Mrs. Margaret Steen of Kearny) wrote us to join her in America. He said we should come." his father, Joseph Shields, remembered.

Sgt. Shields was with the troops sent to quell a rebellion in the Dominican Republic in 1965, and upon his return volunteered to go to Vietnam.

In March 1966, after seven months in Vietnam, Sgt. Shields, 27, was killed in action.

Sources: Various websites, The Record, VVMF, and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1850.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Bruce D. Klingaman was born on February 15, 1949. His home of record is Elizabe...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Bruce D. Klingaman was born on February 15, 1949. His home of record is Elizabeth, NJ. He had three sisters and four brothers. His brother, Glenn, served in the US Marine Corps.

Bruce entered the US Army and he attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4).

Klingaman was killed in action on March 5, 1970. A buddy remembers him as a guy with a quick smile and easy personality.

Sources: Cindy Klingaman (sister-in-law), Lee Kaywork (friend) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1718.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... William L. Hashagen was born on November 11, 1949, in Brooklyn, NY. His home of...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... William L. Hashagen was born on November 11, 1949, in Brooklyn, NY. His home of record is Blairstown, NJ.

He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Corporal (CPL). He was assigned to C Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division.

Hashagen was killed in action on March 5, 1971, in Long Khanh Province, Republic of South Vietnam. He was on combat operations when his unit encountered an enemy force while searching a bunker complex. He died at the 24th Evacuation Hospital in Long Binh.

He is buried in Stillwater Cemetery in Stillwater, NJ. William was survived by his wife, Patricia, and one son, William Jr.

Hashagen earned numerous awards and decorations including the Silver Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Republic of Vietnam, the Military Merit Medal and Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Good Conduct Medal and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1560

Sources: Various websites and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1560.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... George A. Callan was born on July 13, 1944.  His home of record is Pennsville, ...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... George A. Callan was born on July 13, 1944. His home of record is Pennsville, NJ. He served in the US Army and attained the rank of First Lieutenant (1LT).

Callan was killed in action on March 5, 1969. He was survived by his son, George. He is buried at Beverly National Cemetery in Beverly, NJ.

Sources: Various websites and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1078.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gerald J. Breen was born on November 11, 1945. His home of record is West New Y...
03/05/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Gerald J. Breen was born on November 11, 1945. His home of record is West New York, NJ.

He served in the US Army and attained the rank of Specialist 4 (SP4).

Breen was killed in action on March 5, 1967 in Tay Ninh, South Vietnam.

Breen is buried in Madonna Cemetery in Fort Lee, NJ. The municipal building in West New York, NJ, has a monument bearing Gerald Breen's name.

Sources: Lorraine Scheri (friend), various websites and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1996.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Charles Robert Wetzel (Chuck) was born on December 24, 1945, into the small fam...
03/04/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Charles Robert Wetzel (Chuck) was born on December 24, 1945, into the small family of Edward Herman Wetzel and Caroline Ostair Wetzel (nee Soders) at Salem Hospital, Salem, NJ.

Chuck was posthumously awarded the following military decorations: the Purple Heart (US), the National Defense Service Medal (US), the Vietnam Service Medal (US), the Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon (US), the Navy Unit Citation (US), the Presidential Unit Citation (US), the Gallantry Cross Medal with Palm (RVN), the Military Merit Medal (RVN) and the Vietnam Campaign Medal with Date (RVN).

Chuck now lies at eternal rest between the graves of his parents in St. Mary's Cemetery in Salem, New Jersey. As a symbolic homecoming gesture, Chuck's father had arranged that the funeral procession drive by the family home on the way to the cemetery.

Charles' name appears on the Penns Grove High School Vietnam War Memorial, dedicated in September 2010, which stands near Penns Grove Middle School.

Notes:
Budd C. Wetzel died tragically as the result of an automobile accident on March 14, 2002.

Charles Robert Wetzel, II born on September 9, 1966, was named after the uncle he never had a chance to know. "Charlie" is the son of Chuck's brother, Edward.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1114

Sources: Edward Wetzel (brother) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1114.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Lester A. Wesighan was born on April 22, 1941, to Lester and Wilma Wesighan. He...
03/04/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Lester A. Wesighan was born on April 22, 1941, to Lester and Wilma Wesighan. He had two sisters and several half siblings. His home of record is Vernon, NJ. He graduated from Franklin High School in 1959. He enjoyed writing. After high school, he took some college courses in New York and New Jersey. He had a newspaper job lined up after his tour of duty in Vietnam.

Wesighan served in the US Marine Corps and he attained the rank of Corporal (CPL). He was a Marine combat correspondent. He would later be the first Marine combat correspondent killed in Vietnam.

Wesighan was killed in action on March 4, 1966, when he was shot while looking after another wounded Marine. He was serving with the 3rd Marine Division against hostile forces near Quang Hgai. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Wesighan was awarded the Military Merit Medal, the Gallantry Cross with Palm, the Purple Heart, the National Defense Service Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal.

Treasured by his family is the following, almost a parting message, written by Lester Wesighan before his death:

Oh yes, I go where men lose their souls and lovers their beloved.
Oh yes, fate's hand may touch my cheek and chain my destiny.
But sorrow not when I depart and hasten to that pit, where sword meets sword and loss is great.
For there my name is carved upon a wall.

My heart does long to sever free, an evil head from bodies racked with pain.
So sob not beloved and smile with pride, as I depart with hope and promise of return.
That day will be when life can freely flow, and now my heart goes to bring that hour closer.

Sources: Nancy Wesighan (stepmother), Nancy Pipher, (sister) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1591.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Peter Gary Scavuzzo was born on October 10, 1946, to William and Ann Scavuzzo. ...
03/04/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Peter Gary Scavuzzo was born on October 10, 1946, to William and Ann Scavuzzo. He was the second of four boys. His home of record is Toms River, NJ. His nickname was "Scooz."

Peter attended Toms River High School and enlisted in the US Marine Corps from Toms River even before graduation. Scavuzzo went to Boot Camp in at Parris Island, SC, after graduation. Scavuzzo served with H Company, Second Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division and deployed to Vietnam in August 1965. He attained the rank of Lance Corporal (LCPL/E3). He served as an infantryman.

On March 4, 1966, Scavuzzo was killed in action in Quang Ngai Province in South Vietnam in an attack on North Vietnamese troops on the first day of Operation Utah.

Peter was buried on March 17, 1966, with full military honors at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Toms River.

Read more at https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1785

Sources: Anne Cullen (volunteer), newspapers and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1785.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Donald B. Saunders was born on February 17, 1948, to Maisie and William Saunder...
03/04/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Donald B. Saunders was born on February 17, 1948, to Maisie and William Saunders. His home of record is Belleville, NJ. He had one brother, Kenneth, and one sister, Kathleen. Donald attended Belleville High School. He was a member of the cross-country team that won the Big Ten Conference Championship in 1965. He was also a member of Little Zion U AME Church in Belleville.

Donald enlisted in the US Marine Corps in September 28, 1966. Saunders completed his basic training at Parris Island, SC, and advanced infantry training at Camp Lejeune, NC. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and attained the rank of Private First Class (PFC). He was assigned to 1st Battalion, 13th Marines as a machine gunner.

Saunders was killed in action on March 4, 1968, during an enemy mortar fire in Quang Tri. He is bured at Glendale Cemetery in Bloomfield, NJ.

Donald wrote to his parents from Vietnam. In one letter, Donald did mention that he did not know whether it was the last letter, or not, but that they were surrounded by the enemy. The difficulties of the people of Vietnam particularly affected him and he wrote home about the villagers who had to scramble for food and were so starved that they were eating garbage. He sometimes wrote that he gave candy and food to the Vietnamese children. The only thing he really asked for was tee shirts. It seems that you could not purchase them over there because of the climate.

Donald did manage to telephone home just two weeks before he was killed to talk to his parents.

Sources: Anthony Buccino (author of Belleville Sons Honor Roll), findagrave.com and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1483.

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Edward W. Milan was born on October 28, 1944, at the U.S. Marine Hospital in St...
03/04/2024

On this day lost, but never forgotten... Edward W. Milan was born on October 28, 1944, at the U.S. Marine Hospital in Staten Island, NY. His home of record is Carteret, NJ. The Milan family moved to Boston, MA, where Edward attended grade school. He graduated from South Boston High School in June 1962.

Milan enjoyed playing hockey and baseball. He was an avid Boston Red Sox fan.

Milan enlisted in the US Navy in September 1962. He was sent to Great Lakes, IL, for his training. After his training, he was sent to Japan where he was assigned to the U.S.S. Ranger. He also completed a course that trained him to be a meteorologist. He went to Aerographer's school. While on the Ranger, he requested to go to school to become trained as an air traffic controller. After he got off the ship, he was sent to the Naval Air Technical Unit in Lakehurst, NJ, where he stayed until his discharge from the Navy in 1966.

In September of 1966, Milan joined the US Air Force. In January 1967, he was stationed at McGuire Air Force Base, NJ. In May 1967, Milan married Gail Auker and they lived near the Navy base. Gail was a native of Carteret, NJ. In 1968, Buddy re-enlisted in the US Air Force because he could not find adequate employment. According to his father, he wanted to be an air traffic controller and the Air Force offered this opportunity after his second tour. Milan attained the rank of Sergeant (SGT).

In January 1968, Milan was sent to Vietnam.

On March 4, 1968, at 3:10 in the morning, in Ban Me Tout, Vietnam, Milan was wounded during an early morning rocket attack. He was transported to Saigon by helicopter but passed away on route. He was buried on March 16, 1968, in St. Gertrude Cemetery, Colonia, NJ.

Milan received the Purple Heart and Good Conduct Medal.

Milan's name was added to the NJ Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in 1998.

Sources: George Milan (cousin) and https://njvvmf.org/faces/bio/1689.

Address

1 Memorial Lane
Holmdel, NJ
07733

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Business

Send a message to New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation:

Videos

Share