One woman continues to search for photos of soldiers killed in action during the Vietnam War, doing her work from Maui, Hawaii during the past six years.
Janna Hoehn wants to help the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C. put a face with all 58,315 United States casualties. To date, more than 47,000 have been located and displayed online at www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces with plans to also put them in an education center that supporters want built at the National Mall across from “The Wall,” the famous Vietnam veterans memorial.
Five residents of Platte County were killed in action during the Vietnam War, and Hoehn still wants to find a picture of Billie H. Fulk, Jr. of Platte City (1948-1968) and Frederick C. Schmidt of Parkville, Mo. (1945-1967).
“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. Our heroes’ stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
While photos of Fulk and Schmidt are part of Hoehn’s current search, friends or family members can visit the Wall of Faces and seek out the information on file about others. She encourages people to check and see if they might have a better photo or another one to submit.
The Wall of Faces already includes photos for John W. Anders of Waldron, Mo. (1946-1971), Gary L. Ihrig of Parkville, Mo. (1947-1967) and Larry L. Miller of Edgerton, Mo. (1951-1971).
Photos and information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, and Hoehn said she is also looking for volunteers to help round up more photos. For more information about the campaign to build the Vietnam War education center or make a donation, visit www.vvmf.org/thewall.
Hoehn’s involvement in this wide-ranging search started six years ago when she traveled with her husband to see Washington, D.C. for the first time.
While at The Wall, Hoehn made a rubbing of the name Gregory John Crossman — an MIA — and returned home hoping to find his family and send them the etching if they had never been able to go. She searched off and on for six months but couldn’t find any family.
However, a little help from Hoehn’s cousin and family historian helped locate a college photo of Crossman.
Two years later, Hoehn saw a story about the Faces Never Forgotten program, and she sent in the photo of Crossman. She later received an email from Jan Scruggs, the founder of the Vietnam War Memorial Fund, asking for help in locating photos for 42 soldiers killed from Maui County in Hawaii.
“I replied, ‘It would be an honor,’” Hoehn said of her reaction. “I have always hoped I could to 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.”
Eventually, Hoehn located all 42 photos and then moved on to her hometown of Hemet, Calif. She became very involved in trying to locate photos of the Native American soldiers, which led her to start searching for all Soldiers in California.
Hoehn has helped collect nearly 4,000 photos since May of 2013, completing the states of Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii. She said she remains very close on several others, including Missouri.
To help complete Missouri, Hoehn needs help finding info on Billie H. Fulk, Jr. and Frederick C. Schmidt.
“If anyone is related, a friend or a classmate to any of the 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 of every single Fallen Hero whose names are etched on The Wall, all 58,315 of them.”