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110 More Recognized as Victims of Vietnam War

May 27, 1986|From Times Wire Services

WASHINGTON — On a day set aside to honor America's war dead, 110 men were officially recognized Monday as victims of the Vietnam War after their names were added to the black granite memorial to victims of that war.

About 450 relatives of the men attended the ceremony. An additional 2,000 people, many of them Vietnam veterans in old fatigues and slouch hats, stood quietly during the one-hour ceremony.

Before the new names were added this spring, the memorial contained the names of 58,022 men and women killed or listed as missing during the 16-year period covering the nation's longest war.

Died Outside War Zone

The 110 include 97 servicemen who died during the war but whose deaths occurred outside the war zone. Most were members of air crews whose planes crashed. The Pentagon last year changed the definition of "combat casualty" to cover the cases of those men.

The other 13 were injured in Vietnam and died later from their wounds.

No government officials attended the ceremony. Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, read a brief message from President Reagan praising the 110 men and their families.

Other speakers included Mary Stout, who was a combat nurse in Vietnam and who is the national secretary of the Vietnam Veterans of America. Hers was the first official speech by a woman during a ceremony at the memorial.

Several Californians were among the names added to the list. They are Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth Alson, Santee; Airman 1st Class Ronald E. Forster, North Fork; Navy Lt. Richard W. Hastings, Lomita; Airman 2nd Class Arnold G. Kravitz, San Diego; Air Force Capt. Thomas R. McCormick, Santa Monica; Navy Petty Officer 1st Class James I. Pratt, North Hollywood, and Air Force Maj. Gene T. Wright, San Diego.

In other holiday observances, Gov. Bill Clinton was the featured speaker at a ceremony at the Arkansas Capitol to break ground for a Vietnam veterans' memorial.

A Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park was dedicated in Dayton, Ohio. And in Nashville, officials unveiled a statue of three infantrymen. It is the first statue featuring a black man to be dedicated on state property.

Vice President George Bush, visiting his home on the Maine coast, spoke at Kennebunkport Square, calling on Americans to remember those who served so "that all of us in this historic town can know the full blessings of freedom."

About 1,000 veterans of every war since World War I marched in a New York City parade that culminated with a wreath-laying at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Wreaths Tossed Into River

Also in New York, six wreaths were tossed from the aircraft carrier Intrepid into the Hudson River to commemorate the war dead of the five branches of the armed services and of the Intrepid.

Alice Beecham of Detroit, the mother of Army Sgt. Kenneth T. Ford, who died in the April terrorist bombing of a West Berlin disco, rode in a parade in Dearborn, Mich.

The three-day weekend also marked the unofficial start of summer. Twenty-three million Americans were expected to take advantage of low gasoline prices and take to the highways during the holiday weekend, the Washington-based U.S. Travel Data Center said.

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