MAUI, Hawaii -- Following a visit to Washington and the Vietnam Memorial Wall, a Hawaii has begun an extensive nationwide -- and beyond search to find information on the American soldiers who were killed in Vietnam. her search has led her to reach out to Albany and southwest Georgia.
In a message sent to The Albany Herald, Janna Hoehn writes:
"I am a 28-year resident of Maui, Hawaii. Eight years ago my husband and I made our first trip to Washington, D.C. Because Vietnam was the war that was going on while I was in high school, the first memorial on my list was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Even though I never knew anyone killed in Vietnam, I wanted a rubbing of one of the names. I approached the Wall and chose a name ... Gregory John Crossman, an MIA.
When I returned home I decided to research Gregory and try to find his family, in the event they were never able to go to the Wall, I would send them the etching, hoping they would share a photo with me of Gregory. Off and on for six months, I researched every way possible and never found any family. I was quite disappointed; however, I had one more possibility: my cousin, our family historian.
Six weeks later she found a college photo of Gregory. Two years later, I saw a story on our local news about the “Faces Never Forgotten” for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The goal, to put a face with every name that is etched on the Wall. I immediately sent in the photo I had of Gregory 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; it was the first for this hero and asked me if I could help him find the photos for the 42 Maui County fallen that were killed in Vietnam. I replied, it would be an honor."
Hoehn took her search to her community and within six months located photos with all 42 of the fallen in her county.
"Once I finished finding all the Maui County photos, I moved on to my hometown in California and found the five soldiers from my childhood home, Hemet, Calif.," Hoehn wrote. "I have been very involved in trying to locate photos of the Native American soldiers, which brought me to begin searching for all Soldiers in California. More than 500 newspapers have run the story throughout Hawaii, California, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Alaska, Utah, Montana, Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Arizona, Kentucky, Arkansas, Ohio, Tennessee, Alabama, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, New York and now Georgia. The response has been amazing, I have collected over 7,000 photos since 2011.
"With your help it will be more. I am taking one state at a time, moving West to East. I have helped complete the states of Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Missouri, Hawaii, Kentucky and Arkansas. Very close on several others. All of these photos will be submitted to the 'Wall of Faces' online memorial with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website, as well as accompanying the Healing WALL that travels all over the U.S. Putting a face with a name changes the whole dynamic of the Wall, it keeps our fallen heroes' memories alive and will honor them, our heroes stories and sacrifice will never be forgotten."
Hoehn is asking people in southwest Georgia to help her with her quest.
"My plea is this: 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," she wrote. "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. To date we have collected over 53,000 photos.
"I am also looking for an individual that would like to volunteer to be my 'boots on the ground' in your community if we do not find all the photos. It may mean a trip to the library to search for obituaries or to a high school to look through yearbooks."
The names sent to The Herald by Hoehn reflects the names of fallen soldiers whose photos have not been located. If a name is not included and a reader wishes to look up their loved one or friend's name, go to the “Wall of Faces” type the name in the search box, the profile will come up and its possible they may have a better photo than has been submitted.
The list of fallen from Dougherty County whose photos are not available include:
Donnie Coleman, 1946-1967, Albany
Robert L. Dorsey, 1929-1966, Albany
Carlton Griffin, 1947-1966, Putney
Dwight B. Howell, 1949-1971, Albany
Harry J. Lumpkin, 1949-1970, Albany
Leon L. Morris, 1949-1969, Albany
Oscar K. Porter Jr., 1950-1968, Albany