Keeping the Three Servicemen Clean

Before and after cleaning

Before and after cleaning

The Three Servicemen Statue stands at the treeline of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, eternally watching over the 58,286 names of those who died in the Vietnam War. And just as The Wall requires regular cleaning and maintenance, so too, does the Three Servicemen Statue need special care.

As the statue is exposed to pollen, insects and pollution, it receives preventative conservation cleaning four times a year paid for by VVMF. But this June, Objects Conservator Russell Bernabo noticed the statue needed a little extra elbow grease.

When rainwater washes over the base of the statue, it brings with it mulch debris. As the water evaporates, the mulch embeds into the wax.

“That part needed a more aggressive cleaning,” Bernabo said.

It took three whole days for Bernabo to clean the piece, designed by the late American sculptor Frederick Hart. Bernabo is an expert in caring for Hart’s work.

“I like interacting with the guests [when I work on the Three Servicemen Statue],” Bernabo said. “They appreciate that VVMF wants to take care of it. We all take this job very seriously.”

The statue was unveiled in 1984, two years after The Wall’s completion.

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