Name Additions on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial bring total number inscribed on The Wall to 58,279
Status Symbols changed for three service members whose remains were repatriated in 2019
Each spring, VVMF works with the Department of Defense to make updates to The Wall. If the Department of Defense determines that a service member has met the criteria for addition to The Wall, the National Park Service directs VVMF that a name should be added. Service members repatriated in the previous year have their status symbols changed.
This year, there were three additions to The Wall, bringing the total number of names on The Wall to 58,279. There were also three service members who were repatriated in 2019 and those service members had their status symbols changed on The Wall. The number of Americans still listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War stands at 1,586.
Name additions and status changes are usually done annually in May followed by a Reading of the Names during the Memorial Day ceremony. However, the engraving was postponed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These service members will be officially welcomed home at the next in-person ceremony at The Wall.
When names are added, a highly technical process is required. Precise measurements must be made to ensure letters are lined up, have the right width, and are etched into the granite to a depth that matches the etchings already on the memorial. The letters are etched into The Wall as a sand blasting apparatus is passed over it. The physical work of adding the names and changing statuses has been performed by James Lee of the Colorado-based company, Engrave Write, since 1986.
These three service members had their names added to The Wall:
- U.S. Army CPT Lawrence R. Oliveira – CPT Oliveira deployed with the Army’s 21st Infantry in February 1969 and was severely wounded on May 13, 1969. Oliveira’s name is inscribed on Panel W24, Line 108.
- U.S. Army PFC Michael C. Quire – PFC Quire deployed with the Army’s 16th Infantry in February 1967. He was severely wounded on April 22, 1967. Quire’s name is inscribed on Panel 18E, Line 72.
- U.S. Marine Corps LCPL Frederick M. Ziomek – LCPL Ziomek deployed with 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines Division in February 1970. On September 30, 1970, he was medically evacuated to Okinawa and died there days later. Ziomek’s name is inscribed on Panel W11, Line 69.
Every name inscribed on The Wall has a symbol next to their name. The diamond symbol denotes that a service member is known dead or presumed dead. A “cross” or “plus” symbol denotes that a service members’ status is unknown, and they remain unaccounted for today. When the remains of a service member are repatriated, the diamond symbol is superimposed over the cross symbol.
These three service members were repatriated in 2019:
- U.S. Navy SN Raul A. Guerra – On October 8, 1967, Guerra was a passenger on board a Navy E-1B that crashed while flying from Vietnam to the USS Oriskany. Guerra’s remains were finally identified conclusively in February 2019. His name is inscribed on Panel 27E, Line 21.
- U.S. Air Force COL Roy A. Knight – On May 19, 1967, Knight was piloting an Air Force A-1E on a strike mission in Northern Laos when hit by anti-aircraft fire. Knight’s remains were identified in June 2019. His name is inscribed on Panel 20E, Line 45.
- U.S. Air Force Maj. Neal C. Ward – On June 13, 1969, Ward was piloting an Air Force A-1H on a strike mission in northern Laos when hit by ground fire. Ward’s remains were identified in July 2019. His name is inscribed on W22, Line 39.
The Department of Defense sets the criteria for, and makes decisions about, whose names are eligible for inscription on The Wall and directs the National Park Service that names should be added. VVMF pays for the name additions and status changes and partners with the National Park Service to ensure the long-term care and preservation of The Wall. To learn more about VVMF’s role in care and preservation, click here.