There are 37 names on the Vietnam Wall from Albany, NY.
USA Capt. Thomas J. Bergin, 30, 3/14/64
USAF Maj. Theodore R. Loeschner, Jr., 37, 4/24/65
USMC Pfc. Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz, 21, 4/26/66
USA Spec 4 Keith Knott, 19, 5/9/66
USA Pfc. Robert G. Burrell, 19, 8/2/66
USA Pfc. Arthur J. McNally, 23, 10/17/66
USMC Lance Corp. William F. Ditoro, 22, 1/7/67
USA Spec 4 Richard J. Mosley, 20, 1/27/67
USA Spec 4 Donald J. Sheehy, 20, 5/5/67
USMC Lance Cpl. Rich Rockenstyre, 18, 8/31/67
USMC Capt. William M. Van Antwerp, Jr. 30, 9/16/67
USA Pfc. Frank Maleca, 20, 10/13/67
USA Spec 4 Ralph J. DiPace, 20, 10/21/67
USA Spec 4 Gerald H. Slingerland, 10/26/67 (a day after his 19th birthday)
USA Spec. 4 Robert J. Winters, 22, 11/9/67
USA Spec. 4, Edward A. Finlay, 19, 12/6/67
USA Corp. Willam M. Seabast, 22, 1/31/68
USMC GY Sgt. Anthony N. Valente, 38, 2/27/68
USMC Cpl. Bertram A. Deso, 20, 3/1/68
USMC Lance Cpl. Michael G. DeMarco, 21, 4/11/68
USMC Corp. John J. Vennard, 34, 4/17/68
USA Staff Sgt, Robert J. Smith, 22, 4/18/68
USMC Pfc John C. Fiffe, 18, 5/8/68
USN, Fireman, Joseph S. Ott, 20, 7/14/68
USMC Pfc. Kevin J. McArdle, 18, 8/18/68
USMC Maj. Harold S. Lonergan, 39, 2/23/69
USA Spec 5 Christopher Brow, 23, 2/26/69
USMC Lance Cpl. Richard J. Leahy, 22, 3/6/69
USMC Pfc. 1st class, Clifford G. LaBombard, 19, 4/15/69
USA Spec 4 Charles Chandler, 20, 4/18/69
USMC Pfc. John W Gladney, 19, 7/4/69
USA, Spec 4, Thomas K. Ryan, 18, 8/2/69
USA 1st Lt. Stanley A. Brown, 23, 11/1/69
USA Spec 4 Lewis C. Ouellette, 19, 4/13/70
USA Corp. Samuel W. Williams, 21, 7/26/70
USA Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Nye, 25, 11/28/71
USN Lt. Ralph P. Dupont, Jr., 24, 5/16/72
USMC Lance Cpl. Ashton N. Loney, 5/15/75
They came from all neighborhoods – Pine Hills, Arbor Hill, North Albany, West Hill, New Scotland and the South End. They lived on Myrtle Ave, Livingston Ave., Clinton Ave., Second Ave., Emmett St., Madison Ave., First St., Washington Ave., Lark Dr., Magnolia Terrace, Hunter Ave., So. Main Ave. and Ontario St.
A very small number were college graduates. Most had just completed high school when they joined the service – they were graduates of Albany High, Philip Schuyler, Milne, Cardinal McCloskey, and VI.
Most were impossibly young… 18, 19, 20. (There is an old Bellamy Boys lyric, “..they sent him off to Vietnam on his senior trip”.)
Some enlisted, some were drafted and, and in the time honored Albany tradition, several had brushes with the law and Albany’s justice system offered them the “choice” – jail or the Army.
Their deaths span 11 years. The first to be killed was an Army captain “observer” who died in 1964. One was an MP who died defending the US Embassy during the Tet offensive of 1968. Most died in the harsh and unforgiving provinces of Vietnam during the War’s brutal years of 1967 -1969. One was a medic who went borrowed a gun and went into save other men; he and the men he tried to save died on that mission. The last one to die was a Marine killed in the Mayaguez “Incident” by the Khmer Rouge in 1975. His body was never recovered. He was not even a US citizen (he was from Trinidad, but his mom lived on Lark Drive). His name, as well as the others killed in the “Incident”, are the last names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
An astonishing number died within their first 4 months in Vietnam. Johnny Gladney, who was a year ahead of me in Jr. High and High School, was killed after being in Vietnam less than a month – on the 4th of July.
During the 10 months of my junior year in high school, 15 boys died. This is Smalbany, so you always knew the boy, or you knew his sisters/brothers or his cousins, or a friend of a friend.
The City moved on, but underneath, people felt a sadness and then they went numb – just like the rest of the country. The killing seemed inexorable. There was no way to stop it – it went on and on and on.
They are more than names.. each one has a story. One was a long distance runner who could fly like the wind. One was an avid reader; he won a Boy’s Club prize for reading the most books when he was 11. Another was fascinated by flying, so he became a helicopter pilot. Some were quiet and reserved, some were outgoing and boisterous.
8 boys were from the same class in Albany High and all members of the same Hi-Y club, They all enlisted in the Marine Corps. The bond between 2 of the boys was so strong, that after the death of one, the other, sensing his own imminent death, begged to be buried next to his buddy when his time came. They rest together in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – one Catholic and one Protestant. A third boy from that same group died a year later.
Here are pictures of some of the boys/men.
Copyright 2021 Julie O’Connor