Local Vietnam vets honored on memorial

Featured on Wall of Faces

Determined to put a face with every name etched on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Janna Hoehn has helped memorialize St. Charles Parish’s fallen heroes.

To date, six have been named on the physical memorial that stands in Washington, D.C., but Hoehn’s efforts extended to them being remembered on the accompanying Wall of Faces digital memorial. It will be included in the future Education Center, a $115 million museum dedicated to remembering them in photographs, objects left at the memorial over the years and in the voices of veterans.

“We’ve gotten St. Charles Parish done,” said Hoehn, a resident of Maui, Hawaii, asked to help with completing the Wall of Faces nationally. She got to Louisiana in January.Hoehn’s list of veterans is based on the “home of record” or location where he or she enlisted in the military. This is how she found five veterans in the parish and also a Des Allemands veteran listed in Lafourche Parish.

Her work has put the following veterans on the Wall of Faces:

– Michael Harris Petty of Des Allemands was a sergeant in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. Petty, 21, died in a helicopter crash in the Bien Hoa Province. He was an aircraft maintenance apprentice. Today, Petty is remembered on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and is now remembered on the digital version of the wall.

– Larry Peter Tregre, 21, of Hahnville was in the 27th Infantry, 25th Division, also with the Army. According to Tregre’s memorial, he was near Tay Ninh City establishing Patrol Base Diamond III when he was killed. He was with SeaBee Team 0913. Only hours after completion, the base was heavily attacked. He was among 13 infantrymen who died at this base on April 15, 1969.

– Chester Joseph C. Fontenot, 21, of Luling was a hospital man with the U.S. Navy. Fontenot flew to Khe Sanh Combat Base and joined the Hotel Co. 2nd Battalion 1st Marines. Only 20 days in Vietnam, Fontenot was shot helping a wounded Marine in an attack near Khe Sanh Ville.

– Eric L. Griffith of Destrehan, Nov. 24, 1949 – Dec. 1, 1970, served in the U.S. Navy and died in Khanh Hoa.

– Richard Pollard of New Sarpy, born Aug. 29, 1949, served in the U.S. Marine Corps and died in Quang Nam on Feb. 22, 1969.

– Warren Brown of Ama, born Feb. 28, 1945, served in the Army and died in Long Khanh.

To date, Hoehn has located 205 photographs of veterans in Louisiana for the memorial. But she worries that the remaining 75 of them needed may not be available with so much lost in Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

While it’s also getting harder to find family members of Vietnam veterans, Hoehn said when she does talk to them it can be a heartbreaking experience.

“It just breaks my heart,” she said of the many family members who weep about their lost loved ones. “Vietnam was so different because of the way the veterans were not treated well. Those boys were drafted. They served their country and they should have been treated like heroes when they came home. That’s why I work so hard to on this.”


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