Each Memorial Day, the Friends of Captain Rocky Versace presents a ceremony at the Capt. Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial outside the Mount Vernon Recreation Center in Del Ray honoring the 67 Alexandrians who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War.
The group is still working to obtain photos of 30 of the 67 military members who were killed or went missing in action in Vietnam.
“We haven’t been able to locate families and friends for a lot of them,” said Kevin Rue of the Friends of Rocky Versace. “The last man to die was in 1973, so it’s been 40 years. The earliest man, it’s been 50 years. So a lot of time has passed. And in that, you count the last 17 years with the Internet and only a few Vietnam remembrance sites have been on since the turn of the century.”
Rue said there’s a possibility some family members or friends of the men who died in Vietnam remain in Alexandria and could provide photos and other helpful information. The list of 30 without a photo record is as follows:Name Rank Branch Ross W. Collins Pvt. Army Raymond L. Conway Warrant Officer Army Robert Dean Sgt. Army James Dickey Sgt. Army Bernard Dillenseger Pvt. Army Charles Elliott Cpl. Army Richard Freudenthal Lance Cpl. Marine Corps Thomas Gaither Cpl. Army Darrell Gibbons Pfc. Marine Corps Bruce Graham Warrant Officer Army Richard Hoffler Pfc. Marine Corps Kermit W. Holland Pfc. Marine Corps William Holmes SP5 Army Wayne L. Jordan Cpl. Marine Corps James King Sgt. Army Henry Ledford 2nd Lt. Marine Corps David Lerner SP4 Army Michael McCarron SP4 Army Kevin McElhannon Pfc. Army Clarence Overby Staff Sgt. Army Johnny J. Smith SP4 Army Lewis L. Stone 1st Lt. Army Charles Suthard Sgt. Marine Corps Matthew Thornton SP4 Army Jeron F. Valentine Pvt. Army David J. Warczak Sgt. 1st Class Army Henry Warner 1st Lt. Army Raymond Williams Pfc. Army John Winkler (MIA) Seaman Apprentice Navy Carl Young Maj. Army
Rue said there are three primary Vietnam individual remembrance websites allowing users to share their stories and information. They include:
Those with remembrances or information are also urged to contact the Friends of Rocky Versace via email at FoRV59@gmail.com.
In April, Rue said he was able to obtain a missing photo after following up to a response on one of the remembrance websites.
The Friends of Rocky Versace raised money to erect the Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 2002 in honor of the 67 Alexandrians killed in Vietnam, including Versace, an Army captain with Alexandria ties who was captured by Viet Cong forces in 1963 and endured 23 months in a POW camp before being executed. Versace was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2002.
Monday’s 11th annual Friends of Rocky Versace Memorial Day ceremony begins at 11 a.m. at the plaza. All are invited to attend.