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Possible Titles
They Will Not Be Forgotten
The Price They Paid
Brothers Not Forgotten
By John Kinzinber (1st. Cav. RTO - Screaming Eagle)

This book is dedicated to our local Vietnam War brothers who made the supreme sacrifice and to their families and loved ones who lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, an uncle, a fiance or a good friend in the Vietnam War.  And to all Vietnam Veterans who honorably served in our country's military.


At Normandy at the 50th Anniversary observance of the D-Day invasion, Medal of Honor Recipient Walter Ehlers stated “Many of those who enjoy freedom know little of it’s price.” That holds for the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and any other war as well.  He went on to say “We need to talk about it, not for ourselves, but for those who weren’t here, not to the media but to the heirs of our accomplishments, those we did it for.”

This book describes the efforts of a group of Vietnam Veterans to erect a Memorial to honor their 76 local fallen brothers, who made their precious freedom payment for all of us. They are listed on the Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans Memorial, located at the Ypsilanti Township Civic Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan. This memorial also honors the service of all area Vietnam Veterans.

In addition, a most important part of this book is the section of character sketches of each of the seventy-six men killed or missing-in-action in the Vietnam War from our county. The information in the sketches came from their family members, friends, obituaries and newspaper articles. Each of the men lost were young people with aspirations and dreams for their future. They had an entire life ahead of them, only to be terminated while serving our nation in that war. They were much more than names on a Memorial. The Vietnam War was an unpopular war which many would like to forget. This book was written to help ensure that the sacrifices of these seventy-six men, and their familes, will not be forgotten.

We, our Memorial Committee members, have had many people ask us questions about the Memorial and the effort to erect it. For some people the facts are not clear, or are incorrect. This book should serve as a historical reference covering the entire Memorial project.

For decades after its dedication, the Memorial has been cared for by the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) Chapter 310. As time passes, the number of  VVA members will dwindle.  A perpetual care fund generated about $95,000.00 from about ten years of annual fundraisers and good investments. These funds have been deposited in the Ann Arbor Community Foundation. At the time when the Vietnam Veterans are no longer able to care for the Memorial and the grounds surrounding it, Ypsilanti Township will be able to collect funds from the Foundation to cover the perpetual care costs. Any proceeds from the sale of this book will be deposited in that Foundation account to add to this fund to perpetually care for this Memorial.

Finally, this also is the story of the efforts of our small group of local Vietnam Veterans, supported by our VVA Chapter 310 members, to honor our local fallen brothers. Our Memorial group had no experience in design, speaking, fund raising, etc.  However, we had the desire to see it to completion. We met every week for two years. Meetings were held at Jack McManus’s office, each others’ homes or at community events all around the county. Our focus was fundraising and awareness of our Memorial effort.

As the Chairman of this Memorial since its concept, I feel most qualified to write this book with collaboration with the other Memorial committee members. I sincerely thank Pete Belaire for all his work to compile all the general information on each of the men killed.  Lynda Gladstone, sister of KIA Ronald Koch, and William Villano, Veteran, joined me in putting this book together and it was their persistence and assistance that brought this book to completion.  Thank you all.

As if to be speaking for all Veterans, in his speech Walter Ehlers also said “I pray the price we paid on this beach will never be mortgaged, that my grandsons and granddaughters will never face the terror and horror that we faced here."

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Joe Galloway, co-author of “We Were Soldiers, Once And Young”, wrote the following;

“By day and night they lived, ate, slept, marched together through the boring hours and the terrifying moments of war. When that bond was broken, by death in combat, it was traumatic. Look at the tears on the faces of the middle-aged men standing before a particular panel of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial today, staring at one special name. They weep for someone who was closer than a brother, someone who helped them keep watch through the darkest nights, someone who may have stopped the bullet or the grenade that was meant for them. They weep for someone who was, for a few terrible months, the difference between life and death for them; someone who could never be replaced in their lives”.

“All wars are generally a confession of failure – the failure of society to find some other more appropriate way to resolve disputes than by sending 19-year old boys out to kill other 19-year old boys with rifles – and Vietnam certainly fits that mold. I argue only in favor of the humanity, and yes even the nobility, of the 19-year old boys we sent to fight in Vietnam. We asked far too much of kids just out of high school when we threw them into the cauldron of combat, and when they came home we, as a country, turned our backs on them. Shame on us.”

Before serving in the military, Vietnam Veterans came from all walks of life. Most of us were high school graduates and some were college graduates. Many of us had recently gotten our first full-time job. Some of us had a new car. Most of us had never traveled outside the midwest. More than a third of those listed on our Memorial had gotten married a short time before either being drafted, or enlisting or before going to Vietnam. Most of those men left young children or a pregnant wife as they went off to answer our country’s call to serve.

We had movie idols like John Wayne and Paul Newman. Our favorite musical groups might have been the Beatles or Motown groups like the Temptations. Our sports heroes from that era were the likes of Cassius Clay, Al Kaline and the 1968 World Champion Detroit Tigers.

When these young people received their draft notice, there were 100,000s of young men being called up from all over the country. Many had friends who were also going into the military. Some of them joined together in the ‘buddy’ system. Each of them, were one of millions of young men and women who proudly wore our nation’s military uniform and served our country in the 60's and early 70's. And each of their personal experiences were unique.

Most of the men and women who served during the Vietnam war came home, went back to work, maybe went to college, got married or were already married and did their best to move forward on their life journey. But there was something missing for all of them, especially in light of their disgraceful welcome home by the American public. That something missing was the special relationship they had made with people they served with during their time in the military. Those were close relationships never again to be experienced outside of the military. Since then, many have found a special organization of people who also served during that period and understood better than any others their personal experience. That organization is the Vietnam Veterans of America.



One of the initial goals of our Washtenaw County Vietnam Veterans of America, founded in May 1986, was to erect a memorial to those from our county who had died in the Vietnam War. It was our responsibility to do that for our fallen brothers. About three years after VVA Chapter 310 started, the first meeting of our Memorial Committee was called, which began our two year effort to erect our Memorial.

We six original Memorial committee members came from a variety of military backgrounds and represented a good cross section of Vietnam Veterans. Dennis Davie, from Ypsilanti, was an Army truck driver with the 1st Logistics Command. Milton Davis, from Belleville, was a Marine truck driver with the 1st Marine Air Wing. Paul Dumsch, from Alpena, was an Army armored personnel carrier driver with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. Tom Fifield, from New Hampshire, was an Army helicopter door-gunner and crew chief who flew support for several units. Jack McManus, from New York, was an Air Force airman who loaded defoliants, such as Agent Orange, on the airplanes assigned to the group called Ranch Hand. Tom Smith, from Ann Arbor, was an enlisted man in the Navy. Tom joined the committee about half way through the project. I was from Belleville and served as an Army infantry battalion radio operator with the 1st Cavalry Division.

Each committee member held an office and handled its responsibilities. Our VVA Chapter Board of Directors appointed me as Chairman. Jack McManus and Milton Davis were Co-Vice-Chairmen. Dennis Davie was our secretary and construction chairman. Tom Fifield was our treasurer. Paul Dumsch was our ceremony and events chairman. Tom Smith helped out with all functions. We were also the fundraisers, designers, workers, writers, presenters, etc.

We were honored to have former Governor John B. Swainson as an advisor to our committee. He gave us some important philosophical advice. He also spoke at some of our ceremonies and added some important credibility to our effort. We certainly appreciated his assistance. His being a World War II veteran and a resident of Manchester, Michigan made for a special bond.

It was a two-year effort of love, honor and dedication which began in the early fall of 1989. We met on a weekly basis. None of us had any experience doing anything like this. But we were determined to succeed. We, along with the support of our local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 310, made this project a tremendous success. Just three of our Memorial committee members actually knew any of the men who are listed on this Memorial. But we knew they were not much different than we were. We were blessed to make it back to "The World" to pursue our dreams.

There is an important expression which came from another VVA Chapter member, Jim Uphouse. While visiting the Wall in Washington, D.C., with all of its 58,400 plus names listed on it, Jim was approached by a woman who simply asked if he had known anyone listed on the Wall. Little did she know that Jim had many 101st Airborne military friends and Manchester hometown friends listed on the Wall. He simply told the woman, "Yes, I knew them all."

Little did he know his response would live on forever. Paul Dumsch, Memorial committee member, was moved by that statement so much so that he wrote a very special poem. Paul was with D-Troop 17th Cavalry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade from 1968-69.   Paul, a decorated veteran, had lost several good friends he served with in Vietnam. The poem he authored is titled, "I Knew Them All." It explains how our committee felt about our lost brothers. Thanks Jim for the idea. And thanks Paul for putting the thoughts of our committee into this very moving poem.


"Did you know anyone on this wall?" She asked. " I knew them all." I said

The kid from Boise whose helmet was too big.

The guy whose pants didn't fit.

And the one whose feet hurt,

Cause his boots were too small.

I knew the funny guy from Cleveland.

And the bouncer from Detroit.

We had a guy they called "Head",

He ate with his fingers,

And had a head as big as a basketball.

They weren't the Hollywood phonies,

Like Charlie Sheen or Tom Cruise.

These were men, who had walked the walk.

Some were heroes and some were cowards,

But they were all there.

Some were wounded,

And some died.

Some were bright,

And some were dirt dumb.

They worked in offices,

On ships and firebases.

They fought from the Delta to the DMZ.

They were brave and scared,

And they laughed and cried.

They were nurses and doctors,

Who patched us up,

And we went out again.

They were the best people I'd ever met in my life.

"Did I know any of them?"

"I knew them all."

And so did you.