Local men killed in Vietnam holding signs near Kinsman House | News, Sports, Jobs

Staff Photo / Allie Vugrincic Jim Valesky, President of the Warren Heritage Center and Marine Corps veteran, placed signs outside the Kinsman House Thursday morning commemorating 60 Trumbull County men killed in the Vietnam War. Valesky has put up the signs every Veterans Day and Memorial Day since 2018, when the Warren Heritage Center brought the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Warren. This month marks the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC.

WARREN — Jim Valesky spent his Thursday morning placing 60 signs with images of Trumbull County men killed in the Vietnam War in front of the Kinsman House on Mahoning Avenue, as he has done before every Veterans Day and Memorial Day since 2018.

Several hundred miles away in Washington, DC, volunteers starting around 3:30 p.m. Monday read about 58,000 names of men and women killed in Vietnam — including the 60 names on Valesky’s signs.

The ceremony in Washington, scheduled to end at midnight, marked the 40th anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial, which was dedicated in November 1982.

The construction of the memorial wall was spearheaded by Maryland-born Vietnam veteran Jan Scruggs, according to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. A competition to design the monument was won by Maya Ying Lin, then 21, of Athens, Ohio, who was a senior at Yale University. The names of the fallen are engraved in chronological order on reflective black granite.

Each name on the wall is written the same size and without rank, Valesky said, meaning a private can stand next to a general.

Valesky, a Marine Corps veteran and President of the Warren Heritage Center, first had signs made when the Warren Heritage Center, with the help of Trumbull County Veterans Services and about 150 volunteers, brought the traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall to Warren in 2018. The sign lists the information for one Trumbull County man who died in Vietnam, including where his name is engraved on the memorial wall.

“I’m very lucky, but these guys aren’t” said Valesky. “The least I can do is what I do here.”

Valesky said he actually knew 61 Trumbull County men who died in Vietnam. The additional man, Army Capt. Richard M. Rees, who was a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School, gave his address as a relative’s home in Portage County, so official databases do not include him on the Trumbull County list.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund shows that nearly 100 Mahoning County men and 36 Columbiana County men died in Vietnam.

Among the more than 58,000 names on the wall are eight women, all nurses. Most died in helicopter or plane crashes, but one woman, 1st Lt. Sharon Ann Lane of Canton, was killed in a missile attack.

Valesky said when the Wandering Memorial Wall stood in Warren, it brought the community together. Now people stop to look at the signs that run along the sidewalk and arch to historic Kinsman House. He said many of the deceased soldiers pictured still have family and friends living in the area.

“As long as people remember them, they’re still around” said Valesky.

The signs will remain in place through tonight and will be re-erected in May for Memorial Day.

Trumbull County men killed in Vietnam

Marvin Douglas Avery, Warren, Marine

Keith Ray Bacorn, Warren, Marine

Donald Eugene Bartek, Vienna, Army

Charles Edward Battles, Warren, Army

Michael Lee Bowman, Warren, Marine

James Robert Brobst, Newton Falls, Army

Gary Lee Brown, Warren, Army

Thomas David Catlin, Niles, Army

James W. Charlesworth Jr., Girard, Army

Richard Anthony Choppa, Hubbard, Army

McArthur Coleman, Masuria, Marine Corps

James Emory Cross, Warren, Air Force

Kenneth Lee Crysel, Warren, Marine Corps

George W. Darnell Jr., Warren, Army

Gary Ray Davis, Warren, Marine Corps

Thomas Evan Douglas, Warren, Marine Corps

Alfred Dugger, Warren, Army

John David Flanigan, Warren, Marine Corps

Gary Lee Fleck, Niles, Army

William Allen Haines Jr., Warren, Army

Andre Haroulakis, Warren, Army

Robert Eudgene Hewitt, Warren, Army

Dallas Edwin Hickman, Warren, Army

George Allen Hubbard, Hubbard, Army

Andrew Michael Hudak, Warren, Marine Corps

David Lee Jackson Jr., Warren, Army

Michael Donald Jarrett, Warren, Marine

Dennis Neil Johnston, McDonald, Navy

Bruce R. Jones, Niles, Air Force

Robert Arthur Jones, Girard, Army

Percy Julian, Warren, Army

James Joseph Kester, Warren, Army

Richard Charles Knapp, Warren, Army

Donald Edward Layfield, Leavittsburg, Army

Richard Keith Lemmon, Liberty Army

Robert Donald Logue, Warren, Marine Corps

Richard Myron Lombardo, Warren, Marine Corps

John Thomas Montgomery, Newton Falls, Army

John Lee Moreland, Liberty, Marine Corps

Albert C. Myers, Warren, Army

Herbert James Nece, Mesopotamia, Army

David Thomas Orwig III, Niles, Army

Gustav Ostrakovic, Cortland, Marine Corps

William E. Parker III, Warren, Marine Corps

Frank Joseph Prokop, Warren, Marine Corps

Walter Garland Rice Jr., Bristol, Army

John Harold Roach, Warren, Marine Corps

Bernard James Rodzen, Warren, Marine Corps

Ronald Carl Ross, Girard, Army

David Alexander Semeraro, Niles, Army

Paul Anthony Sgambati, Girard, Army

Joseph A. Siciliano Jr., Girard, Marine Corps

Andrew Richard Sinchak Jr., Cortland, Army

William Michael Skovran, Warren, Army

David Charles Teutsch, Newton Falls, Marine Corps

Robert Virgil Thomas, Warren, Army

Albert Allen Vencel, Warren, Army

John Mathew Vitello Jr., Warren, Army

Martin Walker Jr., Masuria, Army

Terrance Lee Weant, Cortland, Army

* Army Capt. Richard M. Rees was a graduate of Warren G. Harding High School but gave his address as a relative’s home in Portage County, so official databases do not include him on the Trumbull County list.

SOURCE: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund

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