Finding SF’s faces of the fallen from Vietnam War 

click to enlarge Janna Hoehn is trying to collect pictures of those in the military who died in Vietnam in order to update the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall online. - COURTESY JANNA HOEHN
  • Courtesy Janna Hoehn
  • Janna Hoehn is trying to collect pictures of those in the military who died in Vietnam in order to update the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall online.

Memories and condolences from those who knew Richard Bloom fill the space beneath Bloom's picture on the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall online. Saturday marks 48 years since the Marine Corps first lieutenant was killed in combat in Vietnam.

"As neighbors and classmates, we grew up together in the Sunset district of San Francisco. We both joined the services at about the same time. You in the Marines and I in the Air Force," Ray Minehan wrote beneath Bloom's page. "I vividly remember the last time we traded stories and drank a beer together. We were both on leave in SF. You were flying F8s and were excited about becoming a flight leader. You died soon after, very near your 24th birthday."

And Monday will mark 43 years since 19-year-old Richard Arellano Supnet was killed in the Vietnam War. The Air Force airman first class was also from San Francisco.

The difference between Supnet's and Bloom's pages on the virtual war is a photo -- in Bloom's case, one depicting the smiling young man in a dark-colored sportcoat and tie. But Supnet's has no picture.

Supnet is one of 166 San Francisco men who died fighting in Vietnam half a century ago, and among the 69 without a photo to match with their memorial page.

Maui resident Janna Hoehn has spent more than a year tracking down photos to put faces to names of the 5,579 California soldiers who died in Vietnam. Her work is part of a national grass-roots effort to gather images of every U.S. soldier who died in Vietnam. She has collected more than 700 photos since May 2013 -- including at least 20 of San Francisco residents -- and is appealing to the public to help fill in the gaps.

"It's quite a search to try to find them, [but] it's just so important to make sure there's a face put with the name," Hoehn said. "It makes the soldier a real person. They were somebody's sons, husbands, nephews, cousins, uncles, best friends."

Hoehn is seeking photos of California, Washington and Hawaii soldiers. However, she will accept a photo or any other information about soldiers.

Legislation from 2003 authorized an underground educational facility near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, known as "The Wall," in Washington, D.C., that will show the pictures and tell the stories of those who died in Vietnam.

Photos collected by Hoehn and other volunteers are displayed online and will be featured in the education center when it is built. Groundbreaking is expected within the next two years.

Finding faces

Veterans from San Francisco who died in the Vietnam War without pictures on the online memorial:

- Albert K Akamu, 1934-68

- Daniel A Alegre, 1948-70

- Gary A Banglos, 1946-68

- Boris R. Bentley, 1945-67

- Martin G. Blakely, 1945-68

- Domingo R. Borja, 1931-67

- Joseph Borruso Jr., 1949-70

- Theophilus Bowles, 1948-69

- Jose Caiquep, 1942-68

- Gary R. Clark, 1947-67

- Kenneth T. Cruise Jr., 1946-69

- Gregorio M. Deocampo, 1943-67

- Johnnie L. Douglas, 1945-68

- Ronald D. Ferguson, 1942-65

- Ronald R. Fillmore, 1946-67

- Harry P. Gamble, 1942-65

- Marcial B. Garcia, 1949-68

- Jose C. Gosse, 1943-66

- Kenneth M. Gray, 1949-70

- Thomas J. Guaraldi, 1947-67

- James K. Hall, 1934-69

- Rudolph Jennings, 1949-68

- Michael C. Jensen, 1949-70

- Anthony E. Johnson, 1947-68

- James J Johnson, 1933-67

- Ludwig P. Kohler, 1925-65

- Eloy F. Le Blanc, 1947-68

- Earl R. Lehrch, 1946-68

- Sai G. Lew, 1949-70

- William A Lynch Jr., 1921-66

- Danny R. Mack, 1948-69

- Robert L Mack, 1923-66

- George V. Martinez, 1947-68

- Rene C. Mischeaux, 1948-69

- Jose Munatones Jr., 1948-68

- Vincent P. Murphy Jr., 1947-70

- Alvin R. Narcisse, 1949-69

- Charles W. Nurisso, 1951-70

- Dennis K. O'Conner, 1947-68

- Reinaldo S. Ortiz, 1946-67

- Luther Page Jr., 1930-68

- Keila Paopao, 1947-68

- Kenneth Parker, 1947-69

- Samuel H. Pierce Jr., 1932-69

- Bob E. Pogre, 1945-66

- Emmett T. Pringle, 1950-69

- Robert W. Reed, 1932-67

- Salvador O. Ricardo, 1946-69

- Jose A. Rivera, 1945-66

- Gary G. Rodgers, 1947-68

- John R. Santos Jr., 1933-64

- Joel L. Schumbert, 1941-67

- Donald J. Smith, 1949-69

- Wiselee Smith, 1939-67

- Odin E. Sorensen, 1916-65

- Frank Spotwood Jr., 1947-68

- Theodore Springston Jr., 1931-67

- Richard A. Supnet, 1952-71

- Paul C. Taylor, 1946-65

- Dennis E. Timmons, 1947-69

- Matau Toia Fr., 1948-68

- Richard E. Tomasini Jr., 1947-67

- Robert L. Tyes, 1942-68

- Russel K. Utley, 1933-69

- Patrick Weber, 1950-71

- Frank Wells Jr., 1949-68

- Michael P. Whelan, 1947-68

- David C. Williams, 1946-68

- Akira Yamashita, 1928-66

NOTE: Photos and other information about these soldiers can be sent to Janna Hoehn at neverforgotten2014@gmail.com

About The Author

Laura Dudnick

Bio:
Laura Dudnick, a Bay Area native, covers education and planning for The San Francisco Examiner. She previously worked as a senior local editor for Patch.com, and as the San Mateo County bureau reporter and weekend editor for Bay City News Service.
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