What if you could put a face to every name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial?
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund hopes you can.
The National Call for Photos is a project organized by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund to match a headshot or portrait photograph to every service member listed on the wall.
The pictures will be displayed in an exhibit at the future Education Center at the Wall, an underground visitors center to be built near the Vietnam Veterans and the Lincoln memorials. Every day, the center will celebrate the birthdays of service members who died during the Vietnam War by featuring their photos on a giant digital wall.
So far, 25,526 veterans have complete profiles with at least one photograph, according to George Pojani, a research associate at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. These profiles are currently featured on the Virtual Wall, an online database of the memorial's veterans.
Thirty-nine men Gloucester County died in the Vietnam War, according to Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund records. They include one from West Deptford, four from Woodbury and one from Westville:
- Paul John Buck, Army, July 9, 1931 - March 27, 1966
- Robert Philip Catling, Army, July 29, 1946 - July 3, 1966
- Robert William Elliott, Marine Corps, Aug. 31, 1945 - Aug. 9, 1970
- Donald Francis McDowell, Navy, Aug. 24, 1945 - Dec. 26, 1967
- Alvin Crawford Hinson, Army, March 3, 1936 - May 12, 1969
- Fred Concetto Spina, Marine Corps, Aug. 6, 1949 - Sept. 11, 1968
To locate photos for the project, contributors can visit vvmf.org/thewall and search for veterans who enlisted in their area. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund recommends contacting family and friends of the veterans to find photographs or visit local libraries and search through yearbooks or newspaper obituaries.
To submit a photograph, contributors should obtain a high quality scan of the image and post a remembrance at vvmf.org/remembrances. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund will send an email to contributors when their photograph is posted with a matching profile.
Relatives of service members with complete profiles are encouraged to submit photographs to the fund, even if there is already a photo available.
Pojani says that the contributors to the National Call for Photos will help improve the visitor's experience at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
"It's a place where people can go back and find stories about all the casualties on the wall," Pojani said about the future Education Center. "It will be more personal than just names on the wall."