Vietnam (or era) vets from Spalding, Bergan, AOL sought for flight of honor

The names of nine Spalding Institute and one Bergan High School alumni on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., are recreated in this graphic promoting a planned flight of honor to the memorial. (Provided graphic)

Are you a graduate of the former Spalding Institute, Bergan High School, or the Academy of Our Lady in Peoria who served in Vietnam or were in the military during the Vietnam War era?

Do you know of someone from those schools who did serve in Vietnam? Would you like to be part of a project to honor them?

If the answer is “yes” to any of those questions, the “Ten on the Wall” committee would like to hear from you.

To report names of veterans from the Spalding, Bergan, or the Academy of Our Lady who served in Vietnam or during the Vietnam era, call Bob Brophy, (309) 303-0292, Bob LaHood, (309) 264-9387, or email tenonthewalltour@gmail.com. Those wishing to be guardians on the flight of honor or financially support the flight are also invited to call or write. More information is available at the Ten on the Wall site on Facebook.

“We want their service to be honored,” said Bob Brophy, a Spalding Institute graduate who in 1969 fought with the U.S. Army’s 4th Infantry Division in Pleiku, Vietnam. “We need to find these people.”

Brophy is among those organizing a flight of honor to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. The proposed flight is called “Ten on the Wall” because of the more than 58,000 names on the memorial wall listing U.S. military killed or missing in Vietnam, 10 are from Spalding or Bergan.

To date, the committee has identified about 230 Peoria Catholic high school graduates who served during the Vietnam War era, in graduating classes from 1946 through 1970. To view the most updated list, click here, or scroll to the bottom of this story.

“We know there are more out there,” said Spalding graduate Bob LaHood, who in 1972 was a U.S. Marine flying helicopters off two ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. “Our goal is to identify as many as possible,” not only to invite them on the flight, he said, but to acknowledge their service for this and future generations in some way at Peoria Notre Dame — which formed from the merger of AOL/Spalding and Bergan in 1988.

“Even if they’re deceased, we’d like to know the information,” said Brophy.

WHY NOW?

It was a casual conversation between LaHood and Brophy — both members of the Spalding Class of 1966 — three years ago that led to the idea of recruiting Vietnam veterans from the schools for a flight of honor.

“We had about 15 or 20 names then, and had no idea it would grow to what it has,” said Brophy. “Ten on the Wall” now has its own Facebook site and has been promoted on the schools’ alumni pages.

Holding the most updated list of Spalding, Bergan, or Academy of Our Lady graduates who served in Vietnam or were in the military during the Vietnam era are Ten on the Wall committee members, clockwise from upper left, Bob Brophy, Bob LaHood, Phillip Anton and Sandy Anton. (The Catholic Post/Tom Dermody)

Last week the committee learned of the first known Vietnam veteran from the all-girls Academy of Our Lady — a nurse who served in Vietnam. Unfortunately, they also learn of alumni veterans from obituaries. For example, Greg Ambrose, a member of the Spalding Class of 1964 who died in February in Elgin, had earned two Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Purple Hearts during his service in Vietnam as a U.S. Army infantry captain.

“He wasn’t even on our list,” admitted Brophy.

Organizers say the time for the project is right because, as they age, Vietnam veterans are encountering health problems resulting from exposure to chemicals used in combat such as Agent Orange.

Plus, public recognition of their service is long overdue.

Because the Vietnam War grew increasingly unpopular, returning veterans were rarely recognized and sometimes mistreated. Four decades later, some veterans are still hesitant to let people know of their service. That’s why organizers hope family members and friends will help surface names and contact information for the alumni list.

“One nice thing about the flight of honor would be the actual homecoming,” said Phillip Anton, a 1967 Bergan graduate who was a member of the U.S. Army II Field Force stationed near Cu Chi, Vietnam, in 1970. “When we came home from Vietnam it was basically family” greeting them, Anton said. “In the Second World War and Korea they came home as a unit, but we came back more as an individual. There was no homecoming.”

HOPEFUL FOR 80 HONOREES

Anton’s wife, Sandy, is proud to assist the Ten on the Wall committee.

While she does not have military service, Sandy says “it’s my era.”

“We all knew people who went to service, people who died, people who didn’t get the honor they deserved,” she told The Catholic Post. “To make this happen is pretty important.”

The committee is in negotiations with the Greater Peoria Honor Flight — which prioritizes World War II  and Korea conflict veterans because of their advancing age — and hopes to link with their efforts. It would be helpful in those negotiations if the committee could fill the flight of 80 honorees with Peoria Catholic high school alumni Vietnam or Vietnam-era veterans.

Also needed are guardians for each honoree. The committee will soon begin fundraising with a goal of $45,000 to cover the cost of the veterans’ travel, and a stretch goal of $80,000 to cover the guardians’ costs as well.

“I think it would be a great event for all of us,” said LaHood.

Following is the list updated as of April 20. The missing in action or killed in action are in bold. An asterisk indicates the veteran is deceased.

VIETNAM VETERANS 

1946     Vince Murphy

1950    Leo Delinski *, John Caldwell

1952     HAROLD ALWAN (MIA)

1953     Jane Hanley Myrna  *

1954     Francis Ohlemiller

1957     Ronald Dentino *

1958    Wayne A. Downing  *, Terry Quigley

1960    JOSEPH WORKMAN (KIA), James Lowy, Jim Ritt, Joe Schwerer, Jim Zang

1961    Jim Anstett, Robert “Bill” Clark, Jim Hajnal, Larry Litterest, John Mackoway, Charles Maher, Mike Roark, Mike Rynell, Sam Scalise, Daniel Stringer *, Carl Sorrentino, Ed Zempel

1962     Jim Carroll *, Jim Coleman, John Dalton *, Robert Dixon, Mike Donnelly, Joe Hanley, Dan Heinz, John Higgins, Frederick Johnson, Joe Kamalick * , James Ladd, Thomas May, James Miller, Wilbert Plaag *, Tom Roberts, James Scanlan, Frank Welsh

1963     J.G. Abraham, Roger Backes, Jim Colgan *,  Patrick Crilly  *, Mike Henrikson, Ryan Lancaster, Dan Letizia, Jerry Mattson, Don Oltman, Rex Rahn *, Richard Stalter

1964     MICHAEL STACY (KIA), Greg Ambrose *, Conrad Best  *, Steve Buck, Tom Connor, Michael Davis, Terry Donnelly  *, John Dougherty, Joe Flanagan, Dennis Glore, Dick Gunnar *, Joe Hajny *, Charles Hassler, John Hession, Terry Hines, Frank Hoerdemann, Scott Kedzior, Dennis LaHood, Jack Langenberg, David Lakin *, Jim Luebbers, Jim Powers, Tim Slevin *

1965     Ron Anthony. Pat Beharelle. Tom Bencher, Mike Berninger, James Burson, Joe Callahan, Gerry Coleman *, Dennis Day, Terry Donahue, Tim Donovan, Dennis Doolan, Mike Eisfelder *, Mike Finnegan, Greg Frank *,  Bob Franken, Don Frericks, Mike Hitz, Joe Huerta, Jim Joyce *, Tim Kelley, Jim Kelley, Randy Koors, Denny Mahrt, Michael Marvin, William McDermott, John Nordstrom, Mike O’Connor, Michael Reid, Gary Ruhaak *, Bernard Sieks, Joe Staes, John Svendsen, Eric Turner, Phillip Urban, Mark Vogel, John Weitekamp, Joel West, Terry White, Terry White

1966   JOHN BANISTER (KIA), JOSEPH CLINCH (KIA), MERLE DENTINO (KIA), Steve Behrens *,  Bob Brophy, Dave Bryson  *,  Mike Closen, Pat Cummings, Dennis Delinski *, Tim Farrell, Jack Flannagan, Willard Happach *,  Jim Hinds *, Tom Hitz *,  Bill Jewel *,  Bob LaHood, Pete Mahieu, James Maubach, Dan McDade *, Jack McNamee, Skip Morris, John Niehuas, Dan Pagan, Bob Reel, Rich Reising *, Tim Shea, Mike Sullivan, Gary Vachon, Wayne Watt, Mike Wellman, Rick Williams

1967  WILLIAM DeBATES (KIA),  MICHAEL MORAN (KIA), Phillip Anton, Rich Argo, Dane Borho, Charles Cummings, Bob Heiple,          Perry Hernan, Daniel Higgins *,  Mike Knaub, Kevin McCarthy *, Don Mingie, Jim O’Laughlin, Roger Reising, Carl Schaidle, Duffy Seyller, Dennis Sheppard, Leonard Vestal, Thomas Watson,

1968    DANIEL FARRELL (KIA), John Becker, Dick Beharelle *, Jim Boylan, Dick Cordts, Pat Cummings, Rick Hazen, Jim Keegan, Pat Langan, Ed Maubach, Marty McMorrow, Frank Molloy *, John Morrissey, Ed Powers, Fred Schraeder, Tom Snyder, Percy Thomas, Bryant Welch, Mike Wilton  *, Bill Wiltz, Harry Zerkle

1969  PATRICK BOHAN (KIA), Jack Backlar, Jim Beharelle *, Lew Grant, James Roby *

1970    Dan Ober

VIETNAM ERA   

1958    Tom Palmer *

1961     Stephan Takeuchi *

1962     John Bannon

1963     Victor Anthony, Ed Schlicksup, Mike Stenger

1964     Robert Anton, Mike LaHood *, Jack Schlicksup, Robert Thomas

1965     John Adams, Bob Foster, Jerry Mattingly, Pete Schlicksup

1966     George Alexander *, Bob Caruso, Jim Dickerson, Mike Gilfillan, Dave Jochman, Willis Jordan, Phil Lehnhausen, Chuck Maroon, Dave Peters, Gerald Reeves, Larry Rogers, Jim Stepzinski, Ron Weeks

1967     Jeff Baldi, Robert Koutelis *, Bill Tuerk

1968    Gary Crismore, Richard Kirschgessner, John McManus

 

 

 

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