Link to a VERY LARGE FILE containing a panoramic view of the wall.

In Memory of Our Classmates

who Fell in Vietnam

by Ron Meier USMA '66

 Several years after its dedication, I made my first visit to  The Wall with a classmate. I rushed through on that visit, not  wanting to think too long about the classmates whose names were  etched in the granite, and wanting to retreat to some safer place  where I knew I could hold back the tears more easily. I returned the  following year alone, late in the evening, and let my emotions take  me where they naturally wanted to flow.

On my third visit, a  couple of years later, I looked up several classmates and other  graduates whose names I could remember in the book provided at the  site. But I was frustrated because I knew there were others I wanted  to remember and honor, but I could not recall many of their names  without a list.

When I returned home, I  took out my Register of Graduates, obtained a copy of the register  of names on The Wall, and started to record The Wall location of all  my classmates. Then I did the same for the class of '65 and '67. At  that point, I didn't know it, but I had already recorded the  locations of about 25% of all West Point graduates killed in  Vietnam. So I kept writing, eventually recording all 333 names and  locations.

Whether you visit The  Wall in Washington or the traveling Wall in your home state, you can  use the list to locate classmates, other graduates, friends, and  relatives quickly and efficiently. I hope you will find it helpful  in remembering and honoring both those you knew and loved and those  you did not know who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I appreciate the input  from the Association of Graduates at the United States Military  Academy and from many of the class scribes whose feedback I  requested when I completed the first draft of the list. Even though  I believe the list to be a complete accounting of all West Point  graduates listed on The Wall, I must assume there are errors,  especially since I originally developed the final version of the  list more than 10 years ago. I take full responsibility for any  errors, and I would appreciate input from anyone who finds errors  and omissions.

The beauty of the web is  its flexibility. Let me know what you would like to see added to  this site to make it a living memorial to the men whose names are  listed here. We are planning to add Air Force Academy and Naval  Academy graduates to the site when our volunteers accumulate the  data. Thanks to Leo DeGreef, USAFA '79, for his help in web site  development. Leo has a special interest in this project since his  father was a Green Beret in Vietnam and was paralyzed as a  consequence of wounds received in combat. Thanks also to Howard Towt, USAFA '68 of Solucian Networking for hosting this site.

Ron Meier
USMA '66
ronmeier66@earthlink.net

Click for Excel Spreadsheet of West Point Graduates who Fell in Vietnam


STATISTICS

MG

1

BG

4

COL

15

LTC

38

MAJ

48

CPT

143

LT

84

1941

1

Totals by Year:

1943

1

1953

13

1962

22

1945

5

1954

12

1963

20

1946

6

1955

4

1964

23

1947

2

1956

10

1965

25

1948

2

1957

12

1966

29

1949

6

1958

12

1967

29

1950

7

1959

15

1968

20

1951

4

1960

12

1969

18

1952

8

1961

11

1970

4

Resources of interest:

Several of my classmates were instrumental in the planning for the Vietnam memorial that eventually resulted in the design and construction of The Wall. Their efforts are chronicled in The Long Gray Line, published by Houghton Mifflin, author - Rick Atkinson, a book about the class of 1966 that follows the class from their first day as West Point plebes, through their service in Vietnam, the building of The Wall, and beyond.

Members of the class of 1966 (and other classes) fought with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. Many of the names of West Point graduates etched on The Wall are theirs. One of the major campaigns of the 173rd in Vietnam was fought in Vietnam's central highland region. These battles are chronicled in Dak To, published by Pocket Books, author - Edward F. Murphy.


Location on the Wall in Red

 

 

How are the panels numbered?

 There are 70 separate panels (plus a couple at both ends without names) on each wall. The list starts and ends at the vertex, or middle, of the Memorial. Beginning with the year 1959 inscribed at the top of the panel on Panel 1 East (1E), the listing goes out to the right, to the end of the East Wall, panel number 70 East (70E). It resumes at the end of the West Wall, panel 70 West (70W), and continues to the right, to panel 1 West (1W), with 1975 inscribed at the very bottom. Designer Lin wanted the names to be arranged in an almost circular manner, having the first names reaching out and coming back to touch the last names of those killed.


 Memorial Statistics

 Each of the walls is 246' 8" long. They meet at an angle of 125 degrees, 12 minutes, pointing exactly to the northeast corners of the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial. The walls are supported along their entire length by 140 concrete pilings driven approximately 35 feet to bedrock. At their vertex the walls are 10' 1" in height. The stone for the walls, safety curbs and walkways is black granite quarried near Bangalore, India. All cutting and fabrication was done in Barre, Vermont. The variations in color and texture are a result of different finishing techniques, i.e., polishing, honing, and flame treating

The names and inscriptions were gritblasted in Memphis, Tennessee, using stencils produced through a photographic process. The names were arranged chronologically and typeset in Atlanta, Georgia, from computer tape of the official Vietnam casualty list. The letters are .53" high, and approximately .015" wide, in Optima typeset. A total of 57,939 names were originally inscribed on the walls.

Currently there are 58,209 names on the wall.

 Designer - Maya Lin
In 1980 a senior female undergraduate Maya Lin, a Yale architecture student designed the memorial and it was entered in the  enormous juried competition that was conducted to select a work to be built as the national memorial in Washington to the  veterans of the Vietnam War. In a written statement of intention she states:

 "These names,  seemingly infinite in number, carry the sense of overwhelming  numbers, while unifying those individuals into a whole. Brought to a  sharp awareness of such a loss it is up to each individual to  resolve or come to terms with this loss. For death is in the end a  private matter, and the area contained within this memorial is meant  for private reckoning."

 "I had an  impulse to cut open the earth . . . an initial violence that would  heal. The grass would grow back but the cut would remain. It was as  if the black-grown earth were polished and made an interface between  the sunny world and the quiet dark world beyond, that we can’t  enter . . . I chose black granite to make the surface reflective and  peaceful. The angle was formed solely in relation to the Lincoln  Memorial and the Washington Monument to create a unity between the  past and the present."