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To commemorate Memorial Day, the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial (PVVM) is conducting a search for children or relatives of the 648 honored on the Wall of Names. The Memorial plans to hold a special ceremony for remembrances of those who perished in the war.
PVVM hopes to find family stories like that of SP4 Angelo Carmelo Santiago whose daughter, Jeanette Santiago Vargas, was only two years old when her father was killed in Vietnam in June 6, 1968. The Kensington native was one of the 64 from Thomas Edison High School to be killed in Vietnam.
PVVM Treasurer Darryrl Johnson tracked down Ms. Vargas, who currently lives in Florida, through relatives. She has little memory of her father, but recalls how her widowed mother, Carmen, struggled to build a life for her. With only an 8th grade education, her mother went on to earn her high school and college diplomas. She eventually went to law school and became a prominent federal judge in Puerto Rico.
This reminds us of the impact on the families left behind and how the legacy of sacrifice also has been a source of inspiration.
The PVVM web site, pvvm.org, lists 29 names and the number of immediate family who are known, but not yet found. If anyone can put us in touch with relatives of the fallen, they can contact Board Member Pat Mitchell at 610-637-3013, who is heading the search project, or Board Member Gerry Miller at 610-937-7929.
The information on the 32 along with bios of all the fallen was the result of the Philadelphia Daily News, which over the course of two editions listed those who were lost in the war and the number of known family members.
PVVM Children of the Fallen
Name Year of Loss Community Children
- Rowland J Adamoli#3 1965 Germantown daughter
- Joe Amos#14 1967 son/daughter
- William Barot #29 1966 2 sons/3 daughters
- George J. Belancin#35 1968 Point Breeze 2 daughters
- Lural Blevins #45 (MIA)* 1968 North Phila daughter
- Bryant Brayboy Jr.#52 1965 North Phila daughter
- Zachrie Brookins Jr.#59 1966 North Phila 2 daughters
- Richard Brooks III #60 1967 expecting first child
- Robert Campbell #73 1965 North Phila son
- William Chapman Jr.#89 1968 North Phila 3 daughters
- Alexander Cooper#115 1967 Jules Mastbaum 3 daughters
- Charles E. Dyson Jr.#152 1966 North Phila 2 daughters
- Jerry M. Foy#176 1971 West Phila son/daughter
- Robert Hanna#221 1966 Dobbins Tech son/3daughters
- Howard W. Johnson #274 1972 Simon Gratz 2 sons/2 daughters
- Joe T. Johnson#275 1966 North Phila son
- Roosevelt Jones#282 1968 2 sons/daughter
- William Jones#283 1966 North Phila 2 sons/daughter
- Herbert Kirk#298 (MIA)** 1968 Northeast 2 sons
- Peter Kretzchmar#304 1968 son
- Andrew Machristie#338 1970 3 sons/daughter
- Edwin MacNamara#340 1966 4 sons/daughter
- Nathaniel Phillips#436 1970 Ben Franklin 3 sons/6 daughters
- Antonio Solis#536 1966 2 sons
- James Stancell Jr.#544 1968 South Phila son/d—er/step d—er
26. Joseph Stojinski Jr.#552 1970 son
27. Henry Tipping#571 (MIA)** 1968 2 daughters
28. Ervin Warren#592 (MIA)* 1966 son/stepson/step d—er
29. Tyrone Watson#595 1970 step daughter
MIA*: missing in action remains recovered
MIA**: missing in action body not recovered
After a two- year hiatus, the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial will hold a traditional live Memorial Day ceremony featuring as speaker Captain Benjamin Cooper, USCG on Monday, May 31 at 12:30 p.m. at the Memorial at Spruce Street and Columbus Blvd.
“We will follow whatever pandemic restrictions in place at the time, but intend to ensure social distancing by placing chairs the required distance apart,” noted Terry Williamson, Memorial president. “We are excited about honoring the 648 Philadelphians lost in the Vietnam War featuring all those who have participated in our ceremonies in the past.”
Participants will include the 82nd Airborne Division Association, Hadjak Mokan Chapter (color guard); VVA Liberty Bell Chapter 266 (firing detail); USMC Sgt. Bill Mead (vocalist); City Police Department Firing Team and buglers, and the AOH Division 88/Police Officer Danny Boyle (flag detail).
Capt. Cooper will retire in July 2021 after a 30-year career in the US Coast Guard. He was the chief of staff for the Ninth Coast Guard District in the Great Lakes region, and previously served as the Deputy to the Assistant Commandant for Capability where he helped deliver operational policy and capabilities for aerial, surface, shore and cyber domains. He recently started a new career as Director of Marine Affairs at US Wind Inc. of Baltimore, MD.
Capt. Cooper probably is best known in the Philadelphia area for his stint as Captain of the Port and commander of Sector Delaware Bay headquartered at Penns Landing. He also led maritime security efforts for the Pope Francis 2015 visit to Philadelphia and the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
A 1991 graduate of the USCG Academy, Captain Cooper has an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and is a graduate of the Naval War College. He currently resides in Avon Lake, OH.