Barbara Kinard “tore the house apart” looking for a photo of her late husband, Army Sgt. 1st Class Dixon T. Kinard.
“That woman in Hawaii has been calling me for months,” Kinard said. “I thought it was in a photo album that my daughter-in-law took. But it was here all along.”
Soon the image of Sgt. Kinard, who died in a, 1969 plane crash in the Bien Hoa province of South Vietnam, will join more than 43,000 others on the virtual Wall of Faces being assembled by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
The Wall of Faces is one of the latest efforts by supporters of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and will become part of an education center designed to explain the war’s impact and tell the stories behind the more than 58,280 casualties of the 20-year conflict in Southeast Asia.
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That “woman in Hawaii” whom Kinard mentioned, Janna Hoehn, has been hunting down and adding photos to the project for almost a decade. She’s directly or indirectly responsible for the recovery of more than 1,500 faces. She has only about 15,000 left to find.
1,500photos that Janna Hoehn has tracked down for the Wall of Faces
Hoehn contacted the Star-Telegram in an effort to track down more than 80 photos of those who died in Vietnam from the Tarrant County area.
“She has this ability to do amazing things,” said Jan Scruggs, founder and president emeritus of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. “That includes finding and helping other people find thousands of photographs of the casualties of the Vietnam War. This is a good thing. It brings closure to families and friends and we appreciate her extraordinary efforts.”
This is a good thing. It brings closure to families and friends and we appreciate her extraordinary efforts.
Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
Others who are helping include a North Dakota man “who’s been doing it for years as a personal project, even before we started ours,” Scruggs said.
Scruggs also praised a group of New Mexico residents and former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. They recovered all but three of about 505 faces from their state. But no one’s efforts have matched Hoehn’s.
“With Janna, you have one person grabbing the horse’s reins and riding all the way to the Alamo,” Scruggs said. “She’s got a lot of people working on it.”
A dedicated volunteer
Hoehn, 60, a native of Hemet, Calif., who lives on Maui, Hawaii, has been devoted to the quest since she found a pilot who’d been missing in action in Vietnam for more than four decades.
Hoehn picked a name at random to make a rubbing from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall during a 2006 visit to Washington, D.C. Once back home she became obsessed with knowing who the man was and what he looked like. The search for Air Force Maj. Gregory John Crossman took more than half a year.
Once she had Crossman’s photo, Hoehn wanted to do more.
“I immediately sent in the photo I had of Gregory Crossman,” Hoehn said. “Five days later I received an email from Jan Scruggs.”
Hoehn said Scruggs thanked her for sending Crossman’s photo and asked her to find photos of the 42 fallen warriors from Maui County. She did, and then started looking for the rest of the casualties with homes of record in Hawaii. That’s why she was so intent on getting Sgt. Kinard’s photo. Despite the facts that his family lives in Texas and he’s buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Fort Worth, his official home of record was Honolulu.
82 photos of Vietnam casualities that are needed from Tarrant County
Hoehn said she won’t rest until photos of all the heroes are found, or every effort to find them is exhausted. The most successful method so far has been getting stories about her quest into community newspapers.
“I work on this 40 hours a week,” Hoehn said. “The important part of the story is the names that are left. Every time the names get printed I get flooded with emails.”
When the email floods ebb, Hoehn returns to her conventional search methods: contacting libraries, high schools and newspapers in the fallen warriors’ hometowns, or recruiting volunteers to help.
“A volunteer will go to libraries to look for obituaries for clues to high schools, siblings,” Hoehn said. “I give the person a list of the remaining names to track down.”
‘We found two’
Members of the National Vietnam War Museum in Parker County helped track down a couple of names from Mineral Wells, said museum Treasurer Jim Messinger, 70.
“She called me from Hawaii,” Messinger said. “She gave us three names, and we found two.”
Homer Lee Hodges Jr. and Tony Anguiano were relatively easy to find, Messinger said. Veterans who run the museum had recently conducted a ceremony for Hodges’ and Anguiano’s families at what has been the museum’s dominant feature since 2009 — a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall.
“We had done a Christmas at the Wall event for those families, and we called them to get the photos,” Messinger said.
A search for the third fallen warrior, Army Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Carl Nickerson, was frustrating. The information was scarce; he was born Sept. 4, 1927, and died March 16, 1966. There isn’t even a record of where in Vietnam he died.
Barbara Kinard is happy that her husband’s photo is being added to the Wall of Faces. But finding the print brought back bitter memories.
“Right now, everybody is honoring everybody,” Kinard said. “It seems like that should have happened a long time ago.”
Right now, everybody is honoring everybody. It seems like that should have happened a long time ago.
Barbara Kinard, widow of Army Sgt. 1st Class Dixon T. Kinard
“These days, when someone is killed in combat, it seems like everyone in the community comes out to honor them,” Scruggs said. “When these [Vietnam War casualties] gave their lives it was ignored. The nation was fighting an internal war about the Vietnam War. The living came home to no parades. The dead were given no honors other than the honors given by the military.”
How to help
Janna Hoehn is seeking photos of Tarrant County areas residents who died in Vietnam. To contact Hoehn, email email@example.com.
The photos she needs:
- Jessie Arredondo, 1948-1969
- Charles D. Bullard, 1939-1969
- Scotty L. Keyes, 1945-1967
- Charles R. Pyle, 1949-1968
- David F. Able, 1945-1967; William H. Arnold, 1938-1967; Roy D. Bailey, 1940-1966; Richard A. Barbolla, 1946-1968; Edward R. Beasley, 1947-1969; Thomas L. Blackman, 1945-1966; John T. Bradford, 1945-1966; Clifford S. Bratcher, 1946-1966; Fred Brown Jr., 1943-1966; Frank H. Browne II, 1949-1969; Frank L. Browning, 1951-1971; Richard C. Busby Jr., 1948-1968
- Steve D. Carter, 1949-1969; Tommie A. Chambers, 1944-1968; Paul R. Collett Jr., 1947-1968
- James R. Davis, 1948-1969; James W. Davis, 1947-1968; Jerald G. Dewveall, 1945-1969; Robert L. Dunaway Jr., 1949-1970; Edward L. Evans, 1949-1970; James R. Fedro Sr., 1947-1968; Samuel Fields Jr., 1940-1970; Richard W. France, 1945-1968
- Charles T. Gilley, 1949-1971; Johnny R. Gillings, 1949-1969; Billy R. Greene, 1948-1968; Charles W. Hall Jr., 1948-1968; Davis E. Hardy, 1948-1968; Franklin D. Hatton, 1939-1968; Don R. Hollingsworth, 1948-1967; Nathaniel Hubbard, 1945-1966
- James D. Jackson, 1949-1971; Rufus L. James, 1937-1966; Harvey W. Jones, 1946-1966; Daniel T. Kelly, 1946-1967; Doy R. Kendricks, 1947-1968; Michael E. LeMaster, 1947-1969; Homer H. Lee, 1930-1968; Michael L. Lewis, 1947-1969; Floyd B. Lockhart Jr., 1949-1970; Ronald H. Lofton, 1946-1967
- Alejandro Makintaya, 1941-1971; Juan J. Martinez, 1946-1968; Gary E. Marxmiller, 1948-1969; Robert C. Maurice, 1948-1968; Chester H. May, 1942-1968; Garry M. McCullough, 1948-1968; Phillip W. Meador, 1950-1970; Edward L. Milus, 1947-1968; Ronald E. Mitchell Jr., 1948-1969; Laurance R. Mohn Jr., 1946-1969
- Jimmy L. Nation, 1947-1968; Samuel T. Owen, 1942-1971; Joseph M. Pilotte, 1949-1970; Larry K. Powell, 1948-1968; Bill E. Ramsey Jr., 1934-1968; James R. Redford, 1946-1968; James R. Rice, 1944-1966; Terry S. Sells, 1948-1970; Richard C. Simmons, 1940-1969; Douglas R. Sledge, 1949-1969; Douglas W. Smith, 1949-1968; Jerry W. Smith, 1945-1968; Ben W. Stephens, 1943-1968
- James E. Thomas, 1946-1965; Wayne L. Thomas, 1949-1969; Alfredo J. Villanueva, 1942-1969; Michael J. Weik, 1950-1970; James E. Weston, 1952-1971; Barney J. White, 1949-1968; Tommie J. Whitten, 1930-1967; Gerald L. Young, 1938-1969
- Dennis L. Talkington, 1946-1966
- Larry R. Creecy, 1944-1968
- Michael R. Rivers, 1947-1968
- Morris A. Simpson, 1943-1971
- Robert E. Schoppaul, 1946-1967
- Ruben D. Reese, 1951-1969