More than four decades after the Vietnam War ended, J.P. McCaskey High School recognized 18 former students who died while serving in the military during that war.
On Friday, the high school’s alumni association dedicated a plaque in their honor. It hangs in the lobby of the high school.
“These were special people, and they didn’t have the chance to take that next step in life and blossom,” says Ken Keener, who helped start this project. “They deserve some recognition for that.”
Here are stories from LNP | LancasterOnline archives about the students:
Air Force Lt. Col. Charles Davison Ballou
Died Nov. 7, 1968, at age 40.
Ballou’s plane was shot down over Laos. He was coordinating close air support strikes for Special Forces.
Marine Pfc. Lynn Blessing
Died May 16, 1975, at age 18.
Blessing’s helicopter exploded and went down off the coast of Cambodia during efforts to free the merchant ship Mayaguez.
Army Pfc. Steven Hess Boyer
Died Dec. 5, 1965, at age 22.
Boyer was struck by enemy fire during a jungle patrol in South Vietnam.
Army Maj. Percy Leroy Campbell
Died Nov. 6, 1966, at age 49.
Campbell died of a heart attack while serving in Que Nhon, South Vietnam.
Marine Pfc. Bruce Edward Cunningham
Died Feb. 8, 1968, at age 19.
Cunningham was killed in combat at Quang Tri, South Vietnam, as result of enemy rocket fire.
Marine Sgt. Joseph Eugene Jackson
Died Jan. 27, 1966, at age 27.
Jackson was killed in combat in the Chu Lai area of South Vietnam by an explosive device.
Army Sgt. Ernest Cecil Jamison
Died April 24, 1969, at age 22.
Jamison was killed by small arms fire in Cambodia while serving as a medical adviser to Special Forces.
Marine Pfc. Thomas Edward Jennings
Died March 5, 1968, at age 19.
Jennings was killed by fragmentation wounds incurred while on outpost duty at Quang Nan, South Vietnam.
Army Staff Sgt. Michael Edward Kiscaden
Died July 1, 1970, at age 19.
Kiscaden was killed when the military vehicle he was driving was ambushed by enemy forces in South Vietnam.
Army Pfc. William Leroy McFarland
Died March 14, 1969, at age 20.
McFarland was killed during a combat mission against enemy forces in South Vietnam.
Army Pfc. Gerald Lee McKinney
Died Nov. 22, 1967, at age 20.
McKinney was killed by enemy fire during combat in South Vietnam.
Marine Sgt. Carl B. Mellinger, Jr.
Died July 2, 1968, at age 24.
Mellinger was killed by enemy action during his third tour of duty in South Vietnam.
Marine Lance Cpl. James Edward Miller
Died Oct. 27, 1970, at age 18.
Miller was killed by enemy fire and fragments of a land mine during a battle just south of Da Nang, South Vietnam.
Army Sgt. Robert Allen Mowery
Died April 2, 1968, at age 24.
Mowery was killed by shell fragmentation wounds suffered while traveling in a military convoy outside Saigon.
Marine Cpl. Chester Earl Rowe, Jr.
Died April 5, 1967, at age 20.
Rowe was killed in action near Thau Thien, South Vietnam, four days after returning to duty from the USS Repose, where he recovered from wounds sustained a month earlier.
Navy Fireman Dennis Milton Sollenberger
Died May 26, 1968, at age 20.
Sollenberger died of an accidental drowning while swimming with friends in Binh Thuy Bay, South Vietnam.
Army Spc. 4 Carl William Walls
Died May 15, 1969, at age 24.
Walls was killed during combat in South Vietnam.
Army Sgt. James Lawrence Wieler
Died March 7, 1971, at age 21.
Wieler was killed in a helicopter crash in South Vietnam while serving as a medical aide.