Earlier this year, Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) worked with Veteranâ€™s groups to author AJR 33 – a resolution that urges the U.S. Department of Defense to include the names of the 74 fallen sailors of the Destroyer U.S.S. Frank E. Evans (21 of whom are from California) on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Now the CA Department of Veterans Affairs (Cal Vet) Commission has voted to approve adding the names of the 21 fallen heroes from California to the California Vietnam Memorial Wall.
â€œAs the author of AJR 33, I wholeheartedly support the addition of the California sailors from the U.S.S. Frank Evans to be inscribed on the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial,â€ Assemblymember Holden wrote in a letter of support. â€œThe outstanding services of these American sailors during the Vietnam War are without dispute; they died in service to their country. Combat zones were ill-defined during those turbulent times and should not be used to prevent memorializing these fallen heroes.â€
The men died when their ship collided with an Australian aircraft carrier some 110 miles from the Vietnam combat zone. The inclusion of the dead sailorsâ€™ names has been overlooked in the past because of the technicality that the destroyer was “not within the designated combat zoneâ€. Holdenâ€™s AJR 33 urges the United States Department of Defense to recognize the fallen sailors and include their names on the Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Pasadena resident, Tim Wendler, whose father was one of the sailors killed that day, was overjoyed with the California decision. â€œIn the hearts and minds of the families, shipmates and survivors of the USS Evans, the application of the eligibility standard has not been fair. This action helps to honor their memory and bring closure to their families.. We are grateful to the Cal Vet Commission for their support and the recognition of the fallen sailors of the USS Frank Evans.â€