Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vietnam veterans still seeking photos of New Mexicans killed in war

Back in 2010, I started writing about a local group of Vietnam veterans who sought to compile 397 photos of the New Mexicans killed in the Vietnam War. By June of last year, the group had 19 to go. As of today, it has just six left to complete its goal. The group is still looking for photos of the following men, according to Art Canales, one of the veterans involved in the project. The men are listed with their title and hometown.

CWO James Grady Bulloch, U.S. Army, Albuquerque

BM1 Robert Melvin Dow, U.S. Navy, Albuquerque

PFC Alvin James Munson, U.S. Army, Albuquerque

CPL Raymond Yazzie, U.S.Marine Corps, Church Rock

SGT Bobby Joe Martinez, U.S. Army, Fort Wingate

CPL Eddie Charles Begaye, U.S. Marine Corps, Ramah

The project is part of a national effort to find photos of and memorialize some 58,000 people who were killed in or went missing in action during the war.

Here is the original story I wrote, from Nov. 30 2010


When Henry Urioste was asked to help with a project to locate photos of all New Mexicans killed in Vietnam, he quickly volunteered, thinking it would be a simple, quick task.

Instead, tracking down 400 photos of the fallen turned out to be very emotional work.

"We thought it was going to be easy, and it was hard -- the hardest, most heartbreaking and emotional thing, " he said.

A local group of Vietnam veterans, part of the Northern New Mexico chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, has collected about 350 of the veterans' photos since February. The group is assembling them to send to a veterans memorial in Washington, D.C., and to the Vietnam Veterans National Memorial in Angel Fire as well. Veterans in each state are working on the project, as a way to put a face with each name listed on the Vietnam Wall in Washington.

To collect the rest, the group is seeking the public's help.

Many of the missing photos are of soldiers from Southern and Western New Mexico. The group has found pictures of all 17 of the Santa Feans killed in the war and

of most others who were from Northern New Mexico.

One of the Santa Feans killed in the war was Joseph "Tudy" Jacques. He had just turned 21 when his aircraft went down in an accident as he was on his way home from Vietnam, said his brother, Mike.

During his time overseas, Joseph Jacques bought a camera and sent photos to his family. The one that will be sent to the memorial is a double exposure, with two images of Joseph.

"In half of the photo, he was sad. In the other part, he was really happy, " Mike Jacques said.

The family cut the photo in half and sent in the happy side. Joseph Jacques, in Army clothes, is leaning on a water tank.

To get the photo on its way to the memorial, Mike Jacques recently met with a member of the group to deliver a copy, something he called a "great honor for the families, and especially the parents."

The photo has served as a connection for the family to their son, one of two boys and six sisters.

It also will help those who visit the memorial to put a face on the war, in which more than 58,000 Americans died.

Another Santa Fean who was killed in action was Ray Griego, who went to Santa Fe High with Urioste.

Urioste, 65, was in Vietnam more than 40 years ago when he found out his friend had been killed. Seeing his photo again after all this time was tough.

"It's a hard process, but a healing process, " he said. "It's like putting a puzzle together. Every opportunity we get is another piece that fills our hearts."

The remaining missing photos are proving the most difficult, those involved in the project said. Many of the family members of those killed have moved away or have died. Photos of members of the state's tribal nations are especially difficult to locate, the veterans said. So far, the veterans have done Internet sleuthing, hours of phone-calling and some in-person visits to get the photos. Participants say they won't stop until they have all 400 photos. So far, New Mexico has the highest percent of located photos among all the states.

Being involved in the project is a source of pride, family members say.

Patty Anaya, whose brother-in-law Michael Anaya was killed in 1970, said she's glad to see the sacrifices of the fallen and their families acknowledged.

"It really is an honor, " she said.

"It's about time these boys came back and are honored the way they are now."

Michael Anaya, from Galisteo, was 18 when he died three months into his tour. In December, he will have a bridge in Galisteo named after him -- a place where he and his best friend would listen to an AM transistor radio. Local Vietnam veterans are also working on that project.

Veterans involved with the photo compilation said the work has a great deal of meaning for them.

Jerry L. Martinez, an Vietnam-era vet whose military service included time stationed off Vietnam, but not in the country itself, said the call for photos helped fill a personal void.

"When I came back, I had a lot of friends, brothers, (who were) killed or lost, who didn't come back ... I always felt something empty within me that I never got there. This is my way of remembering them and their families so that they will not be forgotten."


  1. What a great effort, I can't add any photos.but I was talking to Bob Garcia, the current owner of the building at 4thNW and Bellrose in Albq, it was the original Vietnam Vets Outreach Center apx. 1979-1980 on N 4th,Bob said he was aware of his building's past,But was unable to ID anyone who may have worked on that project, it started a bit after the fall of Siagon. He'd like any info and he's got a mortage co. there, a non profit, so stop in if you any photos of that Vietnam Vets center, thanks,Bob's a Vietnam vet himself.

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    after reading your post i truly understand about the project is a source of pride, family members say.

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