Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

ALBIONís VIETNAM WAR VETERANS

Morning Star, September 23, 2012, pg. 5

Someone recently asked me if Albion had any persons killed in the Vietnam War. Iíve never seen a list compiled giving the names of Albionís Vietnam War veterans. It needs to be done. That was the War that was going on when many of us grew up during the 1960s. In those days, we had a draft and you could be ordered into military service. In the World Wars there had been large groups of men that left Albion and it was easier to tally Albionís soldiers in those conflicts. Not Vietnam, however.

Have you ever wondered, how many Albion soldiers were killed in action in Vietnam? On the internet is a website listing the names of those killed in action in the Vietnam War whose names are found on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. It is www.virtualwall.org. You can look up individual casualty names by a variety of methods. One of them is by city and state. This is left to some interpretation. Some people had Albion addresses, but Parma or Concord or Springport phones and schools, or vice versa. Also, some people enlisted on the upper floor of our local U.S. Post Office, and were listed as "enlisted from Albion." According to the website, "The state index pages are based on each casualty's Official Home of Record. The home of record may be the place the person entered military service or that person's residence at that time. The home of record is not always that person's birthplace, home town, or place of high school graduation."

With all those qualifiers, according to the website, there was one person officially "from Albion" who was killed in Vietnam. He was David Arnold Bernheisel, who served as a PFC in the U.S. Marine Corps. David was born on September 4, 1949. He entered the service in 1967, and became a rifleman in the 5th Marine regiment, 2nd Battalion (2/5). He was killed by hostile small arms fire at Thua Thien on February 17, 1968 at the age of 18. Davidís name is found on panel 39E-069 of the Vietnam Veteranís Memorial wall in Washington, D.C. Information about him can be found on the www.togetherweserved.com website. It is interesting to note that the American Legion Post No. 313 in Springport bears the family surname: The Bernheisel & Riley Post. David is buried at Ellis Cemetery in Barry County, and he is listed on the www.findagrave.com website.

Also on the virtualwall website, under Springport are listed the names of Thomas Eugene Riley, and Timothy J. Ballinger. Under Concord are listed the names of Robert James Jenks, and James Mark Morgan. There are no listings for Parma or Homer.

In addition to those killed, others were injured in the War but didnít die of their injuries until later on.

For example, I do remember that my 6th grade teacher, Mrs. Hamilton, had a brother who visited our class. He went to Vietnam, was wounded, and died several months later here in the U.S. Other soldiers returned to Albion maimed, or went to live in other communities.

Whatever the case, Albionís participation in the Vietnam War needs to be compiled for future historians, as it has not been researched. From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of David Arnold Bernheisel, Albionís only Vietnam War casualty. How about a memorial brick for him on Albionís Veteranís Memorial Stage at Riverside Cemetery?


David Arnold Bernheisel (1949-1968)

Next: Albion 100 Years Ago - October 1912


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