Local vets seeking family of Vietnam casualtiesPublished 8:58am Thursday, April 15, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
It is more than just a saying but a way of life in the military.
No man is left behind.
For veterans, the credo is impenetrable.
In anticipation of its Tribute Weekend to be held later this summer, Lest We Forget, a group of local veterans, is searching for family members of Berrien County soldiers killed during the Vietnam War.
During the course of their search, Dr. Gary Lulenski said the group had found families to 48 soldiers and want to “find as many as we possibly can.”
There are three men in particular on their list – all of them from Niles.
PFC William Russos, “one of the first veterans in our area, killed on Oct. 17, 1966;” PFC Louis Linn, for whom Lulenski said Lest We Forget “has no confirmed contact;” and SP 4 John Robert Vinnedge, who died on Oct. 5, 1969, are three Niles servicemen who lost their lives in Vietnam.
Lest We Forget is looking for their family or their friends.
“Most of them were young guys and few had spouses,” Lulenski said.
Lest We Forget has made it their mission to keep the memories of area soldiers alive and open up the world of such losses to new generations.
“I’m not giving up now,” he said.
This summer, the group is presenting the American Veterans’ Traveling Tribute and bringing in the 80 percent size traveling Vietnam Wall.
Vietnam reenactors and all servicemen, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice, will be honored with tributes.
An Army veteran himself, Lulenski said flags that have flown over the capitol in Washington D.C. will be presented to family members, along with a Gold Star pin.
Concerts, special guests and recognition to 4,000 Vietnam war dogs killed in action and their handlers will also be part of this homage to all June 17-20 at the St. Joseph High School campus.
If you have information about John Vinnedge, Louis Linn or William Russos, contact Gary Lulenski at (269) 428-3442 or (269) 208-9761.