The Wall of Faces

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is honored on Panel 1W, Line 95 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance


  • Your Soul Lives On

    Posted on 10/31/17 - by Mark Rissi
    Dad, you came from a tough generation of men, who weathered hardships and fought battles so that your children would not have to do so. We are grateful for your sacrifices.
    Dad, you have 2 Granddaughters and 5 Grandsons. I will only speak for my 2 sons at this time. They both wish they knew you, both are proud of you. I have a Grandson now and a Granddaughter. My oldest son has your name, and your determined spirit. He is a humble man with the heart of a Lion.
    My second son is named for your first nephew, he has your blue eyes and your love of life, laughter, and friends.
    We miss you and Love you.
    To paraphrase a quote from John Quincy Adams: "I am a Warrior so that my son can be a merchant, so that his son can be a poet"
    Thank you for what you gave us. We owe you all that we

  • Memorial Day 2016

    Posted on 5/30/16 - by Patti Hartjes Padot
    Taking time this Memorial Day to remember all those who have served our country and paid the ultimate price. And to remember the families of our lost warriors. To all the Rissi children and grandchildren, may you have a peaceful Memorial Day holiday.
  • Final Mission of LTCOL Donald L. Rissi

    Posted on 7/19/15 - by
    Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and pressured by a Congress and public wanting an immediate end to American involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered the most concentrated air offensive of the war - known as Linebacker II - in December 1972. During the offensive, sometimes called the "Christmas bombings," 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped, primarily over the area between Hanoi and Haiphong. White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the bombing would end only when all U.S. POWs were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire was in force. On the first day of Linebacker II, December 18, 129 B52s arrived over Hanoi in three waves, four to five hours apart. They attacked the airfields at Hoa Lac, Kep and Phuc Yen, the Kinh No complex and the Yen Vien railyards. The aircraft flew in tight cells of three aircraft to maximize the mutual support benefits of their ECM equipment and flew straight and level to stabilize the bombing computers and ensure that all bombs fell on the military targets and not in civilian areas. The pilots of the early missions reported that "wall-to-wall SAMS" surrounded Hanoi as they neared its outskirts. The first night of bombing, December 18 and 19, two B-52s were shot down by SAMs. Onboard the first aircraft shot down on December 18 was its pilot, LTCOL Donald L. Rissi and crewmen MAJ Richard E. Johnson, CAPT Richard T. Simpson, CAPT Robert G. Certain, 1LT Robert J. Thomas and SGT Walter L. Ferguson. Of this crew, Certain, Simpson and Johnson were captured and shown the bodies of the other crew members. Six years later on August 23, 1978, the bodies of Rissi, Thomas and Ferguson were returned to U.S. control by the Vietnamese. Certain, Simpson and Johnson were held prisoner in Hanoi until March 29, 1973, when they were released in Operation Homecoming. CAPT Hal K. Wilson was in the lead aircraft of a B-52 cell from Utapao. Also on board his aircraft were crew men MAJ Fernando Alexander, CAPT Charles A. Brown Jr., CAPT Henry C. Barrows, CAPT Richard W. Cooper Jr. (the navigator), and SGT Charlie S. Poole (the tail gunner). Wilson's aircraft was hit by a SAM near his target area and crashed in the early morning hours of December 19, sustaining damage to the fuselage. In the ensuing fire, there was no time for orderly bailout, but as later examination of radio tapes indicated, all six crewmen deployed their parachutes and evidently safely ejected. The aircraft damage report indicated that all six men were prisoner. Radio Hanoi announced in news broadcasts between 19 and 22 December that the six crewmen had been captured. When the war ended, however, only four of the crew returned from Hanoi prisons. Hanoi remained silent about the fate of Charlie Poole and Richard Cooper. On March 5, 1996 remains were returned that were positively identified on August 12, 2003. These remains were prepared for a group burial. That internment service took place at Arlington National Cemetery on December 19, 2003. [Taken from]
  • Father's Day 2015

    Posted on 6/20/15 - by Thomas J RissiKoester
    Happy Father's Day. I have always wanted to be able to say that but having been your youngest I was never able to. I was but 7 years old when you were taken from us. I honestly don't have any memories of you. And yet at 50 years old I think about you all of the the time. I'm so proud to be one of your five children. I wish I had known you, I wish I had some memory of you. Mom tells me all of the time how proud she is of me. And I always tell everyone how proud I am to be Mom and your son. How proud I am to be an American, how honored I am to have had a father such as you.
    Happy Father's Day Dad.
  • No Formal Introduction--But I knew you

    Posted on 6/9/14 - by Teresa (Dorris) Whitmire
    I went to school with your children and remember the day someone came and got them to tell them your plane was shot down. I remember your wife and children comforting others that were there to comfort them. You and your family were well respected and you set the bar for what other families wanted to be. Through your family, I learned more about you. You liked the song "Brandy", you enjoyed fishing, hunting, spending time with your family, leading others, being a role model and mentor, God, your country and doing for others. Though I never formally met you, i feel like I know you. Thank you Sir for what you and your crew did to make this world a better place for all of us. You are gone but never will be forgotten.
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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.