Items Left at The Wall

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poems, printed

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 27353
  • Accession Date:11/27/1996
  • Item Summary:Two (2) printed poems dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal (LCpl) Michael Allen Machie. The poems are entitled, "FEELINGS" and, "ALL IN A ROW", respectively, and are by author, "Ken Ainsworth". A handwritten inscription upon one poem reads, "Mike Machie / KIA 1968 / I ride in your memory my brother / until we meet agin [sic] peace be with you / yo-yo". The artifacts were left at The Wall by U.S. Army & Vietnam veteran and author Ken "Yo-Yo" Ainsworth in November 1996.

letter, Bronze Star Medal award citation

  • Catalog Number:VIVE 30733
  • Accession Date:10/20/2010
  • Item Summary:Military issue, Bronze Star Medal award citation letter dedicated to U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal (LCpl) Edward Lee Johnson. In content, the letter is pursuant to posthumous issuance of the Bronze Star Medal to LCpl Johnson for an action in which he defended, "United States Navy Military Provincial Hospital Assistance Program Team N-2 Compound, Hoi An, Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam" on, "27 August 1967". An excerpt from the citation reads, "From his exposed position on the roof, inspite [sic] of intense mortar and small arms fire, Lance Corporal JOHNSON con-tinued [sic] to deliver a high volume of fire against the attacking force until he was hit by small arms fire. / Although wounded and suffering intense pain, obviating his continued manning of the machine gun, he refused to abandon his position and continued to assist in the defense of his position by un-packaging [sic] grenades and passing them to the other defenders of the position until killed by an enemy grenade which landed within his position." The artifact was left at The Wall by an anonymous donor between July - October 2010.

letter, printed


  • Catalog Number:VIVE 27867
  • Accession Date:11/27/1996
  • Associated Name(s) on The Wall: ROBERT T SMITH , ROBERT T SMITH
  • Item Summary:Printed, laminated letter dedicated to U.S. Army Sergeant (SGT) Robert T. Smith. The letter is headed, "DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY / Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry / APO San Francisco 96266", is addressed to, "Mrs. Robert T. Smith", is signed, "Sincerely yours, / GEORGE M HECKMAN / MAJOR, Infantry / Commanding", is dated, "28 APR 1969", and opens with the line, "I am sure that you have been informed of the death of your husband, Sgt Robert T. Smith, in the vicinity of Bien Hoa Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 12 April 1969." In content, the letter explicates the circumstances of SGT Smith's death in combat in Vietnam and offers condolences on behalf of MAJ Heckman and SGT Smith's unit, "Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry". The artifact was left at The Wall, presumably by SGT Smith's widow [?], in November 1996.
  • Accession Group:VIVE-00156
  • Record Component Qty:1
  • Item Description:PRINTED, LAMINATED LETTER DEDICATED TO U.S. ARMY SERGEANT (SGT) ROBERT T. SMITH. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A LETTER PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER WHICH HAS SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN LAMINATED AND ENCASED WITHIN A CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC MATERIAL. THE LETTER IS HEADED, "DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY / COMPANY D (RANGER), 151ST INFANTRY / APO SAN FRANCISCO 96266", IS ADDRESSED TO, "MRS. ROBERT T. SMITH / 5023 EAST 17TH STREET / INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA", IS SIGNED, "GEORGE M HECKMAN / MAJOR, INFANTRY / COMMANDING", IS DATED, "28 APR 1969", AND OPENS WITH THE LINE, "I AM SURE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN INFORMED OF THE DEATH OF YOUR HUSBAND, SGT ROBERT T. SMITH, IN THE VICINITY OF BIEN HOA PROVINCE, REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, ON 12 APRIL 1969." IN CONTENT, THE LETTER EXPLICATES THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF SGT SMITH'S DEATH IN COMBAT IN VIETNAM AND OFFERS CONDOLENCES ON BEHALF OF MAJ HECKMAN AND SGT SMITH'S UNIT, "COMPANY D (RANGER), 151ST INFANTRY". SPECIFICALLY, MAJ HECKMAN STATES THAT, "ON THE EVENING OF 12 APRIL 1969, YOUR HUSBAND WAS SERVING AS A PATROL LEADER IN COMMAND OF A TWELVE MAN RECONNAISSANCE TEAM" WHOSE STATED MISSION WAS, "[...] TO GATHER INFORMATION FROM THE ENEMY BY OBSERVATION AND IF DESIRED BY USE OF AN AMBUSH." MAJ HECKMAN GOES ON TO DESCRIBE SGT SMITH'S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ENEMY BY USE OF AVAILABLE GROUND PERSONNEL AND HELICOPTER GUN SHIPS, AND RECORDS THAT FOLLOWING THE PARTICIPATION OF THE GUN SHIPS IN THE ENCOUNTER SGT SMITH, "[...] REGROUPED THE TEAM AND PREPARED TO MAKE A SWEEP OF THE AREA AND RETURN TO THE LANDING ZONE TO BOARD THE HELICOPTERS FOR THEIR EXTRACTION." MAJ HECKMAN RECOUNTS SGT SMITH'S FATAL WOUNDING IN THE LINES, "AS THE TEAM APPROACHED THE LANDING ZONE, AN ENEMY SOLIDER APPEARED FROM A BOMB CRATER ONLY A FEW FEET FROM THE TEAM AND FIRED, HITTING BOB. / WITH BOB'S LAST EFFORTS HE ALERTED THE REST OF THE TEAM AND FIRED AWAY AT THE ENEMY SOLDIER, WHICH SAVED THE LIFES [sic] OF SEVERAL OTHER TEAM MEMBERS. / YOUR HUSBAND WAS IMMEDIATELY EVACUATED TO A NEARBY HOSPITAL BUT WAS PRONOUNCED DEAD ON ARRIVAL." MAJ HECKMAN CLOSES HIS LETTER TO SGT SMITH'S WIDOW WITH THE ACCLAMATION, "[...] BOB WAS AN OUT-STANDING [sic] SOLDIER AND A SINCERE FRIEND TO ALL THE MEMBERS OF THE UNIT", AS WELL AS THE CONSOLATION THAT, "BOB WILL BE MISSED BY EVERYONE HERE, AND ON BEHALF OF OUR UNIT I WOULD LIKE TO OFFER YOU OUR COND-OLENCES [sic] IN THIS TIME OF GRIEF AND MOURNING."
  • Associated Item Text: Text of the printed inscriptions upon the obverse & reverse object surfaces is transcribed in full, as follows: [Obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY / Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry / APO San Francisco 96266 / Mrs. Robert T. Smith / 5023 East 17th Street / Indianapolis, Indiana / 28 APR 1969 / Dear Mrs. Smith, / I am sure that you have been informed of the death of your husband, Sgt Robert T. Smith, in the vicinity of Bien Hoa Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 12 April 1969. / I sincerely hope the following inform-ation [sic] will help explain the circumstances and answer many of the questions that are in your mind at this time. / On the evening of 12 April 1969, your husband was serving as patrol leader in command of a twelve man reconnaissance team. / The team had been inserted in the afternoon and had positioned themselves along side a small trail in order to monitor enemy movement. / The team's mission was to gather information from the enemy by observation and if desired by use of an ambush. / At approximately 1845 the team spotted six to eight enemy personnel moving toward their position on the trail. / When the enemy force had moved within close range the team initiated contact with the enemy. / Even though the enemy was taken by surprise they were still able to place intensive fire on the reconnaissance team. / At this time Bob informed his team to return fire unitl the enemy force could be suppressed. / In conjunction with the fire power of the team Bob had called in the helicopter gun ships which placed effective fire on the known enemy position. / No enemy fire was received by the team after the gun ships made their gun runs. / Bob, at this time, regrouped the team and prepared to make a sweep of the area and return to the landing zone to board the helicopters for their extraction. / Bob elected to lead the team on the sweep and serve as point man for the team with his machine gun. / As the team approached the landing zone, an enemy soldier appeared from a bomb crater only a few feet from the team and fired, hitting Bob. / With Bob's last efforts he alerted the rest of the team and fired away at the enemy soldier, which saved the lifes [sic] of several other team members. / Your husband was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival." / [Reverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "As a member of Company D (Ranger), 151st Infantry, Bob was an out-standing [sic] soldier and a sincere friend to all the members of the unit. / He was always ready to offer a helping hand to anyone and expected nothing in return for his kindness. / Bob will be missed by everyone here, and on behalf of our unit I would like to offer you our cond-olences [sic] in this time of grief and mourning. / A memorial service in behalf of your husband was conducted on the fourteenth day of April. / Bob's personal property has been collected and will be sent to you. / I know you will treasure his personal possessions and I hope they will reach you without delay. / The sincere sympathy of this command is again extended to you in your bereavment [sic]. / Sincerely yours, / Geroge M. Heckman [handwritten signature] / GEORGE M HECKMAN / MAJOR, Infantry / Commanding"
  • Item Dimensions and Weight:
    • Item Weight: 24.9g
    • Item Length: 29.3cm
    • Item Width: 23.0cm
    • Item Height: N/A
    • Item Depth: N/A
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Items left at The Wall - The Virtual Collection

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated on November 13, 1982. Shortly thereafter, visitors to the Memorial began leaving items in memoriam to those killed and missing service members listed on The Wall. These artifacts now collectively comprise the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection -- a museum collection of more than 400,000 items held in the public trust by the National Park Service. Today, this Collection is among the largest and most actively researched collections in the National Capital Region.

The Collection is jointly curated by National Mall and Memorial Parks and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF). The VVMF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that relies upon public donations to continue its work, and receives no federal funding.