Pictured: Cpl. Allen Thomas Smith of Baltimore, Maryland, who fell in 1968. Smith became the final photo found for the state of Maryland.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is pleased to announce that Maryland has become the 17th state to find every photo for their fallen.
The achievement comes after the photo of Corporal (Cpl.) Allen Thomas Smith was submitted.
Smith began his tour of duty in January of 1968 serving as an Army Medical Corpsman in the HHC, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. He fell near the Phong Dinh province of Vietnam on February 14, 1968. He was 19 years old.
Smith is one of 1,017 Maryland veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. His photo was collected as part of the Wall of Faces effort, which aims to put a face to every name inscribed on The Wall in Washington, D.C.
Smith is remembered on Panel 39E, 35 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
To date, VVMF has found nearly 48,000 photos. A little over 10,000 photos are still missing.
Maryland joins 16 other states in finding every photo for their fallen. This comes a few weeks after Nebraska reached the same milestone.
Dan Brodt, a two tour combat veteran of Vietnam from 1967-1969, was an integral part in Maryland's success. Brodt began searching for photos more than a decade ago. He spent his time reaching out to local media, veterans groups, and blogs for help - sometimes to no avail. And for years, he acted alone.
It was until the state was about to host its “LZ Maryland Event” in June that Brodt came into contact with two others who were actively involved in the same effort. Brodt made contact with Dr. Glenn Johnston, Ph.D of Stevenson University, and Jim Gerrity. Both men have been looking for photos since 1986.
"LZ Maryland” was a weekend event in Timonium, Maryland that honored Vietnam veterans with family, friends, and a grateful public. The event included a visit by VVMF’s Wall replica and mobile Education Center, The Wall That Heals.
Prior to the "LZ event", the three men came together and were able to find photos of all the fallen veterans from Baltimore City.
In true detective fashion, Brodt also became familiar with the National Archives Research Administration in College Park, Maryland and the University of Maryland’s Archives for Maryland Newspapers. He spent a majority of his time researching veterans' military histories and making personal pleas for help.
“I took it upon myself to make calls, knock on the doors of high schools and County Boards of Educations,” Brodt added.
After years of determination, the final photo for Maryland came in. The picture of Cpl. Allen Smith treating a wounded soldier was “located deep within the photographic archives" at the National Archives Research Administration. It now sits on Smith's online memorial page.
VVMF thanks local Wall of Faces volunteers and the state of Maryland for their dedicated effort to honor their fallen Vietnam veterans. It proves to be no easy endeavor.
States now closest to completion include Kansas with 23 photos remaining.
Photos and stories of the more than 58,000 veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War can be seen on VVMF’s Virtual Wall of Faces. They will also be displayed at the future Education Center at The Wall.