From the collection of the National Park Service, National Mall and Memorial Parks.
telegram, Western Union
Western Union telegram pertaining to U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) William Anthony Gunter, Jr. The telegram is dated September 5, 1967 at 8:38 A.M., is addressed to PFC Gunter, Jr.'s mother ("MRS LANA M RACHEL" of Natches, Louisiana), and is from, "KENNETH G WICKHAM MAJOR GENERAL USA [...] THE ADJUTENT [sic] GENERAL". In content, the telegram informs Mrs. Rachel that her son has been missing since September 2, 1967 and was, "[...] LAST SEEN IN CONVOY WHEN AMBUSHED BY HOSTILE FORCE". The telegram goes on to instruct Mrs. Rachel that she will be advised when further information is received by the military and encourages her to only make public PFC Gunter, Jr.'s, "[...] NAME, RANK SERVICE NUMBER AND DATE OF BIRTH", lest any further personal information be used to his detriment by his potential captors. The artifact was left at The Wall by the mother of PFC Gunter, Jr. (Mrs. Lana M. Rachel) [?] between August - September 1989.
WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM PERTAINING TO U.S. ARMY PRIVATE FIRST CLASS (PFC) WILLIAM ANTHONY GUNTER, JR. THE OBJECT CONSISTS OF A WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM, PRINTED IN BLACK INK AND BLOCK SCRIPT/ARABIC NUMERALS UPON A RECTANGULARLY SHAPED SHEET OF WHITE, UNLINED PAPER AND LAMINATED INSIDE A CLEAR POLY-PLASTIC MATERIAL. THE TELEGRAM IS DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1967 AT 8:38 A.M., IS ADDRESSED TO, "MRS LANA M RACHEL" OF NATCHES, LOUISIANA, AND IS FROM, "KENNETH G WICKHAM MAJOR GENERAL USA [...] THE ADJUTENT [sic] GENERAL". IN CONTENT, THE TELEGRAM INFORMS MRS. RACHEL THAT HER SON (PFC GUNTER, JR.) HAS BEEN MISSING SINCE SEPTEMBER 2, 1967 AND WAS, "[...] LAST SEEN IN CONVOY WHEN AMBUSHED BY HOSTILE FORCE". THE TELEGRAM GOES ON TO INSTRUCT MRS. RACHEL THAT SHE WILL BE ADVISED WHEN FURTHER INFORMATION IS RECEIVED BY THE MILITARY AND ENCOURAGES HER TO ONLY MAKE PUBLIC PFC GUNTER, JR.'S, "[...] NAME, RANK SERVICE NUMBER AND DATE OF BIRTH", LEST ANY FURTHER PERSONAL INFORMATION BE USED TO HIS DETRIMENT BY HIS POTENTIAL CAPTORS. THE TELEGRAM CLOSES WITH THE PHRASE, "THIS CONFIRMS PERSONAL NOTIFICATION MADE BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY". A HANDWRITTEN ANNOTATION IN BLACK INK AND CURSIVE SCRIPT AT THE LOWER, PROPER LEFT-HAND CORNER OF THE OBVERSE OBJECT SURFACE READS, "TO CONFIRM MESSAGE ALREADY RECEIVED." AN NPS RANGER'S TAG ORIGINALLY DISCOVERED WITH THE OBJECT READ, "9/14".
Text of the printed telegram and of the handwritten annotation is transcribed in full, as follows: [Obverse object surface, printed inscriptions] "WESTERN UN[remaining text illegible] TELEGRA[remaining text illegible] / WESTERN UNION TELEGRAM / GOOD MORNING GA TW TELL THEL S H1048P CDT SEP 4 67 NSA123 / NS SVA134 (P WA393) XV GOVT PD (DUPLICATE TELEGRAM PHONED FROM SHREVEPORT) FAX WASHINGTON DC 4 NFT / MRS LANA M RACHEL, DONT DELR BTWN 10PM & 6 AM, DONT PHONE / RTE 1 BOX 74 NATCHES LA / THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY HAS ASKED ME TO EXPRESS HIS DEEP REGRET THAT YOUR SON, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS WILLIAM A. GUNTER, JR. HAS BEEN MISSING IN VIETNAM SINCE 2 SEPTEMBER 1967. / HE WAS LAST SEEN IN CONVOY WHEN AMBUSHED BY HOSTILE FORCE. / YOU WILL BE ADVISED PROMPTLY WHEN FURTHER INFORMATION IS RECEIVED. / IN ORDER TO PROTECT ANY INFORMATION THAT MIGHT BE USED TO YOUR SON'S DETRIMENT, YOUR COOPERATION IS REQUESTED IN MAKING PUBLIC ONLY INFORMATION CONCERNING HIS NAME, RANK SERVICE NUMBER AND DATE OF BIRTH. / THIS CONFIRMS PERSONAL NOTIFICATION MADE BY A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY / KENNETH G WICKHAM MAJOR GENERAL USA F-23 THE ADJUTENT [sic] GENERAL / 1967 SEP 5 AM 8 38 / 2 1967 F-23 / (47)." / [Obverse object surface, lower, proper left-hand corner, handwritten annotation] "To confirm message already received."
Item Weight: 11.8g
Item Length: 29.2cm
Item Width: 22.9cm