Pomona’s (authentic) Vietnam veterans

My Oct. 7 and Oct. 18 columns on Xavier Alvarez, the non-war non-hero from Pomona, prompted a lengthy note from Steve Fletcher of Van Buren, Mich. I’m sharing it here in full because there’s no way to squeeze all his comments, and his list, into a column:

“I’m now living in Michigan but I grew up in Pomona, and served in Viet Nam. I’ve been reading the articles about this individual who lied about his service and about being awarded the Medal of Honor.

“There are many of these frauds walking around now claiming to be Viet Nam heroes, there are even websites that have been created to expose them. When they are found out they’re usually ostracized from society, some have even relocated and changed their names to escape the shame of what they’ve done.

“I don’t understand how this guy can continue to serve in any civil position of responsiblility after they have clearly exposed him, and even have it on tape. I believe we should show our respect for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by shunning these charlatans, and preventing them from obtaining positions of responsibility.

“It is in the memory of the following people that I write this to you. Maybe you can publish this list sometime, these are the REAL heroes from Pomona.”

In a followup e-mail, Fletcher explained where he got the list: “The list was taken from the official Viet Nam wall list in Washington, DC. The list gives the ‘home city of record’ of each member, i.e., the city they designated as living in when they enlisted or were drafted (as I was). I would venture to guess that there are more people who were from Pomona who had relocated as did John Larimore before going in the service.”

Click below to see the list of Pomona’s Vietnam War dead, and draw from it what you will.

ANTHONY, JOHN EDWARD
8/19/1970
SP4/Army

ASIRE, DONALD HENRY
12/8/1966
COL/Air Force

BOLSTER, CHRISTOPHER ORAN
12/13/1968
SGT/Army

BRUCE, WILLIAM JACK
2/28/1969
SSG/Army

COBB, JOHN WESLEY
2/8/1966
PFC/Marines

ECKL, THOMAS ANTHONY
2/20/1968
SP4/Army

FORTNER, FREDERICK JOHN
10/17/1967
LCDR/Navy

HAGEN, THOMAS FRANK
2/9/1970
SP5/Army

HENRY, RONALD JEROME
4/27/1967
LCPL/Marines

HICKS, FRANK EDWARD
1/19/1969
SGT/Army

LARIMORE, JOHN RICHARD
11/24/1968
PFC/Marines

LUCKETT, LARRY JOE
2/11/1969
SN/Navy

MARTIN, RAYMOND CHARLES
3/18/1966
SGT/Marines

MC CAULEY, STEPHEN ARTHUR
6/5/1970
PFC/Army

MURRAY, DOUGLAS EARL
11/5/1966
SGT/Army

REAVES, HOMER LEE
1/15/1967
PFC/Marines

SATHER, RICHARD CHRISTIAN
8/5/1964
LTJG/Navy

SHARK, EARL ERIC
9/12/1968
SFC/Army

TAYLOR, ALONZO HUGHES
6/11/1970
SGT/Army

TERRY, MARVIN HALL
2/18/1968
PFC/Army

TOLETTE, RICHARD ROSS
7/25/1968
2LT/Army

TREJO, JOHN MICHAEL
1/15/1969
PFC/Army

TRUSSELL, ROYCE WILLIAM JR.
12/8/1969
SP5/Army

WESTCOTT, GARY PATRICK
3/30/1972
SP5/Army

* Fletcher notes: “John Larimore is listed from Aliquippa, Penn., but he was from Pomona and went to school with us.”

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  • Candice LaRee Luckett

    It is always great to see and read about people who may have went to school with my father. He died 11 days before I was born. So thanks!!!
    Candice

    • Linda Thompson

      To whom it may concern, As my dear beautiful niece stated her dad was from Pomona, Calif. He went to John Marshall Jr. High School, attended & graduated from Ganesha High School. We lived on Academy in Pomona. He was killed in Viet Nam in February, 1969. He is buried in Pomona. I don’t know what you mean by saying Authentic but i hope this clarifies it for you. Enough said. Rest in peace my dear brother. You are truly missed. I Love you.

      • davidallen909

        In 2007, when this blog post was published, a local guy named Xavier Alvarez had made national headlines for falsely claiming he had a Medal of Honor. That was what inspired reader Steve Fletcher to compile a list of real veterans from Pomona. Hope that clarifies the reason for his letter and his research.

  • John Mastro

    Glad to see Gary remembered. I served with him at the time of his death.

  • Antonio Gonzales

    Hi,
    Would you know anyone that would be able to find the burial location of PFC John Wesley Cobb, 02/07/68?
    Thank you,
    Tony

    [I don't know if there's a national database for Vietnam veterans' resting places, but surely someone knows. -- DA]