The Boys of Albany. Not Just Names on the Vietnam Wall

There are 37 names on the Vietnam Wall from Albany, NY.

USA Capt. Thomas J. Bergin, 30, 3/14/64
USAF Maj. Theodore R. Loeschner, Jr., 37, 4/24/65
USMC Pfc. Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz, 21, 4/26/66
USA Spec 4 Keith Knott, 19, 5/9/66
USA Pfc. Robert G. Burrell, 19, 8/2/66
USA Pfc. Arthur J. McNally, 23, 10/17/66
USMC Lance Corp. William F. Ditoro, 22, 1/7/67
USA Spec 4 Richard J. Mosley, 20, 1/27/67
USA Spec 4 Donald J. Sheehy, 20, 5/5/67
USMC Lance Cpl. Rich Rockenstyre, 18, 8/31/67
USMC Capt. William M. Van Antwerp, Jr. 30, 9/16/67
USA Pfc. Frank Maleca, 20, 10/13/67
USA Spec 4 Ralph J. DiPace, 20, 10/21/67
USA Spec 4 Gerald H. Slingerland, 10/26/67 (a day after his 19th birthday)
USA Spec. 4 Robert J. Winters, 22, 11/9/67
USA Spec. 4, Edward A. Finlay, 19, 12/6/67
USA Corp. Willam M. Seabast, 22, 1/31/68
USMC GY Sgt. Anthony N. Valente, 38, 2/27/68
USMC Cpl. Bertram A. Deso, 20, 3/1/68
USMC Lance Cpl. Michael G. DeMarco, 21, 4/11/68
USMC Corp. John J. Vennard, 34, 4/17/68
USA Staff Sgt, Robert J. Smith, 22, 4/18/68
USMC Pfc John C. Fiffe, 18, 5/8/68
USN, Fireman, Joseph S. Ott, 20, 7/14/68
USMC Pfc. Kevin J. McArdle, 18, 8/18/68
USMC Maj. Harold S. Lonergan, 39, 2/23/69
USA Spec 5 Christopher Brow, 23, 2/26/69
USMC Lance Cpl. Richard J. Leahy, 22, 3/6/69
USMC Pfc. 1st class, Clifford G. LaBombard, 19, 4/15/69
USA Spec 5 Charles Chandler, 20, 4/18/69
USMC Pfc. John W Gladney, 19, 7/4/69
USA, Spec 4, Thomas K. Ryan, 18, 8/2/69
USA 1st Lt. Stanley A. Brown, 23, 11/1/69
USA Spec 4 Lewis C. Ouellette, 19, 4/13/70
USA Corp. Samuel W. Williams, 21, 7/26/70
USA Staff Sgt. Daniel E. Nye, 25, 11/28/71
USN Lt. Ralph P. Dupont, Jr., 24, 5/16/72
USMC Lance Cpl. Ashton N. Loney, 5/15/75

They came from all neighborhoods – Pine Hills, Arbor Hill, North Albany, West Hill,  New Scotland and the South End. They lived on  Myrtle Ave, Livingston Ave.,  Clinton Ave., Second Ave., Emmett St., Madison Ave.,  First St., Washington Ave., Lark  Dr., Magnolia Terrace, Hunter Ave.,  So. Main Ave. and Ontario St.

A very small number were college graduates.  Most had just completed high school when they joined the service – they were graduates of Albany High, Philip Schuyler, Milne, Cardinal McCloskey, and VI.

Most were impossibly young… 18, 19, 20. (There is an old Bellamy Boys lyric, “..they sent him off to Vietnam on his senior trip”.)

Some enlisted, some were drafted and, and in the time honored Albany tradition, several had brushes with the law and Albany’s justice system offered them the “choice” – jail or the Army.

Their deaths span 11 years.  The first to be killed was an Army captain “observer” who died in 1964.  One was an MP  who died defending the US Embassy during the Tet offensive of 1968.  Most died  in the harsh and unforgiving provinces of Vietnam during the War’s brutal years of 1967 -1969. The last one to die  was a Marine killed  in the Mayaguez “Incident” by the  Khmer Rouge in 1975. His body was never recovered.   He was not even a US citizen (he was from Trinidad, but his mom lived on Lark Drive).  His name, as well as the others killed in the “Incident”, are the last names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

An astonishing number died within their first 4 months in Vietnam. Johnny Gladney, who was a year ahead of me in Jr. High and High School,  was killed after being in Vietnam less than a month – on the 4th of July.

During  the 10 months of my junior year in high school, 15 boys died.  This is Smalbany, so you always knew the boy, or you knew his sisters/brothers  or  his cousins, or a friend of a friend.

The City moved on, but underneath, people felt a sadness and then  they went numb – just like the rest of the country. The killing seemed inexorable.  There was no way to stop it – it went on and on and on.

They are more than names.. each one has a story.  One was a long distance runner who could fly like the wind.  One was an avid reader; he won a Boy’s Club prize for  reading the most books when he was  11. Another was fascinated by flying, so he became a helicopter pilot. Some were quiet and reserved, some were outgoing and  boisterous.

8  boys were from the same class in Albany High and all members of the same Hi-Y club,  They all enlisted  in the Marine Corps.  The bond between 2 of the boys was so strong, that after the death of one, the other, sensing his own imminent death, begged to be buried next to his buddy when his time came.  They rest together in St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery – one Catholic and one Protestant.  A third boy from that same group died a year later.  ( See Semper Fi – In life and Death for the store of Rich and Mike.)

Here are pictures of some of the boys/men.

Christopher Brow

Christopher Brow

Ashton Loney

Richard Rockenstyre

Richard Rockenstyre

Bertram Deso

Bertram Deso

Vietnam sheehy1967 Grayscale - 4777veitnam OTT 1968 - 7093

Theodore Loeschner

Theodore Loeschner

Lewis Ouellette

Lewis Ouellette

Clifford LaBombard

Clifford LaBombard

Michael DeMarco

Michael DeMarco

Donald Sheehy

Donald Sheehy

Edward Findley

Edward Finlay

Gerald Slingerland

Gerald Slingerland

Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz

Hans Jorg Rudolph Lorenz

Harold Lonergan

Harold Lonergan

John Fiffe

John Fiffe

John Gladney

John Gladney

Keith Knott

Keith Knott

Richard Mosley

Richard Mosley

Ralph DiPace

Ralph DiPace

Robert Smith

Robert Smith

Stanley Brown

Stanley Brown

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10 comments

  1. dave dedrick · · Reply

    rest in peace brothers charlie co 2/8 1st air cav 69-70

  2. Two were friends of mine Clifford Labombard high school classmate and Keven Mcardle we grew up together. His older brother Mark Mcardle just died 2 weeks ago at the age of 66. He was in the Marine boot camp when his brother died and was sent home to his mom and dad not to return. There is nothing glorious about war it is all so very sad sincerely Philip Harper formally from Hamilton street albany….Now Niskayuna NY

    1. Meagan · · Reply

      Thank you Philip for your kind words and memories. My father Mark was an amazing man and we all miss him terribly. I never had the chance to know my Uncle Kevin. We still keep his pictures around. We show our children how important he is not only to our family but our country as well. Their spirits will remain with all of us and we continue to hold on tight to the cherished times. Meagan Girgenti Colonie, NY

  3. In 69′ on a loading dock in Dix in N.J. I looked through the crowd of guy who where in transit status. And a guy spotted me ” Bobbie!”……” Freddie” ….What the F..K are U . Long story short we end up at little Viet Nam (FT Polk). we.see each other one more time before we graduated, then he get his big ticket ..I luck out…..a year goes by and then I get mine to go over, I go home for the 30….walk into the back door of the Fountain Grill……..There Freddie was with shoulder length hair and a prominent limp as he walked my way, I heard my name screamed out over the large crowd ……it turn into a very emotional reunion, in particular after finding out It was my turn to go over!
    Well it is a number of years later and I’m at City hall for one or another reasons ….and I find out about the dedication of the monument…………….well just as it was that so many years before I look across a crowd of people and there once again is my old friend Freddie showing His kids the names of the friend he lost! It show you how things come around ….then they go around.

    My thought are now with the guys who are on that monument in Albany and on the one that is about 40 miles north of me in Washington, D.C………..but there is also a grateful thought for You Freddie my friend ……..because you came back to acknowledge this Day!

  4. Great piece! Thanks.

  5. dave dedrick · · Reply

    REST IN PEACE…I GREW UP ON IRVING STREET….LATER MOVED TO MT. HOPE DRIVE WENT TO PHILIP SCHUYLER HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 69…. WENT TO VIET NAM IN DEC.69 AS A COMBAT MEDIC …WOUNDED IN ACTION 1970…. REST IN PEACE BROTHERS AND A WELCOME TO ALL WHO SERVED IN VIET NAM !!!!

  6. William Finlay · · Reply

    Edward Finlay was my brother. You spelled his name wrong. Hope you can change it. Thank You. Bill Finlay

    1. Bill.. than you for pointing out my error. I will immediately. Julie

  7. Diane Guillerman · · Reply

    I knew some of these men. Such a sad loss for so many…

  8. Tim Doherty · · Reply

    Thank you for this fine tribute to these young men. I hope all of their families, residents of their old neighborhoods and classmates see this and know that they are still remembered.

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