A Note from The Virtual Wall
According to the 2/26 Command Chronology for October 1968, at 1130 on 08 Oct 1968 Echo Company engaged an NVA element at XD987688, incurring 1 dead and 17 wounded. Between 1400 and 1730 Hotel Company engaged what appeared to be the parent NVA force defending a hill at XD988689, about 150 meters northeast of the Echo engagement. Hotel Company had two killed and 11 wounded in the action. Seventeen dead NVA soldiers were found after the engagement ended, and Hotel 2/26 "also observed numerous bodies being drug away" by the retreating NVA.
One of Hotel's wounded Marines died of his wounds two weeks later. The four men who died were
- H Company:
- Cpl William E. Wyrosdic, Mobile, AL
- LCpl George A. Bond, Newark, OH
- Pfc Charles J. Parker, Royal Oak, MI (DoW 10/23/1968)
- Echo Company:
Stanton men to erect memorial
STANTON -- Thomas Baker and John Bookwalter were typically close buddies in school.
By Ryon List - Daily News staff writer
28 April 2004
When the two Stanton youths graduated from Central Montcalm High School in 1965, they became roommates at Ferris State University in Big Rapids. But not long after starting college, Baker joined the Marines and went off to fight in the Vietnam War.
He was killed during a battle on Feb. 21, 1967.
Bookwalter keeps a photograph of his fallen friend in his office and the Stanton man visits Baker's grave about once a month. Now Bookwalter has decided to do something to honor his friend that's not so typical. He plans to build a memorial in honor of all military veterans at his business, Bookwalter Motor Sales in Stanton.
Bookwalter wants to dedicate the memorial to Baker.
"This isn't about me and it isn't about the business," Bookwalter said. "It's about them. It's about our veterans."
A chance meeting recently prompted Bookwalter's decision to construct the monument. A few months ago a Crystal man who served with Baker in Vietnam walked into the dealership and noticed Baker's photograph in Bookwalter's office. The two started talking about Baker, the war and how some veterans were treated after Vietnam.
"During these conversations I was reminded just how fortunate we are today to be able to live the way we do and enjoy the freedoms we have due to the many sacrifices of all our military veterans," Bookwalter said. "This will honor all our veterans."
Plans for a memorial started soon after the conversation. It will include a 50-foot flagpole as well as a slate monument surrounded by a small wall. The monument will read, "In Honor of All Veterans, Dedicated to Hotel Co. 2nd Bat. 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division, Vietnam 1966-1970."
Bookwalter said the monument will list Baker's name and the names of the other Marines from his unit who died.
"It honors those who served and who are serving," he said. "It's about respect and honor."
Larry Cannon, who works with Bookwalter at the dealership, also knew Baker. Cannon also graduated from Central Montcalm in 1965.
He and Bookwalter are working together to build the monument. It has not been constructed yet, though work is expected to begin soon. Cannon said it will be done by June 12. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. that day.
Bookwalter sent letters to schoolmates from the Central Montcalm class of 1965 inviting them to the event. He said he has heard back from people in California and other places around the United States who plan to attend.
"Most people, I hope, would realize these guys gave up their lives for our freedom," Cannon said. "I think you'll see a lot of tears shed here."
© The Daily News
Ryon List, Staff Writer
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