Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led a bipartisan letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper requesting a meeting about adding the names of sailors who died aboard the USS Frank E. Evans to the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
“Last year marked 50 years since we lost these 74 sailors,” the senators wrote. “Honoring their sacrifice alongside the nearly 60,000 other service members who died in Vietnam is long overdue.”
Senators Cramer and Shaheen were joined in making this request by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Susan Collins (R-ME), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Pat Toomey (R-PA), John Hoeven (R-ND), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), and Steve Daines (R-MT).
Click here to read the full letter to Secretary Esper.
In June of 1969, after serving multiple tours off the coast of Vietnam and being scheduled to return, the USS Frank E. Evans collided with an allied aircraft carrier during training exercise, resulting in the death of 74 sailors. While they made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, their names are not located on the Vietnam Memorial Wall because of a geographic technicality.
After hearing about this issue during a radio town hall in 2018, then-Representative Cramer introduced legislation in the House to add their names to the Wall, and in 2019, Senator Cramer introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both received bipartisan support and passed in the House as part of those year’s National Defense Authorization Act bills, but were dropped by Committee leadership during conference negotiations.
Last June, Senator Cramer testified on this legislation at its first ever hearing at the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, chaired by Senator Daines. Click here to watch Senator Cramer’s introduction and for more information on how Senator Cramer has championed efforts to honor these veterans.