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Honoring Vietnam War Fallen Heroes
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson - September 28, 2016

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U.S. Navy Seabees with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Facilities adopted the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Vietnam Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to commemorate the Vietnam War and its fallen heroes.

The memorial, located next to the main side post office, contains a granite monument with 493 engraved names of Marines from the 1st MAW who died during the Vietnam War.

August 24, 2016 - U.S. Navy Seabees with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Facilities adopted the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Vietnam Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to commemorate the Vietnam War and its fallen heroes. Constructed in May 1972, the memorial has a black and red torii standing between it and the setting sun to honor the fallen, and symbolizes the friendship and support of our Japanese neighbors. Located within the emblazoned names on the monument are words saying “In memoriam, with grateful remembrance for those who gave their lives before us, we dedicate this plaque and our lives that their sacrifice may never be in vain. We commend their souls to Almighty God. May all who read these words rededicate their lives to the preservation of freedom which others have bought for us.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson)
August 24, 2016 - U.S. Navy Seabees with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Facilities adopted the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Vietnam Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to commemorate the Vietnam War and its fallen heroes. Constructed in May 1972, the memorial has a black and red torii standing between it and the setting sun to honor the fallen, and symbolizes the friendship and support of our Japanese neighbors. Located within the emblazoned names on the monument are words saying “In memoriam, with grateful remembrance for those who gave their lives before us, we dedicate this plaque and our lives that their sacrifice may never be in vain. We commend their souls to Almighty God. May all who read these words rededicate their lives to the preservation of freedom which others have bought for us.” (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson)

Constructed in May 1972, the memorial has a black and red torii standing between it and the setting sun to honor the fallen, and symbolizes the friendship and support of our Japanese neighbors.

“I was excited to restore this monument to its full potential,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Jensen, a builder with H&HS Facilities. “The Seabees here don't get a lot of projects because of how few of us there are, but when we were sought out to fix it up instead of approaching a Japanese contractor, I was glad some people still remember we're here and what we can do. This project was important to push forward because of what the memorial represents . . . being in the state of repair that it was did a disservice to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country.”
The Seabees pressure washed the area, chipped off any loose materials such as concrete, paint or rust; removed the chains and stripped them down to bare steel; and patched the monument with a mortar mix before repainting the chains and hand brushing the monument.

“Renovation is my favorite type of work to do, so being able to do something that I love on something that is important feels really good,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Lancaster, a steel worker with H&HS Facilities. “One of the sayings that the Seabees have is ‘Constructing the future, preserving the past.' This is a neat saying and fits this project.”

Lasting approximately three weeks, renovations began July 25, 2016, and the Seabees plan to continue restorations on a later date.

Located within the emblazoned names on the monument are words saying, “In memoriam, with grateful remembrance for those who gave their lives before us, we dedicate this plaque and our lives that their sacrifice may never be in vain. We commend their souls to Almighty God. May all who read these words rededicate their lives to the preservation of freedom which others have bought for us.”

August 24, 2016 - From left to right, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jamison Rigley, a utilities worker, Petty Officer 3rd Class Eli Arwood, a builder, Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Jensen, a builder, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Lancaster, a steel worker with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Facilities pose for a photo outside the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Vietnam Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. The Seabees pressure washed the area; chipped off any loose materials such as concrete, paint or rust; removed the chains and stripped them down to bare steel; and patched the monument with a mortar mix before repainting the chains and hand brushing the monument. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson)
August 24, 2016 - From left to right, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jamison Rigley, a utilities worker, Petty Officer 3rd Class Eli Arwood, a builder, Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Jensen, a builder, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Kenneth Lancaster, a steel worker with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Facilities pose for a photo outside the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing Vietnam Memorial at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. The Seabees pressure washed the area; chipped off any loose materials such as concrete, paint or rust; removed the chains and stripped them down to bare steel; and patched the monument with a mortar mix before repainting the chains and hand brushing the monument. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson)

“It is important to preserve our history so we do not forget the sacrifices of those who came before us,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Eli Arwood, a builder with H&HS Facilities. “Service member or not, I still have great respect for those who served during the Vietnam War. Their sacrifices, along with the other men and women in this country that have served to protect it from generation to generation have paved the way for myself and all other Americans to have the freedom and rights that we now have. And for that I am grateful.”

Many of the Marines inscribed into the monument deployed out of MCAS Iwakuni and were as young as 18 years old.

By U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Aaron Henson
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2016

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