The ship and 73 of the crew are over a mile deep in the South China Sea. The memories of all 74 are ever present on the surface.
HIS NAME IS Petty Officer LARRY ALLAN GRACELY. ST3 He was a Sonarman. His name and 73 others belongs on the Wall! He served in the United States Navy in the Vietnam War aboard the Destroyer U.S.S. Frank E. Evans DD-754. He was from Lima, Ohio, he was among the 74 on the ship killed when it collided with an Australian Aircraft carrier in the South China Sea. Only the body of one of the Sailors killed was recovered. His and 72 others were lost at sea. It was during a time when the Destroyer was temporarily out of the combat zone so the powers that be are refusing to put their names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Their names DO belong on that wall. Hopefully a new push to recognize these sailors sacrifice will be successful. Photos included here show the ship after the collision. You can see the the front section of the ship is gone. It sunk in just a few minutes. You can learn more about the ship here U.S.S. Frank E. Evans Association
From "Collision At Sea" By Phil Smith and Mal Lancaster .... On board Melbourne the strangest scene was being played out. Captain Stevenson ordered the band onto the deck, and the beer vault was opened for the American survivors. Australian sailors recall their mates giving away the clothes from their backs. One sailor went below and brought up his entire kit, while the clothing store was opened and blankets were passed out. Eventually the survivors were lifted off and taken to USS Kearsarge. At that point, Baker heard a sound he'll never forget: "As they were about to leave our ship, they stood on the quarterdeck and gave us three cheers. We had just cut their ship in half and here they were giving us three cheers."
The Allen County Veterans Memorial Foundation is NO LONGER a "Pending" 501(c)(3) Not for profit Organization.
Today, August 28, 2014, we received our approval determination from the I.R.S. Retro Active May 15, 2011. Because of our somewhat unique situation and history, and that we did not hire any professionals in LAW or Tax to help us, it took us a little over a year to prepare our application. We poured over tons of documents, help files and made numerous calls to the I.R.S. to make sure we left no stone unturned in the preparation of the FORM 1023 application.
Our board members prepared all 77 pages of the paperwork including financial, historical and future planning data. The secretary had to go back to year 2005 of financials from the predecessor organization to prepare the financial data we presented to the I.R.S.
She did a fantastic job and if not for her and the grace of our wonderful Lord, we would not have been able to complete this without hiring an accountant and tax lawyer. Her degree in accounting from U.N.O.H. has paid off in a big way. Thank you Kathleen!
Highway Named for Sonny - Lima News Article.
LIMA — As a member of the Army's “Band of Brothers,” Sonny Zimmerman is considered a hero, though his family insists he would wear that title reluctantly.
People driving down state Route 67, however, will be always reminded that Zimmerman gave the ultimate sacrifice and that he was just that, a hero.
State Rep. Jim Buchy, state Sen. Keith Faber, members of the Waynesfield community, and Zimmerman's family and friends were all on hand Tuesday as a portion of Route 67 was formally dedicated as Staff Sgt. Sonny Zimmerman Memorial Highway.
“It is important in the state of Ohio that we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Faber said. “I can't say any better than what things people have already said. But what we can do is remember. For the generations to come, it is important to teach the young people so they remember that freedom is not free.”
Zimmerman died in July 2013 while serving overseas in Afghanistan. Zimmerman served a total of four tours overseas, including three in Afghanistan. Among his awards were two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and three Army Commendation Medals. However, the medals were not that important to him.
Zimmerman's father, Chris Zimmerman, jokingly admitted his son would have made an exception in this case.
“He never cared much for medals,” Chris Zimmerman said, “but I can see him standing here now saying, 'Dad, I got a road named after me.'”
Zimmerman's father said the team aspect was an important thing to his son, and it would have been one of his wishes that the sign be a symbol for everyone.
“Team was very important to him and he was always thinking about his guys,” Chris Zimmerman said. “He would have expected this to be for all of his guys. Secondly, he would have been grateful for being recognized for the work he put in. He never would have considered himself a hero.
Sonny Zimmerman and his wife, Morgan Zimmerman, had only been married for 10 months when Zimmerman died. She echoed many of the same sentiments as Chris Zimmerman.
“He would have been grateful,” Morgan Zimmerman said, “but he wouldn't expect this. He always said, 'I signed up for this. It is my job.'”
Morgan Zimmerman said her husband was all about helping his friends return home.
“He was always most concerned with the man on his left and the man on his right,” she said. “When he got hurt in June, I begged him to come home, but he wanted to go back with the guys. He went back two days later.”
She said the community support the family received was amazing.
“We had other things to take care of and we were making other decisions,” Morgan Zimmerman said. “We were very appreciative for everything they done.”
CAPTAIN CARL S. KIZER.
On June 19th we posted a remembrance of Capt. Carl Kizer. At the time we could not make sense of the connection to Allen County as his official home of record is listed as Scranton, PA.
We have seen a copy of his birth certificate at the Allen County Health Department and found out he was born in SugarCreek Township near Gomer, Ohio. Both of his parents have passed.
This is a link to the post we made on the 9th of June.
Right after posting the remembrance, one of our board members found some contact information for Capt. Kizer's brother. We have been messaging via email back and forth and we now have another excellent photo of our friend and brother Captain Carl S. Kizer.. We will be creating a facebook memorial page for him later this week. ( Page Created - https://www.facebook.com/CaptCarlSKizer )
We are starting to create memorial pages here on our web site to honor some of the 680 plus veterans from Allen County, Ohio who have given their lives for our country. It will be a long process but we have better control of the content and format then we do on facebook. We will add pages as time and content allows. We will not be deleting the facebook memorials and in fact will be adding more there also. You will find links under "Memorials" on the main menu bar.