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Published: Wednesday, 10/8/2008

Vietnam memorial ceremony at Clay High School is Oct. 18

BY JIM SIELICKI
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Four decades have passed since eight servicemen from Oregon, Harbor View, and Jerusalem Township died while serving in Vietnam.

But at noon on Oct. 18, their sacrifice will be honored at an unveiling ceremony of a permanent memorial dedicated to them at Clay High School's football stadium.

Built with American black granite at a cost of $4,500, the memorial will stand about five feet high and to the left of the World War II memorial. The Oregon veterans and the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 35 of Toledo raised money to fund the project.

The project was coordinated by Jerry Eversman, an Oregon resident who researched the eight Oregon soldiers who died during that war.

"It's been a mission, and we're almost done," Mr. Eversman said.

The memorial was completed by Artistic Memorials of Perrysburg.

Before it is dedicated, an estimated 500 to 1,000 members of the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club will participate in an honor ride from former Coy Elementary at Pickle Road and Wheeling Street through Oregon and Jerusalem Township to the stadium, Mr. Everman said.

The honor ride will take participants past the homes where some of the fallen soldiers had lived.

Mr. Eversman said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) will deliver the keynote address.

The honor ride will be reminiscent of the annual Rolling Thunder ride each Memorial Day to the Vietnam Wall in Washington.

Among the honored guests will be platoon leaders and commanders of the local soldiers, some of whom were with the soldiers when they died.

The Oregon Vietnam Memorial Group, founded in December, meets monthly and has about 10 active members, eight of whom are Vietnam veterans.

Although not a veteran himself, Mr. Eversman became interested in Vietnam veterans while researching Army Spec. Art Heringhausen, Jr., for the Clay alumni association's biannual magazine.

Mr. Eversman works with Oregon Municipal Court, coordinating the diversion program for offenders, handling public records requests, and arranging for electronic monitoring of defendants.

It was while chronicling the life of his former neighbor, Mr. Heringhausen, known as "Butch" to his friends and family, that he began further research into other Clay graduates who died in Vietnam.

Mr. Heringhausen graduated from Clay in 1967 and enlisted in the Army when he was 17. He was attached to the 58th Infantry's long-range patrol in the 101st Airborne Division when he was killed by a land mine on Nov. 20, 1968.

Mr. Eversman's research led to contact with veterans across the country to learn more about the men of Oregon. His groundwork uncovered former officers and fellow soldiers, some of whom will attend the dedication from their homes across the country.

"His platoon lieutenant and company commander are both coming from Virginia," Mr. Eversman said.

In addition to Specialist Heringhausen, the names of the other seven on the memorial include:

•Army Spec. 4 Ervin Ellis Harris, Oregon, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He died Nov. 29, 1968.

•Army Cpl. Gerald Ernest Corlett, Oregon, D Company, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He died March 16, 1970.

•Army Pvt. Joseph George Gill, Oregon, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division. He died May 5, 1968.

•Army Cpl. Gerald Ernest Corlett, Oregon, D Company, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Infantry Division. He died March 16, 1970.

•Army Pvt. Esiquio Airnaldo Cantu, Bono, C Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. He died March 26, 1967.

•Army Pvt. Scott Dennis Corrello, Jerusalem Township, 41st Engineering Co., 92nd Engineering Battalion, 159th Engineering Group, 20th Engineering Brigade. He died June 8, 1968.

•Airman John Merl Thayer, Oregon, 15th Aerial Port Squadron, 7th Air Force. He died Oct. 17, 1970.

•2nd Lt. John W. Vaughan, Genoa, 1st Logistics Command, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Support Command. He died June 17, 1967.

Complete information about each of the soldiers can be found at the organization's Web site, www.oregonvietnammemorial.com.

Contact Jim Sielicki at:

jsielicki@theblade.com

or 419-724-6078.



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