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Do you know Willie Rascoe?

Willie R. Rascoe Jr. made the ultimate sacrifice for his country….laying down his life during the Vietnam War.

Now, in honor of that service, a trio of individuals – one from Hawaii and two brothers who hail from Fayetteville – are making it their quest to ensure that Rascoe’s bravery in the line of fire is honored along with other American troops that lost their lives in Vietnam.

Janna Hoehn, who for the past 25 years has lived on the island of Maui, has teamed up with brothers Jim and Tom Reece in their efforts to locate the families of North Carolina men lost in battle during the Vietnam era (1962-1975). They are reaching out to surviving family members as part of a nationwide effort to place a photo with each and every name listed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.

“Because of the efforts of your newspaper in publishing previous stories, we are now down to needing only one more photo of a deceased serviceman from your area,” said Hoehn. “As a matter of fact, we are down to needing only 40 more photos for the entire state of North Carolina. We started out needing a little over 1,900 photos.”

It is known that Rascoe is from Windsor and was born in 1940. He died in 1970 in Vietnam.

Those having a photo of Rascoe or can share more information about his life are asked to submit that material to Jim Reece at reecejim@yahoo.com. Reece will forward the material to the “Wall of Faces” online memorial with the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, as well as in the future Education Center that will be adjacent to the Vietnam Wall in Washington, DC.

The efforts of the Reece brothers were featured in an article published earlier by this newspaper. At that time they have obtained the photographs of 1,858 of the 1,929 native North Carolinians killed in the war.

Six of those “faces” hailed from the Roanoke-Chowan area. To date, families of five of those men have responded, supplying the photographs of Roy R. West (1942-1968) of Harrellsville; Terrell Gibson (1925-1969) of Garysburg; Rudolph Gorham (1946-1967) of Garysburg; Freddie Whittaker (1947-1968) of Rich Square; and Walter Harris (1947-1966) of Jackson.

“Putting a face with a name changes the whole dynamic of the Wall; it keeps our fallen heroes memories alive and will honor them. The stories and sacrifice of these heroes will never be forgotten,” Hoehn said. “Even if you don’t have a photo of Mr. Rascoe, but know what school he attended in Bertie County, that information would be extremely helpful.”

Like the Reece brothers, Hoehn said the effort spent on this project is well worth the time invested.

“Each and every one of our Vietnam fallen heroes deserve to be honored; it’s the least we can do,” she concluded.

For more information about the Education Center or make a donation to help build the Center, visit www.vvmf.org/thewall.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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