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Schumer introduces Vietnam wall amendment

WASHINGTON – Sen. Charles E. Schumer has turned up the pressure on the Department of Defense as it ponders whether to add 74 new names to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as he introduced an amendment that would do the exact same thing.

Under Schumer’s amendment to the defense authorization bill, sailors who died in a war-related training exercise in the South China Sea would have their names added to the Vietnam wall. Among those who would be honored would be Terry Lee Henderson, who was born in Buffalo and whose family still lives in Chautauqua County.

Henderson’s family has been fighting to add the names to the wall for years.

“By withholding the names of these 74 veterans, including Terry Lee Henderson of Western New York, from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, we are continuing to deny individuals who bravely served this country and paid the ultimate sacrifice the proper recognition they deserve,” Schumer said.

The decision about the names now rests with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. The amendment not only pressures Carter to act, but it also could force his hand if it is added to the bill that guides defense policy for the coming fiscal year.