Those who gathered Friday morning under an overcast sky at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park were on a mission – much like the crew onboard the USS Frank Evans off the coast of Vietnam on June 3, 1969.
A memorial was placed at the naval yard, a tribute to the three New York State residents who were among the 74 men killed when an allied flagship T-boned their destroyer in the South China Sea.
Buffalo native Terry Lee Henderson was on that ship, along with two others servicemen from New York.
While the memorial at the naval park will ensure their names and sacrifices will not be forgotten here in Buffalo, the names aren’t on the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. Nor are the names of the other casualties from the destroyer.
Friends, relatives and at least one survivor of the wartime collision at sea believe they should be.
“We just want the memorial to say the names of the servicemen who went down with the ship,” said Randy Henderson, younger brother of Terry Lee Henderson.
“Today is special because my brother’s name is on it, but we are all on a quest to get their names on the wall.”
Henderson, 60, is from Mayville. He was accompanied by his mother Maryann Buettner of Westfield.
The dedication ceremony was part of the USS Frank Evans military reunion this weekend in and around Buffalo.