Seeking Info on Molokai Vietnam Soldiers
By Janna Hoehn
Five years ago, my husband and I — residents of Maui — made our first trip to Washington D.C. Because Vietnam was the war that was going on while I was in high school, the first memorial on my list was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Even though I never knew anyone killed in Vietnam, I wanted an etching. I approached the wall and choose a name: Gregory John Crossman, an MIA.
When I returned home, I decided to research Gregory and try to find his family to send them the etching and hoping they could share a photo of him. I searched for six months but never found his family. Finally my cousin, our family historian, found a college photo of Gregory.
Two years later, I saw a “call for photos” on the news for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. The goal was to put a face with every name that is etched on the wall. I immediately sent in the photo I had of Gregory Crossman. Soon I received an email from Jan Scruggs, the founder and president of the Vietnam Wall. He thanked me for sending the photo; it was the first for this soldier and asked me if I could help him find the photos for the 42 Maui County soldiers that were killed in Vietnam. I told him it would be an honor.
Here was my chance to do something for Vietnam Veterans because of the way they were treated when they returned. What I thought would be a very easy project turned out to be anything but easy. By combing the phone book and calling the name of each soldier, I found about 10 of them. I searched archived yearbooks for every high school on Maui, went to the library to look for obituaries, and contacted the Maui News, which printed a front page article about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund. I started receiving calls and photos from all over the U.S. from those who the Maui News online.
After six months of searching, I had a photo of every solider from Maui County. I decided I needed to share it with the public. I had a display made with all 42 photos, and I take it all over Maui, giving presentations to high schools, libraries and civic groups.
If not for Molokai’s librarian Jeanne Lindquist and the Molokai High School librarian, I may not have ever found the Molokai Boys. When I started this project, I was unaware the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund was hoping for a little history on each of the soldiers. So now I’m searching for family or friends of the Molokai Boys to learn a little about each one of them. William Frank Storch’s daughter contacted me after an article ran, but I would love some more information about him as well. There were five young men from Molokai who gave their lives for our country:
Robert Maluenda Caliboso
Charles Henry Crane
John H. Rego
William Frank Storch Jr.
If anyone is related or a friend to any of the Molokai Boys I would very much appreciate hearing from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Mahalo.