Schumer Meets With Larry Reilly Jr.’s Father And Survivor of the Evans Wreck, Larry Reilly Sr., And Sister at Their Syracuse Home & Provide Update On Campaign To Add Names To Wall

Schumer: Larry Reilly Jr. & 73 Other Sailors Paid The Ultimate Sacrifice For America & Deserve To Be Honored On The Vietnam Memorial Wall

Schumer: On Heels of Memorial Day, It’s Time To Etch 74 Names On The Vietnam Wall

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer, for the first time, met with Larry Reilly Jr.’s father, Larry Reilly Sr., and sister today at their Syracuse home. Larry Sr. is a veteran of World War II and a survivor of the USS Frank E. Evans crash that killed his son. Schumer provided updates on his effort to enshrine the names of 74 Americans on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC. Schumer also heard first-hand from the Reilly family on how their loved one bravely served his country during the Vietnam War and died tragically in a war-related training exercise in the South China Sea.  

“As we pause this weekend to honor the anniversary of the Frank E. Evans disaster, we remember the men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we hold dear. But the Reilly family still has a hole in their heart knowing that their loved one has yet to receive the proper recognition for his bravery and courage when he died in service to this country,” said Schumer. “That is why I am pursuing all possible avenues – including legislation – in our effort to have the names of these 74 veterans, including Larry Reilly Jr. of Central New York, enshrined on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. By withholding these names from the wall, we are continuing to deny individuals who perished while valiantly served our nation the tribute they deserve.”

“As a family we are very grateful that the senator has taken a personal interest in the 74 men lost on the USS Frank E Evans. Many people do not take the time to understand what happened 47 years ago.  The 74 deserve to be on the wall and this is something so many families, as well as survivors, have been fighting for years. Before my mother was sick with Alzheimers, she wrote hundreds of letters to politicians from all states. She has since passed, as have so many of the mothers of the fallen. The release of Louise Esola's book American Boys The True Story of the Lost 74 of the Vietnam War brought more attention to our cause.  Although we have had promises from other elected officials in the past, we are hopeful that Senator Schumer can see this through to the end for us. My dad will be 92 in 2 weeks and he would like to see his sons name, and those of his shipmates on the wall in his lifetime,” said Luanne Oda, sister of Larry Reilly Jr.    

Schumer explained that he recently introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to enshrine the names of 74 Americans on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in our nation’s capital. Schumer did this as a part of his continuing effort to ensure the names of Larry and his fellow Sailors are engraved alongside the other veterans who served valiantly and perished during the Vietnam War. In February, Schumer elevated his call to Secretary Carter on the administrative level, citing that the top DOD official could be the one to make the final decision. Schumer first launched his effort in June 2015 when he called on Secretary Mabus of the U.S. Navy to give the deceased crewmembers of the USS Frank E. Evans the proper recognition for their brave and noble service. Schumer said he would pursue all avenues possible – including legislative and administrative – to see that these Sailors receive their rightful honor on the wall.

On June 3, 1969, the USS Frank E. Evans collided with an Australian aircraft carrier during a joint naval exercise in the South China Sea. Seventy-four American Sailors were killed in the accident. However, because the tragedy took place outside of the official Vietnamese combat zone, the crew was deemed ineligible for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Schumer said that these geographical lines should not be a barrier to recognition when it comes to service. Schumer said those aboard the USS Frank E. Evans were essential to the American military efforts in Vietnam, and their presence in the South China Sea was directly linked to the war. Therefore, Schumer is pushing to have the names of these crewmembers, including Henderson, properly enshrined on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor their memory, bravery, and sacrifice.

Schumer said he is supporting the ongoing efforts of Syracuse resident Larry Reilly Sr. to have his son’s name – Larry Reilly Jr. – included in the national memorial. Schumer said Reilly Sr. is a survivor of the USS Frank E. Evans collision. His son, along with 73 other crewmembers, tragically lost their lives while helping to advance American military efforts in Vietnam. Schumer said their combat-related service deserves acknowledgment upon the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. In June 2015, he urged Navy Secretary Mabus to give full consideration to this request, which was met with a favorable reply.

Schumer said there were four crewmembers on the ship who were born in NY and lost in the accident in 1969. Schumer said these men are included in the list of 74 sailors he is pushing to have engraved in the Vietnam Memorial Wall. They include: James Franklin Bradly, born in New York, NY; Terry Lee Henderson, born in Buffalo, NY; Dennis Ralph Johnston, born in Tarrytown, NY; and John Townsend Norton, born in Brooklyn, NY.


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