Memorial Day is for remembering those who lost their lives while serving in the military.
In the Vietnam conflict, Richmond lost 32 young men. Most were young, ages 18-21. Four were African Americans, and four had Hispanic surnames. Six were married. I don’t know how many of their families or friends still live in Richmond, but I only recognized one surname – Van Hook. Clarence Van Hook has been a friend of mike for decades, and members of the Van Hook family have been prominent in Richmond for a long time.
James Douglas Van Hook was born July 21, 1947, in Arkansas, began his tour in Vietnam on January 12, 1967 and was killed in action February 2, 1968, during the Tet offensive in Gia Dinh near Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). He was as PFC - E3, in B Company, 27th Infantry Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. He had been in Vietnam slightly over a year, probably scheduled to go home before he died at the age of 20 but possibly held over because of the Tet offensive. He was a combat infantryman and had earned the Combat Infantryman Badge.
He attended Harry Ells High School where he was a track standout in the low and high hurdles.
Among the tributes to him posted on the Virtual Vietnam Wall are:
- George Craft, firstname.lastname@example.org, Fellow soldier in his squad in VN. I have thought about you often over the years. You were so new to Vietnam and it was at such a bad time at the start of the Tet Offensive. I just attended a reunion of soldiers in your platoon and you are thought of as a kind, considerate squad member. You are and always will be missed.
Sep 5, 2015
- Manuel Pino B/2/8th Cav 68-69
- Garnet Jenkins, Grand Junction Co. ~In Remembrance of a Fallen Hero~
- In Remembrance of this Young Soldier, with a Multitude of Thanks for his Courage, Service and Dedication to our Country and for Freedom. Rest well Pfc. James Douglas VanHook and know that you will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN. I am the sister of such a young hero, who made the Supreme Sacrifice in Vietnam 1967......Now Arises From Hallowed Ground A Delicate Cloud Of Bugle Notes That Softly Say, Go To Sleep... Comrades True, Born Anew, Peace To You. Your Souls Shall Be Where The Heroes Are And Your Memories Shine Like The Morning Star...Slumber Well Where The Shells Screamed And Fell...The Danger Has Passed, And Now At Last, Go To Sleep... By ~ Sgt Joyce Kilmer, 165th US Infantry (formerly 69th NYNG) KIA Ourcq, France~July 30, 1918 ~To The Everlasting Glory Of The Infantry~ Jul 21, 2007
- Fellow Classmate, Rest in peace brave soldier. Know that you will never be far from the hearts and minds of the other Eagles from Harry Ells. Apr 26, 2007, Laverne Thomas, Friend /Schoolmate
Not Forgotten, James, not a year goes by without me thinking about you. I remember those early morning talks we use to have while walking to Harry Ells High School. I used to see your sisters from time to time and we talked about you. I also spent time in Vietnam with the Big Red One. It appears that were in the same province however months apart. I was wounded in Dec 68, just lucky my injuries were not that bad. James you are missed and will never be forgotten. Saturday, July 01, 2006
- Grateful American, Fellow Californian, American Hero, Another soldier here all alone and seemingly forgotten with no comments to his name. I am honored and so very proud to be the first to give recognition to this fallen Hero in this venue. Thank you PFC Van Hook for your ultimate sacrifice. Rest well brave soldier and rest assured, that you, Sir, are not forgotten. Sunday, January 02, 2005
- Manuel Pino Jr, email@example.com, Fellow Vietnam Vet, NATIVE AMERICAN PRAYER It is said a man hasn't died as long as he is remembered. This prayer is a way for families, friends and fellow veterans to remember our fallen brothers and sisters. Do not stand at my grave and weep I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow, I am the diamond glints on snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain, I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning hush, I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight, I am the stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die, Wednesday, July 13, 2005
James Douglas Van Hook is interred in the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
If you click on each of the names below, there will be additional information about the individual. If you know any of these young men, and would like to post a memory or tribute, I will include it on a future E-FORUM.