My father, John M. R. Hope was the city manager of Fontana, California for several years in the early 60s. The bust of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in front of the City Hall was dedicated while he was there. My brothers and sisters and I went swimming in the summers in the city pool, called the Plunge then. My older sister graduated from FOHI and at one time or another, one or more of us attended Juniper school, North Tamarind, Alder Jr. High and as mentioned, FOHI. We lived behind Cypress Park, the little league ballpark, on Reed St. and later  just south of Miller Ave. off of Tamarind on Fairfax Ave. My mother took us around Southern California as members of the Fontana Swim Team...
    My mother saw an ad for people with my father’s background in civil administration to become advisers for the State Department and off he went to Vietnam as a civilian adviser to assist local public servants learn how to operate and maintain municipalities in a democratic society. He worked in Nha Trang on the coast, Can Tho in the delta, and towards the end assigned to a post in Saigon. He was “in country” for 6 years, not counting family visits and “home leaves”. During this time his wife died and he remarried to have a guardian for his children when he returned. He was in Nha Trang during the Tet Offensive in '68 and brought back photographs he had taken of the street fighting as well as combat souvenirs.
    In the summer of ’73, at the age of 16, I visited my father in Saigon. Among other places we visited the Purple Lotus on Tu Do Street, across from the Continental Palace (I think it was) to drink BahMeBahs and … While there I also spent time w/ a friend from my high school, Taipei American School, by the name of Khanh Tranh. His father was the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Vietnam. I hadn’t seen him since then till November 12th of 2004.
Ultimately I enlisted in the Marine Corps myself, aside from the previous history of the Corps there was something about the news reports that came out during the stand at Khe Sanh I think… Still, after years of study and contemplation I am deeply conflicted regarding this war.
    I am not, however, conflicted in my respect for young men who did what their country asked of them. Whether they volunteered or were drafted doesn’t matter… they went. They accepted the burdens their country asked them to carry and exposed themselves to the dangers we all knew were there. At the request of their fellow countrymen, they stood a post and paid the price. There are 13 names w/ the hometown of Fontana that gave the last measure they had to give between in Vietnam… 13 families to mourn the loss and to grieve each day of their lives since then. I could not see these names and not leave something to acknowledge their sacrifice. My father died some years ago, still working for the State Department advising civil servants in far away lands on operating and maintaining municipalities in democratic societies and I’m confident that he would have probably felt the same way. I am including a photograph of myself in the National Cemetery at the Presidio of San Francisco. At the top of the stone I am standing behind is my grandfather’s name, at one time he was posted to the presidio. Then his wife, my grand mother, my mother and the name at the very bottom is my Father’s though we spread his ashes in the Pacific Ocean off Marina Del Rey on a beautiful day made for just such an occasion. The water was clear and blue and you could see this great, white spiraling pillar of ash as it descended into the depths from whence we had taken many fish over the years. I am sure my father would have been pleased and I wish I had taken photographs of it. In conclusion, as a son of the former civil head of the City of Fontana and in the name of my late father, John M. R. Hope, USAID, and in behalf of my entire family I wish to express our most sincere condolences to the families and friends of these fallen young men and pray that God’s mercy be upon the families to ease their pain. Further, I wish to say that these men have demonstrated their deep devotion to the United States and to the belief that freedom is the right of each human being, and that the strong have an obligation to protect and defend this right for those who are not be able to defend it themselves. May they rest in peace till the resurrection.


“Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming when all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out…” John 5:28-29

 

PATRICK LYNN BASILE

SGT

MARINE CORPS

FONTANA

CA

6/29/1949 - 7/11/1969

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RICHARD ALLEN BURNS

CPL

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

9/5/1948 - 2/28/1969

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DOMINIC ANTHONY CORONA

PFC

MARINE CORPS

FONTANA

CA

8/16/1946 - 7/29/1966

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GARY RICHARD DANSER

SP4

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

1/26/1947 - 7/20/1967

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GARY ELLIS HOADLEY

SGT

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

11/29/1946 - 8/3/1968

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RICHARD ARTHUR LANE

SP5

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

8/13/1944 - 6/16/1968

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CALVIN LEWIS

CPL

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

2/12/1948 - 1/6/1969

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JOSEPH PENN MAREK

PFC

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

8/23/1945 - 11/15/1967

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PARIS WILLIAM MONTANEZ

PFC

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

3/25/1950 - 1/27/1969

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RICHARD ALLEN NOELKE

PFC

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

2/7/1944 - 11/6/1965

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KENNETH JAMES ROBINSON

PFC

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

6/14/1950 - 3/11/1969

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JOHN ARLINGTON RODGERS

SP4

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

7/6/1942 - 4/20/1968

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RONALD ELLIS WILTSE

1LT

ARMY

FONTANA

CA

3/2/1944 - 5/13/1968

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The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund website