09/10/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 09/10/2019 18:08
U.S. Senator Jon Tester is continuing his push to honor a Great Falls Vietnam veteran who died during the sinking of the USS Frank E. Evans 50 years ago.
Tester joined a bipartisan, bicameral group of members urging the Senate Armed Services Committee and House Armed Services Committee to include the USS Frank E. Evans Act in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
'Young sailors like William Fields made the ultimate sacrifice 50 years ago protecting the freedoms we enjoy today,' said Tester, Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. 'Now, it is time to honor these sailors on behalf of an eternally grateful nation. We must properly commemorate Seaman Apprentice Fields and other Vietnam War heroes like him, by ensuring their names are never forgotten.'
Seaman Apprentice William Fields died when the USS Frank E. Evans sank during the Vietnam War in the South China Sea on June 3, 1969. Because the ship was just outside the conflict boundary zone, Fields and his 73 crewmates were not initially included on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The bipartisan bill would add the names of these sailors, also known as the 'Lost 74,' to the Vietnam Memorial wall.
Fields was born in Great Falls, where his father served in the U.S. Air Force. He reported aboard the USS Frank E. Evans just 17 days before the ship sank. He was 19 years old.
More information about Tester's work on behalf of veterans is available HERE.
Read the full letter HERE.