Vancouver getting MIA memorial

Tribute will also honor prisoners of war

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 

Veterans Memorial Sites

• Vietnam War Memorial Garden on Vancouver’s VA campus.

• Korean War Veterans Memorial on Vancouver’s VA campus.

• Clark County Veterans Memorial at Vancouver Barracks.

• Post Cemetery, Fourth Plain Boulevard east of Interstate 5.

• VFW Memorial Plaza and Remembrance Wall, south of City Hall along Phil Arnold Way.

• Ridgefield Veterans Memorial, North Third Avenue.

You can help

A limited number of custom-engraved bricks are available for $100 as individual tributes; contact Robert Bean at 360-696-2326, 360-903-2340 or robertbean511@msn.com.

To contribute or volunteer for the project: contact Smith at vancouvertiger@comcast.net; CMAC co-chairman Dan Tarbell at dantarbell@comcast.net; or go to the committee’s website at www.cmac11.com.

More than 83,000 American military personnel remain missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War.

Now a local nonprofit group has announced plans for a memorial honoring MIA service members as well as prisoners of war. The Community Military Appreciation Committee will build the stone monument at the Armed Forces Reserve Center, 15005 N.E. 65th St., in east Vancouver.

The project will break ground in March, and the memorial is scheduled to be dedicated Sept. 27, National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

There are several other tributes to American service personnel in and around Vancouver. Most of them are within what had been the boundary of a U.S. Army post originally established in 1849. That military presence ended in September 2011 when about 1,000 Army Reserve and Washington Army National Guard soldiers left the historic Vancouver Barracks area and moved into the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Sifton.

The planned memorial is a way for the community to contribute something to the new military center, one of the project organizers said.

"There are no memorials at the new Armed Forces Reserve Center. This would be the first," said Larry Smith, co-chairman of the Community Military Appreciation Committee.

"The committee thought that it was beneficial to locate our memorial sites throughout the city of Vancouver," Smith, a Vancouver city councilman and retired Army officer, said.

After CMAC builds the memorial, "We will donate it to the Army Reserves," Smith said.

Project designer Kelly Punteney said he envisioned the monument as an extension of an existing feature — the flag pole plaza and paved semicircle that are in front of the main building.

The front-and-center location appealed to Punteney because he wanted everybody entering and leaving the facility to know the memorial was there. He didn't want it built on an out-of-the-way corner of the site, he said.

The stone monument will be almost 8 feet tall and almost 10 feet wide, and the memorial will include benches and two 40-inch-high columns, Punteney said.

"The structure will also serve as a backdrop to future presentations on the existing lawn to the northeast," Punteney said.

The Reserve Center, near the intersection of Fourth Plain Boulevard and Ward Road, now hosts the community's annual Veterans Day commemoration.

The $20,000 project will be partially funded by the Anna C. MacAskill Schwab and Dwight L. Schwab Sr. Charitable Fund.

A limited number of custom-engraved bricks are available for $100 as individual tributes.

In Battle Ground, an effort has started to raise funds for a Veterans Memorial at Kiwanis Park.