Cpl. Leo Joe Adakai was a Blackfoot, Idaho local who was born in 1944. He joined the U.S. Army and soon after was deployed to Vietnam in 1969. Leo would later suffer from multiple fragmentation wounds while in Khanh Hoa province. He succumbed to his wounds on Aug. 7, 1969. Cpl. Adakai was only 25 when he paid the ultimate sacrifice. You can find his name on panel 20W, line 105 when The Wall That Heals visits us this fall.
Capt. Gary W. Bitton was originally from Blackfoot, Idaho. He was a B26 pilot and gave his life for our country on Dec. 6, 1963 – only 21 days after being in country. According to the book Reasons To Remember by Marilyn Whyte, before paying the ultimate sacrifice Bitton wrote, “The War games here are ridiculous and very frustrating. We have ‘Rules of Engagement’ kind of like fighting with one hand behind our back. We are controlled by the Vietnamese Air Force and cannot move unless they approved our targets. If we saw 10,000 VC marching we couldn’t strike until they approved. Apparently we have VC in our chain of Command because all our strike missions seem to leave an escape route for the VC. We know where the VC headquarters are but we have never struck it.”
Cpl. Grant L. Clark was part of a ground’s surveillance radar unit in Vietnam. He was the first Pocatello service member to perish during combat. He gave the ultimate sacrifice on Oct. 30, 1965 after being attacked by enemy mortar fire near the city of Da Nang. He had been in country for only two months. Learn more about him by visiting his VVMF page.
Pfc. John G. Larson was a U.S. Army medic in the 1st Cavalry division. He paid the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam conflict on Dec. 30, 1966 – four months after being in country. In one of his letters home, Larson described his experiences. He talked about walking up and down mountains covered by bus so tall he could barely see the sky. He also mentioned eating C rations out of cans three times a day, shaving only once in a while, and not having been able to bathe for two weeks. Larson also mentioned in his letter that Vietnam was beautiful and that he should have been a missionary there instead of a soldier. Pfc. Larson was originally from Blackfoot, Idaho. You can find his name on panel 13E, Line 102 of The Wall That Heals when it visits us this fall.