Although the Department of Defense does not recognize the sailors of the sunken USS Frank E. Evans crew on the Vietnam Memorial, one crew member aboard the ship in 1969 recognizes three of Niobrara's lost soldiers. Bill Thibeault of Norwich, Connecticut recently visited the site of the Sage Brother's Memorial and paid his respects to his three fellow shipmates. Bill was unable to attend the memorial dedication ceremony held last year due to the travel distance from Connecticut. He was adamant about visiting the memorial this year prior to attending the annual USS Frank E. Evans Reunion held in Branson, MO from September 27 through October 1.
The Department of Defense has failed to honor the lost crew due to the ship being out of Vietnam waters at the time of the accident. The ship had travelled out of area to conduct an exercise with an Australia aircraft carrier and to load munitions before returning to area when the accident happened. For this reason, the DoD does not honor the lost soldiers on the Vietnam Memorial. Eric Sage, a military veteran himself, visited the Vietnam Memorial while stationed in Virginia. Having family members onboard the Evans, he would liked to have seen Gary, Gregory and Kelly Sage listed on the monument but unfortunately had not been listed.
Bill was stationed onboard the USS Frank E Evans when the incident occurred on June 3, 1969. He also co-wrote a song about our lost 74 called "Where's The Glory" (The Story Of The USS Franke E. Evans). Bill can be seen sitting with his guitar onboard the ship prior to its accident.
For more information on the events that occurred in June of 1969 and more about the Evans, visit the USS Frank E. Evans Association website.