Audit finds duplicates, survivors on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall
WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - A recent audit of the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial discovered the names of soldiers who actually survived the war as well as a number of duplications -- one man's name shows up in three different places.
"What we are doing now is trying to get an accurate count," said Jim Knotts, the president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Knotts was back at The Wall Friday continuing an audit that began as long as four years ago. He wanted to know the exact number of names on The Wall and whether they match all the records.
"A little over four years ago what we found was there seemed to be a difference in some of the databases either we had online or the Department of Defense database and other sources so we began an investigation as to why these numbers might be off as far as how many names are in The Wall," said Knotts.
What they discovered was eye-opening -- 26 names, including David Kies and Richard Preskenis actually survived the war. Preskenis's name only showed up because another man. William Joyce, had falsely used it to enlist.
"In the early days when The Wall was first created, desktop computing was not common and there were a lot of paper lists that were provided from the Department of Defense so we actually had to go through and create a digital file of exactly what's on The Wall," said Knotts.
That file now shows Army Corporal Rodney Helsel's name is on The Wall in three different places -- one of them misspelled.
The work now turns to the diamonds and crosses found next to some of the names.
"We are validating every symbol to have an accurate count of how many have diamonds and how many have crosses and then how many have been changed from diamonds to crosses over the years meaning that their remains have been found and identified," said Knotts.
The completed audit now shows the wall holds 58,390 names representing 58,276 casualties.