May 25, 2018

House Passes Schiff Amendment to Add Names of 74 Sailors to Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Sailors Aboard the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans Died Serving Our Country During Vietnam War

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) announced that the House of Representatives has passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) instructing the Department of Defense to add the names of 74 sailors who lost their lives on the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans during the Vietnam War to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. Schiff sponsored with Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

“The Lost 74 of the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans died serving our country during the Vietnam War, and their sacrifice should be recognized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial alongside other fallen servicemembers,” Rep. Schiff said. “The House has taken an important step towards righting this injustice.”

On June 3, 1969, the U.S.S. Frank E. Evans was struck by HMAS Melbourne, an Australian aircraft carrier in the South China Sea – 74 American sailors lost their lives. The two vessels were participating in a joint Southeast Asia Treaty Organization exercise called "Sea Spirit” at the time of the collision. Despite operating in Vietnamese waters immediately before deployment to joint exercise Sea Spirit, and a scheduled return to activities supporting the war effort after the exercise, it was determined that since the incident took place outside the geographical limit for the combat zone the sailors who lost their lives were ineligible for inclusion on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  That conclusion did not acknowledge that at the time of the incident, the U.S.S. Evans was instrumental in advancing American military objectives in Vietnam and the crew had participated in conflict just days before the collision.

Rep. Schiff has pursued including the 74 names on the Memorial for several years since meeting the family of a sailor who died on the ship. In addition to offering multiple amendments to past authorization bills, Rep. Schiff has discussed the issue with successive Defense Secretaries and Secretaries of the Navy, urging them to rectify this injustice.