Patapsco JROTC remembers service of fallen alumni
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 13:32

Members of the Patapsco JROTC program stand at the site of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall to honor fallen Patapsco alumni.
photo by Bruce Kahl

Seven honored with pictures and mementos

by Ben Boehl

    Young people preparing to serve their country paid tribute to those who went before them, as over 80 cadets from the   Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts JROTC program went to Washington, D.C., to visit  the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War memorials.
    The students also witnessed the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. 
    Patapsco JROTC Senior Army Instructor Bruce Kahl said the trip followed several weeks of research on each site by the cadets.
    The cadets visited all the sites, but the highlight of the trip was a special tribute at which they presented a picture and memento at the famed “wall” of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial for each of the seven Patapsco alumni — Larry Barnhill (Class of 1964), James Cannington, Melvin Ranson  (both 1965), Joseph Gregory Sands, James Budahazy, Ronald Cassell and George Carroll Letmate (all 1966) — who were killed in Vietnam
    “They did research on each one. They wanted to know when was their birthday, when did they die, where are they buried,” Kahl said. “There has been a picture of each in the school lobby, and we placed a flag at the site.
    Kahl said all of the Patapsco alumni killed in Vietnam should be recognized for their service to their country, and some students are already looking ahead to next year’s project.
    “They want to know if [the fallen soldiers] graduated high school? And if they didn’t, they asked, ‘Can we give them a diploma?’”
    Kahl said other than in Vietnam, he does not believe any other Patapsco alumni have been killed in combat.
    A few alums have been injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, he noted, but fortunately, there have been no deaths.
    Kahl said that he does not know about any alumni serving before 1995.
    “I’m not sure if we had any from Desert Storm (in 1991),” he said.