Los Angeles Times
May 4, 2007
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The name of Army Sgt. Richard M. Pruett is now etched into the glossy black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial — nearly four decades after he was wounded during a combat mission in South Vietnam.
His wife, Ann, wiped away tears as Pruett's name was added to the memorial Thursday. "He would be so honored. It is the ultimate honor, I think, to be on the wall," she said.
Richard Pruett, who was from Sherman, Texas, died in 2005 from complications related to wounds received during the war, making him eligible for inclusion on the memorial on the National Mall.
Also joining those honored on the wall are Navy Fireman Apprentice Joseph Gerald Krywicki of Holton, Mich., and Army Spc. Wesley Alvin Stiverson of Monticello, Ill.
Krywicki was killed in 1966 in Vietnam when a member of his unit accidentally discharged his rifle. The Navy initially declined to add Krywicki's name to the memorial because he died not in combat but in a "friendly fire" incident. The Navy reversed course following inquiries from his family.
Stiverson sustained fragmentation wounds in 1971 when his base camp came under fire in Vietnam. The Pentagon determined that his death in 2005 was directly related to those wounds.
The Defense Department decides which names are to be inscribed on the wall. Victims of Agent Orange and suicides resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder do not meet the Pentagon's guidelines for inclusion, according to the memorial's website.
Since the memorial's 1982 dedication, a few names have been added each year, said Jan Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
Stone carvers match the depth of new names to within one-thousandth of an inch of those already there, he said.