Call for photos: Help Holloman find N.M. heroes

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sondra Escutia
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs Office
Enshrined on the National Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C., are the names of 58,261 Americans who gave their lives for their country in the Vietnam War.

Four hundred of those names are people who called New Mexico home. Of those 400 New Mexican veterans, two of them listed their home of record as Holloman Air Force Base.

Behind these two names, and all the names on The Wall, lie stories of lives that were cut short in defense of our nation. Their reasons for joining the military are not known -- perhaps they volunteered to perhaps they were drafted. It is a mystery what they saw and felt more than 40 years ago in a distant country before their lives were taken. It is also not known whether or not their families still reside in the area, but while much is not known, what is known is this:

Arthur Harry Johnson

Army Specialist Five Arthur Harry Johnson was born Jan. 10, 1949. In the Army, he was an Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice assigned to the 213th Assault Support Helicopter Company, 11th Aviation Battalion, 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade.

Specialist Johnson began his Vietnam tour April 5, 1968, and was killed Aug. 22, 1969, at Binh Long Province, South Vietnam. His personal profile on suggests he was part of a helicopter crew that lost air or crashed over land. He was 20 years old.

His home of record: Hildago Loop, N.M. (Note: Hildago Loop is located in base housing at Holloman)

Peter Kalani Miranda

Army Specialist Five Peter Kalani Miranda was born July 6, 1948. He was a UH-1 Helicopter Repairer with the 57th Assault Helicopter Company, 52nd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade.

Twelve days after turning 21, Specialist Miranda began his Vietnam tour. He was killed almost three months later on Dec. 6, 1969, at Kontum Province, South Vietnam. His personal profile on reports Specialist Miranda died outright on helicopter that lost air or crashed over land.

His home of record: Holloman AFB, N.M.

Help Holloman find these heroes

Not long ago, the 49th Wing Public Affairs Office received a call from Art Canales, a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America, Santa Fe Chapter 996, who asked for help finding photos of these two heroes -- and Holloman-natives -- to preserve more than just their names on The Wall.

The request was part of a nationwide "Call for Photos" by the National Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund, which is building an Education Center at The Wall to display a photograph of every single American who gave their life in the Vietnam War.

"Basically our concept on this is that we're putting faces to the names and by doing that it makes it more real and also shows that they're not just names on The Wall. They're actual young men. Most of them were at the age of 19 and they went to serve their country," said Mr. Canales. "We want to make sure that people can go to The Wall and the museum to see these young men who gave everything they had for their country and what they believe in."

The New Mexico Department of Veterans' Services is heading the effort locally, and about half of the 400 pictures of the fallen New Mexico Vietnam Veterans have been collected since the call was launched last October.

"There is a group of us working on this nationwide and we're all Vietnam Veterans. The Wall, to us, is more than names. These were young men just like us at an impressionable time in our life and I feel as if we're bringing these young men home and that they're not forgotten -- they are honored," said Mr. Canales. "There is a list of 400 names and these have been two of the most difficult ones to locate."

According to the Education Center at The Wall Web site, some 40 percent of the four million people who visit The Wall today are too young to remember -- the list of names is just a list of names with no context.

Mr. Canales, however, said that while he may not have known everyone on it, he has been to some of the very places where fellow Soldiers were killed in action. That, alone, connects him to the names.

"These are comrades in arms and I want them to be honored and respect shown to them. So if I can contact their families and somehow reach out to them, I want to let them know their son or daughter has not been forgotten," he said.

He added that another motivating factor to find these photos comes from Henry Urioste, president of Chapter 996, who says each photo they find is like "putting a piece of the puzzle back together in our own lives" more than 40 years later.

"It has given us a sense of life and a sense of purpose and it's not just for us, it's for the family and friends of these heroes," said Mr. Canales.

By displaying the photos and stories behind every name on The Wall, the Education Center hopes to "help future generations understand the courage, sacrifice and devotion of those who fell, those who returned and those who waited." For more information on the Education Center at The Wall, visit

If anyone has information regarding Arthur Harry Johnson or Peter Kalani Miranda, or where a photograph of them might be found, please contact Mr. Art Canales at 505-827-6635, 505-986-8384 or email him at

Visit the New Mexico Department of Veteran's Services Web site at for a complete list of names of those fallen Soldiers whose photographs are still needed.