Vietnam Combat Veterans Association became a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization in 2018. Our mission is to honor the 544 the fallen Vietnam Veterans from Houston and 7 surrounding counties. The Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument began as the wish of one man. Ben Gutierrez enlisted the help of several other local veterans to create the Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument. They want a place for families and fellow brothers and sisters in arms to remember these gallant soldiers.
Hello My name is Winslow (Ben) Gutierrez. I graduated from M. Smiley HS in Houston in May 1964. I was drafted on November 1965, I served the 11th Armored Calvary in Vietnam from August 1966 to September 1967. I was a track commander on a personal carrier. When we got back to Oakland, California from Vietnam, I was a loner. I was supposed to forget everything that happen over there, which was hard to do. Returning back to Houston, I never looked for any high school friends or friends from the old neighborhood. All I wanted was to be with my wife.
In 1970, I went to work at the Post Office as a mailman. Which was a good job for me because finally, I was working by myself and not around other people. One day I happen to deliver mail at one of my high school friends. I knocked on the door and his cousin answered. She told me he had been killed in Vietnam in 1969 (Gary Grimes). It hit me like a ton of bricks. Gary was my running buddy and the motivation to start Vietnam Combat Veterans Association (VCVA).
Message From Commander Of VCVA
When you travel through Texas, you will see towns that have Vietnam memorials or monuments dedicated to our fallen comrades who were killed during the Vietnam War. However, the only place where you can see these Houston soldiers names is located in Washington D.C. over 1,000 miles away from here.
During the Vietnam War that was “officially” fought between February 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975, there were 544 fallen soldiers from the Houston area including Harris, Waller, Brazoria, Fort Bend, Liberty and Galveston Counties.
Which brings me to the reason for this message.
Hello, I am Ben Gutierrez a native Houstonian who served as a Sergeant E-5 in the United States Army. The Army drafted me on November 29. 1965. When I was released from duty on September 2,1967, I was given civilian clothes and told to forget what had happened. How does any soldier or their loved ones forget? The Vietnam War was the longest war in our history war except for the American Indian Wars.
American Revolution (1775-1783)
War of 1812 (1812-1815)
World War I (1917-1918)
World War II (1941 –1945)
*Today the Afghanistan war has now surpassed the Vietnam War in longevity*
It was the first war to ever be televised and for me and fellow Vietnam Veterans it was where we lost our brothers, friends, and a piece of ourselves. When I returned home to Houston I realized the many friends, many of whom I grew up with whose fate were different than mine. They never came home yet deserve to never be forgotten!
I assumed sooner or later someone would step up to honor our Houston Heroes and to preserve history. After years of waiting, I decided to step forward and enlisted other Veterans to join me on a mission. In 2018 the Vietnam Veterans Combat Association became a 501(c)(3) in 2018. Our mission is to create the Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Memorial Park.
This is more than a slab a granite. It is a glimpse into the lives of these 544 men and women from the Houston area. It’s closure for loved ones, family, friends, and fellow Vietnam Vets who cannot travel to D.C, and a way to preserve history. Many of these fighting men saw more combat, bloodshed, and death that left a significant impact on their lives.
These men were not welcomed home or held in high esteem but good can come out of tragedy if we document, read, and remind today’s generation of why history must never be repeated again.
If you served or were alive during this era you know the impact the Vietnam war had. However, I was astonished when my grandkids textbooks had little more than a paragraph about the Vietnam War. I shared my story of Operation Junction at my granddaughter school but as Vietnam Veterans pass away their stories are being erased. This must not happen!
The Vietnam Combat Veterans Association needs you to stand with us to ensure Vietnam is always remembered. There are two ways you can unite with our cause. The first is if you or someone you know served in Vietnam, please send us your story to add to our website. The second way is to make a tax-deductible contribution to help us build this historical monument for our hometown Hero’s and the future generations that are to come.
Commander of VCVA
Vietnam Fallen Warriors Monument Board
Winslow (Ben) Gutierrez.
Staff Sergeant (Retired)
Dennis E. Loop
Colonel E. A. “Buddy” Grantham
U.S. Army (Retired)
Texas State Guard (Active)
VCVA Mission statement
To inform and educate any and all Veterans using seminars, fliers, and utilizing the many benefits and other programs currently in place. Promoting the common good and welfare of all military veterans. Sponsoring and taking part in activities of patriotic nature.
Commander: Ben Gutierrez
Finance Officer: David Ramos
Secretary: Dennis Loop
Sergeant of Arms: Diego Tristan