Seeking Names: Honoring Fallen Hawkeye Soldiers in Updated War Memorial

By Katie Linder
A veteran aims to update the Memorial Honor Roll, located inside the Iowa Memorial Union, with the names of students and alumni who died in military conflicts from Vietnam through today.

Thousands of Hawkeyes have answered the call of duty during wartime—and some have made the ultimate sacrifice.

These University of Iowa students and alumni include Nile Kinnick (40BA), a former halfback whose fighter plane crashed during training in World War II. While not everyone can have a stadium named in their honor, all soldiers deserve to be remembered.

That's the premise behind a project that Iowa business graduate and retired Maj. Gen. Stewart Wallace (68BBA) is organizing. Born at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics and raised in Britt, Iowa, Wallace joined the army immediately after graduating from Iowa in 1968—during the Vietnam War. He retired in 2001 after 33 years of military service and now volunteers as a military adviser with the Iowa Technology Institute. Wallace is working to update the memorial wall located inside the Iowa Memorial Union with the names of every UI student or graduate who died in the line of duty.

The current display, located on the first floor, is missing the names of soldiers from Vietnam through recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. It currently features listings from World War I, World War II, Korea, and some from Vietnam.

"It's important to recognize the sacrifice of former students who gave their lives for this country," he says. "They should be recognized, and the IMU is the perfect place to do it."

Wallace is working with staff in the Division of Student Life and the Office of the Registrar to cross-reference military death records of soldiers from Iowa and Illinois, but the team needs help and is calling on the families and friends of those who know a Hawkeye who died in the line of duty.

"We need help, so we don't leave someone off the list—especially students and alumni from outside of Iowa or Illinois," he says.

In 1919, UI President Walter Jessup (34LITTD) called for the construction of a student union dedicated to the memory of soldiers who died in World War I. Since then, the goal of the war memorial has been to honor any UI student or graduate who died while serving. Some names—such as Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, a Medal of Honor recipient who was killed in combat in Afghanistan—have been added to a digital honor roll, but the physical plaques haven't been updated since the 1970s.

If you know any Hawkeyes who were killed or died while serving, submit their names to be included on the updated memorial. You can learn more about the IMU war memorial and its history by visiting its website.

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