EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — The names of seven military bomb technicians who died in World War II are now part of a memorial wall at Eglin Air Force Base.
The Northwest Florida Daily News reported that the names of the seven soldiers, sailors and Marines were added during an annual ceremony on Saturday at the Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal School located on the Panhandle Air Force base.
Also added to the wall was the name of Justin Helton, an Army bomb technician killed in Afghanistan on June 9.
Military members gather each year at the school to pay tribute to bomb technicians from all branches of themilitary killed in combat. The eight new names were added to the existing 314 names already inscribed on the wall.
A crowd of more than 2,000 attended Saturday's ceremony.
Featured speaker Marine Lt. Gen William Faulkner said explosive ordnance disposal technicians are among the military's elite service members.
"EOD technicians don't have the luxury to turn down a mission or pass the task to someone else," he said. "There is no more challenging and courageous occupational field across all of our services than that of the EOD technician."
Among those attending the event was Ken Doyle, a retired Army EOD technician. Doyle lost an arm and suffered a brain injury during an explosion in Afghanistan in 2012. His friend, Sgt. Eric S. Hollman, died in the blast. Hollman's name is on the wall.
"He was a great leader and mentor. His name is on the wall, and I want to be here to remember him," Doyle told the newspaper.
Officials said the seven service members from World War II were discovered during an exhaustive search of Department of Defense records. They were:
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Army Pfc. Laurence Paystrup, who was killed May 26, 1943, in Tunisia.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Army Sgt. Ira Wiggins, who died May 27, 1943, while during military operations in Tunisia.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Army Capt. Frederick Dillon, who was lost with his aircraft somewhere between Algiers and Tunisia on Oct. 10, 1943.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Army 1st Lt. Steven Todorovich, who was aboard the same aircraft as Dillon.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Marine Corps Cpl. Clellie Whited Jr., who was killed by enemy fire on March 3, 1945.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Navy Lt. j.g. Alvin Vetter, who was killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
- style="color: #333333; background-color: #ffffff;">Navy Lt. j.g. John Fezler, who died when the plane he was aboard headed for Papua New Guinea disappeared on Oct. 1, 1944.