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MIAs: Gone but not forgotten

National POW/MIA Recognition day is Friday

Twenty-eight Kansas soldiers remain listed as missing in action in southeast Asia from the Vietnam war.

Among them are U.S. Air Force Maj. Dean A. Klenda of Marion and Ronald James Schultz of Hillsboro, of the U.S. Army.

Klenda’s F-105 fighter jet was shot down 43 years ago in North Vietnam. He ejected from the aircraft but his parachute did not open. Numerous excavations have been made to locate his remains but none have been found.

Schultz was reported missing July 21, 1970, in South Vietnam.

In January, Deanna Klenda received a telephone call from Lee Scherer of Topeka. He told Klenda that he had been wearing a POW/MIA bracelet with her brother’s name on it for the past 20 years. During the course of time, Scherer had to replace the bracelet twice but decided it was time to retire the bracelet and made contact with Deanna Klenda.

A few months later, Klenda visited the Scherer family. Scherer had planned to put the bracelet in a shadow box so Klenda brought barn wood from the home-place where Dean was raised. Klenda also gave Scherer a new bracelet for him to wear on special occasions.

Deanna Klenda’s son, Kyle Peters, also has proudly worn a bracelet with his uncle’s name for more than 10 years.

Even though the Vietnam War may be forgotten, those prisoners of war or missing in action are not. On Friday, Americans are asked to remember those who still are missing and offer support to their families.

Last modified Sept. 17, 2008

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