2005-07-01 / Front Page

Plaque recommended for local soldiers killed in combat

by Daniel Wolowicz danielw@theacorn.com

by Daniel Wolowiczdanielw@theacorn.com

As the Fourth of July approaches, people nationwide are reminded of the countless heroic sacrifices made by American soldiers who fought and died while defending the United States for more than 200 years.

Tom Baldwin, a Moorpark Unified School District board member, believes more needs to be done locally to remember soldiers from Moorpark killed in the line of duty.

To that end, Baldwin recently asked school staff to assemble a committee of community members, veterans and school officials to look into the installation of a memorial plaque which would list the names of Moorpark graduates killed in combat.

“It was on Memorial Day when I had the idea for the plaque,” Baldwin said. “For over 30 years, no one had been killed from Moorpark while serving, and over these past couple of years two names have been added to the list. It really made me think about the need to remember these soldiers.”

In 2004, Army Spc. Christopher K. Hill and Petty Officer 3rd Class John Daniel House, both graduates of MPHS, were killed in combat while serving in Iraq.

School board members said they would like to put the plaque near the entrance to Moorpark High School’s Memorial Stadium.

School officials like the idea of the high school location because the plaque would be in a high-traffic area and visible to the large crowds attending the school’s football games. In addition, it would reinforce the name of the stadium.

Baldwin said the names listed on the plaque would date back to World War I.

Greg Barker, the board’s president, also recommended that the school district create a history lesson that incorporates the names and personal stories of the Moorpark soldiers. The history lesson would be taught around Memorial Day to help give students a local context for world events, said Barker.

Board officials said a similar proposal was made by Clint Harper about 10 years ago, but the plan was abandoned because cost estimates ran as high as $60,000. Baldwin feels if the board handles this current proposal in stages, the costs would be more manageable, which makes completion more likely.

“I think if we did this in stages, we’d be much better off,” Baldwin said. “We could do the plaque and then possibly add an eternal flame, a flag or a larger monument piece somewhere down the line.”

Bruce Thomas, commander of local Post 502, said the American Legion is planning to have the three concrete pillars that list the names of those who donated money to build the stadium, as well as the stone tablet that will have the stadium’s name carved into it, moved to the stadium’s main entrance. He hopes to have this done before school starts in the fall.

Thomas, a member of the memorial planning committee, said there’s a possibility that the memorial plaque may be incorporated into this project. He noted, however, that plans are still in the early stages.

If the project does go forward, Thomas said Pete Duncan, the adjutant for local Post 502, will work with other veterans to ensure no names have been left off the list.

Return to top