Linking different generations of military service is the spirit behind the Phelps Award, given annually by the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza.
The Phelps Award was designed by artist John Phelps, a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. In 2003, John Phelps began working with the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza on this award, resulting in the creation of a scuplted replica of a Vietnam era battle helmet. The battle helmet is mounted on a handcrafted, green glass-block, inscribed with excerpts from Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam also engraved on the New York City Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Plaza named their Honoree of the Year Award to recognize the service of John Phelps, and his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Chance Russell Phelps. Chance was killed in action while conducting combat operations west of Baghdad on April 9th, 2004. He was 19 years old.