ALBANY, N.Y. — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is asking Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to add the names of 74 American sailors to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The New York Democrat on Thursday called on the Pentagon chief to have the names enshrined on the Washington, D.C., memorial to the war's dead. The sailors were aboard the USS Frank E. Evans when the destroyer was split in half after being broadsided by an Australian aircraft carrier during a 1969 training exercise in the South China Sea.

Four New York natives were among the dead.

The names of the Evans sailors were left off the memorial because the accident occurred outside the Vietnam combat zone. Schumer says an exception should be made for the Evans 74, since the ship had provided combat fire support in Vietnamese waters just days before the accident.

FILE - In this June 3, 1969 file photo, sailors inspect damage to the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans after it was cut in half in a collision with the light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy in the South China Sea, 650 miles southwest of Manila. A group of Navy veterans continues its push for adding the names of 74 U.S. sailors killed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this June 3, 1969 file photo, sailors inspect damage to the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans after it was cut in half in a collision with the light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy in the South China Sea, 650 miles southwest of Manila. A group of Navy veterans continues its push for adding the names of 74 U.S. sailors killed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo, File)

Sailors inspect damage to the Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans after it was cut in half in a collision with the light aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne of the Royal Australian Navy on June 3, 1969, in the South China Sea. A group of Navy veterans continues its push for adding the names of 74 sailors killed to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: AP