Those gone but not forgotten
This page is dedicated to the memory of our deceased MRFA members
Our prayers and best wishes go out to those left behind. The Brothers and Sisters of the Mobile Riverine Force Association wish the departed fair winds and following seas and our thoughts will always be with you….
TAPS Tribute to a Fallen One
What moves through you is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch, you may not understand why he left this earth so soon, or why he left before you were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, you begin to remember not just that he died, but that he lived. And that his life gave you memories too beautiful to forget.
Remembering Vietnam Veterans
Over 2.6 million served
Over 58,000 gave their lives
They fought for freedom
They fought with honor
In the end they fought for one another
Lt. Robin Yount
Lt. Robin Yount, B Co. 3/60, 3rd Platoon, 1968 Died Jan 4, 2001. Friends of Robin may contact his son Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org
CSM Kenneth L. “Moose” Meyer
Command Sergeant Major Kenneth L. “Moose” Meyer, USA Ret., passed away January 17, 2001, at his home in Belton, TX at the age of 79. CSM Meyer joined the Army in September 1940 and retired in August 1973. He saw combat in WWII, the Korean conflict and in Vietnam. He served as CSM of the 4th/47th Infantry of the 9th Infantry Division in Vietnam. He held the honorary post as Command Master Sergeant of the 47th Infantry Regiment from 1988 until 1999. CSM Meyer was buried with full Military honors, including Honor Guard from Fort Hood, Texas. The National Infantryman’s Association at Fort Benning, GA has contacted the family and requested his dress blues with full awards to be donated to the museum and the family was honored to comply with the request. CSM Meyer was a soldier’s soldier and left behind a wonderful legacy of freedom for all his children and grandchildren and all who knew him.. Rest in Peace Command Sergeant Major.
James (Jim) Lynn
James (Jim) Lynn passed away at Madigan Army Medical Center Ft. Lewis, WA. On March 30, 2001. Jim was an associate member of the MRFA and was very proud to be so. Jim was the brother of John T. Lynn who was KIA 7/6/68 in Kien Hoa Province while serving with D Co., 3rd/60th, 9th Inf. Div. After many years of searching for someone who knew his brother he contacted John Sperry. John put Jim in touch with Bob Stumpf whom John Lynn had served with. Bob was able to put Jim in touch with more folks who had served with John. Over Veterans Day Weekend 2000 in Washington, DC. Jim, after all these years of searching, was finally able to meet with some of these men. He had a great time while in DC. He was a happy and excited person and was planning on attending this year’s reunion in KY. He had found out he had another family out there he was a good man and will be missed by all who knew him. God Bless him and his family. You may contact the family C/O 8902 Wadsworth SW, Lakewood, WA 98498 253-581-4794 email@example.com
Hazel Phillips, associate member and wife of former member HMC John Phillips, USN Ret. “deceased,” passed away 22 January 2001 of cancer. Even after the passing of Doc Phillips, Hazel stayed a part of the MRFA and enjoyed hearing from the many friends she and Doc had made through-out his Navy career. She enjoyed keeping up with the association through River Currents…John Phillips served as a HMC in RivRon-15 in 1968-69.
Terry McHenry recently passed away. Terry served on the USS Satyr (ARL-23) from 1967-1969, and was one of the founding members of the MRFA. You may contact the family at P.O. Box 81 Glenville, WV. 26351, Phone: 304-462-5991
CDR Del Boerner
CDR Del Boerner, Commanding Officer, USS Indra (ARL-37) (1967-69) passed away suddenly on April 21, 2001 You may contact the family C/O Joan Boerner, 163 Camino Estrada, Chula Vista, CA 91910, Phone: 619-420-0410
Tom Ziehm passed away in May due to complication from Agent Orange.. Tom served in C/CO/4th/47th 11-67 – 8-68. You may contact the family at 3742 Comet Dr., Lake Havasu City, AZ 86406
John M. Cucka
John M. Cucka, Captain, USMC Ret. passed away Jan. 18. 2001. John served on the USS Jennings Cty during WW-II. During the Korean War he was accepted to flight school and became a Marine Corps Aviator. Retiring in 1967 as a Captain. You may contact the family C/O Michael J. Cucka, 7619 Sussex Creek Dr. # 404, Darien, IL 60561-4840. John had been a member of the MRFA since our beginning 1992.
Sandy D. Crowder
CW3 Sandy D. Crowder, USA Ret. passed away April 26th, 2001, from cancer (agent orange related). Warrant Officer Crowder served with HQ/CO/2nd/60th Inf (1968-69 in Tan Tru). You may contact the family C/O Peggy Crowder, RR-1, Box 188A, Rosedale, IN 47874. 765-832-2995. Sandy had been a MRFA member since 1996.
Monte “Rip” Swenson
Monte “Rip” Swenson, B Co./2nd/47th (Mech) 1968-69, passed away 6-22-01 from a heart attack. Rip was buried with full military honors in the VA National Cemetery in Bismark, ND. You may contact the family C/O 10351 S. Hwy 1804, Bismark, ND. 96819
Capt. Charles Edward “Chuck” Miller
Capt. Charles Edward “Chuck” Miller B Co./2nd/47th (Mech) 1969-70 passed away 6-28-01 from a heart attack. Capt. Miller was buried with full military honors in the Veterans National Cemetery in Johnson City, TN. You may contact the family C/O 500 East Hobson Ave., Johnson City, TN 37601-4000
Buster Kahakua, USN Ret., passed away from cancer May-8-2001. He was 67 years of age at the time of his passing. Buster was one of the founding members of the association having joined in 1992. Buster served on Monitor-111-12, 1967-68. He was also a disabled Korean and Vietnam War Veteran and a retired field supervisor for the National Park Service, and was a Coast Guard Veteran as well. He was buried with full military honors at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific on August 25, 2001. You may contact the family C/O Bernice Kahakua, 3661 S. Maryland Pkwy. PMB #200, Las Vegas, NV 89101 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenneth Brasseaux passed away 5-28-01. Kenneth served with IUWG-2 Cam Rahn Bay 6-1966 & 12-1967. You may contact the family C/O Belinda Brasseaux, 116 Hulin Rd., Broussard, LA 70518 318-839-1551
Colonel George “Bucky” Poole
Colonel George “Bucky” Poole US Army (Ret.) passed away October 27th, 2001 due to cancer. Colonel Poole will be missed by all that knew him. He was really an Officer and a Gentlemen and a soldier’s soldier who cared deeply for the men that he led into battle. He was a true leader.. a man that accomplished his mission. He attended all the MRFA reunions and enjoyed being with the men of B-Co. Colonel Poole, as a Captain, was Company Commander of B/CO/3rd/60th 1968/69 who cared for his men to the end. The MRFA lost a very good man and a friend with his passing. He will be sorely miss by all and may he rest in peace…. You may contact the family of Colonel Poole C/O Mrs. George Poole, 19405 French Lace, Lutz, FL 33549
Bill Zieger, who served in RID 45 (70-71), passed away from a heart attack Saturday, December 15, 2001. You may contact the family C/O 1197 Pond Cypress Dr. Virginia Beach, VA. 23455 804-490-3909 or by email at: email@example.com
Col. Floyd H. McAfee
Col. Floyd H McAfee was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors Jan. 6. 2001. Col McAfee was XO 3rd/47th, 3/66 & 1/68. You may contact the family c/o Etta McAfee 2304 OakRidge Ct. Troy, MI. 48098. 810-641-8680 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Col McAfee had been a member of the association since 1995.
Duane C. “Dewey” Cornwall
Duane C. “Dewey” Cornwall passed away January 12, 2002. Dewey arrived in-country Vietnam in November 1968 and was assigned to T-152-1 at Rach Soi. As a Gunnersmate his battle station was the port 20MM cannon. He was wounded in one particular ambush when his column of boats was escorting two Army LCM-8 craft on a return trip to Dong Tam. In July 1969 Dewey was transferred to Zippo-5 and saw a lot of action up near the Cambodian border. Following the completion of his first year, Dewey volunteered to stay on for a second tour. He attended “Tropical Lightning Sniper School” and functioned as a Navy Sniper out of Go Dau Ha. His third tour was aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, which included 2 WestPac cruises. Dewey’s most cherished enlistment was in God’s Army in 1994 while on a short-term Christian mission trip to S.E. Asia with MRFA member Mike Harris (T-152-1). That enlistment brought him hope, peace and comfort. Dewey has 3 surviving sons. You may contact the family by writing Dewey’s brother: C. Bruce Cornwall, 1200 Friendship Way, Culpepper, VA 22071-4343
Michael E. Levis
Michael E. Levis passed away May 17, 2001. Michael served in (HHC) 3rd/47th as an S-3 from 12/67-12/68. You may contact the family C/O Marlene Levis, 602 Duke Rd., New Milford, NJ 07646 201-634-1464 Email: email@example.com
Robert “The Saint” St. Martin
Member Bob St. Martin, SFC-P US Navy (Ret.), passed away March 4th, from a sudden heart attack. Bob was one of the founding members of the MRFA and was on the first board of directors and was very instrumental in putting the association together. He was also extremely helpful in getting the CCB-18 off-loaded when the boat arrived in San Diego. Bob served on the USS Benewah (APB-35) 1966–1968. Bob was a true friend and shipmate and was always there for his fellow man. He will be truly missed by all who knew him.. You may contact the family C/O Tanya St. Martin, 8303 Hydra Ln., San Diego, CA 92126 858-586-1459 firstname.lastname@example.org
Harold Domanski, A-151-3, 10/68-10/69, recently passed away. You may contact the Domanski Family, 33 Library NE #510, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. Ph: 616-913-9011
Ray Layman passed away May 22, 2002. He was in 2nd Plt. C Co./4th/47th from Ft. Riley, KS to Vietnam. Ray was beyond a doubt an excellent and respected soldier… a true “Old Reliable.” He was seriously wounded on VC island in April, 1967. Ray will not be forgotten. You may contact the family C/O June Layman, 5275 Deer Ridge, Mentor, OH 44060 or email: Jlayman24@aol.com. Information was furnished by Bill Reynolds.
BM1 Donald Truman
BM1 Donald Truman USN (Ret.) passed away 3/4/02 from a heart attack.. Boats served on Tango-112-5 as boat captain from 1966 to 1967. Boats was buried with full military honors at Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Springfield, MO. You may contact the family C/O Barbara Truman, 913 E. Holl, Springfield, MO 65803 or email: email@example.com
Robert E. Moran
Robert Moran, T-92-1 passed away April 29,2002.
You may contact his wife Jan at:
1226 Crestwood Drive, Cleburne TX 76031-4638.
Member William Zieger passed away 12-14-2001 after a long battle with diabetes. Bill served with River Interdiction Division 45 1970-71. You may contact the family at 1197 Pond Cypress Dr., Virginia Beach, VA 23455 Phone: 804-490-3909
Member Curtis Hall passed away on January 20, 2002. He was buried at sea. He was with RivRon 15, Z-152-2 (1968-69) and he was a MRFA plank owner member since April 1993. You may contact the family c/o Mrs. Kinko Hall, 32548 Crescent Ave., Lake Elsinore, CA 92530-0545, Phone: 909-674-2235
Joe O’Keefe passed away in the early part of 2002. He served on the USS Washtenaw County from 1963-66. You may contact the family c/o Faith O’Keefe, 305 Jones Road, Jacksonville, AR 72076, phone: 501-988-9862.
Member Victor Camarillo USN Ret. passed away unexpectedly June 4, 2002. Victor served in IUWG-1-2 Cam Rahn Bay 1967-1969. Victor was a warm and caring person who loved all his shipmates and was very active in the VFW, American Legion, FRA, MRFA, and the IUWG Association. Victor was buried June 8, 2002 in Stockbridge, GA. You may contact the family C/O Lois Nevels, 116 Northwind Dr., Stockbridge, GA, Phone: 770-507-6794, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Victor was looking forward to visiting his shipmates in San Diego… Please remember him…. Lois Nevels
George Guthy passed away on June 12, 2002. George served in A Co./3rd/60th and was a proud member of the MRFA and one of its founding members. George was the recipient of the Silver Star while serving with the MRF in Vietnam. He was buried with full military honors and will surely be missed by all who knew him and served with him. You may contact the family c/o Rosa M. Guthy, 18 Laddie Rd., Middletown, NY 10941, Phone: 914-692-4206
Member Michael O’Hanlon passed away July 10, 2002. Michael was killed in a mountain fall. He was a lifelong mountaineer and would not have wanted to go any other way. Michael attended our San Diego reunion and had a wonderful time. Michael served in RivRon 11 as COS Officer, 1967-68. You may contact the family C/O Susan Tichy O’Hanlon, P.O. Box 357, Westcliffe, CO. 81252, Phone: 719-783-2244, email: email@example.com
David Hearn, beloved member of the CCB-18 work party, and friend to everyone he met, passed away August 5, 2002 after a bought with cancer. David and his twin brother Dutch both traveled over 120 miles a month just to come down and help with the restoration effort of the CCB-18 at Coronado’s Naval Amphibious Base. Prior to the movement of the boat to San Diego, they often traveled north from the Los Angeles area to the Sacramento river delta to work on the boat. David was extremely proud to be a part of the work party and he will be missed by all who knew him. You may contact Dutch Hearn at P.O. Box 800598, Santa Clarita, CA 91380, Phone: 661-713-4655, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CDR Jim Williams
CDR Jim Williams, USN Ret, passed away in June of 2002. CDR Williams served on the staff of ComRivFlot-One from Sept. 1966 to Jan. 1968.. Cdr Williams was very instrumental in putting the MRF TF-117 together. You may contact the family C/O Rosemarie C. Williams 852 Cullumber St., Gilbert, AZ 85234, Phone: 480-892-2222
Member Walter Jeske Passed away August 17, 2002, from lung cancer. Walter served in A/CO3rd/47th Inf. 10/67 3rd/68. You may contact the family C/O Joshua Jeske (Son), N8024 Lake Breeze Drive Sherwood, WI 54169 – E-mail: email@example.com The family would love to hear from anyone who served with Walter.
Jerry “Pappy” Ashcraft
Jerry “Pappy” Ashcraft passed away October 18, 2000, from complications he had from a recent stroke. Pappy served on CCB-111-1 in 1966-67. Pappy was a good family man and worshiped his wife, kids, and grandchildren. You may contact the family C/O 4801 N. State St., Space #-8, Ukiah, CA 95482 Phone: 707-485-7541, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Pappy was buried at the Ukiah Cemetery, 141 Low Gap Rd. Ukiah, CA. CCB-111-1 was the Command Boat of LCDR Dusty Rhodes.
Sam Bellamy CS1, USS Benewah (APB-35), passed away June-6-2002. He was living in Virginia Beach, VA. Sam was born 1-27-1927 and served on the USS Benewah from 8/66 to 4/68. Sam was a good man and great Ship’s Cook. May he rest in peace..
CDR W.R. Colthurst
CDR W.R. Colthurst (USN Ret.) – XO USS Askari (ARL-30) from 1969-71, passed away recently. You may contact the family C/O 808 de la Fayette Ct., Virginia Beach, VA 23455, Phone: 751-571-1502
Don Griffin passed away October 31, 2002, from a heart attack. Don served in RivRon 11 from 2/68 & 2/69. You may contact the family C/O Tammy Griffin RR-2, Box 176, Abernathy, TX 79311 Phone: 806-298-5696
Jimmy F. Austin
Jimmy F. Austin, former GMG1, from Orlando, FL, passed away in November 2002. Jimmy was born in 1934 in Georgia and served in RivDiv-111 from 1968 to 1969. We don’t have an address for the family. Jimmy had been in ill health for a number of years. May he rest in peace…
George Sanchez, former BM2, and boat captain of A-111-3, and also Tango boats in RivRon’s 9 and 15, passed away November 22, 2002, due to cancer. George was also in the Coast Guard after leaving the Navy in 1971 and retired as a CWO-2 in 1984. George received the Bronze Star and will be remembered for his great sense of humor. He was adept at keeping up the spirits of his crew and will be missed by all who knew him.
Captain Walter (Jack) Deal
Captain Walter (Jack) Deal passed away December 18, 2002 from pneumonia as a complication of dementia and after a 2 1/2 yrs. battle he’s finally at peace. His son Matt states his Dad always talked fondly and with great pride of the men of RivRon-15. MRFA member Mike Harris remembers Captain Deal as a stalwart leader who most of us did not hesitate to follow. Captain Deal as “Commander Deal” trained and shipped over with River Assault Squadron 15 in 1968, where he became ComRivRon-15. Captain Deal was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. You may contact the family C/O Betty Deal, 23 Duchess Ct., Southampton, NJ 08088, Phone: 609-859-1240, Email: EMDeal130@aol.com
Stanley Gankiewicz (Guam) passed away on August 12, 2002. The unit was 9th Infantry. Linda Gankiewicz, PO Box 4281 AAFB BR Yigo GUAM 96929.
Commander Charles Smith
Commander Charles Smith CO of the USS Tioga County passed away in November of 2002. Commander Smith was a ex-White Hat who had made his way up through the ranks and retired as a full Commander. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam In Vietnam Commander Smith was CO of the USS Tioga County in support of the MRF sailors and 9th Infantry Division soldiers. You may contact the family C/O Mrs. Charles Smith 55 E. Sierra Way. Chula Vista, CA. 91911. email@example.com
Member Bill Case passed away February 5, 2003 after a long battle with cancer complicated by diabetes. Bill served on the USS Luzerne County (LST- 902) – 1965-67 as an EMFN. You may contact the family C/O 10 Blood St. Amsterdam, NY. 12010. 518-842-2076
BM1 Guy Dail – T-112-1 has passed away. No date or address is available. The information was submitted by crewmate Bill Frede.
ABM3 John Maness – T-112-2 has passed away. No date or address is available. The information was submitted by crewmate Bill Frede.
David A. Lopez
David Albert Lopez, age 62, passed away peacefully on February 27, 2003. He volunteered for duty in Vietnam arriving in February 1967 to serve with the 9th Infantry Division. He spent a total of three years in Vietnam and rose from the rank of PFC to SSgt in one year. David’s military career spanned 25 years and he retired in 1985 as a Sergeant First Class.
Richard A. Relf
Richard passed away on 01/08/03. He served aboard the USS Jennings County (08/66 – 10/67). He was a member of the MRFA since 1996. You may contact his family at: 2918 Forest Circle, Seffner, FL 33548-5771 (813) 657-3436
Homer G. Helms, Sr.
Homer, a retired Boatswains Mate 1st Class and former crewmember of A-152-3, passed away on 11/15/02. His widow, Vearl C. Helms, and family may be reached at 1253 Huntsmoor Dr, Gastonia, NC 28054 (704) 865-6028
Stanley Jones, III
Stanley Jones, III served with River Assault Squadron 15 onboard ATC-47. At this point we don’t have any further information on his death or family.
Floyd passed away on November 21, 2002. He was with HQ 3rd/60th Infantry from September 1966 to October 1967. Mrs. Payne may be reached at: 3382 S Granby St Aurora CO 80014-3951 – (303) 690-5241
Doyle K. Steen
Chief Petty Officer Steen, 66, passed away on April 20, 2003. His 22 year naval career included service with River Assault Squadron 13 in 1968-69. Folks can contact Chief Steen’s family C/O Mona F. Steen 532 Lavender Ln., Virginia Beach, VA, 23462 – (757) 499-2832
Lawrence G. Howe
Larry passed away August 31st, 2002 of a heart attack in his home. He leaves behind a wife, Irene, and 2 children, Sandra and David, along with 2 Grandchildren, Danielle and Marcus. Larry served in the army 3 years, and the navy for 20 years. He also spent 20 years in civil service. Larry was a member of the VFW and the American Legion along with several other Associations to include the Mobile Riverine Force Association. He served in the Korean War as well as the Viet Nam war. Larry was a great man in the eyes of his family and friends. He will be greatly missed. You may contact the family at email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Member Tom Swanick passed away June 25, 2003 due to to Agent Orange. Tom served on the USS White River LSMR-536 as a GMG3 1965-1968. He was a loyal and supportive member of the MRFA. You may contact the family C/O 28 Parker St. APT-C Manchester, NH. 03102 603-623-2199
Kenneth served with IUWG-2. At this time we do no have the date of his passing or authority from the family regarding contact information.
Member Ted Arbogast GMGC USN (Ret). passed away August 4, 2003 from a stroke. Ted served on CCB-111-1 1/67-1/68. You may contact the family C/O P.O. Box 58 Slater, MO. 65349. 660-784-2303. Note: From Gunner Stanley: “Ted Arbogast was a leader of men who took care of his men and was a excellent sailor in all regards. It was a honor to have served with him on CCB-111-1. May he rest in peace.”
MRFA Member Don Grier Passed away recently from an automobile accident. He served on Alpha-91-4 1968-69. Don will be cremated today September 18, 2003. You may contact the family C/O: Cecilia M. Grier, 20 Academy St., Spencer, NY 14883 / 607-589-4095. Don was a Plankowner member having joined the MRFA in 1992. E-mail N/A
ENC Nichols served in the U.S. Army from 1951-55 with service in the Korean War. He then served with the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 1973. While in Vietnam from 11/69 to 10/70 Chief Nichols was attached to STABRON 20. You can contact his family by emailing his son Steven at: email@example.com
Shawn passed away December 1, 2003. He served with D/Co 3/47th in 1968-69. You may contact the family C/O Colleen Huber, 29960 Thornhill Dr., Sun City, CA 92586 – (909) 679-6684 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill served aboard A-111-7 from June 1967 to June 1968. You may contact his family C/O: 12415 SW 15th Terrace, Yukon, OK 73099 – 405-324-0250
William was stationed with E Company 709th Maintenance Battalion from 1/67 to 11/67. He was a Member of the MRFA since November 2000. You may contact his widow by mail: 3 D Doreset Court, Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
Sgt. James “Jungle Jim” Eder served with B/Co/4th/47th. He passed away in January 2003. Jim was from Stonesboro, PA.
Kevin served on the USS Benewah (APB-35) at Subic Bay in 1972. He passed away on December 3, 2002.
Dave served on the ComRivFlot-One Staff in 1969. He passed away from cancer in 1989. You may contact Dave’s family C/O Fred Schenker/U.S. Army (Ret.) – 795 Burnside Dr., Gettysburg, PA 17325 – (719) 334-4841 – email@example.com
CDR Charles L. Smith
We received a note from Mildred Smith that her husband, CDR Charles L. Smith, USN (Ret) CO USS Tioga County (1966-68) passed away November 30, 2003. Mildred’s address is: 55 E Sierra Way, Chula Vista CA 91911-1511 – 619-427-1439
Captain Peveril Blundell
Captain Blundell served at ComRivRon 13. He passed away on October 9, 2003. His wife, Henry Etta can be reached at: 2055 Village Park Dr., Peachtree City, GA 30269-2983
Dennis passed away on December 19, 2003. He served with Task Force 115 – Market Time at An Thoi from April 1965 to June 1966. You may contact his widow, Katherine Hughes, at: 12300 W Joliet Rd, Manhattan IL 60552 – (708)-258-3095 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry R. Petersen
Terry passed away on September 29, 2003. He was a crewmember on board M-91-1 from August 1968 to February 1969. Terry’s brother Jim writes, “He was proud to be a member of your organization.” You can contact his brother, James Petersen, at: 27074 Pembridge LN, Farmington Hills, MI 48331
Captain Charles Robert Folkert
Captain Folkert passed away of a probable Abdominal Aneurysm on November 22, 2002. He served with HHQ, 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division from January 1967 to January 1968 as a Chemical officer. Captain Folkert also served with the 2nd Brigade HHQ staff onboard the USS Benewah (APB-35) in 1967. You may contact the family C/O Linda Folkert, 1813 Long Dr. Waynesville, MO 65583 – (573) 774-6659 email@example.com
Dave passed away on October 6, 2003. While in Vietnam he served with 1st Platoon, A Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry from January 1969 to January 1970. Dave’s widow, Maureen, can be contacted at: 1112 Weller Ave, La Porte, In 46350-2935
Robert M. Hill
Robert pass away on October 18, 2003 due to a heart attack. While in Vietnam he served with the 9th Aviation/9th Infantry Division during 1968-69. Robert is survived by his daughter Robin Hill. May he rest in peace.
The association received word from Michael’s mother that Michael passed away on May 14, 2002. He served onboard the USS Union from 03/68-07/69). You may contact his mother, Mrs. Maureen Stephenson, at: 3775 Lakewood Dr, Cincinnati, Oh 45246-3121
Lanny Jarvis passed away on November 9, 2002. While in Vietnam Lanny served with AIRCOFAT/NSA Saigon from December 1968 to December 1969. You may contact the family C/O Mrs. Ellen Jarvis, 131 N Comanche St, Sallisaw, OK 74955 – (918) 775-6116
Leroy Thorsen passed away from a massive heart attack on September 8, 2002. While in Vietnam Leroy served on the USS Askari (ARL-30) from December 1965 to October 1968. You may contact the family C/O Judy Thorsen, 11930 46th St SE, Fingal, ND 58031 – (701) 924-8389
H. Spencer Matthews, Jr.
Rear Admiral H. Spencer Matthews, Jr. (USN Ret.) died on Tuesday, September 24, 2002. He was the first Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP) to be promoted to flag rank in the Navy.
Born in Clarksville, Arkansas, on May 5, 1921.
Following two years in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), he enlisted in the Navy on April 15, 1940. After “boot camp” training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Illinois, he was transferred to the Navy’s fighter training Squadron FIVE at Pensacola, Florida, (Saufley Field).
In October 1940 he and his squadron were transferred to Miami, Florida, where they opened Naval Air Station, Opa Locka, Florida. Having won a state high school typing contest (120 wpm on a manual typewriter) he served as a yeoman striker until just before Pearl Harbor when he became aviation mechanics mate. His greatest promotion in his 33 years of naval service was when he sewed on that “crow” as AMM3c in August 1941.
In November 1942, he commenced enlisted flight training in the 12th Bn. at the University of Georgia. He graduated number one in his class at the University of over 500 aviation cadets and about 40 enlisted pilot trainees. He received his wings of gold as a naval aviation pilot (AP1c) on August 15, 1942. Two weeks later he was promoted to Ensign. He completed operational training in the PBY-1 and the PB4Y-1 (Navy version of the B-24). In operational training he received a Navy Commendation for being the first student to complete the celestial navigation course with the perfect grade of 4.0.
After the end of the war in Europe he became a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent River, Maryland. While there he became Naval Jet Aviator number 110. He was a graduate of the first test pilot class at Patuxent River in 1947. After a tour in VP-5, flying PV-2s and P2V-1s he attended Tulane University in New Orleans. During his 22 months (six semesters) he received his B.S. degree, Phi Beta Kappa, and was awarded the Annual Glendy Burke Award as the most outstanding student in the field of mathematics, his major. He attended the Naval War College for one year in 1957-58, and in 1965 spent a summer at Oxford University in England. In 1951-2, he attended the Naval Postgraduate School, General Line Course where he graduated first in his class of 505 naval officers.
He flew 50 combat missions in Europe in the PB4Y-1, was the assistant air boss on a CVE Salerno Bay during Korea, and served five combat tours in the Vietnam War (three aboard carriers on Yankee Station in the South China Sea, one as the commanding officer of an amphibious ship and one in country as Rear Admiral as the deputy commander of U.S. Navy Forces Vietnam and as the Vice Chief of the Vietnamese navy.
In 1953 the Admiral transferred from patrol planes to carrier aircraft. As the executive officer he commissioned VA-76, 1955, in Air Task Group (Wing) 202. In 1955 and 1956 he was “Top Gun” at the Fleet Air Gunnery Unit (FAGU), El Centro, CA. His squadron VA-76, was in Air Group ONE on the first deployment of the Navy’s first “Supercarrier”, USS Forrestal (CVA-59).
During his naval service the Admiral commanded: Attack Squdron 113, flying A4D-2s, (1957-8), Carrier Air Group TWO abord USS Midway (CVA-41), USS Hermitage (LSD-34), USS Independence (CVA-62), as a Rear Admiral the Naval Aviation Basic Training Command at Pensacola, FL, and as the deputy commander of Naval Forces in Vietnam and Vice Chief of the Vietnamese navy, commanded all USN and Vietnamese Riverine foreces in the “brown water navy” in Vietnam.
From Vietnam he was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations where he became the first head of the Aviation Training Divisions and aircraft carrier division, where he was responsible for the major introduction of Flight Simulators into training commands and the fleet. He retired from the Navy in August 1973, after over 33 years naval service.
During his 33 years service the Admiral, while enlisted, was a plane captain on the O3U-1, F4B-4, F2F and F3F, F2A, BTD, BT2D. TBD. NJ-1 and SBC-3&4. As a naval aviator, he flew the N2S, SNV, SNJ, P2Y, PBY-1, PB4Y and 2, Spitfire (England), F8F-1, BT2D-1, YP-59A (1st navy jet), AD, F2H (Banshee), F9F-8, FJ-4B. F4H-1 Phantom, A4D, and his last carrier landing was in the F4H-1 Phantom at night aboard USS Midway in WESPAC, in 1963.
His 36 medals and awards include: the Distinguished Service Medal (v), the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (v), 11 Air Medals, both the JCS and Navy Commendation Medals, and 12 Foreign Medals, including the highest awards given by South Vietnam and Cambodia.
The Admiral almost avoided being in an aircraft accident during his service, but not quite! His Army command helicopter (warrant officer pilot) crashed into the Mekong River in Vietnam when the engine failed on take off from one of his fire bases in the Delta of Vietnam.
William Graessle passed away in April 2001. SK1 Graessle spent his tour in Vietnam in the Supply Center at Binh Thuy keeping track of our STAB spare parts. He put 22 years into the active Navy and 20 more years into Civil Service in the field of Navy Education and Special Warfare. You may contact the family at: Rita Graessle, 608 Old Post Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
Donato Frank Capasso
BM3 Donato Frank Capasso passed away May 17, 2002 due to Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular disease. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 13 onboard A-132-10 and then River Assault Flotilla One, Detachment Dong Tam during 1969-70.
Emmett J. Learn
Emmett J. Learn, RM2, passed away on November 22, 2002. While in Vietnam he served as an RM2 on board the USS Benewah (APB-35) from 1966 to 1968. You may contact the family C/O: Leta Sue Learn, 20 Hickory St, North Liberty, IA 52317 – (319) 626-3015 or (319) 626-9148
Ira G. Fisackerly
BM2 Ira G. Fisackerly (USN Ret.) passed away on April 28, 2002. While in Vietnam he served on the USS Benewah (APB-35) from 1967 to 1968.
Alfred J. Muraska
Alfred J. Muraska, BM1, passed away on March 25, 2001. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 111 onboard M-111-1.
James L. Carroll
James L. Carroll, BM1, passed away on May 26, 2001. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 15.
Jonah L. Baker
Jonah L. Baker, BM1, passed away on September 24, 2001. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 111 onboard M-111-3.
Joseph Broverio, Jr.
Joseph Broverio, Jr., BM1, passed away on April 23, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 111 in 1966-67.
Mac E. Baltrip
Mac E. Baltrip, BM2, passed away on May, 20, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112.
George A. Fryer
George A. Fryer passed away on December 29, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112.
Carl R. Mohr
Carl R. Mohr, SN, passed away on April 26, 2003. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 111 onboard C-111-1.
William D. DeMoss
William D. DeMoss, BM1, passed away on October 19, 2003. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 111 onboard M-111-3.
Stephen B. Fuller
Stephen B. Fuller, BM3, passed away on January 13, 2001. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 9, River Assault Division 91.
Ulysses Harrison passed away on December 26, 2003. While in Vietnam he served with a River Assault Squadron, but at this time we are not sure which unit.
Alfred W. Wilkins
BMC Alfred W. Wilkins passed away on December 19, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 15 – River Assault Division 151 aboard T-151-11.
Johnny C. Gillespie
Johnny C. Gillespie passed away on November 22, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112 onboard T-112-7, T-112-9 and A-112-5. Johnny was residing in Lawrenceville, GA at the time of his passing.
These former 3rd Battalion – 47th Infantry – 9th Infantry Division soldiers were identified as deceased by Associate Member Judy Weeks. If you have more information them then let our MRFA Webmaster know and he will add the data:
Justice David J. – May 2002
Hornyak Robert – October 2002
Sanson August – July 2002
Vansant Richard – July 2003
Wadie Marvin Moore
BM1 Wadie Marvin Moore, (U. S. Navy Ret) passed away on January 9, 2003. “Boats” served on Swift Boats with TF-115 in 1967-1968. Following that tour of duty Wadie served at Cat Lo with IUWG-1 from 1968 to 1969.
“May our Brother rest in peace. He was a good friend and shipmate.” – Albert
Norman Robertson passed away on February 12, 2002. While in Vietnam he served with 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division.
Allison E. Brown
“Thanks to everyone who has helped me with the search for Chief Allison E. Brown. Apparently he is deceased, which I was very sorry to hear.” – Barry Stevenson (EN2 – M-111-2)
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.
And ‘tho sometimes, to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened,
For they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer
For old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer,
For a soldier died today.
He will not be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary
And quite uneventful life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing,
Though a soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories,
From the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
A guy who breaks his promises
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who,
In times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country
And offers up his life?
The politician’s stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are sometimes disproportionate
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps, a pension small.
It’s so easy to forget them
For it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country
Went to battle, but we know,
It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our Country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician
With his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier,
Who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country
And would fight until the end?
He was just a common soldier
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict,
Then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor
While he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline
In a paper that would say:
Our Country is in, mourning,
For a soldier died today.