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
Leonard F. Keller
Member Leonard F. Keller passed away on October 18, 2009 following a motorcycle accident. While in Vietnam he served with Company A, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1967-68. On May 2, 1967 Sergeant Keller performed with “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” and earned the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. The award was presented to him on September 19, 1968 by President Lyndon Johnson.
Robert Charles Bartlett
CDR Robert Charles Bartlett (USN Ret.) Passed away on March 21, 2009 due to a heart attack and complications from COPD. While in Vietnam Commander Bartlett, as LT Bartlett, was Commander River Division 152 and also Task Force Element 126.96.36.199 in 1969-1970. You may contact Edith Bartlett C/O: 3204 Batter Sea LN. Alexandria, VA. 22309
Member Michael Pacholka passed away on January 16, 2009 after fighting a long and courageous battle. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112 as a 20 MM gunner onboard boat C-112-1 from January 1967 to February 1968. You may contact the family C/O: Betty Pacholka, 4239 Shawnee Trail, Jamestown, OH 45335 – (937) 675-6142
“God has called him home. I know for a fact that Mike is now with our Lord. We lived and served together for a year in Vietnam. We spent our time in hell. Mike will be missed by so many of us.” – Reverend Larry Lyons
Michael Joseph Salaba
Member Michael Joseph Salaba passed away on February 11, 2009 after a long fight with kidney cancer. While in Vietnam, he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112 as a .50 caliber machine gunner aboard A-112-4. Towards the end of his tour in February 1969, Mike was medically evacuated after taking a devastating hit in his shoulder. You may contact the family C/O: Lurae Salaba, 1318 James Street, Fairfield, CA 94533 – (707) 426-1090 – firstname.lastname@example.org
“Another Muddy Water Brother makes it back to the Big Blue. It took me 35 years to find him again and then only through the efforts of the MRFA. Since our first reunion together 5 years ago, we’ve enjoyed many more. For all who remember him, Mike was a big man, with an even bigger heart, I will miss him greatly “Guns Up” Mike, blue water ahead……” – Christopher Emerson, CWO USA (Ret) – (RM3-the voice of Plain Genius A-4)
John F. Gilhooley
Member John F. Gilhooley passed away on January 23, 2009. While in Vietnam he was stationed onboard the USS Westchester County from December 1966 to February 1968. You may contact the family C/O: Susan Gilhooley, 5409 Sunfield Ave, Lakewood CA 90712-1853 – (562) 634-2380
Geraldo “Jerry” Gapol (1st Sgt – U.S. Army Ret.) passed away in his sleep on May 23, 2009 after fighting cancer for 16 years. While in Vietnam he served in A Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from July 1966 to December 1967. You may contact the family C/O: 1694 Hooheno St., Pearl City, HI 96782 – (808) 455-2105
“My father valued your friendship and was happy through this you touched his life. Mahalo (thank you) for your friendship throughout the years.” – Daughter Judy Aranaydo
David B. Alderman
Member David B. Alderman passed away on April 1, 2009 following a 2-year battle with colon cancer. While in Vietnam he served in A Company, 3rd Battalion, 39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from September 1967 to September 1968. You may contact the family C/O: Laurie E. Alderman, PO Box 760, Westwood, CA 96137 – (530) 256-2254 – Alderman1@citlink.net
Member Jon Randall passed away on April 29, 2009 after being ill for several years. While in Vietnam, he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – River Assault Division 112 as the coxswain onboard C-112-1 from December 1966 to April 1968. You may contact the family c/o Sara Randall, 277 Covington Dr., Hiram, GA 30141 770-943-4159.
“Jon was really looking forward to the next reunion. He will be missed. He was my good friend and fellow boat crew member.” – Reverend Larry J. Lyons
Robert L. Taylor
Member Robert L. Taylor recently passed away. While in Vietnam Robert served onboard the USS Washoe County (LST-1165) from April 1965 to April 1967. You may contact the family C/O: Cindy Taylor, 657 Tawa Ct, Prescott, AZ 86301-5871 – (928) 443-1670 – email@example.com.
Member Larry Hunter passed away on April 9, 2009 after a long battle with cancer related to Agent Orange. While in Vietnam he served on the USS White River (LSMR-536) as as Ships Cook (CS3) in 1966 and 1967. Larry was a MRFA board member for many years and was always there when called upon to assist. He also took a lot on his own by putting the word out at the local VA hospital and Veteran posts about the USS White River and the Mobile Riverine Force Association. He was really a good friend and shipmate and will be missed. You may contact the family C/O: Ruthie Hunter or son Andrew Hunter, 6363 Winding Way, Maineville, OH 45039 – (513) 677-2581 – Lhunter536@aol.com
“Two weeks ago when I visited Larry, he wrote on a piece of paper how much he enjoyed the cards, letters, e-mails, and phone calls from his shipmates, and when we talked of the White River his eyes lit up. Thanks to each and every one of you for remembering your shipmate and helping him bring back fond memories and his family is very thankful also.” – Shipmate Tim Woolums
Michael E. Schaming
Michael E. Schaming passed away on March 2, 2009. While in Vietnam he served with Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1968-69. You may contact the family C/O: Edward Schaming, 159 Highland RD., Tarpon Springs, Fl. 34689 – (727) 504-8317
Gary D. Roberts
Member Gary D. Roberts passed away from cancer on August 14, 2009. While in Vietnam he served with Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1968-69. You may contact the family C/O: Jean Roberts, 1404 County Road, Blue Springs, MS 38828 – (662) 534-3949 – firstname.lastname@example.org
“Gary was with the 1st Platoon and eventually he became one of our Snipers. He was good man and Brother. I, and many others, will miss him always.” – In Brotherhood Bob Doc Pries
Benjamin Acevedo Jr.
Benjamin “Ace” Acevedo Jr. passed away on August 13, 2009. While in Vietnam he served with Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1966-67. You may contact the family C/O: Janey Acevedo, 8308 W Falls Pl, Kennewick, WA 99336
Julian J. Ewell
Lt. General Julian J. Ewell (USA Ret.) passed away on July 27, 2009 at the age of 93. He graduated from the United States Military Academy, West Point Class of 1939. During WWII, Julian parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division before dawn on June 6, 1944. LTG Ewell received the Distinguished Service Cross for his leadership and heroism at the Battle of Bastogne. Later he commanded the 9th Infantry “Manchu” Regiment of the 8th Army during the Korean War. During the Vietnam War, he commanded the 9th Infantry Division followed by command of the II Field Force, Vietnam and subsequently served as the military advisor to the Paris Peace delegation. Besides the DSC, his honors include four Distinguished Service Medals, Two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Two Legion of Merits, and many foreign decorations including the French Legion of Honor-Chevalier. Throughout his career, General Ewell was known for his leadership style, keen intellect, droll wit, devotion to his country, his men, and his profession. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
Member BMCM Ronald Salyer (USN Ret) passed away on July 26, 2009. Boats Salyer served with River Assault Squadron 13 – River Assault Division 131 onboard M-131-1 in 1968-69. You may contact the family C/O: 9410 Spring Valley Rd, Fries, VA 24330 – (540) 744-3893
Edward Risner passed away on July 13, 2009. While in Vietnam Sgt Risner served with Alpha Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from July 1968 to July 1969. You may contact the family C/O: Ann Reiser, 24115 W Albert Rd, Channahon, IL 60410-9440 – EJRF63@comcast.net
Leroy Clement, Jr.
Leroy Clement, Jr., passed away on July, 11, 2009. While in Vietnam he served with AIRCOFAT Detachment Saigon in 1970 and 1971. You may contact the family C/O: Ginny Clement, 990 W Ocotillo Rd Apt 1014, Chandler, AZ 85248-5709 – email@example.com
Member Alvin Carter passed away on June 7, 2009, following a long and courageous battle with Agent Orange related cancer. While in Vietnam, he served with 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 2nd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division from September 1967 to August 1968. You may contact the family C/O: Dorothy Carter, 11529 Lithia Pinecrest Rd, Lithia, FL 33547, 813-737-3661, Grandpa3113@att.net
“Al had been an MRFA member from our beginning in 1992. He was a great guy and will be missed by all whom served with him and knew him.” – Albert Moore
Doug (Doc) Bates
Doug “Doc” Bates passed away on June 3, 2009. While in Vietnam he served in Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from March 1969 to March 1970. Doug was the author of “Circles Around the Sun”. You may contact the family C/O: Debbie Bates, 920 Hillside Drive Cookeville, TN 38501-2849 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hung Woon Ahn
MSGT Hung Woon “Harold” Ahn (USA Ret.) passed away on May 31, 2009. He was a Korean-American who was born in Hawaii. Harold served in WWII, Korea as well as two tours in Vietnam. His first tour in Vietnam was with the 1st Cavalry and his second was with the 9th Infantry Division. While with the 9th ID he was originally posted to the LRRP Company (at that time designated E Company, 50th Infantry) but they would not let him go out on field operations due to his age (he was 42 at that time). He asked for a transfer to a rifle battalion and was assigned to E Company, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry. Harold was made the platoon Sergeant for Romeo Recon Platoon. He received his second Purple Heart while on patrol with Echo Recon. Later Harold went on to become the acting First Sergeant of the newly formed Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry. He was then transferred to Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 2/39th as a senior NCO in S3 Operations. Soon after the end of WWII, Harold served briefly with the 9th ID in Germany, so his second Vietnam tour was a bit of a homecoming for him.
SFC Harold Clark (USN Ret) passed away on February 2, 2009. Chief Clark served on the USS Benewah (APB-35) in 1967-68. You may contact the family C/O: Joe Clark, 2527 Webster St, Alexandria LA 71301 – email@example.com
“I’m proud of my father and the men he served with. I heard quite a few stories about his time in ‘Nam and the Benewah. I believe it changed his outlook on life.”
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.