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
A Soldier Died Today
Written by A. Lawrence Vaincourt
Harold S. Lee
Member Petty Officer 1st Class Harold S. Lee (USN Ret.) passed away on January 10, 2022. While in Vietnam onboard the USS Krishna (ARL-38) from January- December 1969. Harold is survived by his wife Verna
Member Daniel Diamond passed away in January 2022. While in Vietnam he served as a GMG onboard the USS White River (LSMR-536) from July 1968 to May 1970. – “Dan attended many MRFA Reunions over the years and I am sure he enjoyed them immensely.” – Shipmate Bill Brenna
Samuel Erskine Ferguson III
Member Samuel “Sam” Erskine Ferguson III passed away on January 18, 2022. His exposure to Agent Orange caused his progressive neurological disorder. While in Vietnam he served with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from January to October 1968. Sam is survived by his wife Michele
Johnny Lee Nelson
Member Johnny Lee Nelson passed away on February 1, 2022 following a long 3 year battle with Urothelial Bladder Cancer due to Agent Orange. While in Vietnam he served onboard the APL-26, a non-propelled Barracks Ship. Johnny is survived by his wife Linda. – “He always enjoyed reading the magazine and was a very proud Member of your organization.” – Lind
Lesley E. Simons
Former Member Lesley E. Simons passed away in early February 2020. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 13, River Assault Division 131 onboard T-131-4 from March to July 1969
Roy Dillard Spivey Jr.
Member Roy Dillard Spivey Jr. passed away on January 4, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from March 1967 to March 1968. He is survived by his wife Nancy
Member Captain Wade Tesar (USN Ret.) passed away on February 12, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Naval Support Activity, Danang from June 1968 to June 1969. Wade is survived by his wife of 29 years Denise
Ronald W. Ramsey
Former Member Ronald W. Ramsey passed away in February 2022. While in Vietnam he served onboard the USS White River (LSMR-536) as a LTJG Weapons Officer from October 1965 to August 1967. He is survived by his wife Marilyn.
Stanley H. Lambert
Member Stanley H. Lambert passed away on March 15, 2022. While in Vietnam he served onboard the USS Mark (AKL-12) as a Yeoman and 20mm gunner from October 1970 to July 1971. Stan was preceded in death by his beloved wife Lena
Patrick F. Ryan
Former Member Patrick F. “Pat” Ryan (USN Ret.) passed away on April 25, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 11 – Division 112 onboard T-112-10 & 11 in 1967. Pat served 20 years in the U.S. Navy and is survived by his spouse Charlotte
Michael R. Holcomb
Member Michael R. Holcomb passed away suddenly at his home on May 5, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Squadron 9 – River Assault Division 91 onboard T-91-5, the “Delta Queen”, as a Plankowner from October 1966 to December 1967
Lawrence Henry Dudley
Member Lawrence “Larry” Henry Dudley passed away due to Agent Orange related disabilities on April 16, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Bravo Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry from May to October 1969. Then he was transferred to Charlie Company, 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry for the remainder of his tour. Sadly Larry lost his wife of many years, Carolyn, 14 months earlier due to a sudden heart attack. – “Larry was wounded twice and was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for Valor, a Bronze Star for Valor as well as a Silver Star Medal.” – Fellow soldier Bruce Hierstein
John R. Balliet III
Member John R. “Jack” Balliet III passed away on May 27, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with River Assault Division 153 onboard A-54 from April 1969 to October 1970. John is survived by his wife Sandra.
Robert W. Phillips
Robert W. Phillips passed away on June 7, 2022. While in Vietnam he served on boats and then was transferred to a staff position with Coastal Division 11 at An Thoi from June 1969 to June 1970. Robert is survived by his wife Gerry
Stanley Cierlik passed away on June 22, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1968. He was seriously wounded on August 12th. Stanley’s wife, Karlyn, proceeded him in death. He is survived by his four children
Rodney Den Hollander
Member Rodney Den Hollander passed away on June 6, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from December 1968 to October 1969. Rodney is survived by his wife Beverly
James Christopher Sprehe
Former Member LTJG James Christopher Sprehe passed away on May 31, 2022. While in Vietnam he served as Chief Staff Officer and Operations Officer with River Assault Division 153 from June 1969 to June 1970. He was a Task Unit Commander in the Rung Sat Special Zone. James is survived by his wife Donna.
Loyless T. Wright Jr.
Member Loyless T. “Tom” Wright Jr. (US Army Ret.) passed away on June 1, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 60th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division in 1968-69. Tom is survived by his wife Brenda
William James Watton III
Member William James Watton III passed away on August 6, 2022. He initially served in the U.S. Army from 1961-64. After enlisting in the U.S. Navy William served in River Assault Squadron 13 – Division 132 onboard T-132-13 from May 1969 to May 1970
Kenneth William McGwin
Member Kenneth William McGwin passed away on July 10, 2022. While in Vietnam he served as a Machinist Mate onboard the USS Westchester County (LST-1167) from January 1968 to January 1969. Kenneth was aboard when the VC sabotaged the vessel on November 1, 1968. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal w/V for helping save two sailors who were trapped in their quarters. Kenneth is survived by his by his wife Dr. Julie Ann
Michael J. Kirby
Former Member Michael J. Kirby passed away on October 7, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Alpha Company 6th Battalion, 31st Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from June 1969 to October 1970
Milton Thomas Estrella
Member Milton Thomas Estrella passed away in October 29, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Alpha Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division from June 1966 to July 11, 1967 when he was seriously wounded and medically discharged. Milton was preceded in death by, Georgia, his beloved wife of 45 years.
Donald Anderson passed away on September 26, 2022. While in Vietnam he served with Delta Company, 3rd Platoon, 15th Combat Engineers, 9th Infantry Division from August 1967 to August 1968.
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.