The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

June/July 2002
FROM THE NATIONAL CHAPLAIN
   
 

Taps

BY REV. PHIL SALOIS, M.S.

William Bickerstaff, 57, died January 15 in Chester, New York, after a heart attack. He served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War with the 1st Infantry Division in Lai Khe from 1966-68.  He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Pleasantville Chapter 49. 

Richard A. "Gooch'' Caruso, 65, died December 26, 2001, in Saint Marys, Pennsylvania, from cancer. He served in the U.S. Army in the Far East and Europe from 1959-65. He worked at Arlington National Cemetery. Caruso was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-St. Marys Chapter 729.  

Kerry Nance died March 2 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at the age of 50. Nance served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and received the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal, nine Air Medals, three Purple Hearts, and the Combat Infantryman Badge. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Chattanooga Chapter 203.  

Lillian C. Roberts died February 15 in Merrillville, Indiana.  Roberts was a member of Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America-Merrillville Chapter 285.

Charles Anderson died recently in Delaware. Anderson was an associate member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Newark (Delaware) Chapter 83.

Gary Brewer committed suicide on March 6. He was a resident of Georgia and a member of Vietnam Veterans of America.

Milton E. Bryant, 63, died March 22 in Stuart, Florida, from occlusive coronary atherosclerosis. Bryant was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He served as a Veterans Service Officer for Martin County, Florida, and was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Stuart Chapter 127.

Gerald Canatsey died March 24 from cancer. Canatsey served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam and was assigned to the Third Marine Division 2/26th. He was a survivor of the Siege of Khe Sanh. Canatsey was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Lawrence Chapter 295.

Everett E. DeMoss, 73, died February 5 in Lisbon, North Dakota. DeMoss joined the U.S. Air Force in 1946. He worked as a supervisor for the laundry and housekeeping departments at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon. He served as mayor of Lisbon from 1974-82. DeMoss was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Mayville Chapter 374.

Richard Gott died recently in Delaware. Gott was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Newark (Delaware) Chapter 83.

Stephen C. Grant died January 4 in Ohio. Grant was a veteran of the Vietnam War. He was a member and secretary for six years of Vietnam Veterans of America-Jackson (Ohio) Chapter 634.

Stanley "Jack'' Holloway, 54, died December 3, 2000, in Ossian, Indiana, after an extended illness. Holloway served in the U.S. Army with the Green Berets from 1965-68. He served in Vietnam from 1967-68. He was a Military Policeman with the 89th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and a recipient of the Bronze Star. Holloway was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bluffton Chapter 698.

David J. Holton died March 27 in San Diego, California. Holton was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-San Diego Chapter 472.

Wayne Larsen died March 14 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A veteran of the Vietnam War, he was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Green Bay Chapter 224.

Jack Lopinson, 64, died April 17 in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. Lopinson served in the U.S. Army with the 81st Airborne Division. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Graterford (Incarcerated) Chapter 466.

Donald Duane Mahon, 49, died November 4, 2000, in Poneto, Indiana, from a heart attack. Mahon served in the U.S. Army, with service in Vietnam from 1969-70. His last duty assignment was the 379th Signal Battalion USAR SUPTHAI. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bluffton Chapter 698.

William T. Matson, 57, died April 28 in Des Plaines, Illinois, from congestive heart failure. Matson served in the U.S. Army, retiring at the rank of sergeant first class in 1989. He was on active duty for ten years and in the Army Reserves for ten years. He had two overseas tours, one in Germany and the other from 1968-69 with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade. Matson was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Des Plaines Chapter 311, serving two terms as its President. He also served on its Board of Directors and was the commander of the Chapter Color Guard.

Larry Morse died May 4 as the result of a motorcycle accident in Oklahoma. Morse, a veteran of the Vietnam War, was a Charter Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Choteau Chapter 873.

Michael S. Murdy committed suicide on March 28 in Carpinteria, California. Murdy served in the U.S. Army with service in Vietnam with an Armored Unit as a tank driver. Murdy was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Santa Barbara Chapter 218.

Dale Wayne Neely, 54, died March 2 in Houston. Neely served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War assigned to the 25th Infantry Division (Mechanized). A disabled veteran, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bacliff Chapter 770.

William Lawson Parks, 56, died April 20 in Nassawadox, Virginia, from cardiac problems. After 20 years, Parks retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of Sergeant. He served in Vietnam from 1967-68. Parks was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Onley Chapter 614.

Clarence E. Peckinpaugh, Jr., 69, died April 5 in Lawton, Oklahoma. Peckinpaugh retired from the U.S. Army at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4 in November 1981. His military tours took him to Germany, Japan, and Korea, as well as stateside. Peckinpaugh was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Lawton Chapter 751.

William "Smiley'' Ross, 51, died February 17 in Dallas. Ross served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. He was a Charter Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Dallas Chapter 117.

John Allen "Ski'' Selensky, 66, died March 21 in Houston. Selensky served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bacliff Chapter 770. The chapter conducted a memorial service for him at the Spillway Park Pavilion in San Leon.

Morrill T. H. Warren, 91, died March 16 in Bloomington, Minnesota. Warren was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Hopkins Chapter 62.

Jeffrey Stewart Wernick, 53, died March 1 in Bayonne, New Jersey, from liver cancer. Wernick served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War from 1968-69. He was a member and president of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bayonne Chapter 151.

Eugene "Private Will'' Willham, 54, died March 7 in Eugene, Oregon, from liver failure attributed to hepatitis C. Willham served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1967-69 with service in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Eugene Chapter 144.

Richard A. Phillips, Sr., died April 18, 2000, in Escanaba, Michigan. Phillips was born December 22, 1944. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Escanaba Chapter 345.

Bill Ray Ross died January 4 in Merced, California, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Ross was born October 20, 1938. He served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army for 25 years with two tours in Vietnam. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Master Army Aviator Badge. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Merced Chapter 691.

Ronald D. Smith, 49, died January 24 in Lima, Ohio. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. Smith was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Grand Lake Chapter 783 in Celina. VVA Chapter 783 provided military honors at his funeral.

Peter C. "Bugga'' Soncrant died January 5 at his home in Monroe, Michigan. He died after a two-year battle with Agent Orange-related cancer. Soncrant was born January 21, 1945. He served in the U.S. Army from 1965-67 in the Vietnam War and was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Monroe Chapter 142. Interment was in Gethsemane Cemetery with full military honors provided by VVA Chapter 142.

Luiz M. "Pumpkin'' Soliz, 51, died February 12 in El Paso, Texas. Soliz served in the U.S. Navy from 1969-72 in the Vietnam War. Soliz was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-El Paso Chapter 574.

Michael Raymond Stoddard died unexpectedly January 18 in Elmira, New York. He was born in Elmira in 1947. Stoddard enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at age 17. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant with 20 years of service and three tours in Vietnam. He was attached to the Detachment 5/5th Air Recovery and Rescue Service and served with the 1st Cavalry Division. His awards included the Purple Heart. Stoddard was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Elmira Chapter 803.

John "Uncle Sam'' Vanden Heuvel died December 25, 2001, in Bristol, Connecticut, after a lengthy battle with cancer. Vanden Heuvel served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He was a champion of veterans' causes. He was a Life Member of Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America-Milford Chapter 251.

J. "Pat'' Waters, 59, died November 15, 2001, in Roanoke, Virginia. He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Roanoke Chapter 81. He died within one week of joining VVA.

Sterling K. "Bud'' Wilkerson died August 22, 2001, in Merced, California. Wilkerson was born January 31, 1936, in Maryland. He served in the U.S. Air Force and retired in August 1973. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Merced Chapter 691.

William Zieger, 54, died December 15, 2001, after a long battle with diabetes. Zieger served in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam with the Mobile Riverine Force. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Tidewater Chapter 48 in Virginia Beach.

Dennis L. Durkee died March 1 in Brockton, Massachusetts. Durkee served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was wounded in the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Stoneham Chapter 837.

Gerald Engler died February 24 in New Jersey. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bayville Chapter 200. He served his chapter in many capacities: president, delegate to the state council, color guard, and editor of the newsletter.

Bruce H. Holten, 51, died July 10, 2001, in St. Anthony, Minnesota. Holten was a veteran of the Vietnam War and a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Hopkins Chapter 62.

Marion R. "Skipper'' McClure III died November 6, 2001, in Jacksonville, Florida. He served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War in Pleiku with the 71st Evacuation Hospital from 1969-70. He later joined the Merchant Marines. He was an at-large member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Florida.

Leonard F. "Murph'' Murphy, 79, died April 8, 2001, in Queens, New York. Murphy served in the U.S. Army and Navy during World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Later, he served in the Merchant Marines. He was an original member of the first black airborne unit, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and participated in the Normandy Invasion. Included among his many awards were the Combat Infantryman Badge and the Purple Heart. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Queens Chapter 32.

Sigfrido Santiago Objio, 61, died November 12, 2001, in the American Airlines crash near New York City. Objio served in the U.S. Army and was discharged in 1965. He was a long-standing member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Queens Chapter 32.

Phillip Lee Sheridan, 70, died February 20 in Merced, California. He retired from the U.S. Air Force after 23 years, having served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Merced Chapter 691.

Bonnie Ann Whitney, 60, died November 12, 2001, in Genesee, Michigan. Whitney served in the U.S. Navy for four years as a Corps WAVE at the Great Lakes Naval Hospital. She was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Burton Chapter 175.

Warren Winkler, 56, died January 18 in Queens, New York. Winkler served in the U.S. Marine Corps with a tour in Vietnam. He participated as clergy in ecumenical chapter POW/MIA ceremonies.

Robert Charles Hall, 69, died January 12 in Lawton, Oklahoma, of colonic adenocarcinoma with metastases. The cause of death is believed to be Agent Orange-related. Hall served in the U.S. Army with tours of duty in the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He attained the rank of Staff Sergeant and was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Lawton Chapter 751.

Woody Hoffman, 52, died December 15, 2001, in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. He was a Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Hyannis Chapter 338.

Kenneth Allan Johnson, Jr., 52, died March 12 in Seattle of complications from neurosurgery for a brain tumor. Johnson served in the U.S. Army from 1967-70 with the 1st Cavalry Division. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam from 1968-70. He was awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge, Jump Wings, Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and the Air Medal. He was a founding member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Bellevue Chapter 319, serving as its president from 1995-2002. He was the Washington State Council Vice President in 2001 and chairman of the Washington State Veterans Assistance Service Group from 2000-2001. He was a veterans service volunteer who helped establish an active veterans program that assisted with claims and served veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.

Donald L. Smith, 53, died August 16, 2001, in Monroe, Michigan. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1965-71 during the Vietnam War. He was a member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Monroe Chapter 142.

Marvin F. Smith, 54, died September 3, 2001, in Newberry, Michigan. Smith served in the U.S. Navy as a Corpsman for the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1967-68. He was attached to L Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. He was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and the Bronze Star. He was a Charter Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Newberry Chapter 597.

Robert Dale Doughty, Jr., 52, died March 26 in Midland, Pennsylvania. Doughty served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Vietnam War as an Am Trac Crewman. He was a Charter and Life Member of Vietnam Veterans of America-Beaver Falls (Pennsylvania) Chapter 862.

Catherine Mary Watson, 75, died April 25 in Nassawadox, Virginia, of cancer. Watson was a member of Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America-Onley (Virginia) Chapter 614.

   

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