In Tribute: Veterans


This page is  dedicated to the alumni of Claremont High School Class of 1961 who served in the Armed Forces.  We invite you to send in your stories and photos.  We are honored to post those items on this page. 

Thank you for what you did for us and for our  country. myspace graphic comments

Click for Video: When a Soldier Comes Home

 The Three Soldiers (also known as The Three Servicemen) is a bronze statue on the Washington, DC National Mall commemorating the Vietnam War. The grouping consists of three young men, armed and dressed appropriately for the Vietnam War era, purposely identifiable as Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic. It was designed to complement the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, by adding a more traditional component. The statue, unveiled on Veterans Day, 1984, was designed by Frederick Hart.

Vietnam Women's Memorial

The Vietnam Women's Memorial is a memorial dedicated to the women of the United States who served in the Vietnam War, most of whom were nurses. It serves as a reminder of the importance of women in the conflict. It depicts three uniformed women with a wounded soldier. It is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and is located on National Mall in Washington DC, a short distance south of The Wall, north of the Reflecting Pool.  It was designed by Glenna Goodacre and dedicated on November 11, 1993.

Virtual Vietnam Memorial Wall

To all Vietnam Veterans, family and friends take a look. The link below is a 'virtual wall' of all those lost during the Vietnam war with the names, bio's and other information on our lost comrades. It is a very memorable link, and those who served in that timeframe and lost friends or family can look them up on this site.

First click on a state.......then when it opens .........a name.......then it should show you a picture of the person or at least his bio and medals.......

For interesting, and very moving, Veterans Statistics of the Vietnam Memorial Wall



Two iconic photographs taken decades apart, yet so hauntingly similar.


               Navy                  Army                Air Force         Marine Corps         Coast Guard                

 Stories and Photos of Our Heroes:

 Click on their names to go to their Profile pages

Jim Andersen

US Army  

May '65-May '67
Assistant Drill Instructor in a Basic Training Company at end of service. Prior to that I worked as a Battalion and Company Clerk
Stationed at Fort Polk, LA, then Fort Ord, CA
Went through basic training with Bob Bush and Neal (Claude) Brookman.

Jerome Beck


Charles Bentley


Dave Brokl

 US Air Force


Neal (Claudie) Brookman

U.S. Army, 1st Inf. Division
April 65- Feb 67
Basic and Advanced Inf Training
Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart,
Commendation Medal with “V” Device, NSM, VSM, VCM
Rifleman, radio operator Vietnam, Feb 66 - Feb 67
Louisiana, CA, Vietnam
Memory: Coming back from Vietnam and people looking at me with disgust.
April 65 through Feb 67
I recall in 65 that I had been seriously thinking about enlisting in the military, most likely the Navy or the Air Force. However, I waited too long (I was partying too much) to make a decision and was drafted into the Army. At that time Army training for those living on the West Coast was at Ft. Ord. However, some soldiers at the fort contracted meningitis and recruits were being sent to Ft. Polk, Louisiana, for basic training. No offense to those in Louisiana but I don't care if I never see that place again. I don't think Bob Bush or Jim Anderson would disagree.
I can recall that at the end of basic training all the soldier's MOS (job assignments) were posted on the wall of the headquarters building. Everyone was excited about what their next training assignment would be. Some were truck drivers, mechanics, clerks, etc. I looked at my MOS and saw that it was 11B1. Hell, I had no idea what that was so I asked another soldier and he said, "That's light weapons infantry!" I about crapped. My next assignment was, believe it or not, Ft. Ord, for advanced infantry training. Apparently the meningitis scare was over.
I completed training and was then assigned to a basic training unit as a clerk and a trainer in infantry tactics. Here I was, 18 weeks into the Army and I'm training new recruits. Makes no sense, but that was the Army way. I knew what was coming next, I just didn't know when.
In December of 65, I received the orders I had been expecting, They were orders for Vietnam. I was being assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam. I ended up assigned to the Headquarters Co., 1st Bat, 2nd Infantry, 1st Infantry Division, as a RTO (radio-telephone operator). I got to hump the bush carrying the radio. Each time we would go on a mission, I would carry the radio for the battalion commander. The first commander I carried a radio for was Col. Prillaman. He was 6'6" and I'm 5'7". It was all I could do to keep up with him when we were "humpin' through the bush!"
I met my wife two months before I was shipped to Vietnam.  We were introduced to each other by my father.  We were married two weeks before I left.  Believe that?  Were we crazy or not?  No, no children until three years after I returned.  We are still happily married and I love that woman to death.

I served from Feb 66 through Feb 67. The Army had a policy at that time that if you had less than 90 days left of service when returning to the States, they would give you an early out. I was discharged in Feb of 67. I have a lot of good and some not good memories of the time I served in Vietnam, especially of those who were unable to come home as I did. That's why the Vietnam Memorial is so important to me. I have been to D.C. and viewed the Memorial. I will never forget the visit and can say that it was a very moving moment for me. Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.

Dave Browning

August 1967-September 1970: Vietnam service
Lieutenant Junior Grade
Petroleum school, firefighting school
National Defense, Vietnam Service, Republic Of Vietnam, Cold War Comm., Vietnam 50th Anniversary, Vietnam Veterans Comm., Overseas Service, Navy Commemorative, Vietnam Campaign, Sea Service,
Officer Of The Deck Underway, Petroleum Officer, Cargo Officer, Safety Officer, NBC Warfare Officer, Damage Control Officer
San Pedro, California, Us Homeport; Subic Bay, Philippines, Overseas Port

Bob Bush


May 1965 - June 1968
1st Lt.
NDSM, VSN, VCMw/device "60", Bronze Star Medal

Infantry officer with the 3rd btn 1st inf. Responsible for 44 men from training thru combat service in Vietnam.
Ft Polk, Lousiana - Ft Benning, Georga - Schofield, Hawaii - Mo Duc, Vietnam.

Just last month I reunited for the first time since Vietnam with men I served with at a reunion of the 3rd Bn 1st Inf. Lots of memories stirred up.

Richard Cole

Navy Seabees    

December '62 to January '65
Construction Apprentice, E-2

Trained with Marines at Camp Pendleton.
Driver for Commanding Officer, CBC Navy Base, Port Hueneme, CA. Steelworker, MCB 5, Okinawa, Japan.
Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA. Construction Battalion Center, Port Hueneme, CA. Mobile Construction Battalion 5, Okinawa, Japan
USAF Security Service
August 1963 thru December 1966
Airman 1st Class
Duties: collected communications intelligence (comint)
Overseas service included Bremerhaven, Germany and Brindisi, Italy
Of course, my best memories are of off-duty times, mosty centered upon the "Master Minstrels", a musical and drama group with members drawn from the army band, our air force group and several guys from a similar navy tennant organization. a couple of us even formed a barbershop quartet, the "stimpf fifes" (translated as "vocal chords")and participated in several army band concerts...
More Recently, I virtually toured Brindisi courtesy of Google Earth...I found freeways with grafiti in the underpasses and suburbs where I remember vineyards, artichoke fields, and olive orchards, but no sign of the base where I was assigned. I remembered Italy as "a lot like home", and it looks like they've followed right along with us, closed bases, development, and all. I wish I had the resources to return on the ground. 

Harlon Filloon

California Air National Guard - 163rd Fighter Wing


Robert Rixon Frampton


United States Navy  


1960 - 64
3rd Class Petty Officer - Commisaryman

I was stationed on board ship and was assigned to the chief’s wardroom/mess... Was responsible for cooking and baking for the chiefs and chief warrant officers on our ship. It was really good duty back then as total body count on our ship was around 320-340 and we all knew each other, unlike the big ships today where you could serve a four hitch on your ship and never get to know everyone, today’s cruisers are really big, and the flat-tops, ( carriers ) today with the full flight crews on board are about 5-6,000 people.

I was on the U.S.S. Sirius A.F. - 60 Supply Ship, WES-PAC 7th Fleet, & our battle group had the USS Coral Sea, the Missouri and numerous Tin Cans ( Destroyers ) and smaller Destroyer Escorts, ( DE"s ). I cannot remember the names of all the other ships in our task group. We were home ported at T.I. ( Treasure Island ) pier 21 San Francisco and the Oakland Army Refer Docks. We sailed to Pearl ( Hawaii ) then Buckner Bay ( White Beach ) Okinawa , Japan, then Sasebo, Yokusaka , and Yokohama, Japan, then down to Olongapo, ( Subic Bay ) Philippines, and would sail to Hong Kong for Ship’s re-painting and R&R - Rest and Relaxation twice a year....
I enjoyed the cruising, I have always had a love for the Ocean as well as the mountains, and for a 17-year-old kid still not dry behind the ears yet, it was a real eye opener for me to see how other people lived in their countries, and it really made you appreciate home that much more. On one side you would see all the lights and fast paced life of the working folks, and then on the other side you would see the poverty and the poor, and it was pretty bad at times, like nothing you could imagine, down in bumboat alley in Hong Kong, the Families would keep all the baby girls born to them, but after having one healthy son, a lot of them would discard future baby boys in the bay and other places, they kept the girls because they represented money to the family as soon as they were old enough to prostitute them selves to make money for their parents. 
In the bay of Hong Kong the water was so acidic that they said that you could develop film and if you fell overboard you would be restricted to the ship’s sick bay for 30 days and get shots 3 X a day for 30 days. The sewer system back then was open sewers called ( BINJI ) ditches, I will leave that to your imagination, but the country was really beautiful and I was amazed at the way the children really respected their elders.
The children in Hawaii were taught from day one that it took more muscles to create a frown in your face than a smile, so everyone (all Islanders were always smiling and happy). In the Philippines, if you wanted to travel from Subic Bay to the other side of the islands to Clark Air Force Base, you had to travel during daylight hours only, if you missed the last bus back to Subic you were told to return the next morning (They still had people in the jungles called "HUCKS" - active headhunters) and they would ambush taxis and other forms of transportation at night. 
All in all it was really neat to be able to travel over there and we knew what we had to do if any thing broke out then (WAR) but in all reality I met some great people , learned a lot about different cultures. When I was in we were liked by all those people then, so they would take us to their homes, we would go see things that guys would not get to see today, and being in the service taught you a lot about pride and about yourself, teamwork, etc, etc... 
It was always neat to come home and be on leave and have your dress blues or whites on, holding your head high and everyone proud of you and thanking you for looking out for our country. 
When sailing from Hong Kong one time to Seattle, Washington, for SEAFARE (FLEET WEEK) Ships open house to the public, the Canadians would sail up alongside of us and want ice cream and watermelons. The Old Man (Captain) would trade their Captain for really good Canadian Whiskey, and then all hands on our ship would get a double shot of this special Whiskey, with all the rest going into private storage for the Skipper. I was proud to be a USS SAILOR, to represent my country, and always wished I had done a full twenty active duty, but life goes on and you make the best of it that you can. It’s still, in my mind, a good start for any young man or woman in their life, and it can be a real rewarding experience.

We had a pretty good count of class members from CHS 1961 who served in the US MILITARY, be it Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard , or National Guard , and everyone should be proud of what they did!


James Fuller



Steve Garciduenas **


US Army

Howard Gilbert

U.S. Air Force  


Thomas Earl Gimple  

U.S. Army 
82d Airborne Division Artillery
Chaplain Captain

Gareth Goetz


Bill Gray


US Army


Bill Helber


Terry Hodges

U.S. Coast Guard   
Sept. 1964 - Sept. 1968
Quartermaster second class (E-5)

I served four years on a variety of Coast Guard boats and ships. Our duties were primarily search and rescue, the saving of lives and property at sea. But we also gathered weather information in remote places and we maintained aids to navigation. I was a quartermaster. My duties had to do with navigation and piloting, plus I was trained as a signalman. In port, I often served on the Shore Patrol.
During my four years, I was stationed in San Diego, Long Beach, Alameda, Astoria, and Seattle. From Seattle, we did Alaska patrols, seeing the Inland Passage at government expense. We did Alaska patrols that took us within sight of Siberia. We also did Ocean Station November patrols, a six-week stay in the middle of the Pacific, midway between San Francisco and Hawaii. The Coast Guard maintained cutters continuously on Ocean Station November from just before World War 2 until well into the 70’s. Their purpose was to be there in case an airliner got into trouble and needed to ditch. It happened only once, in 1964, when a Pan Am flight got into trouble. It ditched near the cutter, and the cutter crew rescued every person aboard the flight. The cutters on Ocean Station November also sent valuable weather information to the mainland, long before there were weather satellites.
I remember one summer on Ocean Station November during flat calm weather, we had swim call. While riflemen manned the bridge wings on shark watch, we went swimming in water two miles deep and 1,400 miles from the nearest land. At night we turned on huge oceanographic lights which attracted giant squid. I and others speared the smaller ones (4 footers) for calamari and stayed clear of the larger ones that had eyes as big as dinner plates.
I remember the misery of long winter patrols in rough seas. We once spent two and a half months in heavy seas on Ocean Station November. I remember having sores and bruises all over me from being tossed around and thrown into things. And I remember being so very sick of constant, violent motion. While on watch, I would wedge myself between a bulkhead and the chart table on the bridge and dream, between tasks, of a place I knew where there was absolutely no motion. It was the concrete curb on the street in front of the Navy base in Seattle where our ship tied up. While other guys I suppose were dreaming of their girlfriends, I was dreaming of just sitting on that curb and reveling in the absolute absence of motion. When that horrible patrol was over and our ship finally reached Seattle, I went ashore on liberty. Guess what I did first? That's right, I sat on that curb for well over an hour.
I remember once my cutter raced to the scene of a tanker explosion in the middle of the ocean, and we fished 16 Japanese sailors out of the drink. They were all little guys, and they looked really strange in the huge but dry dungarees we provided them. To entertain them, we supplied them with Playboy magazines which they slowly paged through, wide eyed, from back to front.
I can share the almost military history of Richard Barber. I remember doing my best to talk Richard into joining the Coast Guard with me in 1964, but he wouldn't do it. Two years later, midway through my enlistment, while standing watch in particularly nasty weather, I remember thinking of Richard and being so very grateful that I had failed in talking him into joining with me. Had I been successful, he probably would have eventually murdered me.

Rick Hudson
US Marine Corps
Retired from USMC as Lt. Col. in 1987

Stephen Isaacson

U.S. Air Force 

4315th Combat Crew Training Squadron. Missile launch Officer (Minuteman I). Commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant from AFROTC at San Diego State University (upon college graduation in 1965).
Senior Missile Combat Crew badge; National Defense Medal
Missile Combat Crew Launch Officer in the Strategic Air Command. Worked in underground launch control centers with shared responsibility for 10 nuclear ICBM's in silos. (Our weapon system was Minuteman I). Also served as a training officer and eventually became Protocol Officer (VIP "briefer") for the 1st Strategic Aeropace Division on the Pacific Missile range. In that capacity, also served as "protocol aide" to the various general officers on the base.
Originally stationed at Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota (1966-68). Transferred to Vandenberg AFB, Lompoc, California (1968-1970).

I guess I am grateful that they didn't have nuclear missile outposts in Vietnam. (Never had to leave the "comfort" of South Dakota). However, being from sunny California, I had never been to a colder, bleaker place during the winter time. Our underground launch control centers were in highly remote areas mostly accessed by helicopter. I remember noting on many winter flights as I gazed out the window of the chopper that sheep really do walk in a straight line. Missile duty was mainly countless hours of boredom punctuated by occasional hours of "terror" inflicted by the no-notice inspectors from the Strategic Air Command headquarters in Omaha. We were more afraid of them than the Russians. That said, there must have been some madness in entrusting the "keys and codes" to a bunch of 22-year-old recent college grads.


Rick Jackson


US Army  

I served in North Carolina and Korea. I spent two years in Okinawa as a Christian military missionary to GI's in the Far East.


Bill Kieselhorst

Army National Guard   


Richard Lewis

California Air National Guard - 163rd Fighter Wing


Robert Moody

US Army


Dave Peairs

California Air National Guard - 163rd Fighter Wing



Janet R. Pearson

U. S. Navy (Ret), E-7


DPC (AW) (E-7)
Radar and Data Processing

An experience of a lifetime aboard several ships. Celebrating my 50th birthday aboard the USS Constellation. Females just being allowed to deploy on battleships.

Allan Preston


U.S. Naval Reserve
U.S. Army Reserve
October 31, 1961 to October 31, 1968
Water Treatment "A" School @ Port Hueneme, California
A Pastel drawing of me dressed in "Dress Blues' prior to reporting for active duty with the U.S. Navy 'SeaBees'.  I served two combat tours in Vietnam with Mobile Construction Battalion Eleven (MCB-11).
Supervised operation of Battalion Water Treatment & Storage facilities.
Port Hueneme, California and two combat tours in Vietnam During 1966 & 1967.

Vietnamese Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Campaign Medal; Fleet Marine Force Operations Insignia; U.S. Naval Reserve 'Meritorious Service Ribbon

After from graduating from College, I requested Active Duty to fulfill my commitment to the U.S. Naval Reserve. I was ordered to the Construction Battalion Center @ Port Hueneme, California. Having been trained as a UTW-3 (E-4) Water Treatment Specialist, I joined Mobile Construction Battalion Eleven IMCB-11) as they were being refit prior to deployment to Vietnam.

In early April, 1966, the Battalion was ordered to Da Nang to support the 3rd. Marine Amphibious Force conducting military operations in the area. We were stationed south of the City, and began immediately building storage facilities, bunkers, and air fields. My duties included ‘B’ Company Clerk, Field Construction Liason and Security Team Leader for Camp Security, which including the area between the Da Nang River and the Camp perimeter. It was an extremely demanding deployment due to the extreme heat & humidity of the area.  

My only relief from the 24/7 schedule, was a one week Rest & Relaxation (R&R) trip to Bangkok, Thailand. I spent a thousand dollars in those seven days, and had nothing to show for it...but a massive hang-over! The days seem to really drag, but late in October we were ordered back to Port Hueneme for refit and new personnel.

In February of 1967, I got married. Shortly thereafter, MCB-11 deployed for a second time to Vietnam. This time we were stationed @ Dong Ha, twelve mile south of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) near Khe Sahn, the U.S. Marines forward combat base in-country!   

During this deployment, I was in charge of MCB-11’s Water Treatment & Storage Facility. I and a Construction man were responsibility for the Base having clean, potable water... 24/7! It was a difficult task since the high temperature & humidity was difficult to keep the water sanitized and safe for drinking!

Adding to the difficulty of maintaining a reliable water supply, the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) continually bombarded the Base with mortar and rocket rounds...24/7! It was very difficult to get eight-hours sleep with the constant fear of being killed at any moment!

Two events occurred during the deployment that catastrophic to all the Sea Bees present. The first happened two months into the deployment. A ‘lucky’ 81mm mortar round hit the nearby ammunition supply depot. The explosions were deafening, and continued for an hour afterward! No one was injured, but we were all full-alert for a week.

The second occurred six months after arrival. Late one night, the NVA launched a very large rocket. We could hear it coming, so everyone ‘hit the deck’! Moments later we heard a horrendous explosion! In an instant, twelve brave, young Americans had lost their lives!

I still carry the experiences from Vietnam in my memory. So many young Americans lost...for what?

Patrick Rains


Jared Scott

California Air National Guard


Frank Sell

Tony Sheets

Army - National Guard 


Bill Steiner

Army - National Guard 
2LT (Second Lieutenant)

Schools: Field Artillery Officer Candidate School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma California Military Academy

Fort Ord, California Fort Sill, Oklahoma Yuma Proving Grounds, Yuma, AZ



John Stephenson **

 California Air National Guard - 163rd Fighter Wing


Norm Stewart


Adrian Vandenberg, Jr.


John Vonder Reith
John Vonder Reith


US Navy 
 1968 - 1969 
HC 1ST Class PO 
 Hospital Corpsman School, San Diego 
Senior Corpsman for a combat Marine Company. Responsible for health care of 250 souls. 
 Lemore Naval Air Station, CA
Vietnam 68-69 


Ron Werner


June 1961-July 1963 + 4 Years Inactive Service
B.M Seaman {Boatswainsmate - better known as a Deck Hand, Swab Jockey, or Grunt}




These were my buddies in Pearl Harbor, red on the left and i get together every year, we can't find Cliff, we miss him. We had so much fun and created so many good memories. 

I was a Bm.Seaman on board the USS Savage Der 386. Our division maintained the ship’s exterior appearance, made the necessary repairs, and stood watches while underway. I was a qualified helmsman and would be called on to "drive" during our warfare exercises. I was also the first loader inside the gun mount on the bow of the ship.

Our ship’s home port was in Pearl Harbor.  Ohhhh, those days of liberty at Waikiki Beach!!!!  We would leave Pearl every three weeks, and head for the area between Alaska and Siberia {I think}. We would patrol there for 3 weeks and head back to Pearl Harbor. Our mission was to report any ship, submarine, or aircraft we saw or picked up on radar. We didn't see land for those 4-week periods.  Needless to say, we hit the beach when we got in port again.

I remember the Tradewinds Bar on Hotel Street in downtown Honolulu. We owned it when we got in port!!! You service guys know what I mean. When we would run out of beer money, we would go to the YMCA and give blood! They not only gave us a glass of beer, but $5.00, too. I thought I'd run out of blood!!!!  Beer was only fifty cents a glass then, so $5.00 went a long way.  We had fun there in HAWAII, I had an old Zundapp motorcycle, my buddy red had a 1949 Chevy sedan.  My girlfriend came for a visit, in fact we became engaged there, too. We saw Don Ho at the Royal Hawaiian hotel one evening {the pink hotel at Waikiki}.

My ship has a web site: key USS SAVAGE DER386. The web master has made a page under my name with the pictures I sent her. Nice lady.

 Don Wilcoxen

Daryl Williams

 California Air National Guard, 163rd Fighter Wing




U.S. Marine Corps
Cpl E-4
Military Instructor's School

Vietnam Service Medal National Defense Service Medal Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Distinguished Service Medal - State of New Jersey
Camp Pendleton, San Diego Camp Schwab, Okinawa Mt. Fuji, Japan Subic Bay, Philippines Taiwan Vietnam




 From your Classmates:


Sue Clanton Holtz
Thank you for reminding us if we tend to forget, and making us think about the true meaning of Veterans Day.  I'm sure we all know someone, or have a friend or loved one who has served in our Armed Forces.  We should take time out to give thanks for that special soldier who may have given his/her life for our freedoms.
Sharon, thank you for your poignant tribute to all those who served so faithfully and heroically in our Armed Services.  It's true - we do often tend to forget what this day is all about - we see sales in the newspapers and dash off to get a good bargain.  But then when we are reminded of our heroes who serve so bravely in our Armed Service so that we may all be free, it gives us a gentle jolt as to what this day is all about.