Rocky - Murdered by VC 50 years agoPosted on 9/26/15 - by kr FoRV59@gmail.comThe "Friends of Rocky Versace" remember CPT HR "Rocky" Versace on the 50th anniversary of his murder by the Viet Cong (26 Sep 1965). MAJ (then 1LT, later COL) James N. "Nick" Rowe noted that date in his POW memoir, "Five Years to Freedom" as the date the communist North Vietnamese announced Rocky's "execution" by the VC.MORE
Never Give Up or Lose FaithPosted on 6/7/15 - by Neil P. Albaugh USA SP5 email@example.comThat description certainly fits Rocky Versace. (he pronounced his name differently than the fashion designer-- Rocky's last name rhymed with "face"). We both attended high school in Frankfurt, Germany but he was two years ahead of me.MORE
Rocky VersacePosted on 9/27/14 - by Debby RobinsonRocky, I heard about you and your sacrifice for freedom, from your brother Dick who was my English teacher in High School at that time. He idolized his brother and it was very apparent that the world had lost a caring individual when it lost you.MORE
Thank- you and you will never just be a name on the wall
"A Rock"Posted on 6/4/14 - by Leroy ProudA short poem was written about this man that was murdered by the North Vietnamese.Capt. Versace was being held as a POW in N. Vietnam. They could not break him, so they killed him. You can read about Capt. "Rocky" Versace and the imprisonment of the late Capt. Nick Rowe in, "Five Years to Freedom:The True Story of a Vietnam POW"MORE
Remembering An American HeroPosted on 10/16/13 - by Curt CarterDear Captain Humbert Roque Versace, sirMORE
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
POW MIA Recognition Day - 2012Posted on 9/21/12 - by K R FoRV59@gmail.com
The 'Friends of Rocky Versace' remember CPT Humbert R. 'Rocky' Versace today, 21 Sep 2012, on POW MIA Recognition Day 2012. CPT Versace is one of the 6 MIAs whose name is chiseled into the stone bench beneath his Gold Star at the Memorial in Alexandria, VA that bears his name: the CPT Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.
Medal of Honor CitationPosted on 3/6/12 - by A Vietnam Vet.Medal of HonorMORE
Awarded posthumously for actions during the Vietnam War
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Captain Humbert Roque Versace (ASN: 0-87417), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Captain Humbert R. Versace distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period of 29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965, while serving as S-2 Advisor, Military Assistance Advisory Group, Detachment 52, Ca Mau, Republic of Vietnam. While accompanying a Civilian Irregular Defense Group patrol engaged in combat operations in Thoi Binh District, An Xuyen Province, Captain Versace and the patrol came under sudden and intense mortar, automatic weapons, and small arms fire from elements of a heavily armed enemy battalion. As the battle raged, Captain Versace, although severely wounded in the knee and back by hostile fire, fought valiantly and continued to engage enemy targets. Weakened by his wounds and fatigued by the fierce firefight, Captain Versace stubbornly resisted capture by the over-powering Viet Cong force with the last full measure of his strength and ammunition. Taken prisoner by the Viet Cong, he exemplified the tenets of the Code of Conduct from the time he entered into Prisoner of War status. Captain Versace assumed command of his fellow American soldiers, scorned the enemy's exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts, and made three unsuccessful attempts to escape, despite his weakened condition which was brought about by his wounds and the extreme privation and hardships he was forced to endure. During his captivity, Captain Versace was segregated in an isolated prisoner of war cage, manacled in irons for prolonged periods of time, and placed on extremely reduced ration. The enemy was unable to break his indomitable will, his faith in God, and his trust in the United States of America. Captain Versace, an American fighting man who epitomized the principles of his country and the Code of Conduct, was executed by the Viet Cong on 26 September 1965. Captain Versace's gallant actions in close contact with an enemy force and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of the military service and reflect the utmost credit upon himself and the United States Army.
Action Date: October 29, 1963 - September 26, 1965
Company: Detachment A-23
Regiment: 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Division: 1st Special Forces
We RememberPosted on 10/15/11 - by Robert Sage firstname.lastname@example.orgHumbert has a military marker in his military in his memory at Arlington National Cemetery. MOH
If I should die...remembrances for CAPT. Humbert Roque VERSACE, USA...who died for our country!!!!!!Posted on 8/16/11 - byIf I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.MORE
HeroesPosted on 2/13/11 - by MAJ(P) LangFor Rocky and Nick-Heroes-Now and Forever.
God Bless YouPosted on 8/11/10 - by Carol Haberchak email@example.comAfter reading your story in "Dreams Unfulfilled", I just wanted to thank and honor you for your bravery, commitment, service to your country and the ultimate sacrifice you made. May you be resting in peace with all of God's angels. God Bless YouMORE
Remembering youPosted on 10/29/09 - by 60's GirlRememembering you today and praying for a miracle . . .
Medal of Honor Plaque - West PointPosted on 9/15/08 - by K RueThis is a picture of the Medal of Honor Plaque donated by his Classmates for CPT Rocky Versace and placed at his alma mater - the United States Military Academy at West Point.MORE
The Plaque reads:
Medal of Honor Awarded to
Humbert Roque Versace
for action in the Republic of Vietnam
29 October 1963 to 26 September 1965
“While a prisoner of war… (Captain Versace) demonstrated exceptional leadership and resolute adherence to the tenets of the Code of Conduct… (He) assumed command of his fellow American Prisoners and despite being kept in irons in an isolated box, raised their morale by singing messages to popular songs … despite the severity of his untreated wounds, he attempted the first of four escape attempts … (He) scorned the enemy’s exhaustive interrogation and indoctrination efforts , and inspired his fellow prisoners to resist …. The last time that any of his fellow prisoners heard from him, (he) was singing “God Bless America” at the top of his voice from his isolation box. Captain Versace was executed by the Viet cong on 25 September 1965…”
Class of 1959
Presented by the Class of 1959
The location of the Plaque is to the right of the entrance to the Washington Hall Mess Hall in the "Corregidor" Sallyport and to the left of the entrance to the Catholic Chaplain's office. His USMA 1959 Classmates dedicated this Plaque in September, 2003.
Remembering Rocky – Memorial Day 2008Posted on 9/12/08 - by K. RueClassmates and Friends came to the CPT Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Alexandria, VA on Memorial Day, 26 May 2008 to keep the memory of the posthumous Medal of Honor recipient alive. In a remark by John Gurr, Rocky is “Gone, but NOT forgotten.” During the Ceremony to honor all 67 men on Alexandria’s Vietnam War Memorial, John read Rocky’s name. Following the Ceremony, his Classmates and Friends gathered for a group photo. Pictured here next to the statue of Rocky at the Plaza are (from left to right): (1) Mr Rex Rhein (USMA 1959); (2) COL Powell Hutton (USMA 1959); (3) Mr John Gurr (USMA 1959); (4) COL Bruce Williams (USMA 1959); (5) LTC Tom Boyle (USMA 1959); (6) LTC Don Morgan (USMA 1959); (7) LTC Art Griffin (USMA 1959); (8) COL Lou Beard (USMA 1959); (9) Mr Joe Flynn (Friends of Rocky Versace); (10) LTC Frank Besson (USMA 1959); and Mr Mike Faber (Honorary USMA 1959 & Friends of Rocky Versace).MORE
CPT Rocky Versace Plaza - Memorial Day 2008Posted on 7/3/08 - by Kevin Rue - firstname.lastname@example.orgThis is the Program for the Memorial Day Ceremony conducted by the "Friends of Rocky Versace" and his USMA 1959 Classmates on 26 May 2008. The Ceremony, at the CPT Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Alexandria VA, honored Rocky and the 66 other Alexandrians who were KIA/MIA during the Vietnam War.MORE
CPT Rocky Versace Plaza - Alexandria, VAPosted on 6/27/08 - by K. RueThis is a picture of the Statue of Medal of Honor recipient and Ranger Hall of Fame Inductee CPT "Rocky" Versace. It stands in the center of the CPT Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Alexandria, VA. Surrounding the Statue of Rocky and 2 Vietnamese children are the Gold Stars and Names of the 67 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from Alexandria who were KIA/MIA during the Vietnam War. Statue and Plaza designed by Toby Mendez, who also was the sculptor.MORE
Who Shall We SendPosted on 5/13/06 - by Dave Avery email@example.com"An God said who shall we send.I answered I am here,send me."MORE
Facta Non Verba
Do not stand at my grave and weepPosted on 11/30/05 - by Bob RossDo not stand at my grave and weep.MORE
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Frye – 1932
In remembrance of a true American heroPosted on 6/16/05 - by Arnold M. Huskins firstname.lastname@example.orgTaken from the website:MORE
Thank you CPT Versace for your heroism, bravery, and self sacrifice!
Thank you Captain VersacePosted on 10/29/03 - by Donald Lytle email@example.comAlthough we never met personally, I want to thank you Humbert Roque Versace, for your courageous and valiant service, years of faithfullly contributing, and your most holy sacrifice given to this great country of ours!MORE
Your Spirit is alive--and strong, therefore Sir, you shall never be forgotten, nor has your death been in vain!
Again, thank you Captain H.R. Versace, for a job exceptionally well done!
MAYBE ONE DAY SOON.....UNTIL THEN.....REST IN HEAVENLY PEACE MY FRIEND
Not ForgottenPosted on 2/23/03 - by Candace LokeyI have not forgotten you. I chair the Adoption Committee for The National League of Families of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia. We will always remember the 1,889 Americans still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and the thousands of others that lost their lives. We will not stop our efforts until all of you are home where you belong.MORE
We need to reach the next generation so that they will carry on when our generation is no longer able. To do so, we are attempting to locate photographs of all the missing. If you are reading this remembrance and have a photo and/or memory of this missing American that you would like to share for our project, please contact me at:
PO Box 206
Freeport, PA 16229
If you are not familiar with our organization, please visit our web site at :
PRISONER OF WAR EXECUTED IN VIETNAM TO BE HONORED FOR BRAVERY IN CAPTIVITYPosted on 12/7/02 - by CLAY MARSTONPRISONER OF WAR EXECUTED IN VIETNAMMORE
TO BE HONORED FOR BRAVERY IN CAPTIVITY
More than 35 years after he was executed by his Viet Cong captors in
Vietnam, Rocky Versace is close to receiving his nation's highest honor.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld recently forwarded to the White
House a package that would award Versace, a former resident of Alexandria,
Virginia, the Army Medal Of Honor, according to family members and military
Legislation authorizing the medal for Versace already has been passed by
Congress and signed by President George Bush.
A date for presenting the medal will be set by the White House.
"The family is just elated about this," said Rocky's brother, Steve Versace,
an administrator with the University of Maryland, in College Park.
Unlike the Air Force, Navy and Marines, the Army has never awarded the
Medal of Honor to a Prisoner of War from Vietnam for actions during captivity.
Pentagon officials said it would be the first time in the modern era that the
medal has gone to an Army Prisoner of War for heroism during captivity in
Green Beret Captain Humber Roque Versace was taken prisoner in October
1963, during an operation near the U Minh Forest, a Viet Cong stronghold.
Over the next two years, Versace defied his captors' attempts to indoctrinate
him, so infuriating them that they executed him in 1965. He was 27.
"He told them to ' Go to Hell ' in Vietnamese, French and English," one of
Versace's fellow captives, Dan Pitzer, who died in 1997, told an oral historian.
" He got a lot of pressure and torture, but he held his path. As a West Point
graduate, it was Duty, Honor, Country. There was no other way. He was
brutally murdered because of it."
Another prisoner who was held with Versace, Major James Nicholas Rowe,
escaped after five years and later made an impassioned plea to President Richard
M. Nixon that Versace receive the Medal of Honor, describing how his resistance
deflected punishment from other captives and steeled their will to resist.
The Army instead awarded a Silver Star to Versace.
Brother Steve Versace credits the Special Operations Command, Rocky's
classmates from the West Point Class of 1959 and a group of Alexandrians,
called " Friends of Rocky Versace ", for influencing the Medal of Honor decision.
The award ceremony will be " the culmination of three years of intense work on
their part," Steve Versace said. " These people have put their lives on hold to
help with this."
The Medal of Honor is one of two salutes for Rocky Versace in the coming months.
On July 6, a plaza in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria where Versace grew
up is scheduled to be dedicated, honoring him and more than 60 other Alexandrians
who died in the Vietnam War. The plaza will include a bronze statue of Versace,
being sculpted by artist Toby Mendez.
by Steve Vogel - Washington Post - 16 May 2002
For even more information on the life of
HUMBERT ROQUE VERSACE
and further material on his award of the
MEDAL OF HONOR
please go to the following website ...
In Memory of R. H. VersacePosted on 11/9/02 - by Michael Robert PattersonThis is the memorial headstone for Rocky Versace which is located in Memorial Section "G" of Arlington National Cemetery.MORE
Rocky Versace Medal of Honor PresentationPosted on 11/9/02 - by Michael Robert PattersonPresident George W. Bush hands the Medal of Honor to Steve Versace,brother of Army Captain Humbert "Rocky" Versace, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, July 8, 2002MORE
In Honored Remembrance of Captain VersacePosted on 10/31/02 - by Michael Robert Patterson"Rocky" Versace has, after all of these years, been awarded the Medal of Honor in recognition of his courage, leadership and dedication to his fellow prisoners while a captive of the Viet Cong for over three years during the war in Vietnam.MORE
"Rocky" was executed by his captors because he would not give in to their demands that he dishonor himself or his country. His body lies in an unmarked grave in Vietnam. There is a memorial marker in his memory in Arlington National Cemetery, just a few steps away from the grave of his father, a career Army officer.
Rest in peace.
Leave no one behind.Posted on 8/26/02 - by Jane FulkersonWell, Captain....I maybe can't sing the way you did, but I will do my bit. I will wear your bracelet until Hell freezes over and we all learn to ice skate. Know you would appreciate that!MORE
God Bless America!
Rest in Peace.
SOLDIER'S INVINCIBLE SPIRIT LIVES IN MEMORYPosted on 7/5/02 - by CLAY MARSTONThe last time an American saw Rocky Versace, he was singing " God Bless America " at the top of his voice.MORE
The Army Special Forces captain was locked in a bamboo cage the size of a coffin. The Viet Cong had held him for two years, torturing him and denying him food and medical treatment. A noose was tied around his neck, the means of transport for a captive dragged through village after village. He often was gagged, left for days in the suffocating heat, exposed to jungle vermin.
"This wasn't the Hanoi Hilton," said Michael Heisley, the St. Charles businessman who owns the NBA Memphis Grizzlies, and was a boyhood friend of Rocky's. "It was the Mekong Delta. There was no Geneva Convention It wasn't a declared war back then" in 1963.
The Viet Cong executed Rocky Versace, but they couldn't break him.
As the nation clebrates its independence this week, Versace will be remembered.
On Saturday, his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, will dedicate a monument to the 61 residents who died in Vietnam. The centerpiece is a statue of Versace with his arm around two Vietnamese children.
On Monday, more than 30 years after President Richard Nixon first instructed aides to arrange for Versace to receive the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military recognition will be awarded posthumously at the White House. Versace is the first Vietnam-era Army man to be awarded the medal for his actions in captivity.
"If he thought something was right, there was nothing you could do to change his mind," said Dick Versace, Rocky's younger brother and a longtime Chicago basketball fixture who is now Grizzlies' general manager. "He loved his country and believed in what he was doing, and no one was going to break him."
Versace, who hoped to join the Maryknoll order and run an orphanage in Vietnam, so frustrated his captors that their voices would shriek in irritation.
Fellow captive Dan Pitzer, who died in 1995, once said of Rocky: "He told them to go to Hell in Vietnamese, French and English. He got a lot of pressure and torture. But he held his path."
Humbert Roque Versace was one of five children of Humbert and Tere Versace. His father was a West Point graduate and career Army officer, and is mother was a writer whose short sory, "The Fifteenth Pelican," became the basis for "The Flying Nun" television series.
"He was a bright guy, straight A's," brother Dick recalled. "My dad was gone a lot, so Rocky helped my mom with us. He was fierce, but compassionate and fair. We all admired the guy."
Versace followed his father to West Point, graduating in 1959. He became a combat adviser to the South Vietnamese Army in 1962, when Vietnam was just another place Americans couldn't find on a globe.
But he was taken with the Vietnamese culture and people, especially the children. He arranged for food and wrote home to get sports equipment.
Versace had served in Korea and while there became acquainted with the Maryknoll order and its work with orphans, Heisley recalled.
"He was involved in an orphanage in Korea, and then in his first tour in Vietnam," Heisley said. "Any spare time he had, he'd spend at the orphanage in the Mekong Delta."
On the night before Versace left for his second tour in Vietnam, he and Heisley had dinner together.
"He told me this was going to be his last tour and he was going to talk to the Maryknoll fathers about becoming a priest for the purpose of going back to run the orphanage," Heisley said.
"Rocky grew up in a Catholic family, but not with what I call ' priest religious.' He wanted to work with the kids. He finished his second tour of duty and with 45 to 60 days left, they usually ship you back to the United States. He didn't want to go because of his work with the orphanage. He went all the way up to [General William] Westmoreland to get an exemption to spend his last 60 days on active duty in Vietnam. That's when he was captured."
On that day, Versace was with South Vietnamese troops near U Minh, a Viet Cong stronghold. The South Vietnamese were overrun. Versace was shot several times in the leg and captured along with Pitzer and 1st Lieutenant James Nicholas "Nick" Rowe.
The three were bound and led into the swamps. Versace often was kept in leg irons. Several escape attempts failed, and he was punished for each one, according to accounts by his fellow prisoners.
By the end, his fellow prisoners later said, Versace's skin was yellow from jaundice, his head swollen from beatings. He was barely able to stand.
His clothes were a few tattered rags. He wore no shoes. His dark hair had turned white and bones jutted out of his skin.
He no longer could try to escape because he could only crawl.
American troops in Vietnam later heard stories from villagers of an American soldier who defied and damned the Viet Cong despite horrendous, inhuman treatment. The prisoner, they said, was dragged around on a rope like an animal, caged, but never quieted. After two years, the Viet Cong shot Rocky, dragging him from his isolation box where he had been singing American anthems. In late September 1965, Radio Hanoi announced he had been executed. His family heard the news in TV reports.
"My mom never believed it," Dick Versace said. "To the day she died (in 1999), she believed he would just come walking out of that jungle."
Rowe eventually did. He escaped in 1968 after five years in captivity and made it his mission to tell the world about Rocky Versace and what he meant to his fellow prisoners.
In 1969 Rowe got an audience with President Nixon, who was so taken by the story he ordered aides to arrange for the Medal of Honor.
But the Army downgraded the award to the Silver Star. Some believed it was because Rowe had criticized anti-war senators. Rowe wrote a book about his experiences and was later murdered in 1989 while serving as a military adviser in the Philippines.
For a time, it seemed Rocky Versace was forgotten.
But not by his West Point classmates, including Brigadier General Peter Dawkins, the 1959 Heisman Trophy winner.
Along with friends such as Heisley and Versace family members, they continued to lobby for recognition.
"Vietnam wasn't a great war," Heisley said, trying to explain the decades-long stonewall. He helped finance the Alexandria memorial and hopes one day to sponsor an expedition to recover Versace's remains.
Finally progress was made in the Clinton and Bush administratons. Secretary of State Colin Powell became a supporter. Congressmen and senators also became involved, and the Rocky Versace story began to reach people again.
After the ceremonies in Alexandria and the White House, there will be a salute to Versace on Tuesday at the Pentagon.
A great American family will be honored, but he always has been remembered.
Sam Smith, Chicago Tribune Staff Reporter
THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE - 4 July 2002 -
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE MOTHER OF THIS HEROIC PRISONER OF WAR WHO NEVER RETURNED FROM SOUTHEAST ASIAPosted on 6/25/02 - by CLAY MARSTON
THE NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES
MOURNS THE PASSING OF
MARIE TERESA ( TERE ) RIOS VERSACE
PRISONER OF WAR
HUMBERT ROQUE "ROCKY" VERSACE
A MEMBER OF THE
5th SPECIAL FORCES GROUP
WHO WAS CAPTURED BY THE
VIETCONG AND TWO YEARS LATER
WAS EXECUTED IN A
PRISONER OF WAR CAMP
-- VIETNAM HAS YET TO RETURN HIS REMAINS --
SERVICES FOR MRS. VERSACE WERE HELD AT
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
ON 12 NOVEMBER 1999
TO THE VERSACE FAMILY WE OFFER
OUR DEEPEST SYMPATHY
"IN WAR THE FIRST CASUALTY IS TRUTH"
WRITING UNDER THE PEN NAME OF
SHE WAS THE AUTHOR OF THE
FOLLOWING THREE BOOKS:-
- BROTHER ANGEL -
- AN ANGEL GROWS UP -
- THE FIFTEENTH PELICAN -
THIS FINAL VOLUME WAS THE BOOK
THAT THE TELEVISION SERIES
" THE FLYING NUN "
WAS BASED ON
SHE GREW UP IN BOTH
PUERTO RICO AND IN
NEW YORK STATE
AN ARMY WIFE DURING
WORLD WAR II SHE WAS
AN ARMY TRUCK & BUS
DRIVER AND A PILOT WITH
THE CIVIL AIR PATROL
WHILE RAISING CHILDREN
WROTE AND EDITED FOR
AROUND THE WORLD
' STARS AND STRIPES '
SHE ALSO TAUGHT
UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
AND WAS ON THE STAFF OF THE
RHINELANDER WRITERS CONFERENCE
AND WAS SELECTED AS THE
WISCONSIN WRITER OF THE YEAR
SHE HAD BEEN LIVING IN
FAJARDO, PUERTO RICO
To learn more about what the
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES
is doing to bring back all those who are
PRISONERS OF WAR & MISSING IN ACTION
please go to their website at
----- www.nationalalliance.org -----
To learn more about the life of
HUMBERT ROQUE " ROCKY " VERSACE
pleas refer to the following website
----- www.pwba.org/versace/ -----
CLASS OF 1959 CONDUCTS FIRST RANGER MEMORIAL CEREMONY FOR CLASSMATES KILLED IN ACTION DURING THE VIETNAM WARPosted on 5/18/02 - by CLAY MARSTONOn a bright, sunny morning on Wednesday, 4 October 2000, the USMA Class of 1959 conducted the first Ranger memorial ceremony of its kind at Fort Benning, Georgia.MORE
The purpose of the ceremony was to honor seven members of the West Point Class of 1959 who were Rangers killed in action during the Vietnam War and a classmate who died during a Ranger School training exercise.
LTC (Ret.) Bill Schwartz, who serves on the U.S. Army Ranger Association Board of Directors, who conceived holding such a ceremony, served as the master of ceremonies and briefly touched on each fallen classmates' record of service and combat loss. COL. (Ret.) Bill Luther, the only member of the class close to Fort Benning, developed the program.
Forty-two parents, widows, siblings, and children and five family friends of those being honored travelled from all parts of the country and joined 20 members of the Class of 1959 to attend the ceremony. General (Ret.) Fred Franks was the primary ceremony speaker. Fred drew analogies between his lost classmates; the "Alma Mater" and "The Corps." He focused on the fallen Rangers, their family's great sacrifice for our country, and their examples of "Duty, Honor, Country."
The focal point of the ceremony was the dedication of eight Memorial Stones, each inscribed with the name of the fallen Class of 1959 Ranger, as well as inscriptions on a Friends of the Rangers memorial plaque linking all the names with their class.
Each primary relative was presented with a framed print of the Ranger Memorial suitably inscribed. Conduct of the ceremony was facilitated by the able assistance and participation of Rangers from the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Ranger Training Brigade, the Infantry School and Center, and the United States Air Force Reserve Band.
A major aspect of the ceremony was connecting the family members with a classmate who knew the deceased as a roommate or company mate.
Dinner the first night was designed to facilitate that interaction in a relaxed and informal setting.
After the ceremony the second night, the family members and classmates broke up into individual dinner groups, thus further facilitating their interaction.
The morning of the ceremony, designated classmates accompanied their family members to the Ranger Memorial. At the ceremony, a properly inscribed, framed print of the Ranger Memorial was presented to each family member. A video, also, will be provided to them.
At the end of the ceremony, the stones and inscriptions were unveiled, which was followed by a reception at the Fort Benning Officers' Club.
Those honored were:
CLAYTON ALLEN FANNIN
4 October 1937 - 10 January 1963
FRANCIS GARY GERCZ JR.
25 January 1937 - 25 January 1968
RICHARD KENNETH JORDAN
12 August 1936 - 22 October 1965
ROGER ALLEN QUINN
20 December 1937 - 3 April 1968
LAURENCE H. SHUCK JR.
3 March 1937 - 27 January 1960
WILLIAM FRUE TRAIN III
26 June 1937 - 16 June 1962
WALTER BUSILL TULLY JR.
13 April 1936 - 2 March 1969
HUMBERT ROQUE VERSACE
2 July 1937 - 1 July 1966
Transcribed from the
Fall 2000 issue of
FRONT & CENTER
published by the
ASSOCIATION OF GRADUATES
UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
WILLIAM A. LUTHER JR
For more information on the life of
HUMBERT ROQUE VERSACE
please refer to the following website
----- www.pwba.org/versace/ -----
IN REMEMBRANCE OF THIS HEROIC YOUNG UNITED STATES ARMY OFFICER, A SON OF A FAMOUS MILITARY OFFICER, WHOSE NAMES SHALL LIVE FOREVER MOREPosted on 3/25/01 - by CLAY MARSTONCAPTAINMORE
HUMBERT ROQUE VERSACE
WAS A DISTINGUISHED GRADUATE OF THE
UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
AT WEST POINT, NEW YORK
IN THE CLASS OF 1959
WHO WHILE SERVING WITH
THE 5TH SPECIAL FORCES GROUP
WAS DECLARED AS BEING
MISSING IN ACTION
ON OCTOBER 29, 1963
IT WAS LATER LEARNED
THAT HE HAD BECOME A
PRISONER OF WAR
UNTIL IT WAS BELIEVED
HE WAS EXECUTED BY
THE VIET CONG
DURING THE MONTH OF
HE WAS OFFICIALLY
DECLARED AS DECEASED ON
JULY 1, 1966
AND WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED
THE SILVER STAR MEDAL
THE PURPLE HEART MEDAL
HUMBERT JOSEPH VERSACE
WAS ALSO A GRADUATE OF THE
UNITED STATES MILITARY ACADEMY
IN THE CLASS OF 1933
WHO LATER DIED AT
BLACK EARTH, WISCONSIN
ON JUNE 12, 1972
AND TODAY LIES AT REST IN
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
" WHERE VALOR PROUDLY SLEEPS "
~~~ DUTY - HONOR - COUNTRY ~~~
~~~ THE LONG GRAY LINE ~~~
YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN
NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE
"Rocky" and "Jude"Posted on 7/1/00 - by Donna Judy Lathe (sister)I am proud that my brother, Cpl. Herman L. Judy, Jr., will be honored on the Alexandria, Va. Vietnam Memorial with "Rocky".MORE
Alexandria, VA MemorialPosted on 4/18/00 - by Tony Heisley firstname.lastname@example.orgAlexandria, VA is dedicating a Vietnam Memorial scheduled for completion in the next 15 months. The site will be called the Captain Rocky Versace Plaza and Vietnam Veterans Memorial. The plaza will contain a sculpture of Captain Versace, a former resident of Alexandria, and a Vietnam Memorial with the 61 names of the Alexandrians who sacrificed their lives during service in the Vietnam War. The Friends of Rocky Versace, a group dedicated to this project, is working closely with the city to ensure that the best effort is made to honor these veterans for their ultimate sacrifice. A historical database will be maintained at the plaza with biographical information concerning the veterans from Alexandria and their military service. This information will reside on the computer systems at the plaza and will be maintained for accuracy. For this reason, the Friends of Rocky Versace would appreciate any information you can provide to include in the historical record. Contact: Tony Heisley at email@example.com or telephone: 703-683-6964 or mail: Friends of Rocky Versace, P. O. Box 3441, Alexandria, VA 22302 or check our web site at: http://www.friendsrockyversace.homestead.com/ .MORE
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.