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  • 02/12/2018 11:36 AM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Beloved husband of Mildred. Loving father of Constance (George) Gengle, Stephen Reott, Mary (Larry) Marschall, Diane (Bruce) Jacobs, Adela (Steven) Widman, Annette (Michael) Martin and Laurie (Floyd) Drouillard. Dear brother of Beatrice, Dian, Gloria, Julia and Donald. Dearest grandfather of 20. Loving great-grandfather of 19. Bob was preceded in death by his parents Joseph and Adela; his siblings Sue, Dolores, Richard, Henry and Dale as well as his grandson Michael. Bob will be deeply missed by family and friends. 

    Visitation Thursday, February 01, 2018 from 2- 9 p.m. at the Taylor Chapel of VoranFuneral Home, 23750 Goddard Road. (313) 291-1800. 

    A Rosary will be held Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m. with the Downriver Veteran Honor Guard to pay tribute starting at 7:30 p.m. In state Friday 9:30 a.m. with a 10:00 a.m. Mass of the Resurrection to follow at St. Alfred Catholic Church, 9350 S. Telegraph Road, Taylor. Interment St. Patrick Cemetery in Carleton, MI. Donations may be made St. Alfred Parish Church. 

    Please share memories and/or leave condolences on Bob’s guestbook -  www.voranfuneralhome.com/obituary/Robert-R.-Bob-Reott/Taylor

  • 02/04/2018 3:43 PM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Frank Mattivi was born November 8, 1918 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. Frank signed up for the Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) in 1938. He served in Idaho, Minnesota, and Iowa.

    On January, 16, 1941, Frank went to Des Moines, Iowa and enlisted in the 34th Division Iowa National Guard. It wasn’t long before he was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana for basic training. After going overseas, Frank volunteered to join a new American Commando outfit that was being formed. Frank was assigned to D Company, 1st Ranger Battalion, known as Darby’s Rangers, which was trained by British Commandos in Scotland. He then participated in the North African Campaign. Rangers spearheaded the landing at Arzew, Algeria (he got to invade Algeria on his birthday), and moved into Tunisia for successful missions at Sened Station and El Guettar. After those campaigns were concluded Darby’s Rangers were expanded from one Battalion to three. Frank stayed in the 1st Battalion Company F, serving as cadre to the new volunteers.

    The Rangers landed at Licata, Sicily and fought through the conclusion of the Sicilian campaign. The Rangers then landed at Salerno and advanced to the Chuinzi Pass, which they held against stiff German counterattacks. The Rangers were then put into the Volturno line before being withdrawn to rest and refit for the Anzio landing. On 30 January 1944 during the battle to take the town of Cisterna during the Anzio campaign, a German tank was maneuvering its turret to strike a building Frank knew was occupied by many Rangers. Without thought, he bravely jumped on the rear of the German tank, opened the tank hatch, and dropped a phosphorous grenade inside. A Ranger on the other side of the tank fired a rocket launcher into the side of the tank, knocking Frank off the tank and he was momentarily stunned. Through his heroic actions in destroying the tank, he saved the lives of countless Rangers taking cover inside this building. Frank, along with many other Rangers, was captured at during this battle. Frank was interned at a German prison camp for 16 months.

    Frank was awarded the following Medals as a result of his service: 
    Good Conduct Medal 1rd Ranger Bn, Presidential Unit Citation 1st Ranger Bn, Combat Infantryman’s Badge 1st Ranger Bn, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Stars (Algeria-French Morocco, Tunisia, Sicily, Naples-Foggia, Anzio), American Defense Service Medal, six Overseas Bars, Service Stripes, and POW Medal

    Frank mustered out of the Army in 1945 and returned home to Missouri. He reenlisted in the Army Infantry Reserves and was honorably discharged 1 September 1948. Frank married Lorena June May 1946 and raised three sons and a daughter. Frank worked at Leeds Plant, manufacturer of Chevrolets until a steel strike occurred in 1951. Frank then manufactured tanks for semi-trucks until July 1951 when he was employed at Ford manufacturing B-525 bomber wings. In 1957 Ford started manufacturing vehicles at the plant. In 1963 Frank was promoted to Foreman. He retired from Ford in 1979.

    Frank was inducted into the RHOF in 2012. He was a member of the WWII Ranger Battalions Association, life member of the Excelsior VFW, and member of the American Legion. He died February 2, 2018 at home at the age of 99. Frank is survived by three children, eight grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great-grandchildren. 

    Frank Mattivi will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

    Services for Frank Mattivi will be held Thursday at United Methodist Church, 1650 Rainbow Blvd, Excelsior Springs, MO 64024. 

    Visitation 10 to 1130. Service at 1130 hours followed by graveside services.  

    Some Regiment Rangers will be in attendance.  Rangers are needed to attend this funeral for the ‘Once an Eagle’ ceremony at the gravesite.

  • 01/12/2018 2:01 PM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Daniel Farley was born in Kayford, West Virginia on May 4, 1924 and joined the Army during his Senior year of High School.

    He later volunteered to be trained as a Ranger by British Commandos in Achnacarry, Scotland. His stated reason for volunteering for the Rangers was he wanted to "fight with the best."

    After having been discovered to be part American Indian he was made "Lead Scout." A position that put him on "Point" many times during the war.
    On June 6th, 1944 he went ashore on Dog White, Omaha Beach with the 5th Ranger Battalion commanded by Lt. Colonel Max Schneider.

    After becoming separated from the rest of the 5th Dan, along with 2 Officers and 20 EM of 1st Platoon, Able Company under the command of Lt. Charles "Ace" Parker, fought their way overland to Pointe Du Hoc to reinforce the 2nd Ranger Battalion, under Lt. Colonel James Rudder.

    Arriving at approx. 2100 (Double Daylight Saving Time) those 23 Officers and EM were the only element of 5th Rangers to fulfill their D-Day mission on D-Day.

    He and his fellow 5th Rangers went on to fight from Grandcamp Maisy and Brest, France, being behind German lines for 9 days at Zerf, Germany, to helping with the Liberation of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

    Five years later, when the Korean War began, Dan would again find himself fighting in a Ranger company there.

    Daniel Farley, Jr. died peacefully on the morning of December 30, 2017.

  • 11/07/2017 4:00 PM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Robert (Bob) Becker, Ranger School Class 01-58, beloved husband of Fran Becker of Calgary passed away on October 29, 2017 at the age of 82 years.

    It is with great sadness we announce the passing of Bob Becker. He was a creative engineer, a reflective philosopher, a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, and a thoughtful man of the spirit.  His warmth and optimism and zest for living will be deeply missed by friends and family.

    He leaves behind his wife of 44 years Fran; his sons Julian and Bill (Michele); his daughter Buffy Elizabeth (Don) and stepson Ian (Erin); grandchildren, Elina, Finn, Evan and Annika.

    Journey well Bob, we'll miss you.

  • 08/25/2017 10:59 AM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Leonard D. Lavoie (93), formerly of Merrimack, NH, passed away on Saturday, July 29, 2017 at the Oceanside Nursing Center in Hampton. He was born on June 27, 1924 in Nashua, NH, the son of the late Joseph and Blanche (St. Onge) Lavoie.

    Leonard proudly served his country as an Army Ranger, participating in the invasion of France on D-Day and also the Campaign of Brittany where he received the Purple Heart, presidential citation, good conduct ribbon, and three battle stars. He was a graduate of New Hampshire College and had a lifelong career employed as an Internal Revenue Agent for the IRS until his retirement in 1982. In his retirement, Leonard enjoyed golfing and bowling and was an active member of the Bektash Temple of Shriners.

    Leonard was predeceased by two brothers, Lionel and George Lavoie and two sisters, Doris Desmaris and Gloria Gagnon.

    Leonard is survived by his wife of 71 years, Beatrice E. Lavoie and their daughter Janet and her husband Ernest (Skip) Dufour of Exeter; granddaughters, Kristine Moulton and her husband David of Auburn and Kara Fontaine and her husband Bryan of Hooksett and three great grandchildren, Jack and Charles Moulton and Benjamin Fontaine. Leonard also leaves behind his brother, John Lavoie of Hudson and several sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews and cousins.

    The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the Visiting Angels of Auburn, Partridge House Assisted Living, Oceanside Nursing of Hampton, and Compassus Hospice of North Hampton for their kindness, help and support.

  • 08/02/2017 4:25 PM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    It’s my sad duty to inform you that MAJ (R) Timothy Arthur "Tim" Vandersommen, 61, of Chesnee, South Carolina passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at Mary Black Hospital.

    He was an Eagle Scout, a retired Army Special Forces officer and an Airborne Ranger with staff and command experience. MAJ Vandersommen led specialized units conducting military, intelligence, and counterterrorism missions. After retirement from the Army, Tim continued to serve his country in various aspects with the Department of Defense as a Special Mission Unit Instructor, Evaluator, and Role Player for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC); a Special Operations G-3 Advisor and Trainer in Afghanistan; the Director of the Khost Provinical Stabilization in Afghanistan; a Team Leader for the Human Terrain System, Multi National Division-Baghdad; and the Deputy Program Manager and Instructor for the Iraq Assistance Group’s Phoenix Academy at Camp Taji, Iraq.

    He was the husband of Joyce Murphy Vandersommen; a native of Elyria and a son of Annette Krueck Vandersommen and the late Anthony Vandersommen. He spent his life devoted to God, his family and his country. He was a member of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Spartanburg.

    In addition to his wife and mother, he is survived by a son, Collin Vandersommen of Arizona and a daughter, Victoria Vandersommen of Alaska; brothers, Martin Vandersommen of Homosassa, Florida and Roger Vandersommen of Elyria; sister, Patricia Huddleston of Cleveland.

    Tim was preceded in death by a son, Ryan Vandersommen.

    In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the Fisher House Foundation, www.fisherhouse.org E-Condolences may be sent to the family online at www.eggersfuneralhome.com

  • 06/16/2017 11:09 PM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Nelsen was born February 28, 1923 in Brayton, Iowa. In 1940 at the age 17, George enlisted in the U.S. Army. During his tour of duty he saw action in the Algerian, Tunisian, and Italian Campaigns receiving three bronze battle stars. George volunteered to be in the 1st Ranger Battalion which was formed in Scotland and they were trained by British Commandos. He was honorably discharged on June 11, 1945 and returned to the Exira area.

     He was an avid reader enjoying books and newspapers. George enjoyed playing cards, gardening, and attending Ranger Reunions. But most of all he loved spending time with his family especially his grandchildren.

    The family will meet with friends Wednesday evening, June 14, 2017, at 6:00 P.M. at the Kessler Funeral Home in Exira, Iowa. Funeral services will be conducted by Pastor Steven Frock on Thursday morning June 15, 2017, at 10:30 A.M. at the Exira Lutheran Church in Exira, Iowa. Interment will be in the Exira Cemetery in Exira.

  • 06/11/2017 11:24 AM | Don Harris (Administrator)

    Samuel Vaughan Wilson (93) died June 10, 2017 of lung cancer at his home in Rice, Virginia.

    A revered and beloved figure, and known affectionately as “General Sam,” Lieutenant General Wilson served 37 years in the U.S. Army, retiring in 1977. In June 1940, at 16, he walked seven miles through the nighttime rain from his family’s tobacco farm in Rice to the Army National Guard Armory in Farmville, VA, where he lied about his age and signed up. When he graduated from OCS at the age of 18, he was the Army’s youngest second lieutenant.

    General Wilson became a living legend in intelligence and special operations. During his military career, he co-authored legislation establishing the U.S. Special Operations Command and helped create the Delta Force — the Army’s premier counterterrorism unit. Fluent in Russian, he was designated the first general officer to serve as defense attaché to Moscow. An expert in “counterinsurgency,” he coined the term, writing the Army’s first program of instruction on how to do it and fight it.

    General Sam was an early recruit to the Office of Strategic Services in 1943. Later, his commanding officer termed him the best lieutenant fighting in Burma with the renowned “Merrill’s Marauders.” During his career he saw service variously in Russia and Vietnam, ran CIA Cold War operations in Berlin, served as Assistant Division Commander for Operations of the 82nd Airborne Division, and commanded the Sixth Special Forces Group. He played a key staff role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. In addition, he served as Deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community, and as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    Following his military career, he joined the faculty of Hampden-Sydney College as a professor of political science. He went on to become president of the college for eight years, and after founding Hampden-Sydney’s Wilson Center for Leadership was named to its first Wheat professorship. A longtime member of the Hampden-Sydney board, when commending General Sam’s “great wisdom,” described him as “one of the most significant presidents in the school’s history; he led and inspired every man he met to be a better man.”


    Over the years many in the nation’s military and civilian leadership, and notably in its intelligence community, have held soaring opinions of General Sam — among them at least six Presidents as well as George Allen, Charles Robb, Paul Trible, Alexander Haig, David Petraeus, Richard Helms, John O. Marsh, Bobby Ray Inman, and Edward Lansdale. 

    — Former CIA Director Richard Helms said General Sam “never hesitated to take on the secret jobs which entail no reward.”

    — Pete Schoomaker, former Chief of Staff of the Army, said of him: “I think of General Sam as the ideal polymath Renaissance Man…warrior, scholar, diplomat, leader, and sage.”

    — Lynn Novick, Florentine Films said: Early in our project, Ken Burns and I were extremely fortunate to be introduced to General Sam Wilson, one of the most brilliant, honest, and authentic human beings we have ever encountered. We will be forever grateful to him for sharing his deep insights into the Vietnam War, one of the most divisive and complex events in our history. We feel his loss most acutely."

    —Joseph Galloway, war correspondent and co-author of “We Were Soldiers Once and Young,” found General Sam “a prince of a man and officer and thinker and doer. He lived the words Duty, Honor, Country every day. His like shall never pass this way again."

    —Novelist Charles McCarry said of his life-long friend "General Sam Wilson may well have been the ultimate citizen the founding fathers had in mind when they created our country. In dangerous times, he rose from the people to positions of high influence but all his life remained one of them. His deeds on the world stage were great and their effect on history was by no means small. His fame was quiet, as Sam, for whom duty was its own reward, wished it to be."

    —LTG Patrick Hughes, former DIA Director said of his predecessor "It one thing to have been a great man for a brief period of time. It is another to have a sustained history and character of such esteem that one can call you among the greatest of the Greatest Generation."

    — LTG James Williams, former DIA Director: "He was first and foremost, a gentleman. It followed then that he was also a scholar and a soldier, cited for heroism, who truly inspired his men and his officers. No challenge was too great and no obstacle too severe."

    Among General Sam's various other honors, he was a member of the U.S. Army Infantry Hall of Fame, the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame, the U.S. Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, and the U.S. Attaché Hall of Fame. He was a recipient of: the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star (Gallantry) (twice), the Legion of Merit (twice), the U.S. Army’s Distinguished Service Medal (thrice), the Office of National Intelligence's Distinguished Service Medal (twice), the U.S. Special Operations Distinguished Service Medal, the CIA Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the William Oliver Baker Award (Intelligence), the Arthur D. “Bull” Simons Award (Special Operations), the National Defense Industrial Association’s Rylander Award for Special Operations, and the Military Intelligence Corps Association’s Knowlton Award. General Sam also held an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from Hampden-Sydney College, an Honorary Doctorate in Letters from Longwood University, and an honorary doctorate in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University. In 1992, the Virginia Cultural Laureate Foundation named him its Cultural Laureate for Public Service.


    Samuel Vaughan Wilson was predeceased by his parents, Helen Vaughan and Jasper D. Wilson; his brothers John D. and William L.; his sister Virginia W. Druen; and by his wife Brenda Downing Wilson. He is survived by his brother James B. Wilson; his sons Samuel V. Wilson, Jr. (Jane Carol), Jackson B. Wilson (Jane), David. J. M. Wilson, and William W Tennis II; by his daughters Susan V. Wilson, and Frances Gwin Tennis (Jason); and by his wife Virginia H. Wilson.

    Memorial services for General Sam will be held at College Church, Hampden-Sydney College June 23 at 1:00 PM. The family asks that donations in his memory be made to the Samuel V. Wilson Scholarship Fund or The Wilson Center for Leadership in the Public Interest at Hampden Sydney, VA, 23943.

  • 05/26/2017 11:26 AM | Michael Ranger (Administrator)

    Alvin D.”Pop” Ezzell, 95, of Round Rock, Texas, member of the 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions of WWII, passed away Wednesday May 17, 2017.

    Alvin D. Ezzell, (Pop), 95, of Round Rock, Texas, passed away Wednesday May 17, 2017. He was born in Taylor, Texas, on June 6, 1921, to Edna Mae Wood and Ralph Taylor Ezzell. He spent his early childhood in Taylor and then moved to San Antonio, Texas in his early teenage years where he lived with his Aunt Ree and Uncle Charlie Herbert and later graduated from Brackenridge High School in 1939. After high school, he joined the Texas National Guard, 141st infantry, 36th division, where he began a decorated 22 year career in the U.S. Army.

    On October 18, 1941, he married Virginia Adams, the love of his life. They were blessed with nearly 73 wonderful years together in marriage. In May of 1942, he volunteered for overseas service and he was stationed in London, England, in the Inspector General’s Office. On December 7, 1942, his daughter Bonnie Gay Ezzell was born while he was overseas serving our country; meeting her for the first time after World War II (WWII) ended in 1945. In June of 1942, he became restless with his office job and once again volunteered to further serve our great country and applied for Army Ranger training in Dundee, Scotland which was vigorous training by the British Commandos. After graduation from Ranger training, he became a member of the elite fighting force known as the Darby’s Rangers, commanded by Colonel William Orlando Darby. He was a proud member of both the 1st and 3rd Ranger Battalions of WWII. From August of 1942 – January of 1944, he participated in numerous battles, invasions and raids throughout North Africa, France, and Italy. On January 30, 1944, after the invasion at Anzio, Italy, he was captured by German forces and was a prisoner of war for nearly seventeen months. He returned to the “Good Ole USA” in 1945 after being liberated. In 1950, he volunteered for the U.S. Army’s first helicopter pilot training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In November of 1951, he once again volunteered for service and went overseas to Korea as a cargo helicopter pilot flying numerous missions over his sixteen months tour of duty in Korea. He later became a helicopter flight instructor and later Chief of Flight Operations at Camp Wolters in Minerals Wells, Texas. In July of 1963, Alvin retired from active service as a Chief Warrant Officer III. He was a proud recipient of many decorations, medals, citations and ribbons, including the bronze star, purple heart, good conduct medal, combat infantry badge, distinguished unit badge, 7 overseas bars, army aviation badges, air medal with cluster and senior army aviation badge, to name just a few. He was proud of his service to our country and was equally proud to be a member of the Darby’s Rangers. “Rangers Lead the Way” was the motto by which he lived his long and blessed servient life.

    After his military career, Pop worked for the Texas Highway Department for over 10 years in Johnson City, Texas. After retirement, he stayed busy either ginning cotton in Williamson, County Texas or assisting shearing mohair in Uvalde, Texas at the Stone Ranch. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, uncle and friend to many. He was a diehard University of Texas Longhorn fan and was a season football ticket holder for many years; he bled burnt orange and had many great memories attending games with family and friends. He enjoyed hunting with his son-in-law and grandsons and had many great memories fishing on the Rio Grande with his life-long buddies. He was an avid gardener and enjoyed being outdoors doing just about anything.  He also enjoyed traveling in his RV with his wife Virginia spending time at the Texas coast or just about anywhere in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. He and Virginia also enjoyed many wonderful years boating, fishing and living on Lake LBJ.

    Pop, thank you for all of the wonderful memories and times together and your dedicated sacrifice and service to our country. You’re a true American hero and a chartered member of the greatest generation that will be missed by all who knew you. We are grateful for the nearly 96 years of your life and hope you can now rest in eternal peace as you enter God’s kingdom. As you would say, “Here’s to it and to it again and if we ever get to it, we will do it again.”

    He is preceded in death by his wife Virginia Ezzell, his daughter Bonnie Jehl and his son-in-law Carl Jehl, Sr. He is survived by his grandchildren, Carl Jehl, Jr. and Robin Branham, Chuck and Marilyn Jehl, Rick and Tina Jehl, his great grandchildren, Jake, Jared, Hunter, Taylor, Jason and Jaxon Jehl, his sisters Peggy Massey and Joy Welsh and his extended family, Jack and Susan Stone. 

    The family would services were held at Beck Funeral Home in Round Rock, Texas on Monday May 22, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. Visitation will be held prior to the funeral services from 9:00 – 10:00 am.

    like to thank the staff at Wyoming Springs assisted living for all of the wonderful care and love for Pop over the years and would also like to thank the team at Accolade Hospice for the incredible care and service to him over the past few months.


  • 04/22/2017 12:00 PM | Michael Ranger (Administrator)

    Oldest Merrill’s Marauder MG Milton Pilcher dies at 100
    By Jonnie Melillo Clasen

    Retired MG Milton A. Pilcher, 100, died peacefully shortly before noon Easter Sunday in Virginia.  He was the oldest living original Merrill’s Marauder. Pilcher served as a communications officer with Merrill’s Marauders and Mars Task Force for 18 months in the China Burma India Theater. 

    My brother and his wife and my husband and I were all there to pray with him and tell him how much everyone loved him,” said his daughter, Ann McKenzie, following her father’s death. 

    Pilcher died on the 73rd Easter Sunday anniversary of Merrill’s Marauders 2nd Battalion being rescued by the 3rd and 1st battalions after being surrounded for almost two weeks by the Japanese at the battle of Nphum Ga, Burma.

    Pilcher had distinguished careers in both the military and public administration. Prior to his service during WW II, he was employed by the Kentucky Power Company and then the Rural Electrification Administration from 1938 to 1942.

    Following his service in the China, Burma India Theater, Pilcher served as assistant signal officer with the Second Army in Tennessee, and in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer in the Pentagon until relieved from active duty in 1946. Pilcher served in the U.S. Army Reserve as a USAR School Director and then as a member and later commander of the 352nd Civil Affairs Command located at Georgetown University from 1946 to 1968. 

    He was in the Executive Office of the President of the United States for 11 years, from 1949 to 1960.        

    He was promoted to brigadier general in 1966. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations, Department of the Army, and promoted to major general in 1968. Pilcher was appointed commander of the 310th Field Army Support Command, Washington, DC in 1972 and served until retirement in 1974. 

    His decorations include the Legion of Merit, and recognition as a Distinguished Member of the U.S. Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment, and the Civil Affairs Corps Regiment. He received the AUSA award for distinguished service in 1995. 

    Funeral arrangements for Pilcher, who will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, are being handled by:

    Murphy Funeral Home
    4510 Wilson Boulevard
    Arlington, Virginia 22203
    (703) 920-4800 | MAP

    Those wishing to send condolences can mail them to:

    Murphy Funeral Home
    1532 Dahlia Court
    McLean, Virginia 22101-3312


    Jonnie Melillo Clasen
    706 689-0153 H
    828 230-8724 C - no texts


    Pilcher as a young officer

    Pilcher in a communication briefing with the Chinese during WW II   

    Pilcher taken at his military retirement with his friend, GEN Frederick C. Weyand, who served as ‎commander of American forces in Vietnam in the final year of the war  

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