30 October 2011


I have just learned that Colonel William E. Riley, Jr., USMC reported to Marine Barracks, Heaven earlier this summer. Colonel Riley was my battalion commander in Vietnam about whom I have written here, here, here, here, and here.

The Colonel was a tremendous combat leader, having served in Korea as a lieutenant and then in Vietnam, as Commanding Officer, 1st Battalion, Fifth Marines, 1st Marine Division. It seemed to the junior officers of the battalion that he never forgot what it was like to be a small unit leader. He trusted his subordinates and it showed. He was one of those men who other men eagerly follow, no matter how unpleasant the trip might be. Acts such as the implicit trust he placed in a 19 year old squad leader to adjust a supporting arm that could have killed us all earned him our undying trust, respect, and devotion.

Semper Fidelis.