Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

46 years after his death, Marine comes home

Jun. 28, 2013 - 08:00AM   |  
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders join members of a Marine Honor Guard on June 27 in carrying the casket bearing the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Merlin 'Merl' Raye Allen to the Bratley Funeral Home in Washburn, Wis. Allen returned home to the bay area 46 years after his death in Vietnam.
Members of the Patriot Guard Riders join members of a Marine Honor Guard on June 27 in carrying the casket bearing the remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Merlin 'Merl' Raye Allen to the Bratley Funeral Home in Washburn, Wis. Allen returned home to the bay area 46 years after his death in Vietnam. (Rick Olivo / The Ashland Daily Press via AP)
  • Filed Under

WASHBURN, WIS. — Marine Lance Cpl. Merlin “Merl” Raye Allen was just 20 when his life ended in Vietnam. Forty-six years later, he’s finally back in his beloved Bayfield County of northern Wisconsin.

An enemy rocket brought down the helicopter Allen was in over Hue Province. His remains were not discovered until a joint U.S.-Vietnamese recovery team excavated the wreck site last year.

“Merl has never been forgotten. He has always been remembered by family and friends,” his sister, Marilyn Allen Neff, told The Daily Press of Ashland

Neff and other family members were stunned when they motored into Washburn on Wednesday, completing a trip from Minneapolis where the family received the casket holding Allen’s remains. They arrived in town with an escort from the Patriot Guard Riders, a national organization of motorcycle enthusiasts who attend funeral processions to honor fallen U.S. military personnel. The streets of Washburn were lined with well-wishers, waving American flags.

“We are overwhelmed, just overwhelmed,” Neff said. “Everybody has just touched our hearts all along the way. This is amazing. We love our small towns.”

Her brother’s remains were solemnly carried into a funeral home by a Marine honor guard, past an honor guard of Patriot Riders standing at attention in their motorcycle leathers.

One of the onlookers was Barb Weber Mohr, a classmate at Bayfield High School.

“He was cool,” Mohr recalled. “He had a lot of antics, and he would kind of get into trouble once in a while, but he’d give you that grin, and he kind of melted your heart.”

For the riders, who came from across the Upper Midwest, accompanying the procession was a way to pay back a debt to all those who have given their lives for America, said Edward Bergeui of St. Paul, Minn.

“What he did for us — we have to do something for him,” Bergeui said. “He gave his life for us; we owe him that respect.”

Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the Bratley Funeral Home in Washburn and will continue one hour before his funeral, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Bayfield High School gymnasium. Military honors will be held at Little Sand Bay immediately following the service. A private burial will take place on York Island.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

U.S. military shifting gears in Europe
'Center of gravity' heads east amid new tensions

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        Apr 23, 2014 4:14 PM
   Last Post: Stalwart
        Apr 23, 2014 12:27 PM
San Antonio shooting
(10 replies)
   Last Post: Measure Man
        Apr 22, 2014 3:34 PM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook