Wisconsin Marine comes home 46 years after his death in Vietnam
Article by: ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 27, 2013
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 he 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 drove 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.
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