Our Fallen

A Final Salute to our Fallen Brothers and Sisters

POW/MIA Remembrance Poem

Though they are not with us now

    Their memory survives.

May God watch over each of them

    And protect their honored lives.

We are humbled by their service

    That they made without regret.

So let no one doubt our firm resolve

    That we will never, ever, forget.

By the Late Reverend David K. Crabtree, Chaplain

VVA Sierra Nevada Chapter 989, Reno, Nevada

Vietnam Veterans of America, Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 Recognizes and Honors our Fallen Members and Northern Nevada Veterans when they are no longer with us. “You are not Forgotten “ Rest in Peace, your service over,  We now have the Watch.

A Tribute is on display at the Bunker, VVA 989 has a Remembrance Plaque with the names of our Fallen Members.

  • 17OCT13 Robert Sperry Marine
  • 19MAY14 Lowello Dennis Espinoza Army – Marine
  • 25OCT14 Charles W. “Chuck” Fulkerson Army
  • 14JUN15 Lori Montalvo AVVA
  • 17APR16 Francis William “Bill” Jowett Air Force
  • 02NOV16 Richard Caudill Army
  • 17NOV16 Brett Butler  Army
  • 03MAR17 Tyler Lubsen Army
  • 12JUL17 Kenny Williams Marine
  • 01FEB18 James Kitrell  Air Force
  • 03JUL18 Mike Edwardson Army
  • 27AUG18 Robert “Bob” Martin Army
  • 02NOV18 Gary Nicholes Army
  • 01JAN19 Dennis Romeo Navy
  • 13MAR19 Terry Wiederhoft Army
  • 24JUL19 Gary Meckler  Army
  • * 2019 Kate Roman *
  • 26JAN20 William “Clay” Coleman Army
  • 02FEB20 Anne Beler  Navy – AVVA
  • 20APR20 James Strickland Navy
  • 30APR20 Joe Ward Army
  • 17JUL20 John Boyne Army
  • 08NOV20 Tom Bracamonte Navy
  • 24DEC20 James Stinson Marine
  • * 2020 John Lustig  Air Force
  • 21APR21 Rudy Calderon Army
  • 04JUL21 Lawrence Roberts  Marine
  • 08AUG21 Robert Ferrari Army
  • 20NOV21 Michael LePeilbet Army
  • 05DEC21 Harry Culbert Army
  • 03JAN22 Larry Runyon Army
  • 28JAN22 Rev. David K. Crabtree Air Force
  • 11AUG22   Lewis E. “Red” Kittell Air Force
    • * Norman Whisenant Navy
    • * Dillard Cowart *

Note: The 989 Web team has names that will be added soon. Please advise us of any errors or omissions @ vvareno989@gmail.com.

* Note : Missing Information, help if you can- Thanks

19 NOV 22 RIP Colonel Phillip Chik US Air Force ( Retired )

Colonel Chik died on November 19, 2022 in a Reno hospital. Colonel Chik was a Member of both Sierra Nevada Chapter of MOAA and Sierra Nevada Chapter 989 – Vietnam Veterans of America. A memorial ceremony is planned for Colonel Chik at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery in Fernley on May 30th at 12:00 p.m. Rest In Peace Colonel.

11 AUG 22  Lewis E. “Red” Kittell Passed Away

Lewis “Red” Kittell (23DEC35 – 11AUG22) US Army/US Air Force

Sadly, Red Kittell passed earlier today our Brother, our Brunchmeister, Board Member and Chapter Humorist has now passed on to the Staff of the Supreme Commander.  He passed earlier at his home. Being early, there are no details at this time, but I understand that Red did not want a service. 

Condolences can be sent to Connie and the Family at: 

The Kittell Family

3605 Cashill Blvd.,

Reno, NV 89509-7401

Please keep the Kittells and the memory of our Brother Red in your thoughts and prayers as we go about our days and weeks to come.


J. R. Stafford, President – Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 989

18 MAR 22 RIP VVA 989 Chaplain Rev. Crabtree NNSVC Fernley

VVA 989 Chaplain, Reverend David K. Crabtree will always be remembered by Chapter Members as the voice of compassion and warmth during troubling times. We are very blessed to have had him as part of the 989 family.  Many of our events started with a blessing from Rev. Crabtree.  We are fortunate to have a Poem written by him recognizing the sacrifices of our POW/MIA.  He will live on thru his Words.  Rev. Crabtree serviced in the U.S. Air Force with a tour in Vietnam, Ph’u C’at Air Base in 1968-69. Please join us with a prayer for the Crabtree family, and our departed Chaplain and BrotherAN22 Passing of Chaplain, Reverend David Crabtree

7DEC21 Rest In Peace Steven Lepeilbet

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the death of Steven Rene Lepeilbet (Post Falls, Idaho), who passed away on December 7, 2021. Steven was the Bother of VVA 989ers Andy and Michael Lepeilbet. Michael passed on 20 Nov 21. Please take a moment to remember the entire LePeilbet family in your prayers.

20 NOV 21 U.S. Army Brigadier General Michael LePeilbet (Retired) Succumbed to Illness

Our Brother Michael LePeilbet, (Andy’s younger brother) passed away on Saturday.  He was a member of VVA Chapter 989 and often attended our VVA 989 functions in Reno.  He was a strong supporter of our Chapter and retired Brigadier General with the California Army National Guard. Please take a moment to remember the entire LePeilbet family in your prayers. RIP Brother Michael.

VVA 989 also Honors the passing of Northern Nevada Veterans who have had an impact on our Chapter.

16 OCT 21 Memorial Ceremony WW II POW, SSgt. John Leavitt
John Leavitt at Military Appreciation Night with Family

Saturday afternoon, 16OCT21, members of VVA 989, friends and family of former WW II POW, SSgt. John Leavitt conducted a unique Memorial ceremony for him at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery (NNVMC) in Fernley. This wasn’t a “traditional” service for the former Combat Engineer, like those conducted by the Northern Nevada “Veterans Coalition” or others, and he wasn’t buried or placed in the “wall” on Saturday.

John’s family chose to remember their “Dad” in a unique way. Son Jay, Daughter-in-law Mary Lou, and his sister Joneanne (Venable) visiting from Florida bought a “Freedom Tree” for $300 and John’s name and service will proudly be displayed on a plaque there under the tree at the NNVMC.

The service was conducted next to John’s newly dedicated tree. Our VVA 989 Chaplain Rev. David Crabtree supplied prayers, our 989 singer, Kimberly Ahrens sang “Amazing Grace”, and President J. R. Stafford supplied the basics of the service. Napa, CA resident, John Young, (John’s friend from the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home in Sparks), and son Jay supplied the narrative of John’s life.) Brigitte Stafford, VVA 989 Event Coordinator, said this service gave his children some “closure” and a place to visit just as if he was inurned in the wall. SSgt. John Leavitt’s tree is found under the POW/MIA flag which proudly flies over the cemetery and next to the long wall of inurned comrades found just south of “his” tree.

Members of VVA 989: Mark Bohanon, Ray Scow (and Buddy), John & Linda Dickinson, Reverend Dave Crabtree, J. R. Stafford, and AVVA Area Representative and VVA 989 Event Planner, Brigitte Stafford all aided in this very well received event.

10 OCT 21 Rest in Peace Brett G. Palmer

Services for Brett G. Palmer were held at the Lyon County Fire Protection District and at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Fernley today.  Hundreds of uniformed Police, Fire, Sheriffs,  Sea Cadets, Coalition, Bag Pipers, Bret’s son John in his US Army Blues, and various veterans and the Patriot Guard and many other mourners paid their respects to Brett in Fernley. After official ceremonies were concluded at the Fire House, a large procession proceeded to the cemetery where Brett’s “cover” atop a horse and his “urn” were taken for one last “stroll” around the cemetery followed by mourners.  We then gathered for the unveiling of a painting of Brett which will reside somewhere at the cemetery. The present “pavilion” (where services are held today) will be torn down in the future and a new one erected in it’s place.  It’s hoped that the new pavilion will be named the Brett G. Palmer Memorial Pavilion. Pictured are Sharon Serenko, Veterans Coalition Chaplain holding Brett’s portrait.  Also, VVA 989er and Marine Corps. League Officer Susan Malone and VVA 989 President, J. R. Stafford with the wreath Chapter 989 provided for the service today. The family has asked that donations be made to “Wreaths Across America” which Brett was a big support of.  …Guessing we’ll see many of you on 18DEC21 when it’s time to put wreaths on the graves of 8,000 plus who rest in Fernley’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery.