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GyBill 06-04-2019 03:06 AM

CWO5 Roderick N. "Rod" Fiene, 54, USMC (ret), Elwood, NE
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Roderick N. “Rod” Fiene, age 54, passed away and entered the Gates of Heaven on Thursday, May 30, 2019 at his home in Elwood Nebraska. He was born on Feb 27, 1965, in Cambridge, Nebraska to Eldon “Hank” and Carleen (Noltie) Fiene.

He attended and graduated from Cambridge High School with the Class of 1984. After high school, Rod followed the footsteps of many “Fiene’s’’ before him, by enlisting into the US Marine Corps. On May 31, 1986, Rod married his wife and the mother of his children, Tamra Kahrs. Charles Henry was born on August 9, 1988 and on January 23, 1992 Emily Janea was born.

In 1998 Rod met and later married his wife Patricia Munoz on May 21, 1999, through this marriage, he was blessed with a step daughter Brandy Robbins and a grandson Kahmeili.

Rod and his family have left an everlasting mark on every person and heart he came across; if only it was a kind word, a lending ear, or just being there in a time of need, you could always depend on Rod.

Following his dreams, in 2017, Rod returned home to Elwood after retiring 30 years of service with the US Marine Corps, where he lived out his remaining days.

We mourn and honor the loss of Rod today, but yet find comfort in knowing God has received another solider to stand beside him.

Rod is survived by his mother Carleen Fiene of Cambridge, Nebraska. His wife Patricia of Elwood, Nebraska and his son and daughter, Charles and Emily Fiene of Texas; step-daughter Brandy and husband Paul of Alaska. Grandsons’ Jamison
and Kahmeili of Alaska. His brother Shad Fiene of Cambridge, Nebraska and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents Ernest and Clara Fiene Sr, Leonard and Mable Noltie, and his father Eldon “Hank” Fiene.

Visitation will be Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at from 5 PM till 8 PM at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood, Nebraska.

Funeral services will be Thursday, June 6, 2019 at 10 AM at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Elwood, Nebraska with Pastor Kenton Birtell, officiating.

Interment will be at the Salem Cemetery at Elwood, Nebraska with military rites provided by the U.S. Marine Funeral Honors Corps and the Elwood American Legion.

Elwood Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

In lieu of flowers memorials are suggested to the PTSD Foundation of America.

GyBill 10-10-2019 09:49 AM

Prentis Ray Sledge, 87, Lancaster, SC
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LANCASTER, SC ~ Mr. Prentis Ray Sledge, age 87, passed away Monday, October 7, 2019 at MUSC Health-Lancaster. He was born on March 8, 1932 in Coahoma County, Mississippi, a son of the late Corbin Eugene Sledge and Lillie Mae Harden Sledge and was the husband of Sadie Suggs Sledge. Mr. Sledge was also well known as Bo, Sledge or P.R. He had a tender heart for all animals, especially cats and birds. In his younger days, he enjoyed hunting, fishing and watching football and baseball. Mr. Sledge served his country in the United States Marine Corps. He was Sergeant, US Marine 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, NC (1951-1954). He was also a Mason. Mr. Sledge attended Pleasant Dale Baptist Church.

Mr. Sledge is survived by his wife of 68 years, Sadie Sledge; his son, Darryl Ray Sledge; two daughters, Mona Sledge Owen (Miller) and Phyllis Sledge Stiles (Richard); eight grandchildren, Chris Sledge, who was more like a son (Marie), Will Owen (Jennifer), Lee Prentis Owen (Myrna), John Mark Owen, Rachel Holder (Bryan), Aaron Owen, Abby Owen, and Holly Stiles; eleven great grandchildren, Gabriel Owen, Jonas Owen, Alexander Owen, Owen Holder, Maddie Holder, Mia Holder, Caleb Owen, Barrett Owen, Faith Owen, Corbin Sledge, and Alena Sledge; and many nieces and nephews.

Mr. Sledge was preceded in death by his parents; and his siblings, Mary Lee Burchfield, Mabel Katherine Wise, J.C. Sledge, James Wintford Sledge, Mazell Sledge Williams, Stacy Elmer Sledge, Nellie Faye Sledge, Hubert Eastland Sledge, and Larry A. Sledge.

The Celebration of Life Funeral Service for Mr. Sledge will be held 3:00 pm Thursday, October 10, 2019 at Pleasant Dale Baptist Church officiated by Rev. Jesse Adams. Burial will follow in the church cemetery.

The family will receive friends from 2:00 – 3:00 pm, one hour prior to service, in the church family life center. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Attn: Memorial Department, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or American Diabetes Association, 222 South Church Street, Suite 336M, Charlotte, NC 28202 or Pleasant Dale Baptist Church, Building Fund, 133 S. Potter Rd., Lancaster, SC 29720

GyBill 10-10-2019 09:54 AM

Robert L. "Cajun Bob" Thoms, 75, Wasilla, AK
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The Marine Corps staff sergeant who mounted an assault to take a crucial tower in the bloody 1968 Battle of Hue in Vietnam died Oct. 1 in Wasilla, Alaska. He was 75.

Robert L. Thoms — nicknamed “Cajun Bob” for his thick native Baton Rouge accent — was awarded the Silver Star medal for “conspicuous gallantry” during the assault on the Arch Tower on Feb. 15, 1968, during some of the most ferocious fighting of North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive.

Stars and Stripes photographer John Olson captured an image of Thoms leading his men during the Battle of Hue, a photograph that was featured in a double-page spread in Life magazine.
In the photo, a crouching Thoms is surrounded by decimated landscape, his men hunkered behind him. He points ahead, his mouth wide open as he barks out a command.

Cindy Caserta, his wife of 17 years, said he died of lung complications after being hospitalized. Within the past year Thoms had been diagnosed with bladder, prostate and skin cancers, she said.
Services will be held on Oct. 20 at Janssen’s Funeral Home in Palmer, Alaska, followed by burial at Sacred Heart Cemetery featuring bugle taps by active-duty Marines. A celebration of life will follow at VFW Post 9365 in Wasilla that will include a 21-gun salute.

Thoms received six Purple Hearts during his two combat tours to Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. He had hoped to make a career in the service but received a medical retirement because of complications with the final wound he had suffered in his stomach, Caserta said.

“He was a very brave Marine and a wonderful leader,” Myron Harrington, who was Thoms’ company commander in Hue, said Tuesday evening when reached at his home in Charleston, S.C. “He was one of those folks that showed up at the right time at the right place and did the right thing. I’m forever indebted for his service during that time.”
Selwyn Taitt, who fought beside Thoms in Hue, said “he was my best friend in ‘Nam. This has hit me hard.”

Thoms experienced post-traumatic stress from his Vietnam experience, Caserta said. He found some modicum of peace through his conversion to Christianity in the 1990s and his extensive work with veterans through Veterans Affairs.
But the PTSD was always near, and his choice to live a more isolated life in Alaska where there were fewer “triggers” was a reflection of that, Caserta said.

“He never avoided a fight,” she said. “He was a tough Marine, a warrior even after he had to retire from the Marine Corps, often with a heightened sense of justice to fight for what was right and to protect the defenseless from anyone who tried to take advantage of them.”

For good or bad, the Battle of Hue remained a defining moment in his life.

During the initial assault on Dong Ba Tower, Thoms’ lieutenant was wounded and evacuated, Harrington said. “Bob took over the platoon, which was actually probably more like a reinforced squad at the time. He led the charge.”

The tower was one of the crucial objectives for U.S. forces in Hue, Harrington said. “It was the high ground overlooking the [1st Battalion, 5th Marines] zone of action,” he said. “The enemy was up there pouring down fire on us, so it had to be eliminated. Bob was one of the folks who was instrumental in helping us secure that.”

Thoms repeatedly exposed himself to enemy hand grenades and automatic weapons fire as he led his men to within yards of the tower, the Silver Star citation said.

“When his attack was momentarily halted due to casualties and the increasing intensity of hostile fire, he moved to the point of heaviest contact and aggressively led an assault against the tower,” the citation said.

“Although wounded by hand grenade fragments, Staff Sergeant Thoms selflessly refused medical treatment and resolutely continued the attack despite continuous North Vietnamese fire. Inspired by his fearless leadership and aggressive fighting spirit, his men successfully routed the enemy and seized the tower.”

In a 2001 interview for a website maintained by his former Marine Corps unit — Delta Company, 1-5 — Thoms said that he woke up happy every day.

“It’s easy if you have come as close to dying as many times as those of us from Delta Company have,” he said. “I enjoy the simple things in life any Cajun man does: the love of a great woman, the respect of my peers, and the peace that only comes to men who know that they have done their best and found it sufficient unto the day.”

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