View Full Version : James Leslie Moreland - MIA - Remains Returned

02-18-2011, 16:56
SP4 James L. Moreland
ODA-113, 112 Company of 1st Mobile Strike Force Command (I Corps Mike Force)
MIA 7 Feb 1968 at ODA-101's battle for Lang Vei.

RIP Doc.

Richard :munchin

Green Beret James Leslie Moreland's remains to be buried in Bibb County 43 years after MIA in Vietnam
BirminghamNews, 18 fEB 2011

There's a spot marked in a small country graveyard near here for the long lost Green Beret. Now, after 43 years of uncertainty, the grave in Ashby Cemetery can be filled.

Burial for James Leslie Moreland -- missing in action in Vietnam since Feb. 7, 1968 -- will be May 14 in this isolated cemetery off Bibb County 2, south of Montevallo. Moreland was born in Bessemer on Sept. 29, 1945, moved to California in high school and in 1965 went to Vietnam as a medic in the elite Army Special Forces.

The 22-year-old was presumed dead after a ferocious battle at Lang Vei in South Vietnam. But his body wasn't recovered or identified. Finding the body and securing an ID turned into a decades-long quest until last month, when DNA earlier submitted by five relatives matched remains found at Lang Vei.

"It was very emotional coming up on the 43rd anniversary," said Linda Brown, 62, the youngest of the five Moreland siblings. The family had all come to accept James was dead, but they persisted on finding his body, Brown said.

"I had never given up," said Brown, who lives in Washington state near sister Edna Anita LaMoine, 73. "I said I wouldn't care if they identified just one bone fragment so we could say, 'Yes, it is our brother.'"

Unknown to the Moreland family at the time, a Christmas Day gift in 1972 to a 12-year-old girl added one more person to the long pursuit for answers. Kathy Strong of Walnut Creek, Calif., remembers asking for an MIA bracelet because it was the cool thing to have at the time. Santa Claus brought a bracelet with the name: James Leslie Moreland.

Now 50, Strong became close to members of the Moreland family after her hometown newspaper, the Contra Costa Times, several years ago chronicled how she had worn the bracelet for decades and had grown increasingly interested in Moreland's story.

Strong plans to attend the upcoming burial in Alabama, where she said she will relinquish her bracelet to be buried with the remains.

"My promise was to keep it until he came home and then give it back," Strong said.

Moreland's commanding officer, Paul Longgrear, who is an ordained minister, will officiate the service.

Longgrear led a strike force unit, which included Moreland, to help defend a Special Forces camp near the Laotian border. The camp was a "thorn in the side of the North Vietnamese," Longgrear said, and on Feb. 6, 1968, it came under heavy attack from enemy tanks. He said he remembered Moreland being seriously wounded in the head as he went to fetch a machine gun in an open area, aiming to keep it out of enemy hands. In the ensuing explosions and subsequent takeover, some men escaped, some were captured, some were killed. Moreland's body was never recovered.

"He was a great guy -- a great looking kid with a lot of confidence," said Longgrear, who lives in Pine Mountain, Ga. "He had that swagger. Green Beret tend to be that way."

Moreland's early childhood years were spent in the Birmingham area and in Selma, his sisters said. He went to Lyman Ward Military Academy in Camp Hill in the eighth and ninth grades. The family moved to southern California in 1962, and Moreland became an all-county football player at Western High School in Anaheim, playing on the same team as Andy Messersmith, who went on to become a Major League baseball player. After graduation, Moreland attended Fullerton Junior College but ultimately followed his two older brothers' footsteps into the military, albeit a different branch.

"I tried my best to get him to come to the Navy," chuckled retired Navy Seabee and older brother Robert D. Moreland, 75, of Lakeside, Calif. "But he liked to skydive."

When on June 5, 1978, the Army declared Moreland "presumed dead," his mother, Gladys Parks, organized a memorial service for him at Ashby Cemetery and dedicated a large granite marker in her son's memory. They played 'Ballad of the Green Beret' and tears flowed, Brown remembered.

Moreland's mother died April 1, 2001, but she talked to The Birmingham News in 1978 about the memorial.

"I just felt this memorial was one way I can honor him," she said. "But to me he's not dead. If they could have ever found some trace of him to give me, some little something to prove they found him, I could accept it. ... Maybe someday I will."

Dorothy Moreland, 81, of Montevallo, who is widower of the oldest Moreland sibling, Roger, said it is sad Parks won't see this day. But there's some comfort to be taken, she supposes, in the burial arrangement putting Moreland next to the graves of his mother and father.

When they lay him to rest, "brother'll be back home between mommy and daddy," she said.


02-18-2011, 17:02
Welcome home, Brother. Rest In Peace at long last.

02-18-2011, 18:02
Welcome Home....

I just read about this battle too. Wow so glad he has been brought home.

God Bless

02-18-2011, 18:04
Welcome Home.....

02-18-2011, 18:06
Welcome home, brother.

Red Flag 1
02-18-2011, 18:19
Welcome home warrior!

Rest In God's Peace.

02-18-2011, 19:18
Welcome Home

Again those who do the work to bring home our fallen I say thank you

02-18-2011, 22:10
Welcome home Warrior. Thank you so very much for your service and ultimate sacrifice. It's good to have you back.

The Reaper
02-18-2011, 23:06
Welcome home, brother.

Thank you for your sacrifice.

You will not be forgotten.


02-19-2011, 02:35
Welcome home Warrior. Rest in Peace.


02-19-2011, 04:51
RIP Brother,, Vaya con Dios..

02-19-2011, 06:10
God Bless,Rest in Peace Warrior,Welcome Home at last................:(

Big Teddy

02-19-2011, 07:50
Welcome Home Brother.

You can rest easy now, your war is over.

02-22-2011, 15:38
Rest in peace and thank you!

02-22-2011, 20:14
Welcome home.


02-22-2011, 20:21
James Leslie Moreland will be buried Saturday, May 14, 2011 at the Ashby Cemetery (off Bibb County 2, south of Montevallo AL. Off I 65 south of Birmingham)

02-22-2011, 20:47
Welcome home James. God bless you and your family and rest in peace....

03-31-2011, 11:22
God Bless You, My Brother


The men that were at Lang Vei will forever be my Heroes and I am proud to be able to call them my Brothers.


I Corp Mike Force

05-18-2011, 21:35
I had the immense privilege and honor to meet 3 of his nieces on a plane from Houston to Birmingham last week. I was overwhelmed by the story of the bracelet. For many years I have worn the bracelet of a high school friend MIA over Laos, 1971. I hope I live long enough to bury it with him.

05-18-2011, 22:05
I'm sorry I missed this thread earlier. Welcome Home Warrior, may you finally Rest in Peace and may your family find closure in your return.

wet dog
05-18-2011, 23:04
Welcome home Warrior, rest in peace.

tom kelly
05-19-2011, 00:48
Welcome Home, It's been a long time,and you are not forgotten...tom kelly

05-25-2011, 19:39
Rest In Peace, and Thank You.

Woman who wore MIA bracelet to be recognized at Walnut Creek Memorial Day event
By Theresa Harrington
Contra Costa Times

Kathy Strong waited 38 years for a Green Beret who was missing in action to come home, all the while wearing his name on a bracelet around her wrist.

She became known around the country for her patriotism after being featured in the Times, then on CBS national news, for her steadfast commitment to wearing the bracelet until Army Spc. James Moreland's remains were buried in Alabama earlier this month.

Moreland's family invited her to sit with them at the funeral, and Moreland's commanding officer praised Strong's dedication to keeping the promise she made when she was 12.

On Monday, Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva plans to recognize Strong at the city's annual Memorial Day ceremony, along with others who have kept MIAs alive in their hearts for decades.

"We have an opportunity to really recognize those who've been missing in action and create increased awareness about the issue, as we observe and remember those who have fought for our country and lost their lives," Silva said.

The city had already selected Cmdr. Renee Richardson, of the Defense Prisoner of War and Missing in Action Personnel Office, as its keynote speaker, before learning of Strong's story.

Strong, 51, met Moreland's family and commanding officer, then attended his funeral May 14, based on contacts made through a 2008 Times story about her. She removed the bracelet and placed it on the sleeve of Moreland's uniform in his coffin, before it was buried with his remains.

She said she is honored to be recognized at the Walnut Creek service and hopes her presence will prompt Vietnam veterans to attend. She has been touched by the outpouring of cards and letters she has received from people around the country who have been moved by her determination to wear the bracelet until Moreland came home, she said.

"Taking off the bracelet was one of the hardest things I've ever done," Strong said. "The bracelet is where it should be -- with him."

The city of Walnut Creek will host its Memorial Day observance at 10 a.m. Monday in Civic Park at North Broadway and Civic Drive in Walnut Creek. Information is available by calling 925-943-5818 or visiting www.walnut-creek.orghttp://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18124620?nclick_check=1