View Full Version : Lt Col(R) Vernon Gillespie, RIP

02-20-2017, 18:30
RIP Brother, Vaya con Dios.

My deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow warriors..

Lt Col Gillespie served with Special Forces in Viet Nam. He was the central focus of a National Geographic article January 1965 and a Life Magazine article November 1964.

Vernon Gillespie, 79 of Star City, passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, with his family by his side. He was born to Louie Earl and Agnes Tiner Gillespie on October 1, 1933 in Star City.

He attended school in Star City and received his GED while in the Army. He retired from the Army after 20 years of service, after serving in the Korean War and Vietnam War. He received the OCC Medal (Germany), National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Service Stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal and Expert (Rifle M-14) Medal and several other medals. He was a member of Southside Missionary Baptist Church. He was a Disabled Veteran, worked for the Cotton Belt Railroad, a member of the Jacob Brump Lodge No. 160 Mason and member of the American Legion of Star City and the National Rifle Association. He enjoyed being with his family, fishing, hunting and going to Matthews and Circle N in Star City to have coffee with his brother Murphy and friends, he enjoyed working in the flower bed for his wife and he loved The Roman Road!

He was preceded in death by his parents; Louie Earl and Agnes Tiner Gillespie.

Survivors include his loving wife of 55 years; Virginia A. Owen Gillespie, 2 daughters; Vickie L. Caldwell (James) of Dunnegan, MO and Vida Rowland of White Hall, 2 sons; Vernon Gillespie, Jr. of Baltimore, MD and Vance Scott Gillespie (Jackie) of Star City, 3 grandchildren; J. “Jerome” Caldwell of Chicago, IL, Kyle Rowland (Carol Anne) of Jonesboro and Rebecca L. Gillespie of Baltimore, MD, 1 step-grandson; Rodney Agnew of Star City, 1 brother; Murphy Gillespie of Star City and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

Friends may visit with the family at the funeral home Thursday from 6:00-8:00PM. Funeral services are 10:00AM Friday, May 3, 2013 at Griffin Funeral Service Chapel in Star City with Bro. Alan Hagood and Bro. Thomas Lamb officiating. Burial will be at Shady Grove Cemetery in Glendale. Pallbearers will be Steve Steinman, Tony Drake, Stanley Owen, Vernon Gillespie, Jr., Vance Gillespie and Tommy McClinton. Honarary pallbearers will be Alan McFalls, Rodney Agnew, Paul Drake and Kane Roberts. The family asks in lieu of flowers that donations be sent to the Paralyzed Vets of America at 801 Eighteenth St., NW, Washington, DC 20006-3517. The family wishes to extend their gratitude to JRMC and Hospice for their support in his final days.

Arrangements by Griffin Funeral Service in Star City. Online guestbook at www.griffinfuneralservice.net.


02-20-2017, 18:48
Rest In Peace, Warrior and thank you for your service and sacrifice.

02-20-2017, 19:01
Rest well warrior.


CPT Gillespie was on the cover of both the November 27,1964 LIFE Magazine and the January 1965 National Geographic. The following is from the National Geographic article:
“In order to calm the situation, U.S. Army Special Forces Captain*Vernon W. Gillespie*agreed to participate in a pagan ritual designed to summon the spirits and bring peace back to the base. Montagnard battalion leader, Y Jhon Nie explained, "We will make a sacrifice, and the sorcerer will invoke the spirits to help us."
Captain Gillespie*(the U.S. commander of Buon Brieng), Y Jhon Nie, and Captain Truong of the South Vietnamese Special Forces donned the traditional ceremonial garb-a black and red long sleeved top and a similarly colored loin-cloth.
Food offerings lay beside the jars: one pig and a chicken as an offering for Gillespie; a chicken each for Y Jhon, Captain Truong, and the sorcerer. Chanting, the sorcerer communicated with the spirits. After each communication the participants sipped rice beer.
The climax of the ceremony came when the sorcerer, after one particularly long drought of brew, crouched alongside*Captain Gillespie*and fastened a brass ring to*his*right wrist. This-joining a twin ring from [a] previous ritual that had united*Gillespie and Y Jhon*- would give notice to the spirits that a suitable offering had been made. Captain Truong, too, received a like bracelet, as did Y Jhon. Now all three were bound in alliance. The spirits having been appeased, the ceremony ended. The rice liquor that remained in the seven jars was distributed to the soldiers in the strike force, as were the sacrificial chickens. The tension in the camp eased considerably (for details, see National Geographic, January 1965, pp.38-42)”.

02-20-2017, 20:37
Rest in Peace.

02-20-2017, 20:57
Rest in Peace Brother. DOL

The Reaper
02-20-2017, 21:01
RIP, Sir.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

You will not be forgotten.


02-20-2017, 21:53
Rest in Peace LTC Gillespie.

I remember that Nat Geo cover and may still have the map that was inside. I had it on my wall so I knew where they were talking about on the news. I was 14 in January 1965.


02-20-2017, 22:58
RIP Sir....that article (NatGeo) was my first real exposure to SF that hooked my attention. I'll never forget that cover and story.

02-21-2017, 04:39
RIP Sir.