Today is Memorial Day and again I am so emotional. I sat down and wrote a letter to the Dept. of Military & Veterans Affairs in Lansing, MI; to; to my state representative and senate candidate; to anyone who would listen. As always anytime I get emotional I have to write it down on paper. Right now I am overwhelmed with grief on the loss of my brother, Lance Corporal Ronald Louis Powell. I wrote about him in my book too. Everything that I was feeling went into that book so writing about my brother was no exception. Here is what I sent out today…

Today is Memorial Day and it pains me once again, that I never hear anything about what happened to my brother killed in the line of duty on August 24, 1965. There were 75 men aboard a plane that exploded over the Hong Kong River and Ronald’s remains were never found. There was a military funeral without a body which was the most horrific experience of my life. Only a dog tag was in the empty coffin.

I tried over the years to alert someone about his story. I joined the Michigan Vietnam Monument Commission out of Lansing – nothing there. I told them his story but don’t know what became of that.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) featured him in a memorial on Facebook and that’s about it. They ask for donations every year and I sent a letter once on August 28, 2012, to attention Jan C. Scruggs, but she never responded back. Here is my brother’s information.

 Lance Corporal Ronald L. Powell (2)

Lance Corporal Ronald Louis Powell

Killed in Action August 24, 1965

Cause: Plane Crash over Hong Kong River

Assigned: 3rd Service Battalion, 3rd Marine Division

Name is listed on Wall in Washington DC

Detroit News ran the story August 27, 1965


I keep wondering (except for the Detroit News article) why there have never been any stories or news or memorials about this catastrophic event? The other soldiers’ families must be wondering as well.  Michigan and Oakland & Wayne counties only had my brother to die like that in that year. There are no memorials mentioning these brave men. My brother’s name is carved on the “Wall” in Washington DC and I got the chance to visit it once in my life in 1992. I burst into tears. It was very emotional.

I’m emotional right now because I feel all alone in my grief but I am not going to plead anymore for somebody to take notice of this event.

I guess I will blog about it.

So that’s what I wrote today. I almost forgot that the holiday was coming as I expected it on May 30 or 31. Maybe with any luck I will finally get someone who will explain all of this to me.

I wish you and your families all a wonderful holiday. Get some much-needed rest.

Author:  Shirley Harris-Slaughter

Book title:  Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community.

Get the rest of this story!

Twitter Handle: @sharrislaughter

OLV Facebook Page



About Shirley Harris-Slaughter

I love old buildings and history. That's why I ended up writing about the history that surrounded me all of my life - "Our Lady of Victory, the Saga of an African-American Catholic Community." Plus our church had closed and the school is torn down, so I felt it was imperative that we preserve the history or it would be lost forever.
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  1. I just like the valuable info you provide to your
    articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and check once more right here frequently.
    I’m relatively certain I’ll be told many new stuff right here!

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    • Shirley L. Slaughter says:

      Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I am scheduling a blog tour this month and will post something here about it. Again thanks for visiting me.


  2. I’m sorry this happened to your brother at all, Shirley… such a tragedy, of course all lives lost defending ones country are sad but I can feel your heartbreak at never being able to lay his body to rest. What a brave and courageous man he was and how proud you must be of him.


    • Shirley L. Slaughter says:

      I got a response back from my congressman (don’t know why I never thought to contact my reps) and his office is working with me right now to get some answers. I felt so sad this memorial day because we never got closure. Hopefully I will be able to get some answers and lay this and my anxiety to rest. Thank you so much for responding. I really appreciate you.


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