IN HONOR AND MEMORY OF A GOOD MAN
RICHARD PAUL SROKA
Rich Sroka simply appeared one Memorial Day at Marietta National Cemetery.
The honor of Rich Sroka on-site for Memorial Day stemmed from the result of a minimum of effort on my part to assist a group of other warriors of his day and caliber in a special group known as CasBar. My part was simply attempting to expose a local miscreant that chose to make false statements about being a Medal of Honor winner. CasBar took me under their collective wing in commemoration of my elder brother Mike and sent one of their best to represent them in solemn detail via Rich for Memorial Day – 2001. Rich Sroka is the type of man others aspire to be.
The photos here express the sure footedness of a warring pilot of that era. Add thirty years, and you find the same man as a different warring pilot…a guy that chose to honor one young Marine that he’d never met. Rich Sroka was the type to not only commemorate my brother and father, laid side to side at Marietta National Cemetery, but to walk the grounds and grave sites of the entire cemetery in making sure that not one Memorial Day flag was out of place or had fallen to the ground. Rich never came empty handed. He was always on site each year with a very special wreath and a camera. The Memorial Day detail ended with the group taking in a barbecue lunch….and something cold to drink.
Rich had camaraderie with all those in attendance. He helped a 3 tour Marine to resolve within himself the issues of surviving Viet Nam, when it became apparent that the Marine found himself surrounded by thousands of military headstones, flags and memories that were overpowering.
He found a great deal of pleasure talking to others that roamed Marietta National Cemetery as a very proud Vet more than eager to discuss his time spent serving his country as a pilot.
And he and Chief Golden had a great time doing as warriors will do when given the liberty to tell tales and reminisce events as pilots. A private sect, language and wry humor that only other pilots will understand. It was a very special treat just to listen to these two men needle each other about their respective branch of the service….or relate stories that would either chill your blood or have you (and surrounding tables) rolling on the floor.
Rich Sroka fulfilled all of his appointed missions. Dedicated to his country and his fellow servicemen, he served in his capacity and youth in the skies of Viet Nam. Thirty years later, the photo of Rich kneeling at the gravesite of a stranger with the only common bond being a respective service to this country speaks volumes of a man who dedicated his life to our Country and his fellow warriors at all times.
CasBar was well represented by sending Rich Sroka a few years ago. Not only for his willingness to be a part of my family’s Memorial Day but for just being the type of man that shared his heart and mind to his fellow servicemen. It is my distinct honor to make Rich Sroka an integral part of this Memorial website.
Dan Turner (06.28.05)
Rich Sroka - Flag Detail
Marietta National Cemetery
Rich Sroka and Dan Turner
Rich Sroka, Tom Golden, and Dan Turner
Tribute to Michael Barry Turner
Created June 29, 2005
Song: Cavatina - Theme to the movie the Deer Hunter
Composed by Stanley Meyers
Arranged and performed by Dan Turner