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37 years later, Marine killed in last Vietnam war battle is buried

August 7, 2012 | 10:51 am

For all U.S. military personnel ordered into a war zone, there is an implied promise: If you fall in battle, you will not be left behind.

And so for 37 years, the family of Marine Pfc. Richard Rivenburgh, who was 21 when he died during the 1975 rescue of the U.S. merchant ship Mayaguez, waited.

"There was a promise unfulfilled until today," Navy chaplain Cmdr. Jim Peugh said Monday at Rivenburgh's funeral at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

"Holy God, we welcome home our brother."

Through the work of a military command that scours the world for the remains of U.S. personnel fallen in battle, Rivenburgh's remains and those of three other Marines were returned in 2008. And in January, through modern forensics, Rivenburgh was identified.

"Today is the final chapter," said Rivenburgh's brother Robert after the ceremony.


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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Robert Rivenburgh wears an identification tag bearing a picture of his brother, Richard,  at Richard's  funeral Monday at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. Credit: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times