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2024 Southern Route Coordinator Say Their Names Newsletter

This is the 3rd Edition of our Say Their Names, Tell Their Stories, Never Forget! Newsletter

US Marine Corps
Capt. Ronald Wayne Forrester






Captain Forrester (DOB 3/15/1947) entered the U.S. Marine Corps from Odessa, Texas. He was a graduate of Ector High school. Capt. Forrester was a member of the Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 533, Marine Air Group 15, 1st Marine Air Wing. On December 27, 1972, he was the bombardier/navigator aboard an A-6A Intruder (bureau number 155666, call sign “Tiny 05”) which took off from Royal Thai Air Base Nam Phong, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand, carrying two crew members, Pilot Captain Ralph J. Chipman (from Orem, UT) and then 1st Lt. Forrester, on a night combat mission over the northern part of North Vietnam. The Intruder was last heard from when an airborne controller received a radio transmission indicating “Tiny 05” was beginning its entry into the target area. No subsequent radio contact was made.

A subsequent article in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, a daily Vietnamese newspaper described an aircraft downed by the Vietnamese. Apparently, the pilot was reported to be deceased, and the possibility the co-pilot as well. Although this article was thought to possibly relate to Capt. Chipman and Lt. Forrester, it was not definite enough for proof of death. Both men were classified Missing in Action.

In September 1978, the Marine Corps changed Capt. Forrester’s status from Missing in Action to Killed in Action. Investigations following the incident continued for decades, with investigators eventually discovering remains and material evidence which were believed to be associated with Capt. Forrester and the other aviator in the area of the crash site.

Capt. Forrester is the father of our very own RFTW rider and POW/MIA advocate Karoni “Hoops” Forrester. Karoni grew up knowing her father through photos and friends because that’s all she had.

Capt. Forrester ended every letter he sent home with “Give Karoni a kiss for me”.

See a wonderful news interview with Karoni HERE.

Capt. Forrester is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. His name is also inscribed along with all his fallen comrades on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.

On December 4, 2023, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Captain Ronald W. Forrester, missing from the Vietnam War. 

According to the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial Website, Capt. Forrester was the only military member from Ector County who had never been accounted for. The Southern Route visits the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial each year on Day 4 of our Mission in Midland, TX. The memorial is “a tribute to the 225 men from 30 of the West Texas Permian Basin counties who died in service related to the Vietnam War and to those who fought and survived.”

Karoni and her family are planning a Celebration of Life for her father, Capt. Forrester, on Saturday, February 3, 2024, at 2pm at the Lake Travis United Methodist Church in Austin, TX.

You can find the Facebook announcement HERE. I hope to see as many of our RFTW family there supporting Karoni and her family!

Live a Life worthy of their Sacrifice!

Darin “Lurch” Koch


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