Honoring Our Fallen Heroes
We are proud to do our part in paying the most honorable respects to our fallen heroes with their families and friends. Not only do we have the opportunity to commemorate them with a lasting legacy, but we provide the opportunity to sustain marine life through the expansion of our artificial reef.
ROBERT DAVID BRANNEN, SPC, USAR
SPC Robert David Brannen was born 2 Jun 1950 in Camden, SC. He enlisted in the US Army on 20 Jan 1969 where his point of entry was Charlotte, NC. His date of rank to SP5 was 17 July 1970. His military MOS was 68B20, Aircraft Turbine Engine Mechanic and Repairman.
He served honorably and graciously with the 291st Aviation Company with the US Army North (5th Army). SPC Brannen received his MOS training as an Aircraft Engine and Malfunction Repairman at the US Army Transport school in 1969. He served courageously and admirably in Vietnam from 25 June 1969-23 Nov 1970.
SPC Brannen was honorably discharged from the US Army Reserve on 3 Dec. 1974. His service is a true display of exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty during and following the Vietnam War. It reflects credit upon himself and his family, and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army.
PFC Eldridge took the oath of office for the United States Marine Corps on 15 Mar 2021. He completed his basic training at Parris Island, SC. He was assigned to the II Marine Expeditionary Forces, Marine Intelligence Group. His MOS was 2111-Small Arms Repair Technician in the Armory. Ethan received his Ordinance School Diploma, MCT Training, and the Expert Rifleman Award. Although his service was a short 10 months, he served honorably and faithfully.
PFC Eldridge worked at two civilian occupations. He was an Electrician Journeyman at Security Plus Electrical, and worked at Lowes Home Improvement Store as a Lumber Department Yoder. Ethan dedicated his free time to community service and volunteerism. At Camp Lejeune, he led daily PT and various basketball programs. He shared his love for music at Waterview Learning Academy where he gave guitar lessons to his fellow students. He participated in the Rockfish Meadows Christian Camp’s music ministry. His love of the Lord and religion guided his to participate in the Broken Bread Church/Castle Hayne Baptist Church worship teams where he played guitar and sang solos. HIS GREATEST JOY OF ALL, WAS BECOMING AN UNCLE TO PRINCESS ELLY!
Ethan had so many other interests which helped make him the wonderful, multi-talented man he was. He played all string instruments with enthusiasm and vigor. He shared his singing, and knowledge of music history with anyone who would listen! He tinkered with motorcycles, welding, fishing, hunting, gaming, cooking and baking, woodworking, and his all time favorite, Starbuck’s coffee. ETHAN’S SISTER, LAUREN ELDRIDGE describes Ethan like this: “He had a sense of honor matched only by his sense of humor. He was the strongest, most capable person anyone could imagine. He was a loving son, brother, uncle and friend. He was also a talented musician and devoted follower of Christ. Any life he touched was better because of him”.
SHE, sums it up by saying, “Ethan played the **** (blankedy blank) out of an instrument, would give the shirt off his back, and was not afraid to kick some *** (blankedy blank) when necessary. We love you and miss you so much”.
PFC Ethan Kemp Eldridge, rest in peace and thank you for your service.
Shawn Michael Heiser, age 48, of Wilmington, NC, passed away peacefully on Thursday, March 5, 2020, surrounded by his family.
Shawn was born on November 12, 1971, in St. Albans, Vermont. He was the son of John Harvey Heiser and Judith Tracy Heiser.
He is survived by his father, his mother, his wife, Kimberly Englestadter Heiser, his sister, Jean Heiser, his brother and sister-in-law, Matthew Heiser, and Laura Broderick Heiser, his brother-in-law, Geoff Englestadter, his mothers-in-law, Karen Harris, and Carolyn Englestadter, and his nieces and nephews, Madison Heiser, Saleena Englestadter, Molly Heiser, Ty Englestadter, Harley Englestadter, Reilly Zehner, and Jack Heiser.
Shawn adored his loving wife, Kimberly. The couple married on October 1, 1999, in Burns, Oregon. After living in Oregon for eighteen years, in 2012 they decided to move to Wilmington, NC, to be closer to Shawn’s family. For many years, Shawn was Kimberly’s main caretaker and advocate while she battled with health problems. Shawn also leaves behind his best friend Zeke, a beautiful German Shepard, and 8 loving cats. Shawn had an extreme love for animals and had rescued many over his lifetime, even fixing over one hundred-fifty feral cats. Shawn and Kimberly looked forward to their daily four-mile family walks with Zeke. Shawn had a special bond with Zeke and the two loved venturing out in the neighborhood, to various parks, nature trails, or their favorite place, the beach.
Shawn served his country with honor and distinction for four years in the United States Marine Corps 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion. Shawn was a front-line operator during the Persian Gulf War and Operation Restore Hope in Somalia where he served two tours. Because of his bravery and sacrifice, Shawn was decorated with many medals and campaign ribbons including the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Navy Unit Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Armed Services Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal with three stars, the Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with two stars, the Kuwait Liberation Medal, the Meritorious Mast and the Sharpshooter Qualification.
As a veteran Reconnaissance Marine, Shawn lived a complete life of service, duty, and determination. He embodied the Recon Creed, sacrificing personal comforts and dedicating himself to the completion of all missions. In 2006, Shawn graduated Cum Laude from Oregon State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. After graduation, Shawn immediately began his next mission: to attend law school and pursue a career as an attorney. After acceptance to law school, Shawn was faced with making a difficult decision, as he was also given the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of being a law enforcement officer. Deciding to forego law school, Shawn accepted this offer and fell in love with his new career. In their home town of Burns, Oregon, Shawn protected and served the people as a city police officer. As a testament to his gentle nature, he was often thanked by those he arrested for treating them with kindness and dignity. Shawn donated his time to serve the community of Wilmington as a member of the Island Men, a non-profit organization that promotes camaraderie, helps local charities and works on projects to promote the quality of life for residents.
When Shawn and Kimberly moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, in 2012, he quickly set a personal goal to become a licensed realtor. By chance, Shawn met Dawn Berard who immediately sensed something special in him. It could have been his infectious smile, his gentle demeanor, or his beaming sense of pride when he discussed his real estate goals that moved Dawn to offer him a position at her fledgling real estate brokerage, Sold Buy the Sea Realty. As a realtor at Sold Buy the Sea since 2013, Shawn helped the company grow from four agents and one office to twenty-five agents and a second office in Hampstead, North Carolina. Because of his service in the Marine Corps, Shawn had a heart for veterans and helped them achieve the dream of home ownership in Wilmington by guiding them through the VA home loan program and addressing their unique challenges. Shawn was adored by his clients and his colleagues loved him dearly.
When not working, Shawn longed to be in nature and especially enjoyed the area beaches where he and his sister would often make impromptu trips to enjoy each other’s company and reminisce about good times spent together during Shawn’s Marine Corps service. He enjoyed riding Harley Davidson motorcycles and was an amazing chef, second only to his mother. He liked to draw and was learning to play piano and guitar. Shawn was a passionate reader. He loved reading for pleasure and to learn. He would read at least two books per week and was always known for taking his Nook everywhere he went. Shawn was also an avid golfer, a sport taught to him by his mother-in-law, Karen Harris, while living in eastern Oregon. His love of golf was passed down to his brother, Matt, whom Shawn taught how to play at the age of thirteen. Matt would visit Shawn and Kimberly for several weeks at a time during each summer of his middle and high school years. He and Shawn bonded during this time spent together, much of it spent playing golf. Shawn and Kimberly recently started attending Port City Community Church and Shawn found peace in rekindling his relationship with the Lord through his Christian faith.
LLOYD RAY HENDERSON, SPC, US ARMY
CPL (E-4) Lloyd Ray Henderson enlisted in the U Army 3 July 1952. His point of entry was San Francisco, CA., where he was assigned to the 194th Fighter Sq., Hayward, CA. He was then assigned to the 89th Army Band at Ft. Sill, OK. He was on active duty until 5 June 1954 when he was honorably discharged from the US Army.
Upon discharge from active duty, CPL Henderson transferred to the Air National Guard, Military District of California. He served honorably there for the remainder of his 8-year commitment. He received an honorable discharge from the Air National Guard of California on 2 July 1960.
CPL Henderson’s service is a true display of exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty following the aftermath of World War II., and during the Korean War. It reflects credit upon himself and were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army.
Henderson, Katherine Anne
11/22/1930 – 4/19/2017
John LeRoy McGann enlisted in the US Army Aug 9, 1954 at the young age of 19 years old. His point of entry was Ft. Sheridan, Illinois. He achieved the rank of Specialist and served in the 57th Field Hospital as a 711.10, Clerk Typist. His commendations included the Rifle Marksman badge and the Good Conduct Medal. He was released from active duty on July 19, 1956 and transferred to the US Army Reserve where he served with dignity and professionalism. He spent most of his military career in Missouri and was honorably discharged from all military service on Sept. 30, 1962.
Lieutenant Colonel Meigs was born December 20, 1944 in Charlotte, NC. He graduated from Garinger High School in 1962 and in the fall of that year enrolled in North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering Operations in 1966. He eventually went onto complete a Master of Science Degree in Business Administration from Webster College in 1982.
Colonel Meigs received his commission in 1968 through Officer Training School in Lackland AFB, Texas. He was then assigned to Wright Patterson AFB Ohio where he was in charge of purchasing aircraft subsystems for the Aeronautical Systems Division. In 1971 he was assigned to Washington, DC as a consultant for the Commission of Goverment Procurement. From 1972 – 1974 he was assigned as Cheif, Avionics Central, Air Force Avionics Laboratory in Wright Patterson AFB, Ohio. In 1974 he was reassigned to Air Force Systems Command at Andrews AFB in Maryland as a Staff Officer and Inspector. During 1978 he was a student in AFIT’s Education with Industry Program where he worked at Hughes Aircraft in Newport Beach, CA. From 1979 – 1983 he was Executive Officer and Chief, Information Systems Branc at the Air Force Human Resources Lab at Brooks AFB in Texas. From 1983 – 1986 he was Chief, Data Systems Support Division, at Randolph AFB in Texas. In 1987 he assumed his current position as Commander of the 3302 Technical Training Squadron.
Stefan Mrgan III, age 36, of Johns Island, SC arrived in Valhalla on November 2, 2021. Born in Kansas City, MO on May 16, 1985, he was a true hero to his country and family.
Known to most as Steve, he was a 15 year Army veteran, serving valiantly as a Green Beret in the War on Terrorism. He retired from the military as a staff sergeant, and was on a constant deployment cycle.He was a husband, father, son, brother, friend, soldier, outdoorsman, firefighter and diver. Steve Mrgan was without a doubt, the most distinct, notorious, uncut and bold man his friends and family had ever met, and perhaps the world has ever seen. He loved shooting guns, drinking whiskey, riding his motorcycle, working on his truck, and pouring his time and effort into serving others.
He is survived by his wife of seven years, Alison Mrgan, sons Trystin and Hunter, daughter Adelynn, brothers Joseph and Andre, sisters Monika and Erika, and father Steven. He was predeceased by his mother Cheryl.
Operations Specialist 3rd Class petty Officer Mark Anthony Mueller entered the United States Navy July 10th, 2000. After completing boot camp, he reported to Operations Specialist “A” School in Dam Neck VA where he graduated in November 2000. From there he reported to Coronado, CA for Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL training, Class 235. He left the SPECWAR program and reported to Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, TX where he completed Anti- Terrorism/Law Enforcement specialist training and was awarded Navy Enlisted Classification Code 9545.
OS3 Mueller reported for duty to Naval Air Station Sigonella Sicily, Security Detachment, Operations Dept, Charlie Section. He proved a to be a very intelligent and motivated Patrolman, handling numerous on/off base traffic accidents with/without injuries along with numerous other calls for assistance in response to the international state of emergency brought on by real world terrorist attacks. He was hand selected to the newly formed bike patrol team where he continued his success, completing his Emergency Medical Technician certification and NCIS first responder certifications. OS3 Mueller completed his tour and received an Honorable Discharge in October of 2004.
Amongst his awards were a National Defense Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (2), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, NATO Medal, NATO Medal for Kosovo Operations, Expert Pistol Medal and Sharpshooter Rifle Ribbon.
OS3 Mueller’s service true display of exceptional professionalism, unrelenting perseverance and loyal devotion to duty following the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks reflected credit upon himself and were keeping with the highest of traditions of the United States Navy!
Lori (Lorine) Kaye Schmucker, 58 of Ligonier passed away on Thursday, June 14, 2018 from suicide after a lifelong battle with mental illness.
She was born on June 12, 1960 in San Diego, CA to Gerald Schmucker and the late Sara (Bolby) Schmucker. Her four siblings from oldest to youngest include Vivkie King, Debbie King, Rina Piper, and Wayne Strauss. She is a mother of two children, Chay Marshall and Hannah Workman.
Lori graduated from Westmoreland County Community College with an Associates in Applied Science in electronics engineering technology. She served in the Air Force and receieved the Good Conduct Medal, Longevity Service Award. While in the Air Force she also served four years as a digital flight simulator specialist. It was her love of military service that inspired her brother to join the Air Force as well.
Lori enjoyed telling jokes, laughing, singing, and paying guitar with her friends and family. She was very much in harmony with all things from the earth. She had an avid appreciation of the outdoors, walks in the woods, bead collecting, and jewelry making. She would frequently give her creations to others as a gesture of her love.
Her family would like to share the message of hope that her difficulties healing will serve in some way to inspire other veterans who are suffering in their healing journey to seek treatment and to prevent them from taking their own lives.
Dean Wyman received his last set of wings on November 10, 2021. He was born in Houston, TX on July 6, 1956.
Dean proudly served as a member od the 3rd Special Forces Group and spent three tours in Haiti as an SF Medic where he eagerly assisted the Haitians and his fellow members. Soon after he transferred to the “puzzle palace” to teach you SF medics some of whom are still actively serving today. Prior to becoming an SF medic he was honored to be a part of the 247th Medical Detachment Unit located at Ft. Irwin, CA where he received three Sikorsky awards for saving life, limb, and/or eyesight as a flight medic. His other accomplishments include providing medical training as the Director of Training to new Federal Air Marshal officers post 9/11. Later he continued his service to our country fighting terrorism – serving multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, and providing medial support for Protective Sercurity Detail for the Department of State and the Department of Defense for Blackwater (now known as Academi) amd other similar companies. Immediately prior to Dean’s death he was actively engaged in activities to support underserved veterans under his corporatopm Ratel Group, Inc. The family will continue these activities as appropriate.
He is preceded in death by his father, Charles Edward Wyman, who also proudly served in the United States Army. Dean is survived by his mother, Carroll Lee Wyman of Kerrville, TX, his brother, Lee Jay Wyman of Everett, WA, his daughter, Valarie Rachelle Reilly of Edgemoor, SC, his two sons, Bradley Garrett Wyman and Zachery Robert Wyman of Wilmington, NC, and two grandchildren.
The video below is of Dean on Memorial Day 2019
Veterans Memorial Reef
419 Raleigh St. Ste. C
Wilmington, NC 28412