Ernest Arballo Rivera, Jr

Gunnery Sergeant
United States Marine Corps
02 June 1941 - 03 February 1970
Los Angeles, California
Panel 14W Line 098


Purple Heart, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ernest Arballo Rivera, Jr

24 Oct 2006

In the summer of 1967 then-Staff Sergeant E. A. Rivera was one of the Marine Corps Boot Camp Drill Instructors for Platoon 2010. He was a hard-charging Marine. He made life for us "holy hell". By the time we graduated we were ready to march right into Hell and put the fire out.

All I wished for was to be out of his sight and hopefully never to see him again! At the time little did I know that my wish would be granted! Several years after my return home I found out he had lost his life in Vietnam. By then, I had belatedly realized that in having him for my DI his own example was what allowed me to (tho' twice wounded) pull through my own battle gauntlet while I was in Vietnam.

So today some 39 years later I come to this place to pay my respectw and honor this man who made such a imposing and lasting impression in my life:


Staff Sergeant Rivera: I am proud to report that today some thirty nine years after having your example I still personally contribute in the making of quality Marines to serve our nation.

I stand down and remain,
Semper Fidelis,
A. J. Ramirez USMC (Ret)
Clute, Texas

04 Dec 2006

The sounds and the feel of the air itself of the Marine Corps Boot Camp Drill Field will forever be in the memories of the Marines of Platoon 2010, Echo Co. MCRD San Diego Training Regiment in June - August 1967.

Those sounds of cadence were from our Marine Drill Instructor SSgt Ernest A. Rivera and the air was filled with his discipline and precision. Our DI would accept nothing less. His hard demeanor and piercing stare were enough to keep you "squared away". His expectations were the highest of Marine standards and he would make them ours. There would be no compromise or quarter offered. Every Marine Recruit would learn and self integrate these expectations to perfection from SSgt Rivera's relentless drive to earn your right to be called a "Marine".

Our Platoon grew and strived to become strong and become as one. No one was left behind. We would carry these traits through our combat tours in Vietnam. Some of us from Platoon 2010 would be able to later recall the memories of that summer in 1967. Some of us would not. For them and SSgt Rivera, their memory is etched eternally in a Great Wall of granite stone in our country's capital.

Our respects to the families of SSgt Rivera and others from Platoon 2010 who now stand on that Drill Field reserved for those who gave all.

From us that gave some, we honor your memory.

"The Smoking Lamp Is Lit"

My last personal recollection of SSgt Rivera was when we were boarding our bus to ITR at Camp Pendleton on our last day at MCRD after graduation. He congratulated me on my accomplishments, shook my hand and called me "Marine". He stood there while our troop bus pulled away and he smiled at us.

Semper Fidelis
Elpidio S. Munoz USMC (Ret)
Fresno, California

A Note from The Virtual Wall

According to the 2nd Bn, 5th Marines Operations Log for 03 Feb 1970, two Marines from Echo Company were killed when their position was struck by friendly artillery fire. The two men were Staff Sergeants Arthur Clark, Atlanta, GA, and Ernest A. Rivera, Los Angeles, CA. Both men received posthumous promotions to Gunnery Sergeant.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a boot camp recruit,
Art J. Ramirez
Clute, Texas

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index R
CA State Index . Panel 14W

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 Oct 2006
Last updated 01/16/2007