Richard Earl Toney
Sergeant
C CO, 1ST BN, 502ND INFANTRY, 101ST ABN DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
Bogalusa, Louisiana
October 28, 1946 to August 31, 1970
(Incident Date February 22, 1968)
RICHARD E TONEY is on the Wall at Panel 40E, Line 68

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Richard E Toney
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Richard Earl Toney        Richard Earl Toney

 
24 Nov 2001

I was always proud to be Richard's little sister. Although we fought a lot as kids (he nicknamed me "Bimbo" -- maybe for my intelligence?), we bonded and became very close as we matured.

Richard excelled at everything he did: baseball, basketball, hunting, fishing, poker, etc. My fondest memories are from watching him play high school baseball. When the bases were loaded and Richard stepped up to the plate, the entire crowd would stand and start cheering -- they knew the ball was headed over the fence. And when the crowd found out I was his little sister, they started attacking me with hugs!

My heart was first broken when Richard came home on leave and announced he was going to Vietnam "to fight the Viet Cong". My heart was broken again when I called him in Japan and he told me he was paralyzed from the chest down. When he died 2 1/2 years later, a piece of my heart went with him. Our mother died 2 years later from a broken heart.

Janet Toney King
Bimbeaux@hotmail.com

 
09 Dec 2001

Having only been 18 months old when Richard died, I really feel cheated in not remembering him. He was 23 when I was born. I was his baby sister that came as a huge shock to the entire family in 1969.

His memory has been kept alive and thriving by so many wonderful people that continue to tell me stories about this incredible sportsman. I also know he had a keen mind and a very giving heart. I've been told of many practical jokes that he played on his old hunting buddies. I laugh just thinking of some of them.

I remember finding letters in the family bible that Richard had nurses write for him while he was in the hospital in Japan. They sent chills down my spine. Those letters really gave me a connection with Richard. I could feel his pain. I also remember finding letters from a soldier that was in the hospital with Richard either in San Antonio or Japan. They were letters to my Mother and Father. After the soldier had learned of Richard's death, he wrote to my parents to tell them how much Richard meant to him.

Richard touched so many people in so many different ways. I am very proud to call him my brother.

Kelli Toney
Section Rd., Covington, LA 70435
missktoney@cs.com

 
13 Dec 2001

Richard - my cousin. Well, I remember him as a very warm person with a "Heart of Gold". Most of all I will always remember how he could fill the whole room with his wonderful SMILE. This I will always carry with me of Richard.

Gloria Thomas Manning & husband Skip

 
09 Dec 2001

I remember Richard as loving the outdoors and being a sportsman.

Bobby Thomas, cousin

 
27 Dec 2001

We met the Toneys after moving across the street in 1972; they became part of our family. We didn't have the privilege of knowing Richard in person, only through his mother and father's eyes we got to know him and how much he was loved. They thanked Pete and I for letting them talk about Richard and sharing memories and pictures of him. It seemed to help them ease the pain. The neighborhood is not the same. We loved them and miss them.


Bettie, Pete, & Thomas Marks and daughter Gwen

 
17 Jan 2002

Richard was not only my cousin, he was my best friend. He had a personality like no other. I cannot remember a time when he said or did anything to upset me. I have so many good memories of Richard, I really could not say one was the best. He could help me with my homework, listen to a transistor radio, and watch the ball game on T.V. at the same time; and keep up. He will always be dear to my heart.

Judy Ann Thomas McArthur
dragann1@webtv.net

 
29 Jan 2002

I can not tell you how many times in my life I have thought about Richard. I have told co-workers about my childhood with him and how he died as a result of the Vietnam War.

He was almost 2 years older than me, and naturally you look up to a person that is older, but in Richard's case it was looking in awe at a young man that you knew you could never match. He was the athlete, the outdoors man, the strongest, the fastest. He was all these things but was the best young man that a kid of 11 could ask for to teach him how to swim, fish for green trout(bass) in the swamps around Bush. Richard was visiting us in Lakeview one day when we decided to have a rock war. I went into the top of an old gravel pit elevator, I was throwing rocks at him on the ground, and he was throwing up at me. I was about 60' up in this elevator when, sure enough with that pitcher's arm of his he hit me right above the right eye. To this day I have a scar in my eyebrow that reminds me of him.

I still love bass fishing to this day, and I credit Richard for this. We used to swim the canal at Bush and wade the swamps with old steel rods, fishing for Bass. One time he told me as we were wading he was going to catch a 4 lb fish at the base of a particular cypress tree, he made the cast and promptly set the hook on a nice 4lb+ bass. I could tell more stories about Richard but I will close with this comment. He did affect my life in a positive way. At the time in my life when Richard was growing up he was an icon to me, I needed someone in my life, especially at that time, to give me a reason to try. He did all these things without realizing what he had done for me.

From his cousin and friend,
George Cox
E-mail address is not available.

 
31 Jan 2002

Richard and I were very good friends since our Junior High days at BJHS in Bogalusa. We played baseball together and against one another. Our friendship never changed no matter what team won or lost. The only thing Richard loved more than baseball was constantly taking my change playing poker. It was amazing how Richard could tease me about it and never make me mad. He'd clean me out and laugh and laugh.

Richard could be summed up in one word, CLASS! I miss him a lot.

From his friend,
David S. Davidson
E-mail address is not available.

 
02 Feb 2002

Our family dearly loved Richard, especially my mother Stella. On the day Richard died, I made my daily visit to the nursing home to see her. She rarely talked at all, but that day she said "Richard died today but he's okay." The angels apparently had spoken to her.

Vernell Sumrall Crockett (cousin) and husband Thelton

 
20 Mar 2004

I had the privilege of knowing Richard. He was about three years older than me but we played baseball together in 1965. Others on this site have made mention of his athleticism and I will only add my concurrence that he was indeed a tremendous athelete. I have the local newspaper articles from his playing days to prove it. I would be happy to scan and forward to anyone who is interested some of these articles if you wish to contact me.

Others have already mentioned his smile as a sort of trademark of Richard. I too, remember his smile. In the dugout you could not look at Richard and tell if we were ten runs up or ten runs down. Even though he was as competitive a person as I have ever known, the smile would be there even when we weren't doing well. I call it his "ain't life great smile". He enjoyed life and made the most of it. Not only did Richard enjoy life, but also all those that were around him got just a little more enjoyment out of life because he was there.

Perhaps my most lasting and profound memory of Richard came after he had been wounded in Vietnam. It was during the summer of 1968 and his family brought him to the old Gaylord Park to an American Legion baseball game. It was my final year of Legion baseball. Gaylord Park was the setting where Richard had been a "hero" so many times in the past. I had witnessed some of those heroics firsthand. He would be a "hero" again that night and have a lasting impression on my life. When Richard was rolled into the dugout in his wheelchair to visit briefly with the team, I looked down at him and there was that same "ain't life great smile" that I had seen so many times before. I know that that had to be one of the most difficult nights in his life. I can only imagine the thoughts that were going through his mind, but the smile was still there.

I soon followed Richard to Vietnam. I learned from this website that I even served in the same division that Richard had served in and operated in the same areas that he had three years earlier. Somehow that seemed to make me feel even closer to him.

I am proud to say that Richard Toney was my friend, my teammate, and my comrade in arms. I will never forget.

From a friend,
Buddy Jenkins
1LT, A Co 2/506 Inf 101st Abn Div
56205 Stewart Evans Rd., Bogalusa, La 70427
bjenks@i-55.com

 
A Note from The Virtual Wall

During the last week of February 1968, in the midst of the Tet Offensive, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry, was fighting in the borderlands between Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces in northern-most South Vietnam. In addition to the wounded, the Battalion lost nine men killed in action during that week. They were (including SGT Toney):

As in most engagements, others were wounded. Sergeant Richard E. Toney, C/1/502nd, was one of those wounded on 22 Feb 1968. Two and a half years later, on 31 August 1970, Richard Toney died of wounds received.

More than a decade after his death, public contributions funded the construction of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial - the "Wall" - on the Mall in Washington. Although his nine brothers-in-arms who died in late February 1968 were honored on the Wall, Richard Toney's name was absent.

That omission was corrected in May 2002 - Richard Toney rejoined his brothers on Panel 40E of the Wall. Read an article about it as well as the effort by a local man to have Richard's name added to Washington Parish Veterans Monument outside the courthouse in Franklinton, Alabama.

Richard is buried with his parents, Norma Cecile Thomas Toney (1925-1973) and Thomas Benjamin Toney (1909-1975) in Thomas Cemetery, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.

Richard E Toney


- - The Virtual Wall, October 23, 2014

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