Canadian Vietnam KIA CPL Ivan C. Broeffle, 25 Jul 09, Emo, Ontario

Forty-four Patriot Guard Riders joined with the Canadian Vietnam Veterans Association (CVVA), the Fort Frances Legion, the White Earth Veterans Tribal Honor Guard, and veterans of the 1st Cav Canadian, on an overcast day to pay respects to CPL Ivan C. Broeffle in Emo, Ontario on 25 July 09 for a memorial dedication of his marker from the US Government for his service and ultimate sacrifice to our country during Vietnam. CPL Broeffle is a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient.

CPL Broeffle was a Native American Canadian citizen. As a young man, he went to live with his sister, Ida and her husband in Illinois, where he graduated from high school and joined the US Army. Ida explained that after basic training and AIT, he was shipped to the west coast for deployment to Vietnam. He called her and told her that they wouldn’t let him go because he was Native American, she told him he could come home with honor. He called her shortly after that and told her that he had volunteered to go anyway and was leaving shortly for Vietnam. His tour began on 2 March 1968, and on 9 May 1968 at the age of 21 in the Quang Tri Province of South Vietnam, while serving with B Co. 2/1st Inf. 196th LIB, he paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

In phone conversations with Ida, the original marker from the US Government never arrived in Canada, and CPL Broeffle’s final resting place was unmarked until this summer.

Last fall, a gentleman named Hal Laffin and his wife, Maddy, stopped at the cemetery in Emo to visit the resting place of CPL Broeffle. They found the family marker but there were no first names or information on the marker other than the last name. They were able to contact the sister, Ida and she told them there were three family members buried around the marker including CPL Broeffle. Hal & Maddy got the form necessary to file for a U.S. Military Marker and Ida sent it off to the U S. After about 3 months there was no response from the US, so Ida contacted the Congresswoman from the district in IL where CPL Broeffle had joined up. The next day the Congresswoman called and told Ida that the marker was finished and would arrive in Canada in about three or four weeks. Hal has located several Canadian Vietnam KIA’s who did not have their markers and whose names were not on the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC. His goal was to ensure that these Hero’s received their markers and names placed on The Wall. CPL Broeffle was one of these Hero’s. Once Hal knew the marker was on it’s way to Canada, he contacted the MN PGR, after he had explained to Ida what the PGR does, and our presence was requested.

The Memorial Dedication started with the playing of the Canadian National Anthem, followed by the US National Anthem. Family of CPL Broeffle included his 2 sisters and their husbands, a niece and grandson of the sisters. The White Earth Veterans Tribal Honor Guard were followed by the CVVA Honor Guard, and the Fort Frances Legion Honor Guard as they walked thru the PGR and 1st Cav Canadian flag lines. The niece sang a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, while the sisters embraced, remembering their brother. I don’t think were there any dry eyes listing to the voice and song and seeing the sisters overcome by the beauty of the song, the flags flapping briskly in the breeze, at a peaceful resting place in the countryside of Emo, Ontario. Wreaths were placed, and the ceremony was concluded with the playing of Taps.

Mr. Ron Parks, CVVA President explained that CPL Broeffle was one of thousands Canadians who joined the US Military for service in Vietnam – thank you to each of them for their service.

The CVVA presented a framed photo of the Canadian Vietnam Wall with CPL Broeffle’s name. The PGR plaque was presented to the family by Ken Donaghue, Bemidji Sector member and Vietnam Veteran, and all PGR members in attendance that were Vietnam Veterans were called forward to stand with Ken as he read and presented the plaque.

Another special moment of the day was with a young Canadian Soldier who arrived with the Vets of the 1st Cav Canadian. The White Earth Veterans Tribal Honor guard were one man short, as one of their members was not able to get across the border due to not having the second form of identification. They asked this young Canadian soldier to carry their Canadian flag in their Honor Guard.

After the memorial dedication, Ida met with each PGR member and thanked them for being there, and personally invited them to the luncheon at the Fort Frances Legion. Quite a few of our members were able to attend and enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie. Thank you to this young soldier. Thanks go to Mr. Ron Parks and Mr. Paul Dufault of the CVVA and their members who answered the call of our country to serve in Vietnam, the Ft Frances Legion, the White Earth Veterans Tribal Honor Guard, the veterans of the 1st Cav Canadian that joined us in the flag line, Ken and our member Vietnam Veterans who presented the PGR plaque, Sherry for leading the PGR prayer, our members who were able to attend, to Hal for identifying that a marker was needed, to the family, and most of all, to CPL Ivan C. Broeffle for his service and sacrifice - may he rest in eternal peace.

MN PGR members came from the Thief River Falls, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Hibbing, Duluth, Mankato, and Albert Lea sectors.

(@) Pictures from mission

(@) PGR National Thread

Karla Richardson
Ride Captain, Detroit Lakes Sector &
Northern Region Senior Ride Captain
Minnesota Patriot Guard