From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Richard Piatt '65

Date of birth: June 5, 1941

Date of death: April 16, 1967

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1965 Lucky Bag:


1965 Piatt 1.jpg

From the June-July 1967 issue of Shipmate:

1st Lt. Richard W. Piatt, USMC, died as the result of a gunshot wound from hostile fire while on patrol in the vicinity of Phu Bai, Vietnam, on 16 April. Services were held in Los Angeles, with interment in Sawtelle Cemetery.

He completed basic training at Quantico, entered flight training at Pensacola, then was reassigned in August 1966 with duty as Platoon Commander, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, Third Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard B. Piatt of 2362 Overland Ave., Los Angeles, Calif; two brothers, Alan and Kevin, and a sister Rebecca.


Via email on April 5, 2019:

No matter what The Lucky Bag says, Dick wasn't able to drag two at a time, because I met him on a blind date for Army/Navy when his two girlfriends found out about each other! That set us on a path to pinning and then to engagement. I was attending Mary Washington College which was right up the road from the Marine Corps Basic School so I was thrilled when Dick chose to go back into the USMC. Unfortunately, as we know now, this led to Dick's death at enemy hands. By the way it was his friend Mike Grammar who introduced us. Mike was also killed in Viet Man almost a month to the day after Dick. It is an absolute tragedy that these two outstanding men's lives were cut short. They were destined to accomplish great things. LCDR Dixie Kopfler Susalla, USN,

Dick and I were Lieutenants together in the same squad of 4th platoon, Bravo Company at the Marine Corps Basic School in 1965. He was a natural leader with solid bearing, great presence, terrific mind and wicked sense of humor. My wife Karen was especially impressed with Dick, convinced that he would become a General Officer. He was one of two Lieutenants in our platoon with prior enlisted service. As an enlisted man, Dick served at the US Embassy in Moscow before his acceptance at and later graduation from the US Naval Academy. Despite the passage of more than 50 years Karen and I still remember Dick with fondness and regret that he left us so young. MAHLON SCHNEIDER, MAHLON.SCHNEIDER@GMAIL.COM, 8/12/16

I just came across this web site by accident, I really don’t know what to say; it was moving to read some of the comments. I was on the patrol with Lieutenant Piatt when he was killed. I didn’t know him very well because he had recently been transferred to ‘B’ Company, but he seemed like a very nice person. Another Marine, who was on that patrol, and I recently went to Los Angeles to see his resting place, it was so sad to know he had given so much. PETER AMANCIO, SD1015PD@GMAIL.COM, 12/12/15

Richard actually grew up in Kirkwood, Mo., where he graduated from high school. He was my best friend then. We were Sea Scouts and sailed on the Mississippi River. He was a champion semaphore signaler. I was the reader. Richard was also good at all boating and other skills. He was on the wrestling team at Kirkwood and was a good all-around athlete.. Richard was one of the nicest guys I have ever known.

Richard was oh, so proud to be a Marine. He was an all-American boy and a true patriot. I still miss him. BILL SCHAPERKOTTER, 7/6/14

Dear big brother,
It's been 47 years since you were killed. Mom and Dad and Alan are gone too.

I still miss you.

One year ago there was a ring ceremony at the academy and Kevin and I donated your ring to the class of 2015. April 16th is one date I cannot forget.


My parents and Richard's parents were close friends (Dad and Uncle Dick served together in the Army, stationed in Germany - I think my dad was Richard's godfather). Dad just thought the world of Richard. I had a mad crush on him when I was 10, and still remember going to his graduation from USNA. When I started dating a midshipman during college, the very first time I went to Annapolis I found his name and picture on a wall of grads who'd been killed in Vietnam, and I cried. Dad (who only had daughters) never really stopped grieving for him. PATIENCE, 11/20/13

Richard always dreamed of going to the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. The Marine Corps gave him that dream. When he came home and told us that he was going to Vietnam, he said if the Marines are there then it's right. REBECCA PIATT GONZALEZ, 10/14/13

He said about Vietnam: 'If the Marines are there, then I'm going to be there too.'

He was a good older brother, taught me how to ride on his boys' Schwinn bicycle. Teased me but loved me. Could not carry a tune real well, but loved music. Still miss him. REBECCA GONZALES, KYMOCA@GMAIL.COM, 10/25/12

Lt Piatt was my Platoon Commander in Alpha Co in 1967. the Lt was a fine man and inspired me then and now from what he taught by example. Spent many a night in the bush with him. Quite a man. Sleep well Sir. We all turned out pretty good RAY RAYMOND, RPRAYMOND1@COX.NET, 9/30/06

From VietVet:

Today (16 Apr) I turn 57. I will take a few moments, as I have every birthday for more than 30 years, to remember Dick Piatt who was KIA on this day in 1967.

We had just returned from SCUBA school at Subic, where we were virtually attached to each other for four weeks - diving buddies.

Dick was an outstanding Marine recon officer and a fine person. I miss him.

Semper Fi, Dick. Tim Renn

From Virtual Wall:

I will always remember Dick and his "partner"/room-mate, Mike Grammar, as the guys responsible for my graduating from the Naval Academy, Annapolis. I was in the dorm room next to him during my plebe year. I would have given up without the firm, yet gentle, support of Dick and Mike. They were both Marines, even back then ... Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on the wall, everything green ... ooo-ra! Dick coaxed me through countless crises and losses of confidence. We were all young, but he had the wisdom of the ages. Thank you, Dick; I'll never forget you. I'll visit you again at the Wall.

From a Naval Academy company-mate and friend, Terry Reeder,, 20 Sep 2005


One of the comments above indicates Dick's class ring was melted down to be included in the rings of the class of 2015 as a part of the "Another Link in the Chain" program.

Related Articles

William Grammar '65 was also in 4th Company, and introduced Richard to his fiancée.

Class of 1965

Richard is one of 23 members of the Class of 1965 on Virtual Memorial Hall.