Remembering Melvin J. Wright

Barry Crawford has dedicated much time and energy unearthing details about relative Melvin B. Wright, and making sure his memory is not forgotten. This is Melvin’s story:

Melvin was born in Inverness in the Eastern Townships of Quebec on October 30, 1947. He joined the U.S. Army in March of 1965 when he was 17 years old, becoming a “cross-border warrior”. After serving inEuropeand thePanama Canal Zone, he volunteered for service inVietnam. He arrived in South Vietnam in November 1969 and was one of the last soldiers to leave at the end of June 1972.

At the end of June 1972, instead of returning to the United States he transferred to Thailand with the 46th Special Forces Company. Melvin’s Senior Commanding Officer, Retired LT. Col. Radtke, wrote of him: “Melvin was highly thought of by his peers and the command as a whole. We were fortunate to receive the very best the Army had to offer in their personal pipeline of replacements from both Vietnam and the United States. I considered myself fortunate to have commanded US Army Special Forces Thailand (USASFT). I was proud of all our troops and I was proud to have served as Melvin’s commander.”

Melvin served until his death near Lopburi, Thailand on October 13, 1973. He died during a parachute jump at Pawai Drop Zone, Lopburi, Thailand. He was only 25 years old. Melvin’s remains were brought back home to Canada, escorted by MSG Harry D. Brown (46th Special Forces). A Green Berets honor guard was sent from Fort Devens, Mass. Melvin received a full military funeral on October 23, 1973, and was buried beside his grandfather in the little country Adderley cemetery near Inverness, Quebec.

In 2006, I found the 46th Special Forces soldier who did the investigation into Melvin’s parachute accident back in 1973. 1SG Daniel McGinley, 46th Special Forces (retired) helped bring closure to the family and for that we are thankful.

 Melvin was awarded numerous decorations while serving in Vietnam including the Bronze Star (twice), Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Army Commendation Medal, National Defence Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/Device, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, and Thai Jump Wings. He already had earned his Master Parachute Wings, Rigger Badge, Sharpshooter Badge prior to going to Vietnam.

I have worked very hard, along with other supporters, to ensure that Melvin is never forgotten. His name can now be found on the Special Forces Wall of Remembrance at McDill AFB, Florida, and the In Memory Program, Washington, DC.  It can also be found on the North Wall in Windsor, Canada listing all the Canadian-born soldiers who lost their lives while serving for the US military in the Vietnam War.

6 comments


  • Sylvie Dacres-Champagne

    Hi, I went to school with Melvin and knew him well as well as his family. Also went to the funeral.I visit his grave every summer. Gone but not forgotten!

    April 6, 2013
    • Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

      Very glad to hear that, Sylvie!

      January 12, 2015
  • Sylvie Dacres-Champagne

    Hi, I went to school with Melvin and knew him well as well as his family. Also went to the funeral.I visit his grave every summer. Gone but not forgotten!

    January 12, 2015
  • Karen

    Barry we have lost contact over the years, I still have this picture you sent me, Melvin will never be forgotten, with loved ones like us , always talking about them searching for someone to tell us a little bit about our loved one they will live on forever! Karen Leslie Brown on dn or my email gapeach4ever0308@gmail.com
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    February 26, 2015
  • Judy Andrews

    I was so pleased to find this.I was watching a show on Navy Seals last night and then I was curious what the difference was between Navy Seals and Green Berets which brought me to investigate to see if I could find anything about Melvin. I knew Melvin very well. Went to high school with him. I was great friends with him and we hung out a lot. I also was friends with his sister Heather, and his mother was a school teacher who taught me in grade 3. He was a special friend and every time he would be on leave, he would come to visit me before he went to his parents. I am not sure they were happy about that lol. I visited his grave for the first time in 2011 and when i got back in the truck a song had just started “thank a Soldier” It was heart warming. Thank you for this article.

    December 10, 2016
    • Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

      You are so very welcome, Judy. I’m glad you stumbled upon this piece and I appreciate your sharing your memories here with me!

      December 22, 2016

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