Hometown Heroes Feature on Vietnam-Era Soldiers who made the Ultimate Sacrifice

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Each Memorial Day, we reflect on the great sacrifice of all the men and women who laid down their lives in defense of our Country and values. This weekend, with the help of Town Historian Bill Poray, we are sharing the stories of a few hometown heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during the Vietnam War. We share their stories out of gratitude for their service, admiration for their courage, and respect for their sacrifice.

Larry James Baker lived on Miles Avenue in Fairport and served as a Hospital Corpsman in Vietnam; he died 11 months after joining active service at the age of 24.

Richard Bales lived on Midvale Drive, and served as an Infantry Unit Commander; he began his tour in Vietnam in August of 1968 and died four months later, at the age of 20, when the platoon he led was ambushed. Richard was awarded several posthumous medals including the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Larry Ludwig lived on Atlantic Avenue, and served as an Anti-tank Assaultman (Marine Corps); his parents received a letter and photos from him dated July 5, 1967, the day he was killed by gunfire in Vietnam at the age of 20.

Joseph Menna lived on State Street, and served as a Light Weapons Infantryman; he deserves to be recognized among those lost in the Vietnam War, but his name often falls through the cracks because he was killed while on patrol of a demilitarized zone in Korea at the age of 18.

Alexander “Kiki” Roczen, lived on Erie Drive and was Fairport High Class President in 1965; he left for Vietnam on June 17, 1968, and was killed in action just 17 days later at the age of 21.

Jeffrey David Schumacker lived on Jefferson Ave and was drafted 16 days after his marriage to his wife, Bonnie; he met his son once before he died while on a combat mission at the age of 21. 

This Memorial Day, we recognize the sacrifice of all who lost their lives in service to our great nation. Larry Baker, Richard Bales, Larry Ludwig, Joseph Menna, Alexander Roczen, and Jeffrey Schumacker are among Perinton’s hometown heroes. Their service was courageous, their sacrifice was immeasurable, and their memory will live on through their families, friends, and all of us who take time to remember them.

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