SFA -75 Picnic at Nipaquay
By Roy Cook

At the 2011 Special Forces Association, SFA -75 annual picnic at Admiral Baker field we heard about the Special Forces Association National Convention at Las Vegas. This location is in the very proximity of the traditional Kumeyaay Nipaquay village along the San Diego River. Our Quartermaster brought back attractive and questionable selections for us to choose from. Perhaps the best unpredictable quality of

these picnics is who we will meet. Some folks we see frequently, some for the first time and some after many decades of life since we served together.

We were honored to have Melchor Rillera and his son, attend the SFA Picnic. Staff Sergeant Melchor Rillera was born January 1st, 1908 at Naguilian, La Union, Phillippines. He arrived in Seattle, WA in 1922 with fifty cents in his pocket. He volunteered for Army service after Pearl Harbor and accepted an offer to train with the First Special Service Forces. On D Day SSgt. Rillera parachuted into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division, fought in the southern France campaign and, on 26 Aug 1944 captured the village of Villenueve-Loubet, one of the hardest fought battles of the campaign.
He took part in Operation Market Garden and the liberation of Eindhoven. He was assigned to the 3/506 and fought in Bastogne. Along the way he earned the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, and received his Combat Infantry Badge on 8 Sept 1944. He is 103 years of living history.

Many of us have stories and memories of training or postings at Ft. Bragg. When I was on Smoke Bomb Hill, 1964-67, I was just happy to be a part of Special Forces and did not think much beyond that week. During that time of service I met one or two members of this San Diego reserve unit. They had volunteered to go active Army and
were training to deploy to the Republic of Vietnam. Later, while in school under the GI bill, I sought out and joined the same Special Forces Army Reserve unit. Today, we look a bit different but the emotions and experiences are as clear as if it is yesterday and not 35 or more years ago.


Our inner man is filled to satisfaction. Our spirits are uplifted.We welcome meeting new visitors and renewing our bonds as warriors, in this band of brothers.