Worland: 1st Lieutenant Alva Ray Krogman (1941-1967) is Home
Written by Andrew-Rossi on July 23, 2021
Closure finally comes to the community that lost 1st Lieutenant Alva Ray Krogman, laid to rest in his hometown of Worland this week after 54 years lost in Laos.
Over a hundred people gathered at Worland Middle School for the memorial of Alva Ray Krogman, Worland native and war hero.
Krogman, a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, lost his life during a visual reconnaissance mission over Laos during the Vietnam War. Remains were discovered at his crash site in 2019 and positively identified in 2020.
On Monday, July 19, the Patriot Guard Riders escorted Krogman’s casket from Billings Logan International Airport to Worland. It was the first time Krogman had been in his over for well over 50 years.
On Wednesday, July 21, a memorial service was held for 1st Lieutenant Krogman, attending by his surviving family members and hundreds of Wyoming residents.
Governor Mark Gordon ordered all U.S. and state flags to fly at half staff in Krogman’s honor.
Among those gathered for the memorial were American Legion Post 44, handling the military honors bestowed upon Krogman’s return. They accompanied guests as they paid their respects next to Krogman’s casket, which was open to reveal his U.S. Air Force dress uniform.
The ceremony opened with a letter from U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis, read by her representative Jennifer Fernandez. In the letter, the senator praised Krogman’s “promise to his country” and the difficult but never-ending search to leave no soldiers behind.
Kelly Steindorf, Krogman’s niece, delivered the eulogy. She had childhood memories of her uncle, revealing she still has a doll and other trinkets he gave to her as Christmas gifts.
Steindorf described a unique experience witnessed by students of Worland High School. During a recent visit to Washington D.C., the students attended a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Students from Krogman’s hometown watched as the symbol next to his name was changed from a cross (Missing in Action) to a diamond (Killed in Action.)
Between her tears, Steindorf thanked the entire Worland community for participating in Krogman’s return.
“We have brought Ray home. All of us,” she said.
The final speaker was retired Major General Alan Rodgers of the U.S. Air Force. Rodgers personally knew Krogman. They were members of the Class of 1964 and squadron mates during their time at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
After speaking of Krogman’s training and achievements, Rodgers ended with a poignant gesture: offering his final salute to his fellow soldier.
After an episcopal service, the casket of 1st Lieutenant Krogman was escorted out of the auditorium to make the final journey – driving through downtown Worland to Riverview Memorial Gardens. There, Krogman would permanently join his family.
The procession stretched over a mile, with hundreds of vehicles following the hearse on its way to the cemetery. Leading the way were vehicles from several local agencies: the Worland Police Department, Washakie County Sheriff’s Office, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Washakie County Search and Rescue, the Department of the Interior, Cody Regional Health, and the Patriot Guard Riders.
A flyover and a 21 gun salute ended the ceremony at Riverview Memorial Gardens. The Worland community – most of whom never knew Ray Krogman – have ensured he will be honored and remembered forever for his service.