St. Peter Indian Mission School Plans A Day of Remembrance

Emma Hughes
Gila River Indian News


The St. Peter Indian Mission Catholic School will honor GRIC service members who were killed in the Vietnam War.

“With the cancelation of the Iwo Jima event, we have planned to conduct a Run for the Fallen at St. Peter’s Mission School,” said Gary Anderson Sr., U.S. Army Special Forces veteran and member of Haskell Osife-Antone Post 51. He serves as project manager for the run.


The run honors 24 GRIC members killed in action, and pay respects to their families. This year’s tribute will also recognize seven soldiers who fell in the Vietnam War: Sgt. Harold J. Marrietta - U.S. Army, PFC David D. Perkins - U.S. Army, SP4 Dudney N. Arlentino - U.S. Army, SP4 Franklin D. Pete Jr. - U.S. Army, PFC Gregory B. Chiago - U.S. Army, LCpl Edgar Acunia - U.S. Marine Corps, and 1st Lt. Dwight Blackwater - U.S. Army.


“Six of the families have responded, and we plan on honoring them,” Anderson said.


The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Feb. 25 at the St. Peter’s Mission School in District 5, Casa Blanca. Students will post colors and sing the national anthem in both English and O’otham.


Lancelot Lewis, who is also a Vietnam Veteran, will be a guest speaker. Lewis served as a medic in the Army Special Forces and is a recipient of the Bronze Star medal.


“After that, we will recognize the families and the children will sing and dance a cultural song for them,” Anderson said.

Participants are welcome to run or walk on the school’s track after the event.


“At the conclusion, we ask all the participants to pick up a flag, which will have a card on there, and they’ll have a veteran’s picture and how they died,” Anderson said, “and we ask them to go to the track think about their sacrifice.”

The run is based on Arizona’s three-day Run for the Fallen planned for Oct. 27-29 covering over 147 miles from Tucson to Phoenix, with each mile representing those who made the ultimate sacrifice.


The St. Peter Mission School organized its first annual Run for the Fallen in 2016, honoring 24 Gila River Indian Community members killed in action.


The initial run paid special tribute to U.S Army Cpl. Billy B. Farris, who was killed during operations in Iraq in 2006, and U.S Marine Corps. LCpl. Joe Jackson, who was killed in 2011 while serving in Afghanistan. Farris attended St. Peter’s, and the school’s feast house is named after him.