The Back Pew - Fall/Winter 2023

Submitted: Ernie Isbell, VLOA Chaplin


Best wishes to all who read this part of the VLOA newsletter. I am devoting this issue to an 

extraordinary person in my life. That is to say that my wife of 64 years passed away on Christmas Day

2023. She was battling a stroke and gave up the effort at 2:30 in the afternoon Christmas Day 2023.

Linda Minyard Isbell and I were married in Lubbock, Texas on September 5th, 1959.We were

classmates at Crawford High School in San Diego,California. She asked me for a date as she was

on the annual staff and sat behind me in English class. I am from a family of all boys and she was an

only child. I had never dated a girl before.

After graduation, Linda went to college, and I came back to Texas to work as a carpenter’s ap-

prentice with my father. Linda and I stayed in touch and on September 5th, 1959, we were married by

a Justice of the Peace in Lubbock.

As usual, construction work ran out in Lubbock and we decided to go back to San Diego. The

draft was big in 1959 and knowing that I would probably get drafted I volunteered for the Army. As it

happened I was a JROTC leader at Crawford High School and the Army Master Sergeant at that

time knew that if you had a high school diploma, were 18 or older you could volunteer for Officer

Candidate School. Since I was an Honor graduate in basic training the company commander

 encouraged me to go to OCS. Consequently, in July 1960 I reported to Infantry OCS and six months

later I was a 2LT of Infantry.

Linda joined me at Fort Benning and her experience as a Navy brat turned out to be the main key

to our success as an Army officer and family. We have two children. Our son is an attorney and part-

time teacher among other things. Our daughter Cheryl is a very successful accountant and is currently 

recovering from a stroke as I reported in my last Chaplin’s Corner.

Linda became an Army civil servant and rose from a GS 5 clerk to the grade of GS 12 as she ac-

companied me all around the Army. After Viet Nam I was appointed chief of officer procurement in

MILPERCEN and held that position for four years.

We retired from the Army on September 1, 1990 and moved to Flower Mound, TX where 

Linda became an employee of Edward Jones Financial and I took up the

same line of work. We built a large office building and maintained a

successful business.

Then one day Al Iller contacted us to join in a meeting of Vinh

Long Outlaws to discuss having a meeting and send out invitations

to all former members that we could locate. The effort was a big

success and continues today. I was appointed to be secretary and

of course that meant having Linda doing all the paperwork. She

handled her tasks in her usual manner– outstanding.

All of this is intended to champion the many people who have

worked hard to make the Vinh Long Outlaws, Mavericks, crewmen,

electronics, leaders, family members and leaders proud of our 


It certainly provides a bit of information about my wife, best

friend, hard worker, and recognizes all those who support the


May God bless Linda Lee Isbell, Born 15 January 1941.



What can the Chaplain do for me?

My primary job as Chaplain of the V. L. O. A. is to conduct the Sunday morning worship service at our reunions. In addition, should you have the need to talk with someone who has "been there, done that," I am available to listen.




Outlaws Devotional - February 2021



Pain Is Not Forever


2 Timothy 2:3

Accept your share of suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.


About 11 years ago, I began having pain in my shoulders that grew progressively worse as the months past.  Along with the shoulder pain, pain began building in my hips and soon matched the level of shoulder pain.  Surely this was just the process of aging, and would soon subside and go away.  Over the counter medication helped marginally, but wasn’t enough to divert my mental concentration on the pain. Finally, the pain progressed to the point that it limited my ability to function well, especially in getting dressed and caring for myself. 


It became clear the pain was not going away by itself.  Over the next four months, I was evaluated by two general practioners, a neurologist, and an orthopedic surgeon, none of which could identify the source of the pain even after an MRI, two CT scans, two sonograms, and numerous blood tests, but all had their own solution to mollifying the pain.  Finally, my wife said that both of us had had enough of the pain, and found a rheumatologist who gave me an emergency appointment.  He reviewed all the medical information, and diagnosed the problem as polymyalgia rheumatica.  Prescribed medication relieved the cause of the pain in less than a month, but weaning me off the medication took another 11 months.


One night during the midst of my pain, I realized that my pain was insignificant compared to the pain and suffering Jesus Christ experienced during the 24 hours leading up to dying on the cross. We should never forget the earthly, physical pain Jesus felt in giving his life in atonement for our sins.

Submitted by Frank Estes



Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American G.I.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

      Source Unknown


Standing Prayer Request:

While most Prayer Requests will remain on the page for 30 days, here is a request that will remain as long as we have uniformed men and women stationed abroad. Please repeat this short prayer often and ask you friends and family to include it in their daily prayers:
Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless
acts they perform for us in our time of need.
I ask this in the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior.   Amen.

Prayer Requests: (as of 04/23/2024)

Ivey Miller Obituary

BROOKLET, Ga. -- Mr. Ivey C. Miller Jr., age 72, passed away on Sunday, January 14, 2024, at his residence under the care of Ogeechee Area Hospice.
Ivey was born on August 23, 1951, in the Stilson area. He graduated from Southeast Bulloch High School in 1969.
Soon after graduation, he joined the U.S. Army. He served his country in Vietnam from 1971 until 1972, where he was a helicopter crew chief with the 175th Assault Helicopter Company (Outlaws).
After returning from Vietnam, he served the rest of his Army career at Fort Carson in Colorado. After returning home, he served four years in the National Guard.
Following his military career, he was self-employed at Port City Machine Corp. as a co-owner for many years until his retirement in 2016.
Upon his retirement, Ivey enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, traveling, gardening and riding his motorcycle.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Ivey Coleman Miller Sr. and Irene Morris Miller Sparks; two sisters, Inez Miller Conner and Peggy Massey McDonald; his daughter, Tina Miller Wilson; and one son, Steven O'Brien Miller.
He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Elaine Pollard Miller; two daughters, Angie (Billy) Mock and Susan Miller; three grandchildren, Crystal Mock, Chandler Mock, and Ashton Smith; and one great-grandchild, Whitley Rogers, all of which are from Brooklet; as well as many nieces and nephews.
The family will receive visitors on Thursday, January 18, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home in Statesboro.
The funeral will be held in the chapel of Joiner-Anderson on Friday, January 19, at 1 p.m. with Chaplain Nick Spletstoser officiating and assisted by Tony Villarruel. George Wayne Pollard will officiate the graveside service. Burial, with military honors, will follow at Lower Lotts Creek Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery.
Pallbearers will be George Wayne Pollard, Emory Pollard, Benny Pollard, Ben Pollard, George David Pollard and Danny Andrews.
The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Ogeechee Area Hospice, P.O. Box 531, Statesboro, GA 30459.
The family would like to express special thanks to the nurses with Ogeechee Area Hospice, and a special caregiver, Skye Marsh, for their loving care given to Mr. Miller.
Friends may sign the online register book at
Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home & Crematory of Statesboro is in charge of the arrangements.