John D. Riesenberg, Sergeant First Class U S Army (retired), 71 of Lakewood Wash., passed away December 25, 2012 at the Georgian House Hospice in Lakewood. John’s 21 years of honorable active military service included two tours in Vietnam. Death was attributed to complications of Glioblastoma.
John was born August 29, 1941 in St James MN., the oldest of 8 children born to Tony and Aldine ( Foley) Riesenberg. He attended the Catholic School of St James, and graduated from St James High School with the class of 1960
On March 14, 1960, he joined the Minnesota National Guard and was assigned to Battery “A”, 125th Field Artillery, 47th Inf. Division, Minnesota Army National Guard based at St. James. On December 21, 1960 he was released from his National Guard obligation. He enlisted in the regular Army, and would spend the next 21 years in uniform as a professional soldier: both as a war fighter and a peacekeeper. His state side duty assignments included: Ft. Leonard Wood Mo.; Ft. Riley Kans., (1St Inf. Div.), Ft. Lewis Wash. (9th Avn. Bn, 9th Inf. Div.), Fort Benjamin Harrison Ind. (Hq&Hq Co.), Army Nerve Gas Plant, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Denver Colo., Fort Riley Kans. (823rd Maint. Bn.) Ft. McCoy Wisc., Fort Sill Okla. Foreign duty assignments; 2/33, 3rd Armored Division (Gelnhausen Germany); 1/33 FA, 1st Inf. Div. (R.V.N.) 1965-66; 7/2, 38th Artillery Brigade (Osan Air Base, South Korea); 1st Logistical Command (R.V.N.) 1970-71. His military awards and decoration include: Bronze Star Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4 times), Good Conduct Medal (7 times), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (1 silver battle star and 1 bronze battle star), National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam campaign medal with “1960” device, Korean Defense Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Leaf, Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal First Class, and Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Following his military career, John obtained a degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Service from Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and for the remainder of his working life he would be responsible for outdoor recreation equipment maintenance at Fort Lewis. John was a member of American Legion Post 110 at Fort Lewis and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 969 of Tacoma, and an active participant in the Washington State University Master Gardener program. John spent much of his spare time in the outdoors hunting big and small game and fishing including fresh and salt water, and promoting and supporting conservation programs and activities.
He is survived by two sisters, Pam (Jim) Kietzer of Vernon Center and Michelle Engelby of Madelia; and four brothers; Jim of Plymouth, Wisc., Rick of Lewisville, Gary and Kevin of Minneapolis; as well as numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and the Society of the First infantry Division.
In addition to his parents, his brother Bill preceded John in death in 1983.
Page 2 of 2 - In accordance with John’s wishes, there will be no public service. Cremation has taken place and inurnment with full military honors at a place of honor, Tahoma VA National Cemetery at Kent Washington. A memorial fund has been established in John’s name.