SFC Riley Nelson Earle, 83, of Carrollton, KY, died on Tuesday, January 11, 2022, at the Owenton Center in Owenton, KY.
Riley was born on April 3, 1938 in Ghent, Kentucky to the late Clarence and Alma Mae Breeden Earls as the eleventh child and sixth son in their family. His father was a farmer and construction contractor. Riley was a namesake for his maternal and paternal grandparents respectively.
He attended the Ghent Elementary School where he graduated from the eighth grade in a class of nine students in 1952. He then entered Carrollton High School in September of 1952 and graduated from there on May 30, 1956.
Riley entered the United States Air Force on September 4, 1956 at the "old" Nicholas Hospital building located on Berry Blvd., in Louisville at the age of eighteen. He was assigned to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas for basic training. After basic training he was assigned to the Finance School of Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas. Upon completion of the Finance School he was assigned to Turner Air Force Base in Albany, Georgia which was under Strategic Air Command. When the 4080th Strategic Recon Wing moved from Turner Air Force Base in Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio , Texas he was reassigned to the 4080th Air Base Group Finance Office at Laughlin Air Force Base Del Rio, Texas. He remained there until his discharge on September 3, 1960 when he completed his four year enlistment.
Upon returning home to Ghent, he worked as a deputy Marshall for the town of Ghent and briefly as a Correctional Officer at the Kentucky State Reformatory in La Grange, Kentucky. However in July 1961, he re-entered in the United States Army. He was assigned to the United States Army Training Center in Fort Knox for basic training. After completing basic training he completed the Clerical Course given at Fort Knox and was then assigned to "The Adjutant General's School" at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana to be trained as a Personnel Specialist. He was designated the "Honor Graduate" upon completing the training and assigned to the AG Personnel Office at Fort Huachuca, Sierra Vista, Arizona, for duty as a Personnel Specialist. After a brief period of duty there he was reassigned to the 232nd Signal Company on Fort Huachuca as their company and personnel clerk. The 232nd Signal Company was on "Alert Orders" for deployment out of the Country but the destination was classified. Shortly afterwards the 232nd Signal Company was deployed to South Vietnam. Riley arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon, South Vietnam in February 1962. The 232nd Signal Company was the first United States combat Unit to arrive in South Vietnam and it was it was temporarily assigned to the Military Assistance Advisory Group until other combat units arrived in the country.
Upon completing his tour of duty with the 232nd Signal Company, he was reassigned to the Finance School at Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indiana to attend the Finance Specialist Course. Upon completion he was designated the Honor Graduate and reassigned to the 502nd Administration Company 2nd Armored Division Fort Hood, Killeen, Texas. Riley was a Finance Specialist in the 2nd Armored Division Finance Office and he participated in two major deployment exercises while there. They were "Operation Biglift" and "Desert Strike". "Operation Biglift" deployed the division to Kaiserslautern, West Germany for several weeks and "Desert Strike" deployed the division to the Mojave Desert in Arizona and California for several weeks. Upon completion of "Desert Strike", Riley returned to Fort Hood and accepted "early out" discharge on June 25, 1964.
Riley re-entered the United States Air Force on July 13, 1964 and was assigned to the Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. as a Finance Non-Commissioned Officer. After about a year there he was reassigned to Ramstein Air Base, Ramstein, West Germany. While assigned there he was deployed with Air Task Group -14 to Mafraq Hashimite Kingdom of Jordan in the support Class "B" Agent Finance Office on temporary duty for six months. After completing his three year tour of duty at Ramstein Air Base, he was reassigned to Minot Air Force Base, Minot, North Dakota where he served in the base Finance and Accounting Office until his discharge on July 12, 1968. He had experienced enough of the Strategic Air Command and decided to end his military career at that time.
Riley worked for the Hoosier Engineering Company in Florence, Kentucky, as there payroll clerk after discharge from the United States Air Force while they were constructing electrical lines in the area. Later he worked for the Kentucky State Reformatory as a Correctional Officer, however boredom and disenchantment with civilian life soon set in again. Ultimately he decided to reenlist in the United States Army on March 1969 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and was assigned to StratCom Conus in Suitland, Maryland with a duty station in downtown Washington, D.C.in there Finance and Accounting Office. The War in Vietnam was going full force and he received orders for South Vietnam again and spent the rest of his Military time there. In August 1976 he was reassigned to the United States Ordnance and Chemical School at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland as a Senior Management Instructor in the Command Staff Department. Riley retired on August 1, 1978, and returned to his home in Ghent, Kentucky with intentions of remaining in the area. However that did not work out and he then moved to Louisville and began work at the Kentucky Children's Home on the Campus Security Force for the Commonwealth of Kentucky in November of that year.
He later went on to transfer his endeavors to a different field of interest at the Forensic Unit of the Central State Hospital and later the Juvenile Justice System and the Children's Residential Services Division of the Department of Social Services. After his retirement from Social Services he went on to work for Luther Luckett Correctional Complex and Burns International Security Services as a Security Sergeant and Security Lieutenant.
Riley was a member of the Ghent Baptist Church, the American Legion Post #41 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1170 in Louisville, Kentucky.
He will be missed by a sister, Sandra Horine of Carrollton, KY and his very dear friend, John Paul Ouellette of Pasadena, MD.
Riley was preceded in death by his parents, five brothers, Samuel Lee Earle, Freddie Clarence Earls, Walton E. Earle, Charles Roger Earle and Raymond Eugene Earle, five sisters, Christine Earle, Mary Elizabeth Smith, Martha Hunter, Edna Delores Kring and Mamie Estelle Walls.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Tandy-Eckler-Riley Funeral Home.