Dale Ray Ross was born on 23-APR 1947.  His father was Gilbert Ross (1914-1985) and his mother was Florence Schneider Ross (1916-1977).  Dale lived in Wentzville MO.  Dale had two sisters, Pat and Peggy.  Dale was married to Betty Ann Ross (Le Mar).  They had two daughters; Kim was born in January 1966 and Dawn was born in August 1967.  He enlisted in the Navy after graduation from Wentzville High School in May 1964 and served during the Vietnam War. He had the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. Dale’s occupational specialty was Structural Mechanic Safety Equipment Second Class. Dale was assigned to the Forrestal 4-JUN 1967.  He served with 7th Fleet, Vf-11, Tf 77, USS Forrestal. 

Dale was on a tour on duty in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War, when while serving aboard the Forrestal, an explosion occurred which set off additional explosions of bombs and planes on the flight deck.  This was the worst naval disaster in a combat zone since World War II.  The lives of 131 crewman were lost including Dale on 29-JUL 1967.

Ross was reported missing and ultimately declared dead on 29-JUL 1967. Recorded circumstances attributed to: “Non-Hostile, Died While Missing, Other Causes, Sea Casualty.”  Incident location: North Vietnam, Nz province, Blast and Fire Aboard the USS Forrestal. 

Dale Ray Ross is honored on Panel 24E, Line 48 of the Wall.  Dale’s body was never recovered.  When the explosions onboard the Forrestal happened, Dale was not on duty below the flight deck in the crew’s quarter.  The Veterans Administration report Dale is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  is buried at St. Charles Memorial Gardens in St. Charles MO.

Betty never recovered or remarried after losing Dale.  Dale and his wife had a daughter born on 28-AUG 1967 named Dawn Dale.  Dawn never had a chance to meet her father.  Betty died in about 2009.  

According to the VA, Dale Ray Ross is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington VA.  The family is unsure.

Two other St. Louisans lost their lives on the USS Forrestal that day:

  • Gerald Wehde from Old Monroe, MO.
  • Edward Neumeyer of Belleville IL.   

Dale is honored and remembered at the St. Charles County Veterans Museum.  For more information about Dale and the Forrestal fire, click on pdf below.

Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at sccvetsmuseum@gmail.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.