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SGT Robert A Van Alyne, Jr

SGT Robert A Van Alyne, Jr

Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, USA
Death 1 Aug 1985 (aged 33)
Cheyenne, Laramie County, Wyoming, USA
Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
Plot Columbarium No 1
Memorial ID 34241925 · View Source
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Deputy VanAlyne drowned after being swept into flood waters in Cheyenne, Wyoming, while attempting to rescue four people stranded on the roof of a car. A six-year-old girl also was swept away and drowned.

Deputy VanAlyne was a Vietnam War veteran and was posthumously awarded received the Carnegie Heroism Award, the Civil Air Patrol Heroism Award, the Laramie County Sheriff's Department's Medal of Valor, and the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. He was survived by his son, parents, and three siblings.
The Republic
Saturday, August 3, 1985
Page B5

Deputy Dies Saving Child From Flood
By John C. Ensslin
Scripps Howard News Service

Cheyenne, Wyo.-If you needed help, Laramie County Sheriff's Deputy Robert A. Vanalyne Jr. was a man you could count on. It cost him his life.

Vanalyne, 33, was trying to save a young girl from the raging waters of Dry Creek when his safety rope broke or came untied and the two were swept away.

On Friday, while Cheyenne began mopping up the remnants of its worst natural disaster ever, friends of Vanalyne were mourning his death the night before.

"He always said if they needed anyone, he would always be in the middle of it," said Gale SPencer, who lived next door to Vanalyne for a year. "He was always one not afraid to be involved.

"That's Bob, he's just that kind of person."

Vanalyne was on duty about 10 p.m. when a van carrying a man, a woman and her small child slid off Ridge Road and into the culvert.

With a rope tied from his waist to a nearby telephone pole, Vanalyne plunged into the floodwaters and managed to rescue both adults, said sheriff's Capt. Walter Vanatta.

"He had the little girl on his back when the rope either broke or came untied and both were swept away," Vanatta said.

Searchers found their bodies downstream.

The creek, normally an empty drainage basin, was anything but dry Thursday night after of deluge of more than six inches of rain fell in just under four hours.

Vanalyne joined the department in April 1984. Prior to that, he worked two years on the Green River Police Department and seven years with the Cheyenne Police Department.

His service record is studded with citations for heroism.

During the Vietnam War, he served with the 404th Radio Research Unit, where he was awarded an Army Commendation Medal.

Later, while with the Wyoming National Guard, he was twice awarded their "humanitarian service" medal.

The first was for actions taken during a 1979 tornatdo in the Cheyenne area. His second medal cited him for heroism during the Mount St. Helens volcano disaster in the state of Washington.

He also received a Cheyenne Certificate of Recognition for heroism in May 1976, after he saved the life of a man trying to jump off the roof of the Plains Hotel.

"I think that tells you something about the kind of guy he was," said Vanatta.

Divorced, Van Alyne leaves behind an 8-year-old Son.

Information courtesy of Find A Grave contributor Cemetery Walker

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  • Maintained by: CindyS
  • Originally Created by: International Wargraves Photography Project
  • Added: 26 Feb 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 34241925
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for SGT Robert A Van Alyne, Jr (15 Jun 1952–1 Aug 1985), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34241925, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by CindyS (contributor 18484625) .