Presenting a Gold Star Mother’s Plaque is not the most enjoyable task. I remember the escort who brought my girlfriend’s brother’s body back from Vietnam. He told stories of being shot at by the family members. What would I be in for? What do you say to a mother who has lost her son in combat? These are just a few of the thoughts I had during my 2 ½ hour drive up to Morongo Valley from San Diego.

Bridget Madison was standing in front of her ranch style home as I drove up. She could not have been more hospital and invited me in to see the house. After meeting the dogs, cats and the cockatoo, she took me on  a tour. The ranch was located at the base of a hill and had a beautiful view of the valley below. The walls were lined with Hollywood posters of her dad’s, Guy Madison’s, movies. I really took a step back in time when I saw the Wild Bill Hickok posters on the walls. Roy, Gene, Andy, The Duke were all there along with most of my early favorite cowboy actors. Then we went into the gust house. The walls were lined with pictures and mementos of her son Spencer. She told me of the visit from SSG Dominik Kepa who had been on the fateful mission with her son and how much she appreciated his taking the time to come and see her. She told me of how much her son loved what he was doing. I told her that his unit was completely voluntary and that he wasn’t “assigned” to his LRS unit but volunteered to do so. I don’t know how she kept her composure because I was tearing up as she spoke.

We went out for lunch and chatted for about an hour. We then went back to her home and I presented her with her lifetime membership to the 75th Ranger Regiment Association and her 75th RRA Gold Star Mother’s Pin. I told her of the Ranger Memorial’s refusal to allow Spencer to have a brick as he was not a “tabbed” Ranger. Spencer’s Unit, E Company, 51st Infantry LRS, is a direct descendant from G Company Ranger, 75th Infantry and E Company, 51st Infantry LRP. I will never give up fighting until Spencer has his brick at the Ranger Memorial because “Rangers don’t leave anyone behind.”

In closing I would personally thank SSG Dominik Kepa for the time and comfort he has given Bridget. She is a fantastic person, one I am proud to have the honor of meeting and yes, Dominik, your name is tattooed on her left arm.




Bridget Madison displaying her Gold Star Mother's Plaque
honoring her son, Spencer Timothy Karol KIA  6 Oct 2003


The walls of Ms. Madison's home are lines with tributes to her late father, Guy Madison,
best known for playing Wild Bill Hickok in 1950's Hollywood westerns.



Bridget Madison displaying her Gold Star Mother's Plaque
in front of an oil painting of her actor father.


The American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.
2128 Leroy Place NW - Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-265-0991 Fax: 202-265-6963
E-mail us at