International Conference of War Veteran Ministers
founded in 1989 as National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers
Rev. Alan McLean
Second Lieutenant, U. S. Marines, Vietnam
Our Visual Memories
Alan McLean, Top row, 6th from left, California, 1997
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 16, 2005
Death of Episcopal priest, Vietnam war vet, ruled suicide
The Associated Press
WENATCHEE, Wash. -- The shooting death of an Episcopal priest, a severely wounded Vietnam war veteran who had grown increasingly distressed by the war in Iraq, has been ruled a suicide.
The finding in the case of the Rev. Alan Robb McLean, 62, rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church and a former Pillsbury Co. international finance expert, was issued this week by Chelan County Coroner Dr. Gina M. Fino.
McLean, who held previous church positions in Arkansas and Virginia, died in surgery several hours after being found wounded in his office Friday.
He was believed to be the source of a 911 call from the office in which only heavy breathing could be heard shortly after the shooting, and police said at the time that the single chest wound appeared to be self-inflicted.
A .45-caliber handgun McLean had bought in December was found with him, police Sgt. John D. Kruse said.
Members of St. James Episcopal Church in Cashmere helped fill the small Wenatchee sanctuary Sunday for services led by Bishop E. James Waggoner Jr. of the Spokane diocese.
"We know that Alan lived with physical and emotional pain throughout his life," Waggoner said.
"He (McLean) continues to be a casualty of war," the bishop said. "Certainly this recent war (Iraq) brought back the pain and horror."
Leading a Marine rifle platoon in Vietnam in 1967, McLean stepped on a land mine that shattered both of his legs. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Outfitted with prosthetic legs, he earned a bachelor's degree in history at Harvard College and a master's in business at Stanford University, then worked for Pillsbury in international finance, at one point spending five years in France.
In an interview with The Wenatchee World in 2002, McLean said, he decided on a career change following a four-year evening course in Bible studies, attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and earned a master of divinity degree in 1990.
Following administrative work at a seminary in Illinois, he served as a church pastor in Pine Bluff, Ark., and Forest, Va., then came to St. Luke's on Sept. 3, 2002, after the Wenatchee church had been without a priest for two years.
As secretary of the Network of Churches, a Wenatchee-area coalition, McLean talked last year of wanting to start a support group for veterans experiencing stress from the war in Iraq, said the Rev. Michael McNiel, pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in East Wenatchee.
"It was bringing up a lot of old memories for him," McNiel said.
"He was deeply affected by his time in Vietnam and very distressed about the war in Iraq," said Betsy McLean, his wife of about 37 years..
He also was adjusting to new artificial limbs he had received recently at the Veterans Hospital in Spokane.
"He was in a great deal of pain," she said.
Even so, she and others in his church and at other churches said they were stunned by his death.
"I had no inkling (about what was coming)," she said.
Other survivors include son Robb McLean of Albuquerque, N.M.; daughters Margaret Kennedy of Olympia and Mary Watkins of Tacoma, and brothers Ralph Thayer McLean of Washington, D.C., and Peter Coburn McLean of Tacoma.
A memorial service is scheduled Saturday at St. Luke's.
Peace Church Article
On July 19, 1998, the Washington Post published a powerful three part series entitled
"Peace Church, Vietnam. It chronicles Marines in Vietnam and follows them and their families through laters years including a return trip some made to Vietnam. Alan McLean was with those who returned. On this page is the
photo of Alan visiting the Hanoi War Museum.
Photo by Frank Johnston, Copyright Washington Post
Later Alan is mentioned as the priest who conducted the
renewal of wedding vows for another Marine. In the Washington Post article, The Marine's wife, Jo, says,
"Vietnam, to me, is a woman. She's a bitch, almost like a mistress! Prior to coming here, I thought I'd learn something from her, [and] I've learned that this is a beautiful place, and the people are wonderful. ..."
Tears are streaming down her cheeks.
"I can understand why vets have problems being married, and it's hard for the wives, because it takes a lot of understanding and love. It really does. ... That's why I came.
"To face the mistress."
Another writeup of the Khe Sanh Return Trip.
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©1999-2005 National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers, now serving veterans as the International Conference of War Veteran Ministers. All Rights Reserved. The National Conference of Viet Nam Veteran Ministers is a registered trademark. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ICWVM/NCVNVM is funded by membership dues, donations, and major grants from organizations believing in our work. Contact information for officers and webmaster on separate page. This page last updated February 16, 2005