Alvino Henry Peña Jr.

1951 - 2017

Vietnam War

Their Story

Alvino Henry Peña Jr. was born on March 29, 1951, in Davenport, a son of Alvino H. Peña Sr. and Juanita “Jane” (Perez) Peña.  He was known as “Coachie” to his friends and family.[1]

Coachie served our country in the Navy during the Vietnam War, serving on the USS Courtney, with the Rate of Seaman (SN/E-3). The USS Courtney was a Destroyer Escort with the Hull Number 1021[2].

In the United States Navy, a rate is the military rank of an enlisted sailor, indicating where an enlisted sailor stands within the chain of command, and also defining one’s pay grade. However, in the U.S. Navy, only officers carry the term rank, while it is proper to refer to an enlisted sailor’s pay grade as rate. The same term also refers to one’s area of occupational specialization within the enlisted Navy. Associated with the enlisted pay grades is a numbering system from the most junior enlisted sailor (“E-1”) to the most senior enlisted sailor (“E-9”). This enlisted numbering system is the same across all six branches of the U.S. military. All E-1s through E-3s are known as seaman, fireman, airman, construction man, or hospital man. E-4 through E-6 are called petty officers. All E-7s are called chief petty officer, E-8s senior chief petty officer, and E-9s master chief petty officer. Rates are displayed on a rating badge, which is a combination of rank and rating. E-2s and E-3s have color-coded group rate marks based on their career field. Personnel in pay grade E-1 do not have an insignia to wear.[3]

Alvino H. Pena Jr. had a brother Jesse Pena that was killed in Vietnam serving as a Navy Corpsman (HM3). His brother received the Silver Star. Jesse Pena is also buried at Rock Island National Cemetery.
Coachie worked for many years at Farmall and retired from ESI.

Coachie enjoyed hunting, fishing, bowling, and “occasional” trips to the casinos. He was a diehard St. Louis Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys fan.

Alvino H. “Coachie” Pena Jr. died September 19, 2017, after a battle with cancer.

Alvino H. “Coachie” Pena Jr., is one of four Pena men buried at Rock Island National Cemetery.

[1] Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 15 April 2022), memorial page for Alvino Henry Peña Jr. (29 Mar 1951–19 Sep 2017), Find a Grave Memorial ID 183627535, citing Rock Island National Cemetery, Rock Island, Rock Island County, Illinois, USA; Maintained by Ken Nagel (contributor 47221898).

[2] Wikipedia contributors, “USS Courtney (DE-1021),” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 8, 2023).

[3] Wikipedia contributors, “List of United States Navy enlisted rates,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, enlisted_rates&oldid=1079615980 (accessed April 15, 2022).