The VHPA Aviator

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Issue 30-06 ~ November/December 2012 © 2012 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. All rights reserved. IN THIS ISSUE Christmas Lights.....................................5 Christmas Eve Mission Recap...............14 Welcome to the VHPA...........................16 Looking For ..........................................22 VHPA’ers in the News...........................24 VHPA Chapter Activities..................25-28 TAPS.................................................29-34 New Orleans, after the 2012 Reunion...38 The Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association The Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association Support Your VHPA Advertisers - Do Your Christmas Shopping Here! Join the Jokers, the Gunship Pilots of the 48th Assault Helicopter Company (Blue Stars), for Thanksgiving Day Dinner in 1970, courtesy of Joker 94, Rick Lester. His story starts on page 4 of this, our 2012 edition of our annual Christmas in Vietnam issue of the VHPA Aviator.

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The Newsletter of the Vietnam Helipcopter Pilots Association

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  • Issue 30-06 ~ November/December 2012

    2012 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. All rights reserved.

    IINN TTHHIISS IISSSSUUEEChristmas Lights.....................................5

    Christmas Eve Mission Recap...............14

    Welcome to the VHPA...........................16

    Looking For ..........................................22

    VHPAers in the News...........................24

    VHPA Chapter Activities..................25-28


    New Orleans, after the 2012 Reunion...38

    The Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots AssociationThe Newsletter of The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

    Support Y


    VHPA Adv

    ertisers -

    Do Your C




    Join the Jokers, the Gunship Pilots of the 48th Assault HelicopterCompany (Blue Stars), for Thanksgiving Day Dinner in 1970, courtesyof Joker 94, Rick Lester. His story starts on page 4 of this, our 2012edition of our annual Christmas in Vietnam issue of the VHPA Aviator.

  • THE VHPA AVIATOR, THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF THE VIETNAM HELICOPTER PILOTSASSOCIATION (ISSN 1930-5737) (USPS 001-497) is published six times yearly ~ January, March, May,July, September & November. The VHPA is organized as a 501 (c ) (19) fraternal military organizationand one copy of each newsletter is included in each of our Members Dues, yearly subscriptions to the Avi-ator are available to non-members for $36.00. Published by See David Adams, Enterprises, LLC, 2900

    Arbor Court, Round Rock, Texas, 78681 for the VHPA, headquartered at 2100 N. Highway 360, Suite 907,Grand Prairie, TX 75050. Periodicals Publications postage paid at Round Rock, Texas and additional mail-

    ing points. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to 2900 Arbor Court, Round Rock, TX 78681

    Page 2 The VHPA Aviator

    E-mail items to The Aviator at: [email protected]

    AVIATOR PRIVACY STATEMENTThe VHPA Aviator contains member privacy information the VHPA considers proprietary and confidential.

    This information, including but not limited to the VHPA Chapter list, shall not be used forcommercial solicitation purposes or for any correspondence related thereto without prior

    written authorization from the VHPA president. Correspondence relating to commercial purposesor solicitations shall only be sent to the VHPA Officers, Committee Chairmen and/or Staff listed in this publication.

    As I mentioned in the Annual Business Meeting in NewOrleans, the 2012 issue of the VHPACalendar sold out muchearlier thanthepublisherexpectedorevendesired. Perhaps read-ers of the Aviator responded well to the idea in the Christmas2011 issue to doyourChristmasShoppingHere? Butbecauseof thatearly sell-out,AcclaimPress increasedtheprintrunforthe2013 calendars by 200 and they have enjoyed strong sales sincetheybeganshippingtheminmid-June.Themessage here is, if you procrastinate ordering your copy ofthe 2013 VHPA Calendar until after Christmas well, theymightalreadybesoldoutandyouwillbedisappointed.Just tobe clear, theVHPACalendar is not sold solely tomem-bers of the VHPA, it is offered for sale to anyone directly fromthe publisher, Acclaim Press (by calling 1-877-427-2665). TheVHPA does receive a royalty from the sales but that money ismostly used to off-set the expenses of developing the sourcematerial for thenext issue. Whatdowe in theVHPAgetoutofit? Mostly we get someone else paying for enhancing and pre-servingourownphotographic imagesoftheVietnamWar.Wealsoget someprettygreatpublicityandafewnewmembersas the true goal of the VHPACalendar project is to refresh thememories of all those who flew and worked on helicopters inSoutheastAsia during theVietnamWarEra, and to record, pre-serve anddisplay the events and activities thatwere important toveterans of that era. After all, there is something special whenyouseeabeautiful, full color,11x17glossyphotoofahelicopteryoumight have flown inVietnam! Sometimes you can almostsmell theJP-4again!ThisDecember Ill finish preparing the sourcematerial for the2014 issue.My standard invitation is that if youhave some reallyneat photos from your tour that deserve the appreciation of awider audience get in touchwithme303-988-7797 or [email protected] That really neat 35mm slide in the box in theback of your closet just might put a smile on lots of faces andmake you famous! And youll be helping record and preserveourhistory.

    CCoonncceerrnniinngg tthhee VVHHPPAA CCaalleennddaarrbbyy MMiikkee LLaaww

    Christmas Day Medivac 1968By VHPA Member Sherman Malkerson

    It was early in the morning of December 25, 1968. I was in the company ReadyRoom, in Da Nang, my missionon-call Medivac. The phone rings at about02:00 AM, we launch our CH-46 and head west towards Liberty Bridge.We are guided down into an LZ next to a small village by a Marine armed withonly with a flashlight, there we picked up a Vietnamese woman who was havingdifficulty delivering her baby. We flew back to Da Nang and dropped her off atthe Naval Hospital and were back in the reventments by 05:00 AM. And while Idont know for sure, I suspect the child was successfully delivered by one of ourNaval Doctors early on that Christmas Day, the same day as the day of the birth ofChrist, 1968 years earlier.

    Never does a Christmas go by that I dont think of that mission.

    1st LT Sherman P. Malkerson, USMCHMM-164, Vietnam 1968-1969E-Mail: [email protected]

  • President John SorensenVice President Bill "Moon" MullenPast President Mike LawMembers At LargeSenior Member Bob HesselbeinMidterm Member Clyde RomeroJunior Member John ShaferSecretary/Treasurer Tom PayneFounder Larry ClarkVHPA NATIONAL COMMITTEES AND THEIR CHAIRMENChapter Liaison John Jack SalmHistorical Mike SlonikerInvestment Bob SmithMembership Mike SheuermanNational Reunion Mike LawPublic Relations/Publications Bob HesselbeinRecords/Database Gary RoushSponsorship/Fundraising Bill "Moon" MullenVHPA Calendar Project Mike Law, EditorVHPA Membership Directory Gary Roush, EditorVHPA Memory Map Project Ron BowerVHPA Scholarship Program Tom PayneVHPA Aviator Newsletter David Adams, Editor

    VHPA SUPPORTLegal Advisor Mike PoindexterInvestment Advisor Bob Potvin

    VHPA HEADQUARTERS1-800-505-VHPA (8472)

    VHPA ELECTRONIC MAIL ADDRESSESVHPA Headquarters [email protected] of The VHPA [email protected] Secretary/Treasurer [email protected] Chapter Liaison [email protected] Chairman [email protected] Chairman [email protected] Reunion Chairman [email protected] Relations/Publications [email protected]/Database [email protected] Calendar Project [email protected] Membership Directory Editor [email protected] Memory Map Project [email protected] Scholarships Program [email protected] Aviator Newsletter [email protected]

    Official Web Site of the

    VHPA OFFICERSCommittee Chairmenand Staff ~ 2012-2013 Did you notice that over 100 aviators arelisted in the last issue of The VHPA Aviator

    as new members of the VHPA? That is notonly an amazing number, but is indicative ofthe work being done by Sherry Rodgers,Mike Sheuerman and others. To all thosenew members, welcome home, and welcometo the VHPA. My sincere hope is that youfind everything youre looking for in ourAssociation. The camaraderie, the fun and fellowship areunequalled. But lets not let it end there. If you are a Chapter Presi-dent, contact those new members in your state, or area, and invitethem to join your chapter and to participate in chapter activities. If,on the other hand, you are a new member, living where no localchapter exists, why not consider starting one? You can feel free tocontact Jack Salm, our Chapter Liaison Officer, or me for informa-tion and assistance in getting started.

    As this issue of The VHPAAviator reaches our homes, we find our-selves in the midst of the 2012 holiday season. We all remember thoseThanksgiving and Christmas days spent in Vietnam, away from ourhomes, our friends, andour family, and thosewho shared thoseholidayswith us, forever etched in our memories. While reflecting on thosememories, we can be grateful for all the freedoms we enjoy today, andfor those serving our country, preserving those freedoms and ourway oflife. So, frommyhome to yours, ourwishes are for a veryMerryChrist-mas andahappy,healthy, andprosperousNewYear.

    As we turn the corner and enter the year 2013, we look toward the30th Annual VHPA Reunion in San Francisco. This will be at leastthe second to be held in the city by the bay, and the third in the bayarea. All have been well attended and well supported in the past, andour expectation is that this one will be also. We realize that someamongst us harbor hard feelings from the past. I, too, returned fromVietnam toTravis AFB, and flew to the east coast out of San FranciscoInternationalAirport, and experiencedmany of the same thoughts andemotions as others. However, I have made two recent trips to SanFrancisco, along with others, as we prepare for our reunion, and ourreception and support has been tremendous, positive, and heart warm-ing. Those who support our efforts, from the hotel staff, the tour busdrivers, excursion guides, and others, all want us to have a successful,enjoyable, and memorable reunion. San Francisco offers lots of fun,great food, andmany unforgettable tours. Please try to put those hurt-ful memories behind you and plan on joining us for a lot of fun andcamaraderie. I feel certain youll be glad youdid!

    Lastly, please allow me to express a personal note. As we travelthrough our lifes journey, our path is often crossed by the path ofothers. Sometimes the paths of others will overlay ours, just as areaswhere our nations highways coincide. When this happens in life,that person often impacts our life in unforgettable ways. For me,such a person is VHPA Life Member Roy Sudeck. Roy wouldbecome my mentor in Vietnam, and life-long friend afterwards.Today, he faces the devastation of cancer, and battles those challengeseach day with the same valor and determination he showed in com-bat. Roy Sudeck has served our nation, and his fellow man coura-geously, and he is in my thoughts and prayers. I would ask each ofyou to remember him, and so many others, in your prayers. ThankyouRoy. MayGodBless You,Gayle, and your family.

    From John Sorensen,President of the VHPA

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  • Myfather encouragedme to keep a journal as I left home tojointheArmy. AsacareermilitarymanwhowasawardedtheSil-ver Star at Omaha Beach with the 1st Infantry Division onD-Day and then served inKorea andVietnam, he has always beenmy personal hero. He toldme, as I was preparing to deploy toVietnam,thatIwouldexperienceeventsincombatthatwouldbedifficult to understand and evenmore difficult to explain to thelayman. He said Iwouldhave twochoices, let those eventshangoverme like a dark cloud andhamper everything I attempted inlife,orletthemtempermelikegoodsteelandbecomestrongerforenduringthem. Thelatteriswhathedemandedofme.He also spoke of the friendships thatwould be formedundertryingconditionsandsaidthewordbondingreallywouldntcomeclosetoexplain-ingtheir strength. Hetriedtoexplain,butthensaidIwouldonlyknowwhathewastalking about after I had faced my own fears while enduring the violence of waralongsidemy comrades. He also toldme that in combatmy timewouldnt bemyownand theoperational tempoofbattle and thephysical andmental strainofdailylife or death challenges wouldmake it easy to sort of rationalize not maintaining aroutineor, tono longer see as apriority, those codeshehadmademybrothers and Ilive by. Hemademe promise, that at some time during the day I would closemyeyes, thinkofmyGod,sayourfamilyprayer,remembermypersonalstandards,ordermy thoughts and purge them intomy journal. He said one day that wouldmeansomethingtome,helpmetocopewithmyexperiencesandallowmetomoreclearlyunderstandwhathehadbeentryingtoteachme.I did asmyDad asked, although, because of the operational tempohe spoke of, attimesthenotesformyjournalwhichhadbeenhastilyscribbledon3x5cards,C-rationmealboxesor logbookpagesweresometimes just slippedintoapageofmyjournal tobetranscribedlater. WhenIlookthroughthepagesofmyjournalIrealizeIcapturedtime and the notes clarify recollections ofmissions, geographic locations andwhat Itreasuremost,thememoryofthosemenwithwhomIhadthehonorofserving.Ihavebeenreviewingmy journalhoping topresenta story forTheAviatorsHoli-day edition and decided to use an email I posted on the 48th Assault HelicopterCompanysreflectorpage. Iwasassignedtothatunitonmysecondtour inVietnam,andas theendof that tourwasdrawingnear, theunitwasorderedtomovenorthtoDongHa to stage for amajor operationwhichwe thoughtwas going to be amoveintoNorthVietnam to attempt the rescue of POWs. I requested an extension toremainincountrysoIcouldbeapartofthismissionandwasthenassignedtoserveastheOfficer InChargeof theunits initialmove fromNinhHoa,north toDongHatoestablishoperational statuswith the223rdAviationBattalion. A fewdaysbeforewe departed, we received our briefing about the operation thatwould be known asLAMSON719.Mystory isaboutoneofthepilotswhoservedwithmeintheJokerGunPlatoon,amannamedEdmondBilbrey. He and Iquickly becameclose friends and aswe gottoknoweachother,hetoldmeabouthowhehadmethiswife,Karen,andhowtheyhad only been married a short time before his deployment to Vietnam. He hadplanneda twoweek leave to return toNewMexico to spendtimewith isnewbrideand, as the date for his leave was drawing near, his excitement about getting homebecamethecenterofconservationasweflewtogether. Theunitwasworkinghardtoprepare for themovenorthandtheapprehensionabout the threatwewouldbe fac-ing inLaosgaveourefforts anenhanced levelof intensity. AsEdheardstories aboutwhat theunitwouldbeupagainstonLAMSON719,hedecidedtocancelhis leavewithout telling therestofus, instead, leadingus tobelieve the importanceof themis-sion had caused his leave to be canceled. I spokewith our admin officer, Ron Put-nam,andfoundoutthiswasEds ideabecausehedidntwantto leaveusshorthand-edfortheupcomingoperation.I worked a deal with Ron andwe reinstated Eds leave without telling him. Justbeforewewere to depart forDongHa, I woke Ed up early onemorning, when hewasnt scheduled to fly, and toldhimwehada "shortnotice"mission to support the92dAssaultHelicopterCompanyatDongBaThin. Ihurriedhimoutofhishoochand down to the flight line and then packed his kit bag with what I thought hewouldhavebeen takingon leave, alongwith a few itemshehadpackaged tomail tohis wife. I stopped by the orderly roomon theway to the flight line, picked up his

    leaveformandsignedhimoutonleave. IdroppedEd'skitbagnearourrevet-mentandasheandIstrappedin,thecrewchiefdiscreetlyplaceditintheaircraft.Irecordedthestoryinmyjournal,Weheadedsouth,butdivertedtoCamRanhBayandthe14thAerialPortTerminal. EdaskedwhatwasgoingonandItoldhimwehadtocompleteanadminmissionenroute toDongBaThin. Aswe landednear the ter-minal I asked him to get out of the aircraft and come tomywindow to take somepaperworkinside. Aboutthesametimethecrewchiefplacedhisbagoutsidethedoor,IthentoldEdweweretherebecausehewasgoinghomeonleave. Hewasshocked,andrespondedbystatingthat theyhadcanceledhis leave. WetoldhimweknewHEwastheonewhocanceled it,butwehadthe leavereinstatedandtoldhimtocheckoutthepapershewasholding. Hewasobviously stunnedandstoodthere foraminuteuntil Isaid,HeyitsOK,gohome! Westillrazzedhimalittleaswetookpossessionofhispis-tolandlethimknowwethoughtwecouldprobablygetbywithouthimfortwoweeks.I began to roll the throttle up topromptEd tomove toward the terminal. He stoodthere foramoment, smilingandshakinghishead,obviously still tryingtoabsorbwhatwasgoingon,thengrabbedhisbagandstartedtomoveaway. Suddenlyhedroppedhisbag,ranbacktotheaircraft,boundedontothetoeoftheskidandleanedinsidethedoorgrabbingmearoundtheneck. IloveyouBrother,thanks!heshoutednearmyhelmet.Yeah, yeahwe love you toman! I responded, Get out of here, enjoy your leave andcomebackreadytofight! Hejumpedoffthetoeoftheskidandgavemeathumbsupsignwiththisbiggrinonhisfaceashehustledofftheramp

    ThatwasthelasttimeIsawhimalive.Edreturnedfromhis leave,andstayedforashortwhileatNinhHoabeforemovingnorth,butby the timehegot toDongHa, Ihaddepartedtheunit asmyrequests forextensionweredenied. Hequickly integratedhimself intothehecticanddemandingoperational tempo of LAMSON719, andwas integral to the success of the Jokersmission to protect our lift assets. On11March, 1971, hewas killed in action at LZBrown, he would be one of the ten 48th AssaultHelicopter Companys Joker gunplatooncrewmenwhogavetheirlivesorarestillmissinginactionfromthatoperation.Ithadbeenalmostthirty-twoyearssinceEdwaskilledinactiononLAMSON719,whenhiswidow,Karen, signed inontheguestbookat the48thswebsite expressingadesire totrackdownthoseofuswhoknewandservedwithEd. Shereceivedmanyresponses and soon fit right in with our group. The 48th AHCwas planning areunion in conjunctionwith the 2002VHPA reunion in Las Vegas, so we invitedKarentoattend. Itwasanamazingreunion,andeveryonewhoknewEdwashappytoseeKarenandsharetheirstories.As a result of ourmeeting inLasVegas, Iwanted to sendanoteover theBlueStarReflector to explain to our group, andKaren, some of the stories she had questionsabout.ThisisasummaryofthemessageIpostedtoourgroup.When I first contactedKaren, prior to the reunion,most of our correspondencewas sentbackchannel aswegot toknoweachother. Sheexplainedhowmeaningfulthe twoweek leavewas and thanked us for getting Ed home for one last time. Shetold me that, as his second week of leave was starting, he became concerned withwhat hewatched on the news reports regardingwhat was happening back inViet-nam. The media was highlighting the helicopter losses in Laos and Ed knew the48thwastobedirectly involved intheactionnowplayingout inthenews. Hestart-edtotalkaboutcurtailinghis leavesohecouldgetbacktotheunitandshewasupset.Ed'smothertoldmethesamestoryandspokeofhowshetalkedEdoutofreturningearly. ShetoldmeEdwasanonlychildandwhenshetoldhimshedidn'tunderstandwhy hewouldwant to shorten his time home he said, "Mom,when I first went to

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  • Vietnam, I didn't have any brothers, but now I do!" I will never forget her words.Karen and I compared our perspectives on what had transpired and discusseduniquedetails abouthowIhad tried to contacther throughEdsMomwhenI firstreturnedfromVietnamandhowhisMomwantedtoprotectherand lethergetonwith her life. She was amazed to learn that Ed's mom and I had stayed in touch,speakingregularlyaboutevents inour livesupuntil shepassedaway. Therearesomeveryspecialpointsabouthowthingstookplaceovertheyears,betweenmeandMrs.Bilbrey, thatKarenandI still findamazing,but trying toexplain themonthe reflec-torlistwouldtakeawhile.KarenandIalsospenta lotof timeonthephonetalkingaboutsomanythings shecould only wonder about over the years. With my journal, I was able to portraysomeof theaspectsofourduties and life in the48th. Thosewhoalsocorrespondedwithherprovided additional details thathelpedpaint thepicture aboutwhat itwaslikeforEdduringourdaysatNinhHoaandlateratDongHa. Itwasgreattofinallymeet Karen in Las Vegas and see her fit in so well with the Blue Stars. One nightthere,we talked about all themessageswehad sentback and forthover themonthsleadingupto the reunion inVegas. She toldmemy journalnotes aboutEd filled inthirty-one years of blanks andmeant somuch to her, but shewishedwe had com-municated more over the reflector list so those who didnt know Ed could havelearnedmoreabouthim. Idliketosharesomeofthosenoteswithyounow.Inmy first note to Karen after she had joined the list, I told her that, Ed and Iwould sit on the bunker after toughmissions, to kind of decompress and, as closefriends have a way of doing, share certain thoughts wemight be reluctant to sharewith others. He had the additional duty of being ourMessOfficer and overseeingthedininghall, sowewouldunlocktheMessSergeantsprivatestockofcannedhamandslicedbread,fillourcanteencupswithwhateverrefreshingbeveragewecouldgetfrom the Oclub or scrounge from one of the slick pilots and talk about what wemissedabouthomeandwhatwewanted todowhenwegotback there. Wespokeabout our country not having unity of purpose with the war and so many otherissuesofthetime. Wewonderedifweweredoingtherightthingbybeingwherewewere. We realized our span of control over the situationwe faced inVietnamwasnarrow, butwemade a promise that, byGod,wewere going to control asmuch aswe could and do whatever necessary to take care of each other and those in ourcharge! ThatwasEdsnature,hewasatruewarrior.Manyof thosenightswesat there talkinguntilwe sawthe suncomingup! Wedgraba showerbefore everyoneelsebeatus to the warmwater, fill our thermoswithcoffee, pick up ourmission sheet and start all over again! I know this all probablysoundsalittlecrazy,butthats justthewayitwas.Imiss Ed. I think of himoften andwish I could see himnow. Id still kid himabout his cowboy tan and Id still give him crap for all the food HE served us inthe chowhall, but in a way that probably only those who served in combat wouldreallyunderstand, Id lethimknowhowmuchhis friendshipmeant tomeandhowknowinghiminfluencedmylife.Karenaskedmeabout themessofficersduties andIgaveher somebackgroundtoexplain,butIthoughtIdsharethisstorywiththegroup,especiallysinceitseemssoappropriate for theholidayseason. Lookingthroughmyjournal, reviewingtheperi-odofSeptember-November1970,oneentry Inotedwas about the timewehadanofficerscall intheclub. Thismeetingwas, justcoincidentally,onadaywehadcomeback froma long anddifficultmission, to find that, for the fourth time in five days,thechowhallwasservingfordinner,someformofroastbeef! Ifyourecall,somedaysit was roast beef and gravy, sometimes it was gravy and roast beef, beef tips andgravy, slicedroastbeef,beef steworbeefwithonionsandgravy! Manytimes, return-ing late frommissions, we would find that the chow, which had been saved for uswassandwiches,youguessedit, slicedroastbeefwhichcloselyresembledveryoldbeefjerky,betweentwoslicesofstalebread!OperationsgaveustheheadsupaboutdinnerasourfireteamwashoveringoutofPOL to the gun revetments andwe couldnt believe it! More roast beef! Ed and Iwerepissedanddecidedtoskipthemysterymeat,commonlyreferredtoasBlueStarspecial. We retreated to my hooch, ate C-rations and had a few shots of tequilawhich we chased with some Crown Beer the soldiers from the 9th Republic ofKorea(ROK),ArmyDivisionhadgivenus! Bythetimeofficerscall started,EdandI had worked ourselves into a pretty rebellious mood, bitching about how thetroopsdeservedbetter,howall thatcrappyroastbeefhadprobablycomefromLBJsTexas ranch and howwe werent going to put up with this crap any longer! Wewere tiredofbustingourbutts allday toreturntoachowline thathadthese traysofdriedoutroastbeefglisteningwiththis strange,oily rainbowhue frombeingonthesteamlineforhours!

    As Officers call began and the Executive Officer was briefing all the requisiteadministrativecrap,Edstoodup,interruptedhimandsaid,ThehellwithallthisMili-taryPayCertificatecontrolBS! Weneedtotalkaboutaseriousmoraleissue,wereallgetting sick of having this damn roast beef almost every night! Most of the pilotschimedup in support andEd lookedover at the rest of the Jokers, smiling andnod-ding his head. TheCommander,Major BobBunting, whowas seated in the frontrow,nowstoodupand,toeveryones surprise,voicedHISsupport, sayinghewasalsogettingsickofall that roastbeef! Edproudlyraisedhishandsgivingadouble thumbsup as everyone cheered! Then theCOadded, andLtBilbrey, I believeYOUarejusttheguywhocancorrectthisseriousmoraleproblem! HethenturnedtotheXOand said, Place Lt Bilbrey on orders as the companys newmess officer, effectivelyimmediately! Allthepilotscrowdedintheclubwentcrazy!Thatcommentkindofcutthroughourtequila fogandasEdsatdownhelookedatmeand,evenover thenoiseofeveryones laughterandcheers, youcouldhearhimexpressing how he felt about his new additional duty. As it finally got quiet andeveryone was looking back toward the XO, one of the gun pilots, Beau Newton,stood up and said, Hey, Lt Bilbrey, what are you serving for chow tomorrownight?...and everybody broke up again, laughing and cheering Ed and telling himwhattheyexpectedfromhiminhisnewjob!Ed took a lot of grief over the next fewweeks, and the roast beef stayed off themenu for themost part, butwhenwedidhave roast beef, Edhad it rough! We alltook notice as he really became serious about improving the mess operations andsoon,heandthemess sergeantbecameveryclose. Whenanyonecomplainedaboutthe food, Edwould return fire and tell them about how he thought all the cooksandmaintenance guys alwaysworked their butts off, butnever got any credit! Hemade sure his cooks got more respect and even rotated them on to some of themore routine flightmissions so they could see what themission of our unit was allabout. You could see they felt theywere nowmore of a part of the unit andmanytimeswhen aircraft returned late frommissions, the cooks stayed in the dining hallandtookpridetakingcareof"their"crews.Whenhewasn't scheduled to fly, youwould findEdreviewing theArmymanualsaboutmessoperationsandmanagementoftheArmysmastermenu.Hereviewedall documents related to food procurement, cooking equipment and the militaryoccupationalspecialtiesofrequiredpersonnelanddecidedtheTableofOrganizationand Equipment (TO&E) needed to be modified. The TO&E being used onlyaddressed equipment and staffing for an assault company,minus our attached sup-port, soheandtheXOfoundawayto increase thenumberofpersonnelassignedtothemesshall. MyadditionaldutieswereasAssistanceinKind,(AIK),Fundcustodi-anandCivilianPersonnelOfficer, (CPO), soEdaskedmeforadditionalcivilians tohelp do cleaning and prep work. During my review of the appropriate MilitaryAssistance Command, Vietnam, (MACV) and United States Army Vietnam,(USARV) regulations I applied some dynamic interpretation techniques thatallowed us to add, just coincidentally, the number of additional people Ed said heneeded. I figured if anyone at 10th Battalion or 17th Group took issue with ourefforts and tried to sendus to theLongBinh Jail, (TheLBJ),we could always arguethatouractionswerepurelyforthegoodoftheArmy! Right?!Thingswere starting to improve in themess hall and in earlyNovemberEd toldmethathewanted tomake the48thsThanksgivingdinner thebest ever andaskedme to help him out. I had met an Army veterinarian at CamRanh Bay after he

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    11LLtt.. RRiicckk LLeesstteerr aanndd CCpptt.. EEdd BBiillbbrreeyy sshhaarree aa qquuiieett mmoommeenntt iinn VViieettnnaamm..

    Continued on page 12

  • On Christmas Day, 1967, I dont believe the199th Light Infantry Brigade assigned even onemission to my unit, A Troop, 3/17 Air Cavalry.We were under their operational control at thetime. Westooddownfor somemuchneededrestand maintenance. The only thing I rememberabout the day is the glorious Christmas meal wewere served in our tent mess hall at Di An. Wewere still about a month away from the TetOffensiveof1968.

    But about 2100 hours that night, the brigadeoperations officer, LTC Hall at that time, Impretty sure, calledmycommander,MajorNathanM. Nate Pulliam, on the VHF field phone.Hall was someone unusual: a staff officerwehot-shot Cavalry guys liked and respected, and whocaredaboutus. (Hewould laterbekilled inaheli-copter accident atNhaBe.) The 199th had two companies of infantry in the fieldjust north of BienHoa andmost of themhad just developed food poisoning fromtheirChristmasmeal. The foodwas undoubtedly turkey and dressing delivered tothem in mermite cans, and I guess someone let it sit too long before serving. Thetwo company commanders, sick themselves, were begging for evacuation of theirmen.The brigadewas in a real bind. They knew the companieswould not be combat

    effective for long, if they stillwere, and itwouldtakehoursonChristmasnight, evenwith emergency requests, to obtain lift support from assault helicopter companies.The separatebrigadehadno significant aviationof its own, asdid infantrydivisions.Wewereaskedtohelpwithour little lift sectionofUH-1Hs,normallydedicatedtoourowninfantryplatoon. Thiswasunusual,notour job, againstdoctrine, andHallpresented it as a request for help, althoughhe couldhave ordered themission. Youknow what the Cavalry answer was. I wonder what would have happened if werefused? This mission was the way to really ruin what was left of Christmas. Thepilots and crewswere not happy, and complained like soldierswill, but I knew theywoulddothe job.NatePulliamsaidhewould flyC&CinhisUH-1Ccommandship, tailnumber

    721, whichwasnt suitable for troop carry with the command radio console in theback. I toldhimIwouldliketoflywithhim. HeandIbothknewwedidnotreal-lyneedaC&C,thathewasdoingthis for leadershippurposes. Hewouldshare thedistastefulmissionwithhis troops. As theoperationsofficer, I couldhave stayedonthe ground. I didnotwant to fly anymore thanNateor anyone else, but all crappymissions technically came through me, and I wouldnt feel right staying behind.Besides, we could help if someone went down, God forbid. And if I flew, a morejunior officer, Nates command ship pilot, would be excused from this job onChristmasnight. Thatprobablywas JohnMarcy at that time, beforeRalphBarberarrived.I dont remember howmany ships we put up, but it would have been four to six

    UH-1HHueys. Gunships escorted, of course. The only people off the hookwerethescouts.The 199th arranged for the Air Force to provide continuous lighting with para-

    chute flares, from a C-130, I think. It was a dark, moonless night, but clear. Thelight was great, but they were dropping the flares from too high an altitude. Somewere burning out before they got to our level, and I was afraid we would hit one.The lift section made several lifts with no enemy activity_the flights were shortbecausewewere soclose toBienHoaandLongBinh. Wewere tocompletely evac-uatebothcompanies. Everyoneprayedwewouldget themalloutbefore theenemyrealizedwhatwas happening. A ground attack against partial units of illmen,withustryingtoextract theminthedark,wouldmakearealmess.Nate and I were flying in circles, boring holes in the sky at altitude, watching the

    goings and comings, getting bored, feeling sorry forourselves, and dodging parachute flares floating byus. Suddenly we were jarred awake by a muffledthud from the nose area of theHuey! First we allthought we took a hit from small arms, but weshould be too high. At the instant of the thud, anamber caution light lit up on the instrument panel!We quickly ascertained that it was the air inletclogged light. NowIthoughtwehadhit anunseen,burned-out flare, and its parachute was wrappedaroundour engine air intake aboveus, justbelowthemainrotorsystem! IsaidsoandNateandIfrantical-ly examined all the other instrumentswhile I starteda rapid descent with power. Everything else lookednormal, and the engine was strong as ever. We lostsome of the terror, but this wasnt over, andnothingwaseasyatnight inVietnam.

    WewereverynearBienHoa, soIstartedamodifiedrightbase legto landonthe litrunway, descending rapidly. I kept the approach where I could autorotate to therunway if the engine quit, which I expected any second. Amid the confusion andfear,neitherNatenor I could remember theBienHoa tower frequency! He franti-cally used a red-lens flashlight and searched through all the reference books we car-riedwhile I continuedtheapproach. Itwasnot reallydangerous; itwas aclearnightandwecould seenoone elsewas flying (itwasChristmasnight;) no jetswere in thepattern, and the tower could certainly seeusbecause I turnedonevery lightwehad.Even so, Iwas on short final to themain runway goingwest beforeNate found thetower frequency. Then they wanted to know if we were declaring an emergency.NowIwas at ahover on the runway. All the instrumentswere still good, therewasonly that one amber light (that lookedbig andbright as a searchlight,) and ahover-ing autorotation is nobig deal, sowe told themnegative, thiswas a precautionarylanding. Since the engine still ran strong, I hovered to a ramp and shut down toinspect the shipandrefuelwhilewewerehere. Before I cut the engine, I called JerryThiels onUHFto tell himwhathappened andwherewewere, and that he shouldtakeovertemporarycommandfromhisgunship.Afteronly a fewminutesof inspection, I found the problem. Noparachutewas

    wrappedaroundourmast. Abovethe landing lightonthenose, I foundblood,guts,and feathers fromahigh-flying bird! The small impact fromhitting the bird jarredthe caution light, whichwas above but almost directly behind the point of impact,to the test position. I saw very few birds inVietnam, and thought it strange thatonewouldbe sohigh in themiddleof adarknight. What a coincidenceof circum-stance.Wecompleted theevacuationof the infantrycompanieswithquite a few lifts. An

    entire assaulthelicopter company shouldhavedone this job. (Years later,NatePul-liam looked in his flight records and told me he and I flew five and one-half hoursthatnight.) The lift sectionguys toldmesomeof thetroopsrolledandscreamedon

    the cargo floor, in pain from thefood poisoning, and that nearly allof them were sick. Ill bet some-onegotrelievedoverthatdeal.

    Every Christmas night since1967, I remember that dark, clearnight, the eerie glow of the para-chute flares, and the instant, coldfear triggeredbyasuddensoundinthecockpit.

    CChhuucckk OOuuaalllliinneeEE--MMaaiill:: [email protected]@ssaattxx..rrrr..ccoomm

    2004 Charles E. OuallineCChhuucckk iinn 22000088 pprreeppaarriinngg ttoo rriiddee oonn aann aannttiiqquuee ffiirreeeennggiinnee iinn aa VVeetteerraannss DDaayy ppaarraaddee iinn AAuussttiinn,, TTeexxaass..

    CChhuucckk iinn VViieettnnaamm iinn 11996677 ppoossiinngg iinn ffrroonntt ooff hhiiss uunniittss ((AA//33//1177 CCaavv))oorrddeerrllyy rroooomm aatt LLoonngg BBiinnhh.. YYoouu ccaann sseeee ppiieecceess ooff wwoooodd sshhoott oouutt ffrroommtthhee ssttoocckk bbyy oonnee ooff tthheeiirr SSccoouutt PPiilloottss uussiinngg hhiiss OOHH66ss mmiinnii--gguunn..

    Christmas Lightsby VHPA Member Charles E. Oualline

    Page 6 The VHPA Aviator

  • Discovery of Flight 19: A 30-Year Search forthe Lost Patrol in the Bermuda Triangle

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    VHPA MemberJon Myhre beganflying at age 12 andjoined the U.S.Marine CorpsReserve in 1961; in1965 he transferredto the U.S. Army asa WO-1 and gradu-ated flight schoolwith class 66-6. While in the Army he went on to earn a commis-sion, serve two tours in Vietnam and one in Germany. He leftactive duty in 1975 but flew with the Reserves until full militaryretirement in 1981; his military awards include the DFC, twoBronze Stars, four Purple Hearts and 30 AirMedals. He has worked for the FAA andflown as both a civilian Flight Instructorand a Corporate Pilot ever since. He is cur-rently living in Sebastian, Florida.

    DISCOVERY OF FLIGHT 19 The quest to find five Navy Avenger bombers thatdisappeared in the Bermuda Triangle in 1945.

    Written by VHPA Member Jon F. Myhre


    Is a gripping thriller abouta helicopter pilot whodevelops an addiction forviolence and thrills whileflying in Vietnam. Butwhen he returns home,the only place he canfeed this addiction is byf l y i ng f o r t he mos tdangerous society ofall, organized crime.

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    Paul E. BartlettVietnam Veteran Helicopter Pilot

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    Page 7 The VHPA Aviator

    FFoorr tthhee CChhrriissttmmaass ooff 11996688,, the pilots of the 478th Heavy Lift(Sky Crane) Helicopter Company gathered around the fake fire-place in their Pilots Lounge at Red Beach in Vietnam. One of themen there that day, Jim Oden sent in this picture for all to enjoy.

    PPiilloottss ppiiccttuurreedd tthhaatt ddaayy aarree:: ((11)) CCWW44 FFoorrrreesstt MMyyeerrss,, ((22)) 11LLTT EEvveerreetttt SScchhiioorrnnbbeecckk,, ((33))CCWW33 GGeeoo EElllliiss,, ((44)) CCWW44 GGeennee PPrriiccee,, ((55)) CCWW44 BBrruuccee NNiicchhoollssoonn,, ((66)) CCWW44 MMaauurriiccee WWiill--ssoonn,, ((77)) CCWW44 JJiimm OOddeenn,, ((88)) CCWW33 BBoobb AAcckkeerrss,, ((99)) CCWW33 DDaallee SSttoocckkwweellll,, ((1100)) CCWW22 JJiimmPPaarrkkeerr,, ((1111)) CCPPTT MMuurrrryy,, ((1122)) CCPPTT JJoonn GGrreeeessoonn,, ((1133)) CCiivv ((PP&&WW)) JJoohhnn CCaarrrroollllNNoott ppiiccttuurreedd tthhaatt ddaayy MMAAJJ SSuulllliivvaann,, MMAAJJ MMiinnssoonn,, CCWW33 EEuubbaannkkss,, CCWW44 PPaallmmeerr,, CCPPTTLLoovvggrreenn,, MMAAJJ TThhoommaass

  • Page 8 The VHPA Aviator

    Christmas is not a formal ceasefire time. NotliketheTetNewYear. It isaunilateral ceasefireofsorts because no American, or Christian Viet-namese is going to go looking for trouble on thisHoly day. Not usually. (There was the Christmas

    bombing of the North in 1972. But all the U.S. groundpounders were withdrawn from the country by then.) We pull in our fangsand try to let there be a little peace on earth. But all dets are on call, ready toenforce peace through fire superiority if need be. But thatwould not preventtheVCorNVA from taking advantage of ourmaudlin self-pity if they couldcatchus looking inwardinsteadofscanningthetree linesvigilantly.I am tapped for a log run on Christmas Day, 1970. We are to make therounds of all the dets in the SWMekongDelta, and all the friendly outpostsin the area that containedU.S. advisors. Ourmission? Deliver themail to allpoints. Anddelivera littleChristmascheertoeachadvisor.Advisors aremoreof a target than theaverageG.I. because, they are relativelyeasy pickins out there in the boonies, even if they are in a friendly villagecompound/outpost. Andtheyarea ALONE;nootherAMERICANSwithwhich to commiserate and share the ache for our particular method of cele-brating the birth of our Savior. Theirs is the very loneliest of billets especiallyonthisDay. Notonly inaforeigncountry, awayfromhomeandhearth, fami-ly and friends, but in a combat zonewhere they are verymuch a high prioritytarget themselves.Those of you who have been away from home on Christmas (and I hopeyouarefew),haveanideaoftheacheofaChristmasspentawayfromhome.Thoseof you in that categorywhoare civilians,mayhavehada choice in thematter, andwereprobablyhome justbeforeor just afterTheDay. Ashametomiss the actual Day, but hey, just have it in a couple of days one side or theother. Nobigproblemunless littlecrittersare involved.Those in the service andaway fromhomeatChristmas arenotusually therevoluntarily, and are seldom going to be home in a day or even a week. Itslonger,muchlonger,notmeasured incalendardaysorclockhours. It is eterni-ty. You understand the peculiar ache, only slightly mitigated by a tinge ofpride, because, at least, you rationalize, youare ensuring thebenefits of apeace-fulChristmas foryour lovedonesbyyour sentineldutyonsomeforeign seaorrampartor revetment. This is apathetic rationalization, adesperate reach,butit isallyouhavetocountertheoverwhelmingmaudlinfunkChristmasbrings.Its bad enough tobe away in theChristmas season, but tobe atwar? Andatarget on Christmas Day itself? Our fathers, who fought the Japanese canidentify, our fathers who fought the Germans probably cant. Stories ofChristmasDay fraternization and local informal cease fires inEurope (on theWesternFront at least) are legion. But just think -What a coup in thepropa-ganda war back in the land of the big P.X. and round eyed wimmin if theVC could kill someAmericans on this day? Imagine how it would playwiththe television news pinkos? Not just another ordinary individual deathunworthyof amentionon the eveningnews, instead thismisfortune is elevat-edtogrist forthepolitical soapbox. Ohthepathos, thetears, theoutrage!InVietnamwestill getgifts andcardsandsenda few,weputupsimpledeco-rations. These familiar procedures are bittersweet; familiar trappings, sugges-tionsofhappiness andcheer, reminderofbetterdays. But theyalsoevokenos-talgia, sadness, loneliness. What to do? Is it good to surroundourselveswithall these reminders, without a single familymember in sight? Wouldnt it bebetter to blow by the day without any fanfare or preparation or poignantreminders and justmove on? We are not that jaundiced. Sowe get togetherwith our comrades and put on a jolly face. We drink. We sing (ever noticehow many of the old Christmas favorites are sad, wistful, maudlin? I nevernoticed ituntil I spentthatChristmassofarawayfromfamily). Weparty. We

    trytokilloff thedayanddelaythe inevitablemomentwhenwefinallymustendthedayaloneandfaceourghosts. Add to that, you middle aged readers, thefact of our youth. Most of our previous Christ-mass have been from the point of view of a child.Not somanyChristmass away from the boundlesspossibilities, great expectation, eager anticipation andsheer excitement of a youthful Christmas to have yetevolvedintoresponsibleobligation,practicalpossibilities,matureexpectation, calmer anticipation, and perhaps, old friend, an eternally youthfulChristmastingle,whichispleasant,butnottheexcitementofinnocentyouth.)The home guard was selling Christmas Cards for Christmas 1970. BlackandWhite glossy. Night time-lapse shotof aBinhThuyguard towerwith anM-60with ammobelt attachedon a pintelmount silhouetted against a floodlight likeabigmoon. Withthepictureonthecoverwere thewordsPeaceonEarth and inside were the additional words Through Fire Superiority.Prettymuchsummeditup.As we made our appointed rounds that day, the scenario went somethinglikethisatvirtuallyeveryoutpost:We land, shut down, and scuttle into the compound, wasting no time.Remember, the typical helo landing padwas often outside the defensewire atthe smaller outposts like the oneswewere visiting this day; a circle of concretepoured into a retainingmoldof empty artillery shell casings pounded into themud. About the sizeof the skids footprint; aprecision landing togeton it andstayon it. These groundpoundersdonthavemuchappreciation for the finerthings in helo flying, like a great big pad to land on. Usually we just toss themailout,grabtheoutgoing,andtakeoff forthenext fort.On this special day, we actually shut down and go into the compoundbecause today we have two deliveries to make, one of which must be hand-delivered. MyHACandI leaveourcrewmen/gunnerswiththebirdtomakesure it is not picked clean like a Christmas turkey carcass while we are away.Weweave back and forth along the path through the concertina to themudbermwhich is thefortwall. Theyareusually rectangularor triangular enclo-sures, with bunkers andwatch towers at each corner. Thewalls have fightingpositions built into them, some with overhead cover, some without. Onceinside, we are in a sea of mud, for Christmas is still the rainy season. There isusually a drainage ditch or two crisscrossing the enclosed common. In someoutposts, they are invisible underneath a calm surface of standingwater cover-ingtheentire interior.Nograss in sight. Eitherneverplanted,which ismost likely, orwornawaybythe years. Occasionally, there are walkways of planks, or even gravel, betweenselectedpoints, but inevitablywe slog through themuck toget towherewearegoing. Someoutposts arebig enough tohost apairof105mmhowitzers,mostare not. There is usually a sandbagged bunker in the vicinity of the center,which is the radio shack. Often there is another, which is an ammo bunker.Andoftenthere isa firearrow;a largehorizontalarrowonaverticalpost. Itcanbe spun 360 degrees, and the arrow has flare pots which can be lit to make afieryarrow,visible fromoverhead,topointthedirectionoftheenemytofriend-ly aircraft. Along thewalls are scatteredhootches,with some sprinkled aroundthecentralplazaiftheenclosedperimeter isbigenough.Hootches were usually bamboo posts and frame, thatch walls, thatch roof.Sometimes the walls are plywood, or the roof is corrugated tin; usuallyscrounged from here or there, but never enough to fully standardize a place,for these are Vietnamese militia outposts. As we get inside the wall, we aregreeted by the advisor andhisVietnamese counterpart. He invites us into hishootch, out of the Sun. Inside the hootch; dark, dank, dirty, fetid,HOT, sti-fling. A table or two. Sometimes electricity fromsomeoverworkedportablegenerator. Strong odor of damp, sometimes mildewed, plywood, foul mud,stale sweat.First,wedeliver themail, if there is any. Sometimes there isnt, thats a crush-

    A MAUDLINMISSION (look it up)By VHPAmember Tom Phillips

    CChhrriissttmmaass 11997700.. SSoouutthh VViieettnnaamm.. MMeekkoonngg DDeellttaa..

  • Page 9 The VHPA Aviator

    Whenthere isnt, theguy isquicktoputusateaseby insistingthathe justgothisChristmasmail theday/weekbefore. Ifhedoesnt comeupwith that,wecomeupwith it, assuringhimthathismail is inthemailandwill surelybeheresoon.The guy quickly agrees, again to take us off the hot seat. Pro forma platitudesthat goeswith allmail deliveries on longoverseas deployments. If the guywith-outmail is a guywhonever getsmail, the formalities are observed and everyonewithmail, or who gets it regularly, goes about his business with aminimumofcomment, andNOdisplay of PITY. NOpity. NEVER. What a shitty littlecharade, especially on Christmas Day. Its made worse by not knowing theseguys enough to knowwhich situationmight apply to them, who is telling thetruth,andwhoisobservingtheritual.Our shuttingdownandcoming in isunusual in andof itself, but thenwepre-sent theguy(orguys,occasionally thereare two),witha fifthof JackorPinch,orsome such (wehave a varietybecause theSeawolveshave cleanedoutthe P.X. to get enough for this task). Compliments of theSeawolves,andMerryChristmas! Thatusuallyelicitsa grand smile, a slap on the back, a heartfelt handshake, and an occasional choked up reply. Itaint the booze, its the thought. I dontknow whose idea this was for us to deliverCheer, but the guy deserves a medal.This is bigger than a visit by Bob Hope,and more personally appreciated; theseguys had no chance of ever seeing BobHope.Neitherdidtherestofusfront lineguys.He did his show for all of IVCorps at LongBinh, the countrys largest rear area supply cen-ter, because ithadanamphitheatre. Oneguyinamillion fromthefront linesbythe luckof thedraw,got to go toLongBinh to see him. HA(L)-3used100%ofits allotted tickets (three as I recall) on enlistedmen. Sounds noble,but those 3 were all home guard, not det gunners. It just wasnt a big dealbecausethechancesofgoingwere lowerthanthechancesofgettingshot.Wearehonoredtobetheonestodeliverthecheer,presentthispresent,andrep-resentthesquadron,andgetthereaction.Eachandeveryoneofthoseguysinsistedthatwe share a little nipwith them, since itwasChristmasDay and all. At everysite,weprotested. Sincerelyprotested. NoB.S. Reallyprotested,objected, arguedthatwewereflying,couldntdoit,wouldntbeprudent.

    Really.No thanks!

    No not just one.None. . . .

    . . . . . .Have you ever looked into the eyes of a big ole sadbloodhound, or say, acocker spaniel. These guys were ALONE. A drink with their V.N. counter-parts wouldNOTbe the same. Pleading and begging ensued. Its Christmas.PLEASE.Well, just onewouldnt hurt. Weknew that. I dont carewhat the flight sur-geon might say about impairment, whichWASNT talked about with refer-encetoflying,becauseNOONEwoulddrinkandFLY! Thats fordriving,notflying. Jeez! Hedid everything but grab us around the ankleswhenwe tried togo. Sowetoastedhim,andourselves,withONEdrink.Anythingtoget thisguyto letusgo. That satisfiedhim,andwewereoff. Wesaunteredbacktothebird,remembering the crewwhen they came into view, blushedwith guilt, strappedin,andlaunched.Noproblem. Nosuspicion. Noadverseeffects.On to thenext little outpost. Samedrillwith themail. Samepresentationofthe booze, courtesy of the Seawolves! Samebattle to leave. Same results. Onelittledrinkfortheroad. Samebluffwiththe crewmen. Noadverseeffects.Despite the repetitionof the ceremony,wewerent smart enough to comeupwith a better plan of action should this happen again. Probably because wealreadywerent thinking clearly. Not because of the booze, we hadnt had thatmuch,butbecausewewereawash inguilt. Thevery thoughofdrinkingandfly-ingwasunthinkable, andanathematoallour sacredtraining. Itwas sounthink-able that Idoubtwehadeverbeen toldnot todo it. It simply isntdone. Flyinghung over?Maybe once or twice, but drinkingWHILE flying? And here we

    hadhadTWO. Theobvioussolutionwastoknockitoff, fercrissakes!If we hadnt been delivering the stuff from us, the Seawolves, but were just

    nameless, faceless guys, passing out the stuff from some nameless, faceless,higher authority it would have been easy to beg off. Butwhen it came fromUS, the Seawolves, even though we didnt personally know these guys, it waspersonal. Americanswere pulling out ofVietnambyChristmas of 1970. Wewere the rear guard. U.S. combat units were becoming scarce. These guysknew they could depend on us to be there pulling their chestnuts out of theroasting fire some night, and maybe soon. We represented their fire brigadearound here and everyone knew it. As real strangers, maybe we would havehadaneasier timeavoidingthetoast. Maybenot.Seawolves, ornoSeawolves, flyingornot flying,weWEREAmericans, and itwasChristmas, andwewere not heartless. It would take a strongerman than

    either of us to actuallywalk awaywithout a toast. It would havetaken a heart of stone. So at the next outpost, we had

    one, justone. Saunteredbacktothebird, andtookoff. The crewmenmay have been a little alert-ed that something was different, but . . . Noadverseeffects.

    The obvious solution looking back onthat Merry Christmas flight, was tohave the crewmen to do our drinkingfor us. They probably would haveunderstood, and reluctantly taken onthe burden. It would have been anunusual order, and a dangerous assign-ment, but somebodyhad todo it. But the

    same guilt about taking a drink at all, wasequally as strong when it came to co-opting

    somebody else, especially enlisted men, into break-ing the Rule of Rules. Jeez, what kind of officer would

    evenconsider sucha thing? Soour cultural constraints, and train-ing, completelyunable tohaveanticipatedthis leadershipsituation, lockedus insilence. Wecouldnteventalkaboutbetweenus.It happened again at the next outpost, and at the next, and so forth. It got

    harder andharder to say no. Not becausewewere getting tipsy and losing ourjudgment. Heavens no! Wekept trying, and loudly, to say no. Weprotestedno less fiercely as the daywent on. But itwas hard to say no,when the advisorcouldsmellourbreathfrom10meters. HeKNEWwehadnotbeensayingnowith 100% success at our previous stops, and hed be damned if we would beallowed to leave without having a drink with him! One little drink for theroad. Onelittledrinkee.

    No adverst defects.Our savinggrace,was thedistance and timebetweendeliveries. Wecontinuedourmissionofmercy, on into thegatheringdusk, anda little fog in thecockpit,towardBinhThuy,ourbase, andwhatmustpass forhomeonthisdayhalfwayaroundtheworldfromfamilyandhearth.Asthesunset, theChristmasDaysilence inouraircraftwasbrokenbyasingleburstof theUFHradio:


    We finally managed to put the sleigh to bed. The HAC did the yellow sheetand slinked away. As the copilot, I wrote up the gripes without serious difficul-ty, briefed the maintenance chief about them. He looked at me quizzically,stared off into space, thought for a minute, looked back at me, then he shookhis head: Nah! Cant be.

    Merry Christmas, LieutenantMurrie Chrishmus, sheef, and to all a Good Night!

    Tom PhillipsLTJG, US Navy

    Seawolf 98Mekong Delta 70-71

    E-mail: [email protected]

  • Page 10 The VHPA Aviator


    Ned CrimminTSgt, USAF, RetUSAFSS Intelligence Analyst 1964-74USAF Admin Supervisor 1974-83Tours of Duty:1963-64 Basic Lackland AFB, Tx1964-68 RAF Chicksands, England1968-71 NSA Ft. Meade, Md.1971-74 Osan AB, ROK1974-83 Vandenberg AFB, Ca

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    by VHPA Life MemberCol (Ret) JamesW. PeteBoothA factual story of the developmentof armed helicopters in the USArmy and their first employment incombat as told by the courageousmen who lived it.This is the story of the UTT.Formed in October of 1962, thiscompany of cobbled-together, UH-1 gun-ships became the basis for the armed helicoptersdeployed to Vietnam. The UTTs legacy is strong andendures today, the US Armys Apache program is adirect descendant of these men.Told by our author, Col (Ret) James W. Pete Booth, thisbook is the factual story of the development of armed heli-copters in the US Army and their first employment in combat.It is a true Must Read for all rotary-winged Aviators!Personalized, copies are available directly from COL Booth, (E-Mail: [email protected]). Also available on-line throughAuthorHouse Press (, Peerless Book( and all major on-line distributers(Amazon, Barnes and Nobels etc,). Your local book store canalso order you a copy reference ISBN # 978-1-4567-4522-6

    VHPAdiscounts available.


  • Some of you have heard me explainhow I feel about the word closure todescribe what happens when a familylearns about a loved one who was killedin the Vietnam War. For many of us,Vietnam was never discussed, and thebook was closed for decades. Its notclosure that we seek. Personally, I muchprefer the word CLOSER. Knowinghis fellow aviators has brought me clos-er to my brother, David, who died ofinjuries received in aLOHcrash in1969.The Gold Star Family Breakfast that

    took place August 3 at the reunion inNewOrleans brought a dozen of usGoldStar family members closer to the menwe loved and lost. In the midst of VHPA members who attended toremember someone special to them, and to support us, we felt the cama-raderie of the Vietnam helicopter community. Nearly 100 people attend-ed the breakfast. Some of the family members there had never before beenamongVietnamhelicopter veterans.In a way, it feels like the closest I can ever get to being around Vinnieagain, said David Zappini, brother of WO Joseph Vinnie Zappini,128th AHC, who was killed June 4, 1969. On top of that, we Gold Starfolks share a huge common experience. Its really the only time and placewhere I can pictureVinnie as hewould be today.What an honor and privilege it is to be in the roomwith families and vet-

    erans, TOGETHER,to share memories. Iwould like you to expe-rience that same honorand privilege. If yourein touch with a fallenbuddys family, invite them to attendthe next reunion with you, to learnabout what their loved one did whileserving as a helicopter pilot during theVietnam War. Bring them with youto the Gold Star Family Breakfast.Its for VETERANS AND GOLDSTAR FAMILIES. Come, even ifyoure not bringing anyone withyou, and tell us about the friend youlost.

    If you would like help finding family of your buddy who was KIA orMIA, the Family Contacts Committee is ready to help.Thank you to all the very generous sponsors who contributed to payfor Gold Star Family members breakfasts and other event expenses,and to everyone with VHPA who worked hard to make this event asuccess. Hope to see in San Francisco.

    JJuulliiee KKiinnkkSSiisstteerr ooff WWOO DDaavviidd KKiinnkk CC TTrroooopp 11//99tthh CCAAVV KKIIAA 88--33--11996699

    mmeemmbbeerr ooff FFaammiillyy CCoonnttaaccttss CCoommmmiitttteeeehhttttpp::////wwwwww..VViirrttuuaallWWaallll..oorrgg//ccoonnttaaccttss

    [email protected]@aatttt..nneett

    Page 11 The VHPA Aviator

    In November and December of 1967 I was livingat the FOB 2 camp just south of Kontum. I was aflight platoon commander and was air missioncommander for a number of Special Forces mis-sions across the boarder into Laos and Cambodia.At the time it was a top secret mission and it wasknown as SOG. During that time there was a leprosarium/hospitalrun by I think a Belgian nun who had other nunsworking with her. The leprosarium was locatedabout 8-10 kilometers west of Kontum City. Fromtime to time the SF FOB camp commander wouldask me to help the nuns with the use of one of our heli-copters to pick-up supplies or even small animals. The camp Commander wasalso very helpful in providing whatever he could to help the nuns.On Christmas of 1967 the camp commander and I were invited to the lep-rosarium for dinner. It was amazing. We drove out in a jeep. It was late after-noon and when we arrived we were brought to a small open patio area where asmall table was set-up. The nuns waited on us and just the two of us had a won-derful meal. We asked the sister superior to join us but she declined saying thiswas just for us.After the dinner we were taken into a large room and given seats in the mid-dle of the room. In front of us were maybe 20 -30- beautiful little childrendressed in white dresses and the boys in white shorts. As we sat there the chil-dren sang a series of Christmas songs in English and finished with SilverWings Upon Their Chest a popular song at the time by Barry Sadler aboutthe Special Forces paratroopers. They sang the song in near perfect English.

    When they finished, we were given twolarge bags of toys to hand out to the children-- the toys had been donated and flown upfrom Saigon. It was such an amazing sight. Each of thechildren came forward one at a time withthe youngest coming first big bright smileson their faces and an English thank youwhen they received their gift.These were the children of the lepers whowere in the shadows in the back of the room.When the children were finished they alsocame forward to thank us in Vietnamese.

    You may have seen lepers and the ravages of the disease on the faces was a site toremember. I will never forget that evening.When we left the leprosarium, the sister superior insisted on riding in thefront seat of the jeep to take us back. It was now dark and although I had mypistol with me, as did the camp commander; neither of us thought we wouldhave enough fire power if we ran into an ambush on that little dirt road thatnight. The sisters waving white robe was clear to see even in the dark as wedrove through the night with our lights on. On several occasions we saw VCtroops come out of the darkness with their AKs in hand and then just stepback into the darkness.

    It was a Christmas memory that I will never forget.Jack Heslin

    E-Mail: [email protected]

    CChhrriissttmmaass ooff 11996677 aa vviissiitt ttoo aa LLeepprroossaarriiuumm iinn KKoonnttuumm,, VViieettnnaammBy VHPA Life Member Jack Heslin


    CCaappttaaiinn JJaacckk HHeesslliinn iinn 11996677

    Gold Star Family Members at the VHPA Gold StarFamily Breakfast August 3, 2012

  • noticedmewalking to the91stFinanceoffice carryinganAK-47. TheVetwas fasci-natedwiththegunandaskedmeifIwouldbewillingtotradeit. IaskedhimwhathehadtotradeandherespondedthathewasaVet. ItoldhimIwasntinthemarketforany animals andwedidnthave anywhichwould requirehis services, (Cpt.Reno ranoffourmonkeyafter it sexuallyassaultedhim,andDuke,ourbaboon,diedafterbitinganAirForceFACpilot). He said, Youdont understand, dont youknowwhatmyjob is here? I have to inspectALLClass I, (rations!), which arrive in country via theportofCamRanhBay! Well, itdidnttakelongtorealizewhatavaluablecontactthisguywasand,aftergladlyrelinquishingmyAK-47,Iwassoonatthefinancepadloadingcases of steaks and BOTTLED beer into the admin bird that ChuckMarkhambroughtintopickmeup.I toldEd this contact couldbe abighelp tohim, sowe tookmyaircraft, 520, on a

    testflighttoCamRanhBaysoIcouldintroducehimtotheVetguncollector. Overthe next fewweeks, Ed did a lot of networkingwith this guy and a bunch of his AirForce friends. IdontknowwhatallheandtheMessSergeantactuallygathered fromthose guys, but I know that every time we could, we picked up equipment andweapons captured by the ground units we supported throughout our area of opera-tions and gave almost everything to Ed. Hewould head off toCamRanhBay on abusiness trip and soon themess hall became a lot more popular! It even becamealmost routine for theMessSergeant towalk into theOfficer orEMclubs late in theevening with trays of fried chicken, hamburgers, hot dogs, fresh fruit or cookies andcake! Thatwasquiteawelcomedchange!InmyjournalInotedon16November1970,Edsayshes inabindwithaThanks-giving deal hes workingwith theVet atCRB and needs fourAK-47's and twoM2carbines. The deal will get us cases of fresh fruit, whole hams, wine, (other than thatMateusRose crap), fresh bakedpies and real LIVE turkeys! Eds a great guy, but Imbettingagainsthimonthe live turkeydeal. I thinktheAirForceguysare feedinghimsomecrap,soItoldhimnottopromisetheoldmanonthatone.Weheard through the rumormill that theCO is planning a health andwelfare

    inspection of our hooches and the enlisted barracks within the next week, so wevedeveloped a plan to gather some extra tradingmaterial for Ed to use in his efforts toclosethedealwiththeAirForce. TheSOPforthehealthandwelfare inspectionscallsfor all unauthorized weapons collected in conjunction with the inspection to bedestroyed. The48thsmethodofdestroyingtheweaponsis tohaveoneofouraircraftflyoffthecoastanddeepsix them. WellhavetosomehowmakesurethatoneoftheJokerbirdsgetsthatmission!Well,tomakealongstoryshort,thehealthandwelfareinspectionwasagoldmineorasEdandtheMessSergeant said,while rejoicingwiththeir scotch, (his andEdsbeverageof choice), WePilgrimshave just reaped a blessed and abundantThanksgivinghar-vest! And, yes, the Jokers flew themission to destroy the contrabandweapons andeven properly certified thedestructionpaperwork. Edwas veryquiet aboutwhathewasupto,but finallyon20November, Inoted, OPSgotacall fromaninboundslickandrelayedamessage fromEdBilbrey tellingmetomeethimat thecommandpad. Iwasnt surewhatwas going onuntil Iwalkeddown there and sawLtEdBilbrey, gunpilotandMessOfficerExtraordinaire, sitting inthebackofa slickgrinningfromear toearwhilecoveredinfeathersandturkeyshit! Hewaswrestlingwiththis braceor gag-gle of live turkeyswho, oneor two at a time,would escape fromtheirmakeshift cagesandthrasharoundinsidetheaircraft! Needlesstosay,thiseventdrewalotofattentionfrom almost everyone on the compound and after a rowdywelcome to this excitedgroupofturkeys,whohadjustexperiencedtheirfirsthelicopterride,Edsprizedturkeyswerefinallyescortedtotheirnewdigsupbythemesshall.Every day youd find a group of guys, acting like little kids, checking on the turkeys

    and playingwith them. Eds big scorewas a true hit with everyone and seemed to

    take ourminds off thewar. It also seemed like everyonewas getting into the holidayspirit and looking forward to thebig feast! EdandI flewamission together twodaysbeforeThanksgivingandI toldhimtheMessSergeanthadbeenbraggingabouthim,tellingmehowmuchhehaddoneforallhisguys. Edwasreallyhumbleanddidntsaymuch, but he was truly proud of what he and theMess Sergeant had been able toaccomplish. I askedhimwhen theywere going to prep and cook the turkeys andhesaid, Well theres been kind of a change in plans, no one has the heart to kill theturkeys. Hesaidmostof thecooksaswell as the restof theunithadbecomekindofattachedtothem,andhewasevenreferringtoTHEM,theturkeys,BYNAME,ashetoldme theMess Sergeant had promised everyone that they wouldnt kill and cookthem! IaskedhimwhatwewerenowgoingtohaveforourThanksgivingdinnerandhesaidtheywereworkingonthat.Well,heandhismessteamcamethroughinspadesandweendeduphavingallkindsof great food. Themess hall remained open all day and for once, you could have asmuchtoeatasyouwantedandbecausethefoodwassogood,weallatetoomuch,buttheonlyturkeywehad,camefromacan! Theguestsofhonor,Edsturkeys,stayedinour company area for a while after Thanksgiving but, one or two at a time, theyescapedandasEdsaid, wereprobablyover therehiding . . . INTHEROKs!ashepointedtotheRepublicofKoreaArmysWhitehorseDivisioncompound!Icantbelievethatwasthirty-twoyearsago.Thisyear,IllbecelebratingThanksgivinginmyfamilystraditionalway. WelldoasalwaysandtrytodividetimebetweenJanesparents andmineandrejoice in the fact that theyare stillwithus,while rememberingourfriendswhonowfacetheir firstholidaysincelosingalovedone. Illbeamazed,asIameveryyear,bythevarietyandabundanceofunbelievablydeliciousfare,asitisloving-ly prepared andpresented in the finest southern tradition. Iwill give thanks for everyblessingGodhasgraciouslyrenderedme.This year, after attending the funeral for the crewofBlue Star 811,whohave been

    missing since 1967, and spending timewithmany of their familymembers, I will bethinkingaboutwhat the familieswhohave lost lovedonesorhave lovedonesmissinginaction,havehadtoendureall theseyears. Icanonlyimaginewhatithasbeenliketosuffer the loss of someone you cherished somuchor, for somany years, to copewiththeanguishofwonderingaboutthefateofthosestillmissing. Ihavewitnessedthepainofmanyofourfriendswhostill facetheirpersonaldemonsfromtheirVietnamexperi-ence and I will pray they let that experience temper them,make them stronger andenablethemtofindtheirpeace.Iwill try hard to recapture the feelings I experiencedwalkingwith fellowBlue Stars

    and family members across that hallowed ground at ArlingtonNational Cemetery.Being there among those who have gone before us, viewing the granite headstoneswhose etchings not only reflect letters of a name, but illuminate memories of thosewithwhomwesharedlife. Thosemen,whosestrengthofcommitment inamostdif-ficultwarduringoneof themost tryingtimes inourcountryshistory, cost themtheirfuture. Iwillalwaysremembertheircourageandselflessness.In the excitement of the holidays activities, Iwill do as I have done every year since

    1971andseekaplacewhereIcanbeawayfromotherswhomaynotunderstand. Iwillcover the ice inmy old canteen cupwith scotch and, in that peaceful time of sunset,toastmyBlueStarbrotherswhogave their all. While smiling throughmytears, Iwillalso remember a special friend named EdmondDavid Bilbrey, whomade his lastThanksgiving...mymostmemorable.

    RickLester, Joker94Personal Journal

    CopyrightRichardLester(Joker94)2002,AllRightsReservedE-Mail: [email protected]

    Page 12 The VHPA Aviator

    A Friendship Forged Continued from page 5

  • Vietnam CombatHelicopter T-Shirts

    from Morgan Miller,Spur 37, A Troop 3/17th Air Cav

    Page 13 The VHPA Aviator

    [email protected]


    AH-1G Cobra, OH-6 Cayuse & OH-58 KiowaFor Selection, Prices and Payment.. GO TO ~

    [email protected] or 619-997-1421

  • Page 14 The VHPA Aviator

    Well, there I was in my E Battery, 82nd Artillery, 1st CavalryDivision (The Woodpeckers) LOH flying the border area westof Quan Loi in III Corps. The time was almost midnight as Iremember, my Mission was to spend the entire night observingand reporting on enemy movements in the area. If you recall,there was a Christmas Truce in effect at that time whichseverely restricted our activities, but, from what I observed didnot have much effect on the activities of the other side. Iobserved and reported numerous columns of troops movingsouth across the border. It looked to me like every soldier inevery column had what appeared to be a flashlight in hand. (Wewouldnt want someone to trip and fall in the dark jungle wouldwe?)I was working in direct support of and in constant radio con-

    tact with a very capable field artillery battalion with immediateaccess to at least 30 artillery tubes, ranging in size from 105mmto 175mm/8inch. I may have been flying a minimally armedLOH, but my back-up was super strong. The problem Iencountered was that the inconsiderate enemy below would notviolate the provisions of the Christmas Truce Rules of Engage-ment (ROE), i.e. they would not shoot at me or any other air-craft.According to the ROE, I had to be receiving fire and the fire I

    was receiving had to be clearly hostile and damaging before I wasallowed to engage with weapons. Imagine my predicament. Ioperating in the middle of the worlds greatest target rich envi-ronment and cant get clearance to pull the trigger. Oh well, Iguess Ill just burn a few bags of gas, watch the show and tell theguys back at the TOC whats going on. That was the situation,but thats not the point of my story.As I went about accomplishing my mission,

    beating the dark night air

    into submission, observing and report-ing, I hear a call in a stressed voice comeover Guard reporting an unidentified aircraft, a bogie, headingsouth across the border in my general area. The pilot makingthe report gave his call sign as Blue Max 63 Mother One. Ididnt know the guy personally, but recognized the call sign ascoming from a C Battery 2/20 ARA Cobra, another 1st Cav-alry Division Aviation Unit.Well, as you can imagine, a call like that really got my atten-

    tion, all of my senses went straight to max alert. I started search-ing the horizon for anything that might resemble an aircraft try-ing to sneak into my area with what I was sure was bad inten-tions. We had received no Intel regarding the possible use ofaircraft by the enemy, what the hell was going on? Stay alert, beready for anything. Then 63 Mother One comes back up onGuard with an update, he is now attempting to close on thebogie and indication that he is pulling max power and just barelykeeping up.For the next two or three minutes, silence. Whats going on?

    Has Mother One made contact? Where is he? Where is theintruder? What can I do to assist? Man its getting hot in here.The radio crackles back to life with the words Blue Max 63

    Mother One has closed with the bogie. He reports that thebogie appears to be a sleight-like object powered by eight four-legged, horned creatures. The bogie appears to be piloted by abig man in a red flight suit trimmed in white and he seems to belaughing at us. Are you kidding me?The next sound I hear is Mother Ones voice reporting that

    the bogie has been declared hostile, he has received clearance toshoot and he is engaging with rockets. Whoosh! Whoosh! Thedistinctive sound of several pairs of 2.75 FFARs leaving thetube is heard clearly over the radio. What just happened? Am Ireally hearing this?The next radio call I hear was classic: This is Blue Max 63

    Mother One on Guard with a BDA. I have one sleight-likebogie, 8 horned creatures and one fat bastard in a red suit goingdown in flames. The Guard channel erupted and was cloggedfor a couple of minutes with cheers and pilots congratulatingMother One on his victory. I cheered Mother One thatnight too. Maybe someday Ill get to meet this intrepid aviatorand shake his hand.

    Michael A "Tony" HumphreysE-Mail: [email protected]

    CChhrriissttmmaass EEvvee 11996688:: AA MMiissssiioonn RReeccaappBY VHPA Member Michael Humphreys

    MMeerrrryy CChhrriissttmmaass aanndd aa hheeaarrttffeelltt wweellccoommee hhoommee ttoo aallll mmyyffeellllooww aaiirrccrreeww mmeemmbbeerrss.. WWee mmaayy nnoott hhaavvee wwoonn tthhee WWaarr,,

    bbuutt tthheeyy ssuurree aass hheellll kknneeww tthheeyy hhaadd bbeeeenn iinn aa ffiigghhtt..

    WWaass aannyyoonnee eellssee ffllyyiinngg tthhee nniigghhtt ooff CChhrriissttmmaass EEvvee 11996688?? II wwaass jjuusstt wwoonnddeerriinngg iiff aannyyoonnee eellssee rreemmeemmbbeerrss hheeaarriinngg wwhhaatt II hheeaarrdd llaattee tthhaatt nniigghhtt..

    IItt wwaass ssoommeetthhiinngg tthhaatt IIllll nneevveerr ffoorrggeett..

  • Page 15 The VHPA Aviator

    The Army Aviation HeritageFoundation (AAHF) is a non-profitpublic educational foundation filedunder section 501(c)(3) of the IRS.

    TheFoundationisdedicatedtopresentingtheArmyAviationstorytotheAmericanpeoplethroughnarrated,patrioticflyingpresentationsandstaticdisplaysoftheactualaircraftandequipmentusedbythemenandwomenwhoservedinArmyAviation.This is accomplished throughtheacquisition, restoration, andmaintenanceofhis-toricflyableArmyaircraftrepresentingArmyAviation(Vietnamtopresent).Whatbetterway togive theAmericanpublic a first-hand lookand feelof themis-sionsArmyAviatorsflewthantoofferHueyandCobraridesinactualcombatveter-anaircraftoperatedbythedecoratedcrewwhoflewthem.TheAAHF travels to airshows and events around the easternUnited States pre-senting our three mainmulti-aircraft demonstrations: Rescue at Dawn, VietnamCombatAssault,andCobraDemoTeam.In addition to those demonstrations,AAHFoffers educational rides in ourUH-1HHueysandAH-1FCobras. Forinstancemostofthepicturesaccompanyingthisarticlewere takenat theVectrenAirshowinDayton,Ohio this year. Wegave ridestoabout1200peoplewhomostlyhadonlycasualcontactwithArmyAviationuntilthen. Whatathrill it is forGrandpatoshowhis familywhat it looked, felt, sounded,andsmelledliketocrankupandheadoutonatypicaldailymission.Eachgroupofabout tenpassengers is guidedthroughacheck-inprocess andthenmanifestedonaflight. Thegroupisgivenasafetybriefingwhichincludesemergencyexits,seatbeltoperation,etc.,thenashortdescriptionoftheirmission. Somearelook-ing forward tozipping lowover the trees, taking a fewrounds, thenpulling abigoldhairy flare andgettingkickedout into2 feet ofmuddy ricepaddywater. I tell themthattheloadjustaheadofthemgotthatmission. Theirswillbevisualreconnaissance,something Idid foralmostmyentire tour inVietnamin 67-68with the101stAir-borneDivision. The colonel (pick the oldest passenger) will take his captains andlieutenantsovertheareaofoperationsandlookforplaceswherehecouldlandtroop-ladenhelicopters. Thatwaythesoldierswouldnthavetowalkall thewaytothebat-tleandbeallhot,sweaty,andtired. Afterdroppingoffthetroops,theHueyscouldgo

    back and return withmore beans and bullets so thatthe soldiers wouldnt have to carry all of that ontheir initial assault. Finally, there might bewounded that the Hueys could quickly carryback to a hospital or aid station. This last mis-sion savedmany,many livesover there. I chokeup a littlewhen I tell them that there are proba-blymenhereatthisairshowwhoarealivebecauseoftheHueysandthebravemenwhoflewthem.Probably the hardest part of my briefing is pickingonly fourpassengers tosit inthegunnerspositions! Everyoneis jumpingupanddownforthose. Weflywiththedoorsopenthough, soeveryseatisagoodone. Asthereturningpassengersareexitingtheridearea,Itellthenextgroupto notice that theyre all smiling. The word I hear most at that point is, AWE-SOME!Cobraridesaresomewhatdifferentinthatthereisroom,ofcourse,foronlyonepas-sengerat a time.Andalthough its abitpricier, this givesourpilotsmoreone-on-onetimeandallowsamorepersonalizeddemonstration. Anditsairconditioned!IpersonallyretiredearlyfrommyjobatAmericanAirlinesinCaliforniaandmovedtotheAtlantaareajustsoIcouldbewiththisgreatgroupofpeople. Youmightrecallthe article in theVHPANewsletter several years agowhichhighlightedmyreunionwiththeOH-6thattheAAHFfeaturedinitsVietnamandRescueatDawnscenar-iostheveryLoachIflewinVietnamwiththe101stAirborneDivision,old795.

    IIff yyoouu aarree iinntteerreesstteedd iinn vvoolluunntteeeerriinngg aassaann aaiirrccrreeww oorr ggrroouunndd ccrreeww mmeemmbbeerr iinntthhee AArrmmyy AAvviiaattiioonn HHeerriittaaggee FFoouunnddaa--ttiioonn aanndd hheellppiinngg ttoo ppaassss oonn yyoouurr lleeggaaccyy,,pplleeaassee sseeee oouurr wweebbssiittee,, wwwwww..aarrmmyyaavv..oorrgg

    Curt Knapp101st Airborne Division LZ Sally 1968

    [email protected]

    TToo tthhee MMeemmbbeerrss ooff tthhee VVHHPPAA,,AA RReeppoorrtt ooff tthhee OOppeerraattiioonnss ooff tthhee AArrmmyy AAvviiaattiioonn HHeerriittaaggee FFoouunnddaattiioonn ((AAAAHHFF))

  • Page 16 The VHPA Aviator

    Anderson,JohnH. **Ozark, Alabama,USArmyFlight School class(s):55-FVietnamCombatUnit(s): 93 TCCO in 63;121AHC in 63; 205ASHC in 67;HHC/12CAG in 67-68

    Asserson, Francis EricRoanoke, Virginia, USArmyFlight School class(s):68-8 68-10VietnamCombatUnit(s):A/227AHB1CAV in 68-69

    Bach, Kenneth J. 'Ken'Snellville, Georgia, USArmyFlight School class(s):68-503 68-3VietnamCombatUnit(s): 54MEDDET in 68

    Baker. Harley J.Clarksville, Tennessee USArmyFlight School class(s):69-26VietnamCombatUnit(s):173ABNBDE in 70-71

    Baratko, Robert EdwardSurprise, Arizona,USNavyFlight School Class info not providedVietnamCombatUnit(s): HA(L)-3 in 70

    Barnhart, David L.Atlanta,Georgia, USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-48Vietnamunit info not provided

    Barrieault, GerardA.Woodlyn, Pennsylvania, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-47 69-45VietnamCombat unit(s):196ASHC in 70; 605TCCO in 70

    Broderick, JohnC.Millington,Maryland, USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-40VietnamCombat unit(s):128AHC in 70-71; A/82AVN in 71-72

    Bowman,DavidK.Westfield, Indiana,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-38VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    Boyles, JamesD. 'JD'Greenville, SouthCarolina, USArmyFlight School class(s):69-15VietnamCombatUnit(s):128AHC in 69-70; B/3/17CAV in 70-71

    Boyung, Arthur J.EauClaire,Wisconsin, USArmyFlight School class(s):69-7VietnamCombatUnit(s): 388TCCO in 69-71

    Byrd,WilliamB. 'Bill'Bunnlevel, NorthCarolina, USAir ForceFlight School class(s):63-HVietnamCombatUnit(s): 37ARRS in 67-68

    Carrithers, JohnP. 'J.P.'SierraVista, Arizona,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-17 70-15VietnamCombatUnit(s):117AHC in 71; 195AHC in 70

    Casper, Robert J.MountainView,Wyoming,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-39VietnamCombatUnit(s): 158AVN101ABNin 70; 101AVN101ABN in 70-71

    Chunn,DonC. **Mesquite, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s):61-3VietnamCombatUnit(s):339TCCO in 63-64; 68AVN in 64

    Clark, JimmyL.Hickory, NorthCarolina, USArmyFlight School class(s):70-24VietnamCombatUnit(s): 61AHC in 71

    Crawford, EugeneG. 'Gene'Woodbury, Connecticut, USArmyFlight School class(s):69-17VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    Daniel, GaryRTemple, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-6VietnamCombatUnit(s):C/7/17CAV in 70-71

    Darrow, KennethW. **Klamath Falls.Oregon,USArmyFlight School class(s): 71-11 71-9VietnamCombat unit(s):B/7/17CAV in 71-72

    Della AllenB. '"A" "D"'RenoNevada,USArmyFlight School class(s):69-39 69-37VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    Depaul, DennisM. 'Den' **University Place,Washington,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-2VietnamCombatUnit(s): 238AVN in 70-71

    Derry, StephenM. **Corinth, NewYork, USArmyFlight School class(s):70-33 70-29VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    UPCOMING REUNIONSThe 48th Assault Helicopter Company The Blue Stars6th Annual Fall Reunion - November 7th - 11th, 2012

    The Inn at Ellis Square, Savannah, GeorgiaPOCs Rick Lester at: [email protected]

    Carl Cortez at: [email protected]

    187th AHC Blackhawks, Crusaders and Rat Packand all attached units

    Nov 8-12, 2012 - San Diego, CAPOC: John Quesenberry (619) 813 0367,

    or Email: [email protected]

    The 162nd AHC Reunion17-20 February 2013 - Savannah, GA

    POC: [email protected] or 727-667-0644

    D Troop, 1/1 Cav Reunion The Sabers1-3 March 2013 Orlando, Florida

    POC: Chuck AbbottE-Mail: [email protected] or (775) 882-7391

    WELCOME TO THE VHPA!Look the list over and if you recognize anyone, give them a call, drop them a line or send them an e-mail welcoming them into ourAssociation. Full contact information is available either on-line in the Member Services section of our website, or through ourstaff at HQ by calling 1-800-505-VHPA.

    Line 1, Last, first, MI and/or nickname of new member; double asterisks (**) ID new life membersLine 2, his current city and state, branch of serviceLine 3 -5 , his (Flight) Class and Vietnam (VN) Unit(s) served with, if that info is available

    We also welcome these 91 new Members to our Associa-tion in this issue. All have joined the VHPA during theperiod from 25July thru 1October 2012.

    Want to see yourReunionpublicizedhere?Send details to: [email protected]

    Book nowfor the 2013Reunion - Makesa great ChristmasPresent!

  • DolinRichardW. 'Dick'ColoradoSprings, Colorado,USArmyFlight School class(s): 71-19 71-17VietnamCombat unit(s): 7/1CAV in 71-72

    Driggers, DonA.Paris, Texas, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-13VietnamCombat unit(s): 162AHC in 69-70

    Drinkwater, GaryWBatonRouge, Louisiana,USArmyFlight School class(s):70-20VietnamCombatUnit(s): 170AHC in 70-71

    Fiest, Terrance J.Orlando, Florida, USArmyFlight School class(s): 68-4VietnamCombat unit(s):D/1/4CAV1 INF in 68-69

    Frizzell, ThomasMSurprise, Arizona,USArmyFlight School class(s):67-26VietnamCombatUnit(s):HHC269CAB in 68

    Golly, LeroyE. 'Roy'Baldwin,Maryland, USArmyFlight School class(s): 68-6VietnamCombat unit(s):162AHC in 68-69; 60AHC in 72-73

    Hairston, Eric B.CopperasCove, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-7Vietnamunit info not provided

    Harrell, JohnW.Columbia, SouthCarolina, USArmyFlight School class(s): 62-10Vietnamunit info not provided

    Heath, HermanS.Enterprise, Alabama,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-24VietnamCombat unit(s):134AHC in 69-70

    Heim,PhillipG.WeekiWachee, Florida, USArmyFlight School class(s):67-501 67-23VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    Hendrix, RodneyW.Norfolk, Nebraska, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-3VietnamCombat unit(s): 281AHC in 69-70;USARVTRANDET in 70-71

    Hils, NormanM. 'Norm'Adkins, Texas, USArmyFlight School class(s): 71-15VietnamCombat unit(s):247MEDDET in 71-72

    Hoagland,RonaldD. 'Ron'Greeley, Colorado,USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-44VietnamCombat unit(s): F/4CAV in 71; 120AHC in 71-72

    Horton, BruceS.Lewisville, NorthCarolina, USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-5 70-3VietnamCombat unit(s): HHC/2BDE/101 in67-68;HHC/52CAB in 71-72

    Hrastich, ThomasA.Saint Louis,Missouri, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-8VietnamCombat unit(s): 125ATC in 69-70

    Hunter, DonC.Kirkland,GeraldA. **Racine,Wisconsin, USArmyFlight School class(s):70-1 69-49VietnamCombatUnit(s):B/229AHB1CAV in 70-71

    Lee,Massachusetts, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-35VietnamCombat unit(s):82MEDDET in 70-71

    Harrell, Donny L.Culloden,Georgia, USArmyFlight School class(s):69-17VietnamCombatUnit(s):A/123AVN23 INF in 69-70

    Hutson,Richard F. HutEnterprise, Alabama,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-5VietnamCombat unit(s): 174AHC in 69-70;HHC1AVNBDE in 72-73

    Jackson, ThomasK. 'Tommy'Simpson, Louisiana,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-18VietnamCombat unit(s):C/3/17CAV in 69-70

    James, BruceE.Winston,Georgia, USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-1VietnamCombat unit(s):C/227AHB1CAV in 70-71; 60AHC in 71

    Jeter, TommyL.Viola, Kansas,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-3VietnamCombat unit(s):498MEDCO in 69-70

    Kalina, JohnM. **Escondido,California, USArmyFlight School class(s):60-6QVietnamCombatUnit(s): 178ASHC in66-67

    Kuci, RichardA 'Dick' **SignalMountain. Tennessee,USMarineCorpsFlight School class info not providedVietnamCombat unit(s): VHMM-361 in 66;H&MS-36 in 67

    Lewis, JohnT.Hitchcock, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s):69-31 69-27VietnamCombatUnit(s): A/228ASHB1CAV in 71; 203ASHC in 71

    Long,DavidECanyon Lake, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s):69-50VietnamCombatUnit(s): ACT/11ACR in 70

    Lowe, JohnH. 'Clubhouse6'PompanoBeach, Florida, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-4VietnamCombat unit(s):187AHC in 69;HHC269CAB in 70

    Martinez,ManuelRockawayPark, NewYork, USArmyFlight School class(s): 70-49 70-47Vietnamunit info not provided

    Matt, JohnEdwardCharleston,West Virginia, USArmyFlight School class(s):66-18VietnamCombatUnit(s):57MEDDET in 68; 82MEDDET in 68-69;247MEDDET in 71-72

    McCormick, TimothyR.Dallas, Texas,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-25VietnamCombat unit(s):11AVNGS1CAV in 69-70

    Middlebrook, PaulPennYan,NewYork, USArmyFlight School class(s):69-48 69-40VietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    MillerWayne J.Paducah, Kentucky, UAArmyFlight School class(s): 69-1VietnamCombat unit(s):229AHB1CAV in 69-70; 7RR in 74-74

    Misurek,GeraldS.Cumming,Georgia, USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-30Vietnamunit info not provided

    Nutter, Jerry L.Cushing,Wisconsin, USArmyFlight School class(s): 68-511 68-19VietnamCombat unit(s): 7/1CAV in 69

    O'Connell, RichardM. 'Dick'Dothan, Alabama,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-45VietnamCombat unit(s):132ASHC in 70-71; 14 BN; 16GRP

    VHPA Member Bill Hatounian is a 24-year mili-tary veteran and a retired Army Aviator, He servedwith the 1st Squadron, 4th United States Cavalry inVietnam and after active duty, he flew with the997th AHC of the Arizona Army National Guard.He has recently retired from being both a pilot anda Lieutenant with the Phoenix Police Departmentand is enjoying retired life by writing books, beingactive and traveling with his wife.

    TANK WITCHDoug Baker, a Vietnam War veteran and hisNational Guard tank crew are whisked througha warp in t ime and into another dimension.They have been summoned by a hag witch andfind themselves in a medieval land, where theyare unwittingly thrown into the social conflictsof the kingdom.

    THE AFGHAN DECEPTIONColonel Martin Daniels and the 4th United StatesCavalry are unwittingly thrust into the world of inter-national politics and intrigue in this historical fictionnovel set in 1879. The relationship between twocolonels of cavalry, one American and one British,could forever alter the fate of the British Empire.

    Interested in Advertis ing in The VHPA Aviator?The Official Newsletter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

    Pr i c e s r ang e f r om $135 . 0 0 f o r a qua r t e r - p a g e t o $ 4 7 5 . 0 0 f o r a f u l l - p a g e , c o l o r adv e r t i s emen t .Our staff Graphic Designer will help design your Aviator ad at no cost, other price discounts are available.Ful l Detai ls avai lable at: [email protected] or [email protected] .com

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    are available

    Page 17 The VHPA Aviator

  • O'Quinn, EdwinB. **Magnolia, Texas, USArmyFlight School class(s): 63-2WFWVietnamCombat unit(s):A/101AVN101ABN in 65-66

    O'Quin,OtisW **FortWorth, Texas, USArmyFlight School class(s): 68-514 68-24VietnamCombatUnit(s): 134AHC in 68-69

    Overturf, Kenneth L. 'Ken'ColoradoSprings, Colorado,USArmyFlight School class(s): 69-2VietnamCombat unit(s):1CAVDIV in 69-70

    Phillips, JohnR.Warwick, NorthDakota, USArmyFlight School class(s): 71-43VietnamCombat unit(s):48AHC in 72;H/17CAV in 72-73

    Prigge,Roy J.Carlos,Minnesota, USMarineCorpsFlight School class not providedVietnamCombatUnit info not provided

    Prior, George 'Big Foot'Orlando, Florida, USArmyFlight School class(s):68-510 68-16VietnamCombatUnit(s): 11ACR in 69-70