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2nd Lt. Donald Matocha, USMC, Mission Complete Sir! Your website is excellent from what I’ve seen, and I want to keep in touch with you. I read the one about the return of the remains of the Marine lieutenant because I, too, served in a Phantom squadron in Vietnam. You do well to document the facts and use relevant photos, maps and so on. I’ll let you know when I publish my stories about Chuck. Thank you for your service to our beloved America.
Rich Nauman, January 31, 2017
The F-105 Thunderchief, a legend flown by legends. First I apologize if I missed using your rank if you are or were a Service Member. I did not see any reference, so please correct me if appropriate.
Secondly, I want to thank you so much for the article on “The Thud” aircraft. I am an Air Force brat of an F-105 Pilot who flew his 100 missions out of Takhli AFB from Jan 1967-Aug 1967. He would have told you he was a Thud Pilot first and a Red River Rat if he was asked. I have either underestimated the impact that plane had on my life or lost touch with the constancy of it’s presence, but either one, your article brought it back to life and I thank you very much.
When you are ten years old and your parents tell you Daddy is going to war you aren’t old enough to really know the details. But the memories, the stories, my parents friends, the wives and children of other pilots are all part of the most important years of my childhood. I remember Mom getting the news my Father’s plane had been hit by a SAM but he (and the plane!) was ok. I don’t know how it happened but this information was out there so she was told enough details to reassure us Daddy was just fine. We lived in Deby, KS a small town just south of McConnell AFB in Wichita, KS and it was filled with families whose Fathers were F-105 pilots, including the Dethlefsen’s, and most stationed at Takhli. I have read numerous articles about my Father and watched him attain the USAF Rank of Lt. General but the underlying theme of my Dad’s inner core was he was” just a Thud Pilot” to quote him. After his 100 Missions he later became the Squadron Commander of the 105’s 12 TFS at Kadena AFB, Okinawa. (12/71-5/72). Even that late in the war he made many home notifications and we saw the sadness he carried with him daily. Later on he became the first Wing Commander at Eglin AFB of F-15’s. When asked he always smiled and said “it’s a great plane but it isn’t a Thud”.
I can only reiterate again that the F-105 was part of my Dad’s inner core and as such, became a part of me. Thank you so much for the article. I learned a lot and many small memories as a child have been explained and put into perspective.
Pamela Nichols Jenison, January 12, 2017
The SAR Rescue of Rodger Locher. Thanks for publishing "Buck" Buchanan's story about the Oyster 01 Bravo Rescue! I'd researched the Oyster 01 Bravo story because one of my interests is the use of signal mirrors, which Roger Locher successfully used twice in this SAR mission, first to Buck, and then to Stovall. I'd located and corresponded with Buck, but the story you published seems much more detailed than earlier material Buck sent me. Much has been written about the Oyster 01 Bravo rescue. You mention that "I am a great believer in combat memoirs from those who were there." If you are interested, here are links to accounts by Locher himself about his ordeal - about 90 minutes of audio and 42 minutes of video.
Roger Locher Audio: ~90 minutes total You can listen to briefings he gave (apparently shortly after his rescue) here: http://www.f4phantom.com/drupal/references under Roger Locher tapes on his rescue - the direct links are:
Roger Locher Video: 42 minutes
There's also this presentation Locher gave in 2014 - it is the 3rd video down on this page (about 42 minutes) http://www.angelstruckstop.com/photos-video/
Richard A. Fowell, December 3, 2016
 A few years back, I published this short summary of signal mirror aided rescues in Vietnam that I'd found on the Internet, with links, here: http://forums.equipped.org/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=260916#Post260916
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. Just as an inconsequential aside: My college roommate and fraternity brother Daniel M. Leahy was one of the FAO’s from How. Bat. In the 1st Sgd. From 2/69 – 4/18/69 KIA on that date. He was such a blind bastard that he had to sign a waiver on his eyesight to go to OCS. He was originally assigned to Armor at Knox but they switched him to Arty at Sill. I reviewed his casualty report and he went with 3 other guys I do not understand why they were moving at 6PM.
Steve Teitelbaum, November 29, 2016
Corpsman down, CPO Holly Crabtree's fight for life. Great Read for Holly’s story. I had the privilege of having dinner with her and her daughter one evening at the Tampa VA. I did not know her story, but was seated at her table. I sat with her for most of the evening. I was at the time USO Tampa Bay’s Chairman, Board of Directors and I was working with a couple Navy SEALS to put on a golf tournament for the dedication of USO Tampa Bay to my cousin, killed in training, a Navy SEAL who worked for Retired SEAL (MOH Recipient) Mike Thornton and a Navy SEAL CAPTAIN on the USSOC J/6 Aerial Demonstration Team who also worked with my cousin—at the time he was the Bull Frog for the SEALS until Admiral McRaven took over USSOC.
Again, I did not know Holly’s story, but engaged her in light conversation about the USO and other things. I started talking with her about golfing and the tournament that I was working on and mentioned to her of a woman pro golfer that was coming if she would like to participate and take lessons from her. Her eyes just lit up—she said, “I love to golf—especially for the Navy SEALs.” Someone that had overheard our conversation relayed Holly’s story to me as they knew it. She really became engaging and we talked for some time about golfing and the Navy SEALs and a bit of her work with them.
What an inspiration. She had to go back home to Washington for a brief period and was not able to participate, but what a wonderful lady and mother.
Walter Lamerton, October 27, 2016
Come fly with me over Laos - Major Gerald Taylor, USAF, 23rd TASS, NKP RTAFB. Good Morning Ed. This is Bill Gund from Madison, OH. I recently retired and fully intend to spend a good amount of time touring your website. I skimmed through your article about the 23rd TASS flying out of NKP. My dad was a FAC flying with the 20th TASS from November 66 to August 67 (Covey 50). Most of his time was flying out of Khe Sanh. I spent 18 months in Thailand assigned to the 7th RRFS (Udorn) 7 Det. J, 7th RRFS (Ubon RTAFB). I was with the Army Security Agency.
Bill Gund, October 23, 2016
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. Enjoyed your write up...there were many familiar names, planes and historical facts...I flew a photo mission the day Chuck Klusman was shot down and reported his chute to Mike Strike aboard the USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63. Ed, you are correct VAP-61 flew Douglas RA-3B Skywarriors and we also had two A-3B tankers assigned, as a unit of the 7th Fleet...the chute report was made via HF Key...we did not talk much to the carrier...June 64 was before we went to all EMCON missions...thanks for your service Ed.
Dave Kelly, October 16, 2016
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of mercy. Birth of the 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance - AA). You actually left out part of 45th Meds history possibly. I was stationed in Hanau, West Germany from Jan 76’ - Dec 79 at Hesson Homberg Kasern with the 45th Medical Bn under 3rd Armored Division. I don't know much of the history except when I was there. I do remember that we had medics, dental techs, doctors, etc. working in a lot of places in West Germany when we were not out in the field. I went back on vacation in 1984 and was there when they painted over our Unit Crest on the motorpool doors, a very sad day for me. I've been back again in 2003, 2008 and 2009. Lamboy Strasse looks completely different and the Kaserne has been changed. Our old barracks is now a school, and part of 23rd Engineers barracks became a woman's health club, figures because all those combat engineers were a bunch of girls anyway, just kidding. The 45th Med. Bn, 3rd AD was on Hessen-Homberg Kaserne. We shared the Kaserne with the 23rd Combat Engineers. The 23rd had a bar at the Kaserne that anyone could go to but there were many nights that they had fights between 23rd and 45th, 45th usually being the loser. An Army buddy that I have kept in touch with all these years just yesterday told me that 45th has a Facebook page. They also have a page on Military.com. Take it easy and thanks for dropping a line.
Lee Rogers, October 15, 2016
D Co. 45th Med Bn
3AD, Lifetime Spearheader
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny:" Brief history of the Laos War. I am not a hero of the war. I served in Vietnam and Thailand. I arrived in August of 1964. I spent a few weeks at Ton Sonut and then on to Ubon. I met several men while wandering around Don Muang who told me that they were a part of the Air Force Air Commandos. Later on my way to Ubon I was dropped off at Udorn because of language barriers and sat by the pool for a day waiting for a flight to Ubon. Again I spoke with men who told me of preparation to move into Laos and Cambodia. I was a crypto analyst and operator who was stuck in a comm van ten hours a day. I spent my time transferring coded content from local operators to Danang , Korat, Udorn and to some outposts already operational in Laos. At that time I was 20 and looked for ways to become a part of the Air Commandos. I was told because of my Top Secret Crypto clearance that I was in a sense already. That was honorable, but not satisfying. Because of a family emergency I was sent back to Oregon early and left the area feeling incomplete. I finished out my career in the reserves in Portland as inactive but not eligible to return to the war. I have lived the last fifty some years reading everything I could on the Air Commandos. I have purposely stayed away from fiction and was pleased to find your written work which starts before 1964. Thank you for your work and your service. I find in you a hero that I could not be.
John Stauffer, October 12, 2016
The “Walking Dead,” the 1-9 Marines in Vietnam. My dad served with Charlie 1/9 in 66-67. After the Corps my dad became a firefighter/paramedic for Orlando Fire Dept. In the late 70s my dad had a flashback on a call. He then started looking for his guys he served with. In 1981 at the dedication of the Wall in D.C. I met my new Uncles. Two of which were twin brothers in mortars Ronnie and Jonnie Basham. I was 9 at the time. We had many more reunions since that proud day. On December 3, 1992 my dad took himself out after battling PTSD for years. After that Jim Gilbert who also served with C-1/9 came for the funeral and stayed for a while to take care of us. He is my stepdad now and has been since about a year after we lost dad. I have never lost contact with any of the guys and make it a point to attend their funerals. I guess the point of writing this email is to express how proud I am of being the son of The Walking Dead. There is a brotherhood that only death can separate. Semper Fi.
Bobby Carpenter Jr.,October 9, 2016
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. I’m using some of the information for a presentation on Blind Bat next Tuesday, September 21st. It’s for a C-130 Plaque Ceremony at USAFA, celebrating the various missions the C-130 flew during the Vietnam war. The plaque will be displayed on a wall with many other aircraft used during that conflict. Thanks for your help and dedication on this project.
Al Anderer, September 16, 2016
Hmong find F-105 pilot hanging from the trees. I have been married to Major Steven Sanders youngest Son for 23 years. His son Don, was only 6 years old when his father was killed in the War. He does not remember his dad, being so young and he would come home briefly between missions. The article you wrote was forwarded to us. Thank you for writting it. We have read a lot of paperwork, letters, telegrams. We have his flight suits and uniforms and medals. We are always looking for information on his dad. Things were very hush, hush about what really happened and details. We have children that are also very interested in their grandfathers journey as a Fighter Pilot. If you know of resources we could find information, could you please let me know. Thank you.
Marie Sanders, September 14, 2016
“Thunder Runs” and the drive from Kuwait into the center of Baghdad. I just came across your website summarizing the 2 BDE, 3ID run to Baghdad. I was a tank gunner in Charlie Co., 1-64 at the time. Your summary was an interesting read; thanks.
Chris Freeman, August 26, 2016
The 459th Twin Dragon Fighter squadron, Burma Banshees. My grandfather, Donald M Russell, was a fighter pilot in this squadron (459 Twin Dragon Fighter Squadron Burma Banshee). I have a framed collage that includes the dragons on his flight jacket, his pay card and various photographs showing all types of service life. I am wondering if you would like me to photograph with my phone some of this and send it to you via email or text. Also, I would love to have more information. What ever suggestions you have will be appreciated.
Jana Russell Garner, August 8, 2016
Kamikaze attacks USS Comfort hospital ship, more than 700 souls aboard, WWII. Just lost my father, March 26th. He was a patient on the USS Comfort when it was struck. He took some shrapnel in his leg but lived till 91 years old. I love and miss him terribly thank you for all the information. His name Harry L. Klabbatz.
Carl Klabbatz, July 30, 2016
The North Wall, Canada's Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. I just read your article on the Vietnam memorial in Windsor, was a great read. I am a former Canadian soldier who after leaving the army volunteered with a foreign military so these stories resonate with me. Is there an annual ceremony at the Windsor memorial? I'd like to know so i can attend.
Dillon Hillier, July 20, 2016
I was a crew chief on a HU-1B for Co A 501st Avn Bn in 1964 and 1965 when we were mortared as you described. I was flying night flare missions and had just gotten to sleep when the 1st mortar hit and rocked me out of bed. A jet engine from a B-57 Camberra that had been hit went right through one of our hooches. I was also there when the two HU-1Bs collided over Bien HOA and all were killed except one crew chief who happened to be a good friend. I was involved in the aftermath trying to get survivors to the hospital in Saigon but there were mostly only body parts as just about everyone got either cut from the rotors or burned from the explosion. I visited the crew chief who had numerous injuries including a broken back and the only thing that saved him was that his harness did not hold and he was blown out of the aircraft and landed in some bushes. He was later sent to the Philippines for rehab and discharged. I was able to spend a little time with him in California in 1966. I have a lot of pictures from 64-65 if you are interested. Have a lot of memories of the many missions that we were sent on and feel fortunate to have survived.
Stan Slaton, July 13, 2016
The O-1 "Bird Dog," the toughest dog in the fight, "our little flivver". Thank you for your service to our great nation, we are glad you "came home". My father (Lt. Col. Michael Godshall [Retired]) served his first Tour of Duty in the 74th RAC. Dad was assigned to the 74th in 1965 and into 1966, stationed at (I believe) Phu Loi. Dad passed in 2007, however, I have some digitized photos that my family and I now believe should be shared. (I believe they were all "shot" during my Father's first Tour of Duty, however, there may be some from his second, 1969-1970, with the 82nd Airborne Division, The Pink Panthers.)
Daniel J. Godshall, June 4, 2016
The 459th Twin Dragon Fighter squadron, Burma Banshees. My father, 1st Lt Vernon Choate, was a radio man and told me many stories about the war, he also gave me many items including photos and different items he purchased in India which I still have. He grew up in Oceanside, California and played all sports then went to Oceanside City College. Later Southern California University gave him a scholarship to play football. Dad wasn’t eligible to play the year he went there but he sat on the bench with the team during a Rose Bowl. Dad didn’t like the larger school and ended up back at Oceanside. When he returned from the war he started a small appliance repair shop which led to a TV Repair business in Stayton, Oregon and lived there the rest of his life. He passed in 1990 with congestive heart failure and being the athlete he was the day before he died he shot a one under par at the local golf course which he was a member since it was constructed. My dad and mom were able to attend one of the reunions in 1987 in Bozeman, Montana which I know he never forgot. Being an avid golfer my dad's most memorable time was attending the British Open with a total of 60 men who were able to play 6 golf courses in Scotland and England. He was the most honest person I have ever known and I was able to learn so much from him.
Neil Choate, March 16, 206
The O-1 "Bird Dog," the toughest dog in the fight, "our little flivver". The Bird Dog in the Vietnam-Laos Wars The Ravens: Ed...I just found your site while reviewing some Ravens info. I just wanted to say Thank You. I come from a long line of American Servicemen (I too love my country and have become very concerned) and I appreciate your "Straight Shooter" effort of information sharing. Again...on behalf of myself and my family: Thank You and God Bless. P.S. My Brother was a USAF "Young Tiger" volunteer, rotating in/out of Thailand 64-65.
Jeffrey Wilmer Lee (ex USAF SSgt - 305th ARW & 181st FW), February 19, 2016
Kapyong: Aussies - Canadians - New Zealanders beat back massive Chinese attack targeted at Seoul. My name is Karl Imboden. My father in law was Arthur Grates, he was with the 72nd A company. I thought you might find this interesting. http://www.michigansthumb.com/mobile/news/local/article_f7df4e4e-4569-5778-874f-41782f9d1caa.html
He was a quiet man who never really spoke of the war. We never were aware of what he went through until late in his life. When I did get him to talk about it he didn't say a lot. He mentioned the Aussies were fierce fighters and said they protected the tanks through the night. He remembered the morning, the bodies. He talked about the enemy infiltrating their position. In just a short time in Korea he was blown out of his tank when it hit a mine. He said his gun belt saved him because it hooked on something and kept him from coming out of his tank. Five weeks later he was in Kapyong. At some point he ended up separated from his division. He talked about making his way back through enemy lines with two other soldiers and all they had were their side arms. He told a story of his Commanding Officer saying when he arrived back to his company, "Grates if I knew you were coming I would have baked you a cake". He once told my wife about being in a river and opening a candy bar. He said he dropped the candy bar and noticed there were bodies floating in the river. She asked him what he did. He said he picked up the candy bar and ate it. Said candy bars were hard to find in Korea. These are the only stories anyone seems to remember hearing. He came from a family that felt they owed their country. He served, he came home, he worked till retirement, and he sat in his yard and quietly watched the world he fought for. We lost him in 2011 sadly and even though he never said much he left quite an impression on me.
Karl Imboden, February 16, 2016
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? The price of sacrifice in the Sangin Valley. I googled myself to help find pictures for my linkedin and stumbled across Talking Proud. I am the subject of one of your pictures: LCpl Jerome Hanley. Just wanted to throw the name Andrew Smith out there, he and several other members of my sniper team were injured that day as well, and there are solid pictures of them if you google them.
Jerome Hanley, February 11, 2016
Airborne Peripheral Reconnaissance, Cold War losses. I just discovered your website - talkingproud.us/Military/Military/AirborneRecce.html - when I was asked a question about a lost RB-50. I didn't know the answer, so I began a search. Being the Secretary, 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Association, www.91stSRWA.com, I found your narrative very interesting and informative.
Jim Bard, January 23, 2016
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny." My name is Larry Dedrick. I was based at NKP June 1972 to June 1973 as an aircraft mechanic. Originally my assigned organization was with the 1st SOS and then we were assigned to the 56th Maintenance Operations. Initially I worked on the Skyraiders, but, once they were turned over to the South Vietnamese Air Force, I returned to NKP from a TDY to Da Nang supporting the A1s. On my return to NKP we were reassigned to work on the C-47s and that would have been approximately October or November of 1972. Going from the A1s to the C-47s, was a change in mindset, dripping oil to No dripping oil, but I understood, accepted and adopted to the new concerns. It was a pleasure to have worked on those two old workhorses, one I will never forget or regret. One very early morning while waiting on the flight crew to show up. I had performed the preflight and was standing around the power cart when I noticed the lack of personnel on the flight line. My concern was a bit aroused and I approached a Thai guard on foot patrol and attempted to ask him what was going on. Well with his broken english and my lack of being able to speak much Thai, it became clear there was a Sapper threat on base. The sound of the power unit drowned out the siren while I was next to it, so I shut everything down and then had the rest of the day off. There are other stories of course, but I’m sure this event with the Sapper may sound familiar.
Larry Dedrick, December 19, 2015
First thank you for your service and sacrifice in your career. Several members of my extended family on both sides are veterans stretching from W W II to GW 1. I was linked to you site from another. Have spent much time there and found it informative and very well written. You linked to a site that had a pdf of a report on US Marines in RVN in 1967. That indicated it was part of a series. Can I get a link to the rest please? Still reading your site when time allows. Thank you again for the work.
Keith Plymale, December 13, 2015
Memoirs of those who lived through the Cleveland Hill School fire of 1954. Thank You Mr Marek for your effort on this subject ,this is certainly the most comprehensive review that I have read. I recognized a lot of the names in the review. Great article in today's paper also. Thanks again.
Art Oleary, class of 1978 Cleveland hill HS
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. Great writing and a lot of good facts.
Buck Shipman, October 1, 2015
I was stationed at Udorn AFB RF 101C airborne Navigational repairmen 30151 — That sounds right. I was there in 1965 until 1966 about Sept. Got my training at Kadena AFB on RF101C. I have really enjoyed reading all you have put on these pages. Don't know if your still keeping this up or not Just wanted to thank you for all of your written word and pictures.
AIC Dennis Pflugh, September 25, 2015
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. I just read your article about LS-36, or more to the point, the background about the relations and operational history in Laos. This is the most detailed bit of writing I have ever read. Thanks a bunch for posting.
John Brink, August 16, 2015
Former combat photographer, Det-9, 600th Photo Squadron, Udorn RTAFB, 1967-1968
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. Great write up of an area I know and love. Very accurate from what I've learned over the years. Like you said a very complex subject and hard to explain to anyone who wasn't there back in the day. Have a friend who was Cav in Vietnam in 1968 and he said he never knew there was anything going on anywhere but Vietnam.
Was just over in Laos in February, was close to a couple of the Lima Sites, but didn't directly visit any this trip. I was with Invert at NKP in 1970-71, since we controlled air operations in the area, we were pretty aware of the Lima Sites and what was happening on the other side of the river. Couple of years back, we drove up the old runway at LS6 (Vang Vieng).
Found and joined the TLCB in 1999, Heinie Aderhold and Dick Secord were guest speakers at one of our reunions around 2001. Met up with Heinie several times over the years since then, mostly in Thailand, the last time just before he passed. Always enjoyed listening to him talk about his exploits, he was quite a character. Saw Bill Lair in 2002 at a reunion in Bangkok where he was a guest speaker, unfortunately couldn't get through the crowd to speak with him. Getting to meet with these gentlemen really helped add perspective and detail to what we were doing back in the day.
A fellow member (USAID in Laos 1965-1975) of the TLCB has been into Long Tieng once or twice a year for about 5 years. We have helped with the school there, furniture, roofing and toilet facilities. Another friend was with CASI and flew the last C-46 out of Laos, Air America had already left.
The group picture is from a trip in 2011, we're in the Craters Restaurant in Phonsavan, Laos. I'm on the left, John (TUOC 1968-69), Bill (FAC pilot 1967-68) & Mac (Laos USAID, IVS & later State Dept. refugee program), all four of us are also China Post 1 members. Bill signed up at LS20A (Long Tieng) a couple of years before, making him the first member to sign up from there since everyone left in 1975.
Really enjoyed the article and will share it with my SEA friends.
Les Thompson, เลส ทอมป์สัน, August 15, 2015
Just spent the last hour or so reading various articles, etc., that you have on the site. It was a moving experience in which I laughed and cried remembering and sharing my feelings, non verbally-of course, with the words you wrote or the quotes from our fellow veterans. Thank you for doing this.
Stephen Brady, August 10, 2015
The North Wall, Canada's Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. I just read your great piece on Vietnam online in which you have a photo of and mention my neighbor and friend, USMC Cpl. Ron Payne, from Galt, Ontario. He survived the war but sadly died of cancer a few months ago. I'm a military brat and a vet and really appreciate what you have done.
Martin Dowdy, August 10, 2015
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. Thank you so much for the ROK entries. While I didn’t serve in ‘Nam, I worked closely with the ROK’s in the 80’s, during some really heinous times at the DMZ. I was blown away (not literally) by their dedication, skill and innate ability. Scary. But in a wonderful way. Once again thanks, OK? I wish more was written about the blood they spilled, but that isn’t necessarily the Korean way.
Joe Chamberlin, August 4, 2015
Good Morning Ed. I am Bill Gund from Madison, OH and have been spending this morning browsing your website. I think I will need a fresh pot of coffee and really hunker down and start reading your articles word by word.
A little about me and my dad:
Back in the early 70's I was in the Army Security Agency (Morse Code Intercept). My overseas duty stations were 7th RRFS (South of Udorn RTAFB) and Det J, 7th RRFS (physically sited on Ubon RTAFB). I found your articles about the HH-43 quite interesting as our site was across the runway from the Pedro Detachment at Ubon. While at Ubon, our COMINT mission was to monitor communications along the Ho Chi Minh Trail (GDRS=General Directorate of Rear Services) and the NVA B-3 Front (Tri Border Area). I was at Ubon when for the '72 Easter Offensive. Spent about 36 hours copying morse code, trying to make sense of the ferocity and depth of the NVA Offensive. Ironically, the Easter Offensive shouldn't have been such a big surprise-we just couldn't get all the different entities to talk to each other. The Air Force had Igloo White (up the road at NKP), the Army had the ASA (oops, ASA wasn't in SEA-we had Radio Research Field Stations/Units/Companies) and various other units that never got the information into the right hands in a timely manner
My dad ( Edward C. Gund, Lt. Col., FV2222143) served in the USAF from 1950 to 1970. He started out flying the Lockheed F-80 and retired flying the Lockheed F-104. Hmmmm......saw Lockheed's first and last jet fighter. Quite an accomplishment. His tour in Vietnam was with the 20th TASS from November 1966 to September 1967. Flying O-1's. Out of Khe Sanh. His call sign was Covey 50. He very seldom talks about flying out of Khe Sanh and when he does he usually downplays his role when he flew in low ceilings at night while Khe Sanh was being rocketed. Of course he was backlit against the low cloud cover when the basketball flares starting lighting up the terrain. Happily, Dad is still with us, is in great health and still drives like he's flying a 104!!!!
I'm gonna wrap this up. Maybe the next E-Mail will be a bit more coherent.
Bill Gund, June 7, 2015
HH-43 SAR pilot’s diary, 1964-1965, Vietnam. My name is Alan Jackson. I am the son of Capt. Carl E. Jackson, USAF shot down somewhere over Vietnam June 27, 1965. to date, my father has yet to be found and brought home for burial. My family regards him as still being missing in action, KIA/BNR/MIA. The reason I write today is to seek out all the info I can on my dad. I came across this site last night and was interested in obtaining the “raw” data that Archie Taylor had on my dad’s particular incident. If this is possible, I would really like to obtain this info.
Alan Jackson, May 30, 2015
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. Just read one of your articles about the EC 47. I was the Z1 operator on many of the missions out of Pleiku and Nha Trang 1968/9. I don’t know if you knew any of the linguists on board but we rarely communicated with the ditty bops, 292s. If I had any good copy, I would go directly to the Nav and tell him that we had to go either to DaNang or Phu Bai to drop our tapes. The linguists at Nha Trang and Pleiku, when I was there, operated on our own. The highest rank was the 3 striper, several of us were dual linguists, either Russian,Viet, Spanish/Viet, or Chinese/Viet. For the most part we kept to ourselves. Didn’t even know our ops officer in Pleiku and he didn’t know us!
W. Doug Milton, May 21, 2015
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? I was googling one of my Marines this evening, and your article popped up. I've never seen it, although I certainly appreciate you writing about it. My name is Captain James C. McKendree, and I was the platoon commander for 2nd Platoon, Echo Company, 2/7. Our platoon, and another platoon covered down on Sangin in 2008 not really having any idea what we were walking into. I will always be so incredibly proud of what our Marines did there- the sad thing is that very little is spoken of what happened there in 2008. Many of my Marines feel as though they've been forgotten, but I tell them it doesn't matter. At any rate, thanks for the article. It's refreshing to know people recognized what these Marines did. I was sure proud to have served them.
Capt. James C. McKendree, USMC, May 19, 2015
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. I read your article. Thank you for your excellent research, which helped me to better understand my father who served in the Korean Army (While Horse Division) during the Vietnam War. Our family immigrated to the U.S. and my father retired as a doctor at the Veteran's Administration. Even at age 83, he is in great health and returned to work as a doctor and now works in a hospital in Korea. I guess he could not stand being retired. His wish is to be buried in the Korean National Cemetery with his comrades who fought and died in the Vietnam War.
The reason I write to you is that I read a touching article in the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32478411
It is a story of a Vietnamese journalist searching for what happened to her mother, also a journalist, in spring 1969, west of Da Nang, when the guerrillas she was with were apparently ambushed by ROK Marines. I request you to contact the writer of the article and share whatever information and thoughts you may have. Regardless of what may have happened, I hope the writer can find closure.
Wonki Park, April 30, 2015
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. Your webpage is very informative to me. I have been working on a website www.lettersfromasoldier.com for the past seven years. It has been primarily on WWII. Last Christmas I received a bunch of letters from soldiers that were in Vietnam. (I have a Vietnam navigation tab) and have been putting up letters of James (Jim) Fortune. He was in Cambodia in 1970 and your page has much of the detail of what was going on there. I mention Jim, because my letters end before he was sent to Cambodia, but I do know he was injured while there. My story of Jim ends when he is in Vietnam, but I am trying to piece together his role as he was in the 11th Armored Cavalry. Anyway, it will a while before I get to this part of his story. And I do really appreciate your long page history. I am going to have to study this.
Bob T, March 21, 2015
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy: The case of Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements. Your writing of what Jessica went through is commended. However, there were more soldiers wounded that day unfortunately. The commanding Officer, Major Perrel, was wounded by shrapnel. Sergeant LeMay also received shrapnel wounds. I was in the Humvee just ahead of the truck Sergeant Clements was riding in when the IED was set off. The first Sergeant of the medical unit I was riding with and myself were wounded when the Humvee was “tossed” and we hit the windshield, as well as a hip injury for me as we were flung around. My injury does not even compare to what Jessica went through. She was a squared away soldier from the day I first met her. She was there after our April 11th mission when my convoy was hit hard right outside BIAP to make sure that I and the rest of my convoy soldiers were good and hugged each one of us. It bothers me that I was not able to do the same for her. What happened that day is forever etched in my mind. The horrors of war and combat are always with me. I just would like to let her know if you are still in contact with her that Sergeant Robert Williamson from Hobart, IN, says hello and that I wish that I could of given her a hug that day. As I mentioned before, she went through a lot more than I had.
Robert E. Williamson Jr, February 17, 2015
Kamikaze attacks USS Comfort hospital ship, more than 700 souls aboard, WWII. My name is Robert (Bob) Croghan HMC, USN, Retired and stationed aboard the current USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) July 1987 to Aug 1990 as a Pharmacy Technician. As the story goes my father was aboard the USS Stringham DD-83 during one of the kamikaze on April 24, 1943 that struck the Comfort. I was on leave at the time and my father Charles O. Croghan starting talking about the kamikaze attack. He was in his early 70’s and spoke vividly of the attack and a lot of thing that transpired during the attack and how his ship tried to assist the hospital ship during the attack. They escorted the crippled ship for a period of time and saw the Comfort in port for repairs later. The circumstances of my being stationed aboard the newest hospital ship Comfort and it carried 2 stars for valor because of the attack in 1943. We aboard the new Comfort heard stories about the nurses and crew. I saw this story about the attack after browsing the internet about Kamikaze attacks. The story was very interesting and at the bottom your name to contact.
Robert (Bob) Croghan, January 1, 2015
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny.” I ran across you very long and detailed site and I cannot sort thru it all in one sitting, but I did get tothe part regarding the early “backenders.” I was part of the first group sent from Nha Trang. We had only one bird for a few weeks. The base commander was not at all pleased that he was only told to put a 24 hr guard on the bird and they would not tell him why. I heard he was told he did not have " the need to know". Cannot confirm that, it was the rumor at the time. Since no one knew what the Security Service was, they assumed we were Air Police sent to investigate something on the base. Long story, but we were not welcome by the others for a while until they found out we didn't care what they did. FYI - there were no real 'bars” we could find and I have a picture of what served as a bar...a porch over-looking the Mekong that was part of a family's house.
Bobby Billups, January 11, 2015
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. Thank you for posting the unit Information on the Blind Bat squadron in Vietnam. My first flight instructor as a young private pilot student was Ed Sleeper when I did my flight training in Maine. With Ed eventually soloing me. He was just a great guy and I really miss him. He sadly passed away too early 10 years ago. I wish I would have had the chance to ask and know more about his Vietnam flying since I knew he was a decorated Vietnam Veteran Pilot. But Ed was just a humble guy and didn’t talk too much about it. So thanks again for your pictures and stories on Talking Proud which gives a good insight for somebody like me who wasn’t even born then!
David Witham, Amateur Pilot, 38 years old, American living in Paderborn Germany
Kamikaze attacks USS Comfort hospital ship, more than 700 souls aboard, WWII. I just finished your article on our United States Hospital ships. What a great story. My mom was also stationed on the Comfort but after those repairs were completed. Either late 1945 or early 1946 after the repairs were made, she boarded in route back to islands. Mom was Captain Ruth W. Sylvester in the ANC. She lived to be 92 and spoke often of the trials and hardships that family of people endured just to be human and healing to all. Thanks for that fine article and new references it gives me. I have been trying to put a time line with the Comfort and her time aboard. Thanks again to caring enough to write it.
Joe Sylvester, December 30, 2014
Burma Banshees, "Angels on our Wings," the call of death to the enemy. My father is a WWII CBI veteran who unfortunately is in such failing health he is now in hospice and not expected to live more than a month. I was preparing some poster panels to celebrate his life and came across your talkingpround.us site while searching for more information on the 80th fighter squadron he was in. I came across your quote about the living conditions that seems so cogent and succinct I wanted to ask your permission to use it in his panel. I’ll send a .jpg of the panel where your words will be used in a second email.
Jerry Kuchera, December 20, 2014
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. My name is Bill Harding. I am retired from the U.S. NAVY (2004). I was an Aircrew Survival Equipmentman/ Parachute Rigger 1st Class. I just read your story on the mission and loss of Blind Bat 01. I was one on the life support personnel who was on one of the recovery missions to Vietnam in search of MIAs. We worked out of CILHI (Central Identification lavatory Hawaii) at Hickam AFB Hawaii. I was able to take pictures of my mission and have a special story for the family of LT Col Mason. Do you have any numbers or address for his descendants? Or could you give my name and or forward my email to them?
Bill Harding, November 30, 2014
5419 Vista Trail
San Antonio Texas 78247
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. Hi... I’m Jim Engel of Albany, OR. Back in ‘67 – ‘68 I was with the 24th Trans Co stationed at the THSAC – Tuy Hoa Sub Area Command. I was a truck driver & later a gun jeep Sgt. Along Hwy 1, which we drove daily & most often alone from THSAC to Vung Ro Bay, where two ROK compounds we knew as “Boystown” and “Dim Dim” were located. I believe they wore the White Horse type patch. There was an additional ROK compound on top of the ridge above Vung Ro. The first part of Hwy 1 was flat then 1/2 way it did switch back to climb to top & junction with road down to Vung Ro or as it was called “Port Lane”. This was the area where the mountains came down to the coastline.
In Jan-Feb I was TDY within the 24th to a tractor-trailer group from Cam Ranh Bay – the 670th Trans. I liked big trucks! It was thought that these S&P (stake-n-platform is the slang I believe) could move the freight, bombs, & crated napalm “faster” than the 24th’s little Duece-n-halfs.
One day in Feb – 68 I believe it was, I was in my big rig with drums of some kind of material & coming down to the last corner where the road then flared out flat to rice paddy’s. Coming at me was a small ROK convoy of a 3/4 truck & two larger trucks. I’m in the corner & they are just entering when we were ambushed. Fortunately my load more or less protected my butt but those ROKs caught hell! Guess they caught it from the front & higher up on the cliff above. I high tailed it outta there as the ROKs at “Boys Town” erupted as a swarm of angry hornets & headed for the ambush site!I do believe the ROK convoy took casualties.
We didn’t run the road for a day or so as the ROKs & other Army elements “cleaned Charlie’s clock” in that area!!
What I’m trying to determine was the exact date, the ROK unit involved, etc. Your article was informative & you seemed to know your ROK’s. I’d appreciate any help.
Jim Engel, November 28, 2014
1335 Powell St SE
Albany, OR (541)-791-1596 or to this e-mail address.
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. I enjoyed reading all of this material and especially the information regarding Corp II area of operation. I was with the 180th ASHC and 403rd TC Detachment. I was a member of the advance party (23 men including a CPT. and a SP/5). We arrived in early December, 1966 with basic supplies and equipment in three Chinooks. We had (1) 3/4 ton truck and the Army Engineers loaned us a man to guid us on construction. We built our company's hootches, mess hall and all the other buildings. Also laid the PSP for our maintenance area, flight line and landing pad and revetments. We were right next to the 48th AHC and they shared their mess (tent) with us. We were located between the 48th AHC and the village on the beach. I didn't get to work on my MOS for 3+ months. I was a 67U20 helicopter mechanic on the CH-47 Chinooks. Later flew as crew chief and flight engineer. We did a lot of work with the ROK troops and the 4th Infantry as well as others. We transported many troops, hauled supplies and lots of 105MM sling loads/piggy back loads. Anyway so much for that background.
I was on guard duty the night the Mohawk went down. The airfield was right next to us. I also remember watching the Air Force bombing the hills to the west of us several times in the late afternoon. Lots of enemy activity then.
I wish there was some mention of the 180th ASHC (Big Windy) and our support and involvement in this time period. I left Vietnam in the middle of November, 1967. Got out just before all hell broke loose during Tet.
Thanks again for your interesting information. Some of the best reading about this area I have come across.
Deon Strain, November 28, 2014
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. Thank you so much for your article about the Blind Bats. My Dad, who has since passed away, was a pilot and engineer back then in the USAF and flew all over in and around Vietnam 1965-1967, before he came back to Biloxi to move the family to Europe in late '67. I'm not sure of his exact station back in '65-'67, but it was in the Philippines, not Vietnam. He eventually retired at VAFB as Major Leon H. Shannon, Command Pilot and Senior Missileman, then continued his aerospace engineering career at Northrup. He also was instructor on C130's and many other types of planes. I know so little about his missions, as he never talked about them. I knew he carried medical supplies, dogs and troops in Vietnam. I knew he flew low at night, loved his big birds and flew everywhere in his career, often with cameras on his plane or to go somewhere to figure out why one had crashed. I don't even know what he was a veteran of before he went to Viet! nam, only that it was an airlift and the people tried to light bonfires in the back of his plane to cook their dinner (He was not happy about that, but laughed in hindsight). Not long before he passed away I asked him if he could tell me the code names of any of his missions he worked on so I could look them up on the internet someday. He said Blind Bats and I laughed at the silly name because I thought it sounded like he didn't know where he was going and I knew he always did. He laughed too and mentioned Redbirds, Yellowbirds and Willy the Whale. By the time I first got on the internet a few years later, I had forgotten until I found your article. I still don't know what his exact role was, but I now have one more piece of the puzzle from my Dad's life and my childhood. Thank you and thank you for your service to our country.
Rita Shannon, November 12, 2014
The North Wall, Canada's Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. I just finished reading the North Wall information and it brought back memories. When I was 11, my Mother and Stepfather and I left Halifax and moved to Detroit, Michigan. August 1957. I went to High School in Detroit started College and decided to drop out for awhile. Being a Green Card Resident Alien, it only took Uncle Sam a few months to see my school status and got drafted in early 1966. I went to basic Training, on to Helicopter Maintenance School and then was assigned to a Helicopter Company that was in training at Fort Carson, Colorado for deployment to SouthEast Asia. Went to Vietnam in spring 1967 and spent 1 year in the Central Highlands with the 189th Assault Helicopter Company. In fall 67, I even picked up wounded 4th Infantry men and one was also from Halifax ! And lived in Detroit!! How ironic. My mother was in Halifax visiting and my story about picking him up was in the Halifax Mail Star. She gave out my address in Vietnam and I was swamped with good intentioned mail from all over Nova Scotia. Had a fascinating time in Vietnam, did all a person could possibly do, and returned home in April 68. Wow, the stories I have !! Anyways, I was always proud to be “A Canuck in Vietnam” who did both my Countries proud.
David Wilkie, October 24, 2014
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. I am absolutely sure the pic of a sheridan tank in Snoul, Cambodia is of myself and two fellow soldiers in the 1970 attack. I was in 2/11 E-Troop and was directly behind Col Starry when he got wounded. I know the facts of his wound and it wasn’t as dramatic as reported. We actually laughed. Love to be able to get a copy of that pic for my daughter. I have read reports of 4 Cambodian civilians found in Snoul. I was on a ground patrol and was alone away from others in the small patrol and walked upon 4 children placed sitting up back to back still smoking and charred coal black from being burned. The NVA sat them there. A reporter came up and asked me about it and my comments were in newspapers all over the world. I have a copy.
Ron Brown, September 17, 2014
HH-43 SAR pilot’s diary, 1964-1965, Vietnam. I enjoy reading your reconstructions of SEA rescue operations in summer 1965, working with the Archie diaries and other materials. I have followed along your accounts with cross-references to the USAF air rescue information reports (TWXs) held at Maxwell AFHRA. It looks like you have also consulted these. I am interested in SEA air rescue summer 1965 because my father was flying an HC-54 out of Udorn, perhaps on exactly those missions you describe so well. He earned a DFC for piloting Crown on the June 21-22, 1965 missions that rescued Captain Curtis H. Briggs from NVN. I am wondering if the Archie diaries might have notes regarding that mission/those dates?
Harold Colson, September 4, 2014
Editor’s note: Response was Archie’s notes began on June 27, 1965, after this incident.
Iraq Watch 2011-2014. Good job. I have been watching the news about what is going on in Iraq in the last few days. My son served new Yusufiah (sp?) 2008-09. I am furious about what is going on. I just wanted to let you know what a good job you are doing with this blog. Now that I have found it I will visit frequently. Thanks for all your hard work...
Helen, June 11, 2014
HelenHH-43 SAR pilot’s diary, 1964-1965, Vietnam. I read your fine article based on the notes of Archie. My Daddy, then a Captain was part of Operation Rolling Thunder, Robert B. Purcell. On July 27, 1965 as you know he was shot down, captured & held POW until Operation Homecoming in 1973. Listed as MIA for over a year because there was no sign of a parachute, we thought he may have been KIA. Sighting a parachute would have been a miracle that day I would imagine. The pilots were busy flying their jets. When one parachute was sighted it was mistakenly thought to belong to Don Williamson. You say in your article that you are not sure about his call sign. I don't know anything of Capt. Kyle Dag Berg but I can assure you that Daddy's was Ceadar 02. I am in touch almost daily with Bill "Hoz" Hosmer - Dogwood Lead, and Frank Tullo - Dogwood 02. They are my heroes since Daddy's death. I enjoyed reading your article, I happened upon it while reading up on the Jolly Greens. Thank You.
Becky Purcell Arts, May 29, 2014
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? I just finished reading your series on Sangin. Great insights and I'm really impressed by the amount of research you put in to get things right. was in Sangin as an Intelligence Analyst attached to Alpha Company, 1/5 from April 2011 to October 2011. Alpha Company replaced, Lima 3/5, the company Lt Kelly was part of. We took over the Wishtan area and part of the Southern Green Zone near FOB Jackson. You mentioned the surprise 3/5 felt at the amount of IEDs and engagements with the Taliban. From talking to guys from 3/5, they said they barely had a week to turnover with 3/7 and it consisted of only one patrol down the 611. I think the lack of being partnered with a familiar unit like 40 Commando may have contributed as well. Also, in preparation for our deployment, I spent the Summer of 2010 researching Sangin and from experience I can say there was definite lack of available reporting from the British. NATO/ISAF material is classified differently than reporting between Marine Units so it was very difficult to find much info from the British. I really appreciate you not taking sides in the "Brits sucked/Marines are awesome" debate. The British did a lot with very little. The Marines had a little bit more which proved to be "enough." At least to transition to the ANA this summer. I don't hold out much hope for Sangin. As an old elder once told our civil affairs team, "Wishtan will never change because Wishtan is too close to hell."
We both found Michael Yon to be a great resource too. I used Michael Yon's reporting quote a bit also as an unclassified resource. Unfortunately, the amount of material that becomes overclassifed (because 95% of communications occurred via the SIPRnet) actually restricted how much we could brief to the infantry. We did buy a bunch of books the Brits wrote and they were passed around among the Officers, but most of the info probably didn't get down to the basic grunt. I'm sure 3/5 faced the same difficulties. It's probably a combination of these factors and a feeling that the Brits were incompetent which led to a lot of arrogance on our part. Turns out IED's don't care where you're from. An odd thing that no one could have anticipated is that the Taliban would have increased their tempo into the winter. They would usually calm down after Ramadan, head to Pakistan, then slowly ratchet up activity into the summer. From a reporting perspective, this was often noted as the most significant difference between 3/5's deployment and those that would follow. There was a general feeling that 3/5 had killed all the dumber Taliban, and we were left with the smarter crop. We certainly had our share of stupidity though.
There were a lot of little gaps in my knowledge of Sangin from 2007 until 2009 and this article really cleared them up. Thanks for writing it and keeping the page updated in the past few months. It's nice to see someone who wasn't there actually giving a shit about what happened and what so many of my friends had to sacrifice.
Joshua Yarno, May 14, 2014
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. LS-36, Great research! Just ran across your work on LS 36. We go up there frequently because it is such a great place. Here is a photo of the Howitzer left in the jungle, I took on a recent trip up there.
This one you have probably seen, I have been adding some photos lately.
Hope to see you in Laos sometime?
Don Duvall, May 13, 2014
Memoirs of those who lived through the Cleveland Hill School fire of 1954. I am incredibly moved by your account of the tragic fire in 1954. I am only aware of the incident through the music of Jackson Frank as I am in my 20s and live in the UK. Your article is very touching and I took the time to try and imagine the pain both the physical and emotional for all involved in the community at the time.
Rick, March 1, 2014
They found the Earthquake, Jim McGovern has come home. Mr. Marek, I have been on google researching the Flying Tigers...23rd Fighter Squadron, 14th Air Force. I found your article. I was most interested in the part about January 20, 1945 (Lt. James B. McGovern, Jr., fighter pilot, 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 23rd Fighter Group, 14th Army Air Force, China, 1944-1945.) My uncle, Flight Officer Billy Gene Seago, was one of the 2 fighter pilots that did not make it back that day. My sister and I have been researching about him and his unit. Do you by any chance have any other information or pictures that Billy might have been a part of? I am so glad I came across your article. My email is email@example.com if you have anything else you could share. Thank you so much.
Dianne Tabers, February 28, 2014
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. I just read your work posted from the www.ec47.com web site. Wonderful job. I was assigned to Det 3 from 1969 thru 1972 as a 292x1, and I do remember you very well. It's great to read such proud words. We did our best.
Jerry Payne aka JCPayne aka Alley Cat 36, February 14, 2014
Airborne Peripheral Reconnaissance, Cold War losses, “Silent Sacrifices.” This is quite an amazing article you have put together. Book length! I especially like the accompanying photos. I've read Larry Tart's book on the same subject, and your efforts make a very nice companion piece. Congratulations on compiling such an interesting and comprehensive project. I never flew, but I did keep an eye on the recon planes while working in West Berlin, Osan, and NSA.
Bill Sims, Capt, USAF (ret.), Former Radio Communications Analyst (202X0), January 21, 2014
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? Great website! I am on my second tour here in Sangin and I must say - your chronology has helped shape our orientations more than anything. I served as a rifle company commander from July 2011 until Oct 2011 attached to 1st Battalion, 5th Marines in Sangin; responsible for the Southern Green Zone. Then, in Oct 2011, my company and I rejoined 1st Battalion, 6th Marines for Operation Eastern Storm. In fact, you have a picture of my guys clearing Kajaki Sofla. I have plenty more pictures, AARs and briefs from that deployment if you are interested. In any case, thank you for taking the time do capture the history of this area. We certainly appreciate you efforts!
Semper Fidelis, PJ Temblay, Major, USMC, December 21, 2013
Burma Banshees, "Angels on our Wings," the call of death to the enemy. I just wanted to thank you for writing your article. I actually found it on accident. I was googling a pic of an Army Air Force uniform for a commission I'm drawing, and I just happened to notice the CBI patch on the uniform. I think I turned about as white as a sheet because I -never- see pictures from the CBI Theater. My Grandfather was Sgt Harry Leo Malone in the 10th Air Force, 7th Bomb Group, 14th Bombardment Squadron. Their motto was "Mors ob Alto" He worked in communications. I guess I'm writing just on the off chance that our families ever worked together. When I get a chance to go back to Idaho I'll try to get my grandfather’s photos scanned. Right now I have everything put away in storage while I'm in NYC. I didn't dare take those things with me. Sorry to bother you with the random email but thank you for writing your article. It's history that most people never knew about.
Dani Malone, December 7, 2013
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy. The case of Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements. My name is Russ Contractor. I am the man who was with Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements in the truck she got injured. It has been 9 + years and I lost her track. Currently I am in Afghanistan and someone here Google’d my name because it is unique and told me about the story you wrote. Well, the only reason I am writing you to find my Angel point of contact. She shielded me from the blast because I was in the middle. If you have her contact information please ask her if she can send me an e-mail.
Russ Contractor, November 18, 2013
Editor’s note: I do not know how to contact her. If any of you do, please let Russ know. Thanks.
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. I don't remember any American officers involved at Phanrang with the whitehorse......just wondering. I was at company two..... just outside the wire it was a small firer base.... basically 105's and maybe one 155 howitzer....I was also at the command post up on the hill from time to time. When I was leaving Nam the Koreans retired the American Flag at the command post on the hill, and presented it to me....which I still have, and of course, put up a new one I was also given a complete papa son outfit from the Koreans. We were very close. The entire year that I was with the Whitehorse I don't recall any American officers ever stopping in to share any Kimpshe or soju.
Denny Farrell, November 4, 2013
Loss of Oyster One: The “Bloodiest Day”. I stumbled upon your website and have enjoyed it; particularly the story of Lodge and Oyster flight. I was based at Udorn from January to December, 1971 as a weapons controller; Brigham 58. I then returned as an EC-121 controller for Linebacker 1 an 2 on two month rotations from June 1972 though the last Cambodia missions in late 1973. I am proud to have been associated with so many who ignored the politics and focused on doing such an outstanding job at such great sacrifice.
Dick Kelly, November 1, 2013
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny.” My name is Robin Kidd. I just read your article on NKP. I was one of the original 203's (linguists) in the group that started Det. 3. Really enjoyed your writeup. I flew from 1969 - 1970. One of the people that was mentioned by Tony Skok was Rick Little - his name actually is Rick Love. He was a 203 also. Again really enjoyed the article on NKP. Brings back a lot of memories that just cannot be shared with people who were not there.
Robin Kidd, October 26, 2013
You are a skilled writer effectively covering topics that are too little known beyond a small circle. I truly enjoyed much, but was especially impressed by your writing on Air America and Laos. The Byrd & Sons Helios and the men who flew them were and remain an amazing bunch. Fortunately, a few of them are still with us (W. Donovan et al). All the best to you,
Fred Pauzer, October 4, 2013
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. I’ve been trying to find good info on the Blind Bat program for years. I would like to show my wife and kids something besides my old war stories. Lately I've found a lot of documentation on the program an am very grateful for that. Your article has helped me a lot.
In 1967 I was assigned to the Prop Shop in Naha Okinawa where I worked on the flight line. I loved the work, loved the Air Force, and was glad I was not on the ground in Vietnam. After about 6 months I was sent on extended TDY to Ubon Thailand to maintain the C-130A Blind Bat planes. As I was not a regular crew member I only got to fly on functional check flights and as an'Extra flare loader' whenever they would let me. I loved to fly and jumped at the chance every time a loadmaster even looked my way.
I had first hand experience with the LGB's, and after watching through the Starlight scope, a group of people and trucks disappear after being hit by a 2000 lb. LGB the war became real. I still, to this day think about the people we killed that day. The last flight I was on was May 2,1968 on Blind Bat 01. I had the privilege of sitting in the Flight Engineer's seat when we were moving to a new location. My job was to watch out front for enemy fire while the Pilot and Co-Pilot watched out their side windows. We had a SAM launched at us that night and it came up at us from the ground directly in front of us. It was so fast that, even though I saw the flash and launch it passed over our nose and detonated just above us. I don't know how it could have missed us and still detonated but it did. It was also 'End of Mission' for us. Col. Mason, our pilot was concerned about possible battle damage and I was literally sick from shock. Col. Mason actually came to see me the next morning to see how I was. His concern for me was the most amazing thing for me as enlisted man being shown that kind of personal attention by a high ranking officer. That was my last flight and my new friend and his crew was lost, probably by another SAM three weeks later.
Needless to say, I carry these feelings and experiences with me everyday. Thank you so much for writing about these brave men.
Ron Dickson, August 19, 2013
Our Pedros, rotors of wood, men of steel. Pretty cool info on the Huskie. My dad flew in WW II , Korea, and the HH 43 early in Viet Nam. I probably have some pretty interesting rescue notes during his deployment.
Archie Taylor, July 10, 2013
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. While searching the web for some Marine Corp accessories I happened to stumble upon your page on ROK Blue Dragon Marines in Vietnam. I just wanted to tell you that I truly enjoyed reading your well written piece on the ROK involvement in Vietnam. Too often recognition of Korea's involvment over there is overlooked and even sadder, by its own people. My father was a former ROK Marine who served in Vietnam from '65 to '71. I can tell you that your write up pretty much sums what he used to tell me about his tour in Vietnam. It was great hearing it from an "American" viewpoint.
Till this day whenever he crosses paths with a Vietnam Vet, he is immediately thanked for his service in Vietnam. I have even seen badass biker looking Vets break down and hug my dad crying, thanking him for his time there. A former Vet, who is now a Hells Angels even gave my dad a ride on his Hog. One memorable event was last year when a young Marine walked into my dad's store and presented him with some kind of medal received during his tour in Iraq several years back. Even though he had fought in a war himself, he wanted the chance to tell my father that he appreciated his role in Vietnam.
So again I say thank you for your tribute to the ROK Marines.....
James Kim, June 29, 2013
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of Mercy. The case of Staff Sergeant Jessica Clements. I just read the story on Jessica and felt the need to tell you it inspired me. Thank you.
Spc. Robert Bibbo, USA, June 24, 2013
Men of Task Force Smith, I report we completed our assigned task with honor. I was on the net the other day and was searching for items on Task force Smith when I found your article about the speech my Dad made on July 5, 1988. I knew that he had gone to the Memorial but I did not know that he spoke at the memorial. I wish to thank you for publishing his speech. My Mom and I were a part of that time too. We were in Japan during the time my father was in Korea. I was just a toddler at the time. Again thank you for article. My children and I have not forgotten.
William V. Wyrick, June 12, 2013
Use of herbicides in Laos. I came across your blog posts when I was doing research on landing zones in Laos. An amazing collection of very interesting reading, very well researched and written. I see that on the Ban La Boy series you have used some of my friends Marcus and Nat’s photos. Marcus has an amazing collection of photos from the trail region.
Primarily I am trying to identify any areas in Laos where herbicides may have been used/stored. I have discovered that there was on Air America Porter that briefly sprayed herbicides along Skyline ridge area in early 1968. And that the herbicides were loaded in Long Tieng or possibly in Vientiane. I have also had a few vets tell me that herbicides were used in Luang Prabang, Na Khang and a handful of other locations. But honestly I am not sure if they are just presuming they were used because of the lack of vegetation or if they actually witnessed herbicides being used. It gets a bit murky because pesticides were used in some places to keep mosquitos down and this may have been confused as herbicide use.
I also have the Ranch Hand records so know what was sprayed in southern Laos. In addition, I have read that there was a very short term program to use F-4D’s to test high speed spraying in Laos and one of the planes was shot down in the Ban La Boy region. There is also reportedly some spray runs that went out of Udorn over Laos in 1969. But these spray runs are not on the Ranch Hand HERBS or Service HERBs tapes. There were also at least one other Ranch Hand plane that went down in Laos.
But I am trying to sort out if there was any use of herbicides either to clear landing zones or to keep them clear throughout the war. From what I am reading it appears that the clearing of landing zones was done by hand or in a few cases by bulldozers flown in. And I have also read that in some cases Napalm was used to help clear sites. But I have not read anywhere that herbicides were used. Some of the google earth views of the landing zones show areas that are still clear of vegetation but it is not possible to know if this is because they were frequently sprayed so no natural regrowth occurred or if they were later used by locals to plant rice or just to clear the trees for the lumber trade were subsequently cleared.
I would hazard a guess to say that for the most part unless the landing zone was a significant site (LS-20A, LS-36 perhaps) that herbicides would not have played a role as hand clearing was sufficient. I would also presume, perhaps wrongly, that there was much more important cargo being flown on the planes than barrels of herbicide. But I am curious if during your time in the region or through your research if you are aware of any use of herbicides at the landing zones in Laos. I would guess that if there was any use of herbicides that they would have been stored at Udorn or one of the other bases in Thailand.
I am doing this research to try to answer once and for all whether there are any potential dioxin hotspots in Laos from the use of herbicides. Not any easy task as most of the CIA records are still classified. But I am finding that unlike Vietnam where millions of gallons were stored on a handful of bases that it is not very likely to be an issue in Laos. Other than perhaps a few isolated areas where barrels may have been stored. Any aerial spraying during the war is no longer an issue. And unlike areas such as Da Nang and Bien Hoa airbases where dioxin was found in fish ponds used until recently that these sites in Laos are not likely a public health threat today.
Anyway I would appreciate any insights you may have. In the mean time I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Susan Hammond, June 10, 2013
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. I was very impressed with your writings about NKP. I flew 72 missions from there, Danang, and Saigon in '72-'73. The last 10 or 15 missions were with Ron Schofield up north fixing radar sites (horizontally polarized antennae). It got a little dicey "chasing" a target into the buffer zone, but the F-4's were hanging so I felt better.
Mitch Mckee, June 7, 2013
Irish Vietnam Memorial. I am writing on behalf of the Irish Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Project. The Irish Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Project is a single purpose non-profit organization consisting of volunteers who have committed to establishing a permanent memorial in Ireland to honor the 2,500 Irish citizens who served with the United States and allied services in South East Asia during the Vietnam War. We believe that their service is deserving of this recognition. We hope that this project will not only memorialize their service but will facilitate the healing process for those men and women and their families who continue to bear the scars of their service. The memorial will be a gift to our brothers and sisters who served beside us during this most trying of times. The project will raise funds which will be used to place a permanent memorial in the City of Ennis, County Clare, Republic of Ireland. The memorial will list the names of the twenty-nine individuals who lost th! eir lives. The Town of Ennis Town Council has already approved the project, identified a site and issued a solicitation for the design of the memorial. We have received the endorsement of the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Virginia State Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and other organizations. We are in the process of obtaining further endorsements. We have been approved by the IRS as a 501©(3) corporation and are now actively seeking further endorsements and financial support. Our goal is to install the memorial during November 2014. Vietnam Veteran of American recently published an article in its bi-monthly magazine supporting the project http://vvaveteran.org/33-3/33-3_notes4.html Additional information can be found on our web site http://www.theirishvietnamveteransmemorialproject.org/. It would be greatly appreciated if you would be able to support us by helping to get the word out about this worthwhile effort and/or making a donation. Please contact me at your earliest convenience either by email or cell 703 863 2705.I
Brian McDonnell, June 5, 2013
The O-1 "Bird Dog," the toughest dog in the fight, "our little flivver”. I just ran across your website – I was googling “Bird Dog” to find out more about them. My father, Calvin Chandler, flew them in Vietnam with the 73rd Aviation Company out of Fort Rucker. This company flew only Bird Dogs in the year and a half if its existence and then the company was disbanded. They just held their 50th reunion in Fort Rucker a few weeks ago and I attended. They have a website called the 73rdaviationcompany.org where men have posted many pictures of bird dogs. We had a bird dog flown in and we got to climb in it and see it fly. It turns out that the two men assigned to fly that plane in Vietnam were there at the reunion. It was amazing. Anyway, I hope you find it interesting. Just thought I would pass the website location on to you in case you were interested.
Cathryn Noyes, May 24, 2013
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? Section 7: I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) arrives, the largest Marine command yet in Afghan. I want to thank you for taking such interest in Sangin. I was a US Marine attached to 40 Commando in Sangin and returned in 2012 with 1/8 Bravo company to Kajaki. Your picture of a Royal Marine on a roof at Patrol Base Pylae was Jonathan Crooks. He was killed on July 16 2010 along with US Marine Justus Bartlett. I was on that patrol Justus was right behind me as we went through a door way. Crooks was clearing a path for the medevac when he was killed. Thought I would give you the story behind the man in the photo. Thanks
Brian Keane, May 10, 2013
Just finished reading three separate articles on the site; amazing photos and excellent writing. Great descriptions of the area, and loved the maps. Deployed now in Afghan and was trying to learn about Nuristan. Thank you for not only your fearless service and bravery in battle, but thank you also for your dedication and expenditure of time it took to document all this.
Robbin Duuck, April 9, 2013
LS-36, “The Alamo” in Laos. I spent two tours at NKP, 1970, and 1971-72, with the 56th Special Operations Wing, Intelligence Directorate. Reading your account of the war in Laos and especially about Lima Site 36 brought back many memories. I am now reliving and remembering by reading your history some of the operations we at NKP were involved in. I want to thank you for saving for posterity writing about the many events and especially the men who served so valiantly while fighting "The Secret War." As a footnote; my introduction to air operations in Laos was through our intelligence briefing presented to all new comers. My understanding of the first Indochina war fought by the French in Laos was that due to the mountainous terrain, the French were the first to built landing sites throughout Laos.
Bob H. Schrynemakers, March 4, 2013
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny.” I stumbled across your account of life at NKP and think it was a great account of life there, no matter what squadron one was attached to, it seemed to all come together as life in a bottle. I knew very little about the activities and mission of the base when there. I did know that rescue, Heavy Hook, TFA and the gunships were the gist of the base. You have informed me after 40 yrs as to what Det.3 was involved in.
I was in K-9 while there, and the stories we could tell should stay untold. There was something about NKP that really impacts those that were there. I spent 15 months at Clark and just wasn't the same, though I did enjoy my tour there also. I rode Horse Patrol until they downsized and then went to K-9 and still don't have the memories that I have of NKP.
I was guarding the bomb dump at NKP one night when my dog went into the biggest alert that he had ever had. I called it in and went outside the fence to follow the scent. My dog Nicky was digging in with his front feet and pushing off with his hind ones trudging thru the jungle while we had one of the biggest downpours. It was raining so hard that I couldn't see his nose, so I flipped my AR to full auto while he pulled me along. I believe we thwarted an attack that night, I lost the trail, but it was picked up by another dog handler near the east perimeter and they still got away possibly thru a tunnel under the fence as I had previously reported digging activity outside the wire and they had the Thai AF handle the culprits.
The other handler and I both got a commendation letter signed by the Base and Wing Commanders for this incident. Nicky was euthanized in 1975 for his service to save money to transport him back to the states.
I really enjoyed reading your articles.
Charlie Ogletree, La Grande, Oregon, March 10, 2013
Black Sunday in Sadr City. Thank you. I still think it was a great article. To see the pictures of those guys who gave their lives on that day and seeing that place again brought tears to my eyes. There's also a book that was written, The Long Road Home, I didn't know about this book until all of the 1-12 Cav Medics got together for a funeral, of one of our fellow Sadre City medics that committed suicide in October 2011. We looked at the book and were slightly disappointed with the few inaccuracies of the battle that day. We were not mentioned and although the 2-5 Cav was the main effort, our medics were the ones who did most of the work on those 3 days. Col Gerhardt, at the time, got credit for saying things that our PA CPT Sullivan said and did. Sighing. We understand that stories aren't always correct or point blank accurate. We except that, but we did well and "we" know what we did. We thought about putting a book together as well. But I'm starting to think that, that plan was buried with Erik Franses. (spelled his last name wrong I think) Still, thank you for telling the story. Regardless of who done what, we were all family and we will all have something in common in history. Black Sunday. God bless and if you ever need info, I'll try to point you in the right direction. Good luck with the writing. I look forward to reading some more of your stuff.
Sergeant Jonathan A. West "Doc" (569th Engineer Div, Detachment out of Fort Eustis, Va)
Editor’s Note: This is a followup to a letter Sgt. West wrote back in February 2012: “Sir, I'm not sure if you're the one who wrote the article on "Black Sunday" or if it were someone else, but it bothers me that my Unit is never mentioned and I was there that day 4 April 2004 Sadre City, Iraq. Our medics treated most of the casualties. 2-5 Cav was the main Unit but when it came to the Medics, 1-12 Cav Medics did most of the work. A lot of our guys did go out into the fight. As I can recall, the Camp almost seemed empty when we got the word. Soldiers were piling up in the back of LMTV's and coming back seriously wounded. In fact, 30-45 minute’s into the battle all wheeled vehicles were stopped from leaving the FOB because it was too dangerous. But I didn't write to tell the story, I just wanted whoever wrote the article to know that 1-12 Cav was a major part of the battle as well as the life saving efforts that day. God bless”
Airman Basic Paige Renee Villers, USAF, courage, honor, a patriot. I read your article with interest. It occurs to me that gassing of recruits just prior to her getting sick was the more probable cause of her illness and subsequent death. Many things are blamed on a virus, that viruses have nothing to do with. For instance spraying of pepper spray is a practice that should be stopped also, as 90 - 98% are glycol ether chemicals that cause health damage.
Margaret Diann Hursh, February 21, 2013
Jerry “Chip” Burge, Jr., Memorial Armed Forces Reception. My name is Allison Wheat, I teach U.S. history in Picayune, MS. I would like to share a story of a wonderful group of students and a tradition that has started at our school.
Almost 6 years ago, in the small town of Picayune one of our own was killed in Iraq. In April of 2007, Army Staff Sgt. Jerry Clark Burge Jr., who was a member of the 1st Cavalry Division, was killed in the line of duty. On the day that Sgt. Burge was buried, there was a procession down the main “drag” in town. Because our high school and junior high are located near the street, our administration allowed us to take our students to the procession. As the hearse came by, one could literally hear a pin drop, which was remarkable for over 1500 teenagers.
When the procession was over, where my classes were standing, also happened to be several members of the local VFW post. I took this moment to explain to the students who the gentlemen were and what their pins etc. stood for. All of a sudden, one of my female students just walked over to one of the gentlemen from the VFW, grabbed his hand, shook it, and said “Thank you”. Then, with out being told the rest of my students and another teacher’s students followed. When our classes were finished, there were tears in the eyes of one of the gentlemen. His wife asked him if he was “ok”, and he replied, “Better than I have been in a long time”. Our students heard this exchange, and as we walked back to class there were not many dry eyes among us. Back in class, the students told me they wanted to do something honoring veterans and members of the Armed Forces. Within two weeks, we had organized a reception, in which veterans and members of the Armed Forces could ! come and sit down at tables with our students and share their experiences. Our first year we had 13 Veterans, 2007, 47 Veterans and members of the Armed Forces attended, 2008, 79 Veterans and members of the Armed Forces attended, and in 2009 and 2010 over 100 attended each. In 2011, we had 130 Veterans and members of the Armed Forces, plus Civil War re-enactors, who showed students what is was like to fire guns and cannons, plus customs and traditions of the period.
This is one of the most remarkable experiences that I have ever had as a teacher. Our students sit down, and listen intensely as these men and women recount the stories about their lives and reluctantly how they shaped America. Our students talk about this for months, after. They are now inviting family members whom they know will enjoy this experience.
This year, we have moved the event back to it's original time of year May, which is Armed Forces Appreciation Month. The Jerry “Chip” Burge Jr. Memorial Armed Forces Reception will be held at Picayune Memorial High School on May 17, 2013. We would like to invite Veterans and current members of the Armed Forces to share their experiences with the next generation. Please spread the word, bring memorabilia, family and friends.
Allison Wheat, February 22, 2013
Blind Bat, Yellowbirds, Willy the Whale, the "Night Intruders" on Uncle Ho's trail. I just read the article about the Blind Bat crews at Ubon. I was there in 1967 and flew with Col. Mason before he was lost on Blind Bat 01. I was not a regular crewmember but flew as often as they would let me. I was in the Prop Shop and did maintenance on those aircraft. I loved to fly and took every opportunity to load flares with the regulars. My last flight was on May 2, 1967 with Col. Mason on Blind Bat 01. I rotated back to Naha and then down south just as the aircraft was lost. I feel a personal loss in regard to this because of the friends I lost on that last mission. It was a brief experience for me but the memory is strong even now. Best regards,
Ron Dickson, December 10, 2012
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. I did FO (forward observer) missions with 28th shooting C btry 6/32 FA (Field Artillery) 8 inch/175, Dec 68, Mar 69. Did several arty raids / arty support with 29th shooting B btry 6/32 FA rest of 69. Used ROK (Republic of Korea) Bird Dogs O-1 Foreward air Controllers) out of Ninh Hoa for countless registrations into 70. Still have my ROK Army) White Horse pocket patch
Jim Robinson, December 2, 2012
Burma Banshees, "Angels on our Wings," the call of death to the enemy. I am the wing historian for the 80th Flying Training Wing, which was the 80th Fighter Group - the Burma Banshees - in WWII. First of all, I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your site, and especially the coverage you give to the Burma Banshees and the Twin Dragons. It's a great tribute! Secondly, I have a question about the origins of the emblems of the 88th, 89th, 90th, and 459th Fighter Squadrons. You discuss their origins on the site. I was wondering what sources you used for the info and if you'd be willing to share them. I'm putting together info on the origins of the squadron emblems and their meanings, which all the squadron personnel would enjoy learning about. Likewise, if there is any information I might be able to provide to you for the website, I'd be happy to send it your way.
William M. Clifton, 80 FTW Historian, November 15, 2012
Our Pedros, rotors of wood, men of steel --- The fire suppression and local base recovery mission. I was at Little Rock and I remember the crash (B-58A Hustler). I got out of the Air Force there 3 August 1968. I was in the electric shop which was in the hangar where the Pedro’s were hangared. I remember several Work Orders on the Pedro’s and A TCTO I don’t what the TCTO did. I went to work for General Dynamics on B-58 when I got out. I then worked for Lockheed as a production flight mechanic building the C-5A. I then Went to work at Warner Robins ALC building AC-130E Gunships. I retired from Robins after 30 years. Thanks for the web site.
Byron Cotton, October 31, 2012
Principal Program Manager
The American withdrawal from Afghanistan 2012 and The American withdrawal from Iraq 2011, with a watch on 2012 and Military news not often well publicized. Thanks for keeping us updated on the status of current issues in the Middle East, our troop involvement, numbers and locations, etc. and Military news not often well publicized. I am trying to keep myself educated (for prayer purposes) and I found your site to be very helpful.
Cindy Rice, September 26, 2012
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny.” I stumbled upon on your page while researching information on a mission flown out of NKP on March 1st. 1971. What caught my attention was the comment "I'm glad I had the courage to speak directly with Sgt. Kessler" During my father's (Ken Kessler) delirium of being sick, I learned of his Distinguished Flying Cross medal which he earned from the mission flown on March 1st. 1971. My father has never really spoke much of NKP except for recently and it is just bits and pieces. I have found a box full of photos he took while stationed at NKP, some from the air while flying, some of the area, and others of friends during R&R. Some of the names you have listed in your memoirs sound very familiar to me, not sure if it is because I have heard my father speak of these names or maybe I know the names from going to school with their children. The ESC group is a very elite group and I know my father has been stationed with some of these men at more than one base. As a family lived in Bangkok in 1966-68. Not really sure where my father worked while we were there. He never seemed to work at any of the bases we were stationed at, always seemed to be off away from the base. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Anna Johnson, September 12, 2012
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. I enjoyed your article ..."Naked Fanny" 2011, especially the photographs. Would you happen to have any photos of the officers club on base or any shots of the town? While my parents were at the bar before we were to have dinner, my brother and I would stand at the fence watching the jets take off on bombing runs. With our fingers in our ears and the ground shaking beneath us, we marveled at the immense flame and thunderous power as each fighter set off into the night sky. It was an incredible period in history and I am now realizing how important those memories are. Years earlier, I was privileged to live in Saigon, vacationing in DaNang and NaTrang, and experiencing historical events from a perspective of innocence. On or about August 1962 or 1963, my father took the family to the base mess hall in DaNang, where we were going to celebrate my birthday. I remember a man in an Air Force uniform approach us as we were walking up the sidewalk to the entrance. He stopped and greeted my father, then presented a bird cage with two canaries in it to me. That act of kindness has stayed with me all these years and I would love to be able to thank him or his family. Even at such a young age, I couldn't help but think that he had a family back in the States and was doing something that he wished he could do with his children. I felt fortunate that my family was able to live together, even though the circumstances were a little hairy at times. Anyway, this is a wonderful site. Thank you for your commitment to keeping people talking about their experiences.
Elizabeth Respess, September 1, 2012
The 459th Twin Dragon Fighter squadron, Burma Banshees. I came across your web site on the 459th Twin Dragons from the CBI. I am always in need of more information about the 459th and was hoping to get a line on some information. My father in law Dewey Sowder was a pilot in the 459th from '43 to November of 44. I have Dewey's flight logs and have been able to tie Dewey to various missions listed in Col. (James M.) Fielders book (459th Fighter Squadron, Twin Dragons CBI 1943-1945). I got to talk to Col. Fielder in the winter of 2001. Cool guy. Wrote me a kind note and signed my copy of his book. There's a very nice picture of Dewey in Col. Fielders book, a briefing, Dewey's in the back with his hat cocked to one side. Dewey was a warrant officer and when he got out, a first lieutenant. Flew 110 missions. He served as someones wing man and in spite of this he had 1 1/2 kills. I don't know who he was a wing man for, wondered if you might have a lead on that information. He did tell me once the story of Capt. Dukes death and he was on the mission sent out to look for him. Dewey was transferred out to the 33rd fighter group 'The Gorillas" in November of 1944. I believe he was in line for the executive officer of this outfit before he got out in May of '45. I know nothing of the 33rd and was hoping to get a line that outfit as well. Any information you could give me would be appreciated and if not, it was nice to touch base with you and tell you how cool your web site is.
Mitch Thompson, July 18, 2012
A look at the the Ban Laboy Ford, Laos, and Hwy 912, why did we spend so much on them? I was going through my server logs and noticed a link from your site to my Ban Laboy topographic map. I followed it and read your report on the Ban Laboy Ford. You have done a masterful job of research and story telling. Thank you. Welcome home.
Ray Smith, June 24, 2012
Medevacs & Medics, Angels of mercy --- Birth of the 45th Medical Company (Air Ambulance - AA). I just read your narrative on the 45th with some interest since I was in the unit when it deployed from Ft. Bragg. I was on the aircraft party along with some 25 other members of the company and we went to Viet Nam on the USNS Kula Gulf, an old WWII aircraft carrier. We departed San Francisco on the 4th of July 1967 and arrived in country some 23 days later at Vung Tau and processed the aircraft and move them to Long Binh from there. If you are interested, I will be glad to talk with you about how we infused the 57th, the 283rd and the 254th into the 45th so that we could become operational with experienced pilots. Probably if you look at the DUSTOFF Association website, you may be able to pick up information from that site as well.
Robert W. Barrett, Col, USA (Ret.), June 19, 2012
DUSTOFF 30 1967-68 3rd Flight Platoon
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. I have been reading the 11th ACR Unit web site. I find the Snoul segment very interesting as I was in Snoul before the 11th ACR got there. I was assigned to the 205th Aviation Company….called the Geronimoes….a Chinook unit based out of Phu Loi and spent many days supporting the 11ACR. I recall being tasked out of Quan Loi for a flight in support of the Blackhorse….to resupply a unit on the road out of Loc Ninh supposed to be in the vicinity of Snoul. We had no maps for the area….but the directions were simple….follow the road out of Loc Ninh and look for the airstrip. We got to the airstrip….had no Comms with the receiving unit….circled around with the sling load…..saw two civilian airplanes on the runway and considered landing to make parley with the two pilots who were wearing white shirts and black trousers who were plainly not Oriental. We gave that up as a bad idea and wound up returning to Loc Ninh with the load. What is of interest to me is the fact we were not shot at or see any signs of NVA or VC troops or equipment, fortifications, or anything to indicate they were there. Yet, the Ground Troops met heavy resistance there and there were reports of Anit-Aircraft emplacements and weapons sited along and around the airfield. So…when I read about Snoul and the Blackhorse…..I realize how lucky I was on that day.
Ralph Chappell, June 17, 2012
Loss of Oyster One: The “Bloodiest Day”. Just finished your story of Bob Lodge, 'Oyster One'. As usual I received quite an education. As always, thank you so much for what you do. This was a great read.
Paul Bradshaw, June 12, 2012
The “Walking Dead,” the 1-9 Marines in Vietnam. Just a note to say I enjoyed reading your article at 1-9 Marines, “WalkingDead.” Factually correct and right-on. USAF Air Police/Security Police were glad to see the marines at Da Nang AB. When the Marines arrived there were only 90 Air Police on base. The squadron built up to 1,100 Security Police, and began the first K-9 unit in Vietnam. I was a member of that K-9 Test Unit (TOPDOG45) which was a test to see if dogs would work out in the heat. They did just fine, as you know. The sergeant KIA on 1 July 1965 was Terance Jensen. He was the first of 111 AP/SPs to be KIA or LOD in Vietnam and Thailand during the war.
I had the opportunity to meet several marines on the perimeter and they always wanted to pet my dog Blackie. AF K-9 back then were sentries dogs and very dangerous, unlike today’s scout and trail dogs that you can walk up to and pet and only attack on command or danger to their handler. At Da Nang AB, the AF had an “Airman’s Club” and I invited several marines to a steak breakfast (it was c-rats the first 6 months until a decent mess hall was built), and I have to say everyone was a perfect gentleman. Often other airmen would come over to the table and shake their hands…you guys were greatly appreciated by all.
Incidentally, the K-9 silhouette photo is of Gary Knutson, and his dog Eric. Eric was hands-down the meanest junkyard dog you never wanted to come across in a dark alley. I guess it’s safe to confess, that the building to the right of the guardmount of SPs was stolen from the Marines by our SPs late one night. The Marine colonel retaliated by ‘appropriating’ a large metal container near where that building is in the photo, loaded with steaks on dry ice. Both our colonels agreed those thieving ARVNs must be responsible for our mutual losses, and as I recall, a few BBQ were held at the Growl Pad K-9 section with a number of marines always ready and willing to eat AF BBQ. It was great.
On 1 July 1965, the sappers entered the base through a small section guarded by ARVN, who all disappeared before the attack, and started blowing up F-102s and C-130s.
One of my tent mates, J.B. Jones, was KIA on 23 Jan 1966 (during one of those cease fire time-outs the president liked to do), during a mortar attack. He was guarding a reservoir with 3 POL tanks inside.
Thank you very much for your service, and Welcome Home.
Don Poss, June 10, 2012
Loss of Oyster One: The “Bloodiest Day”. This was the greatest story I have ever had the opportunity t o read. The love of the fellow man to never give up on a rescue. I commend all of you involved in this great rescue mission. It makes me proud to be an American, USAF vet , Viet Nam Vet, C-123, and C-130 flt Eng. In country time 1962,1963,1965,1966,1968,1969,1970.
Bill Collier, June 7, 2012
Our Pedros, rotors of wood, men of steel. Looking for HH-43 Pedro Members from 1970. I am hoping to find some of my buds that went to Helicopter Mechanic training at Sheppard Air Force Base during the summer of 1970. We graduated in August 1970. Most of us were deployed overseas to Viet Nam and Thailand. If you can provide me with a website to see if I can post my name and search for my fellow troops, I would appreciate it. Thank you.
Joe Escobedo, May 30, 2012
Electric Goons of Naked Fanny. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your story about the 'electric goon' and the TEWs mission in Southeast Asia. Yours is the most comprehensive account about the subject I have read to date and I wish to thank you for your attention to factual detail. TEWs types were indeed a special breed. I had the honor of membership with the 362nd TEWS at Pleiku in 1970, later moving to Danang. As a very young twenty one year old Sergeant, I was assigned as crew chief to aircraft #570. She was an old war horse... and I am told that she is still flying today with the South Korean Air Force. While we crew chiefs seldom flew on board (except for perhaps functional maintenance check flights), we worked hard at keeping these old birds aloft for their missions. The 'knuckle busters' of the 362nd enjoyed one of the best 'in-compliance' rates of any squadron in Vietnam during a prolonged period of years, not just months of sustained and completed missions. Anyway, thanks for your story. I will share it with my grandchild. Thanks also for your service to country. Both are deeply appreciated.
Jon Ohman, May 22, 2012
RT Breaker Patrol, the Hill Battles of Vietnam. I was attached from 8/4 Arty as an FO (enlisted) with 2nd Plt C-Trp 3/5 Cav. Besides serving as security for the Engineers making the Red Devil Highway or what we in the Cav called the Yellow Brick Road, we patrolled areas from the Rock Pile through Khe Sanh. On one mine swiping operation I saved a war correspondent's life --- his name is Holger Jensen --- for which I received the Silver Star. My question is have you heard of any time on target arty fire missions along The Ho Chi Minh Trail from February through the end of March 1971?
Terry Johnson, May 21, 2012
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. I just read your information about your SEA Tour in the early 70s. I appreciate your view, service and historical contribution. My father was a pilot (at that time, Maj.) who flew the EC-47 out of Viet Nam and Thailand for 18 months from 1971-72. Prior to that time he was an Instructor Pilot at Randolph and then Keesler (he flew both C-47 and T-28 and taught numerous foreign students). He never really talked much about his Tours in Viet Nam and he died in in 1983 from lymphocitic leukemia (presumably Agent Orange related). Therefore I don't know much of what he did there. I do know he received a DFC, Bronze Star and several Air Medals for his service. My question: Where/How can I obtain more information about his activities? Thanks again and I do appreciate your informative article
William G. Dean, May 9, 2012
Editor’s note: The best place to find good material on the TEWS EC-47 pilots, nags and flight sport crews is at http://www.ec47.com/dir.htm.
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. Hi my name Is David Jackson, my dad was a crew chief on the EC-47Q in Danang in 71-72. His name was Pete “Randy" Randolph. His plane was 570 AKA “Judy in the sky". He was with the 362nd TEWS. I'm looking for any and all information about the mission and my dad’s role in the war.
David Jackson, April 24, 2012
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? Ran across your website today and very much appreciated the time and attention you gave to these areas. My son, Sgt Luke Pyeatt, USMC was with II MEF at OP Athens (near FOB Zeebrugge) in Jan-Feb 2011. He was killed 5 Feb 11 while on a combat patrol hear Machi Kehyl. We miss him terribly but have great love and admiration for our Marine family. We understand also the sacrifices being made, as well, to bring these stories home. Thanks for doing this tough business and supporting our warriors.
Scott Pyeatt, April 23, 2012
I just wanted to let you know what a terrific website you have created and to thank you for your service to our country in the Air Force. And I also pray that our president is not reelected! Be well.
Pat Carta, April 20, 2012
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny.” Ed, I saw your site on the Net. I served with Det 2 and Det 3 6994th back in 1972-1973 as a Vietnamese Linguist (Z-1). Your site is great.
Jerry Dennis, April 11, 2012
Interesting Laos history. Hello my name is Lam Phandara and I’m from Laos living in the USA for almost 34 years now. i would love to learn more about Laotian history even though I’m from Laos. I don't know much as my family didn’t tell me a whole lot.
Lam Phandara, April 6, 2012
Editor’s note: I have done several stories that have Laotian history in them. On this site, Ban Laboy Ford and Electric Goons. On my Wisconsin Central site, The Hmong, a gallant American ally, a “people in exile,” a people of dignity.
The “Walking Dead,” the 1-9 Marines in Vietnam. I read your “Walking Dead” story on the website and was wondering if you have lists of USMC casualties for the 1966-68 time frame. In particular, I am looking for any information on Corporal Robert Daniel Corriveau, USMC, serial number 2140499 (or possibly 2148499). At one time his unit was I company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Division. Corriveau was stationed at Kadena AFB Okinawa and departed there on 8 October 1966 for Camp JJ Carol, Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province, Republic of Viet Nam. He arrived in Country 12 October 1966 and may have left there on or about 24 July 1967, after having been wounded. I do not know what unit(s) he served with while in the Dong Ha area. He received a wound to the upper left arm and eventually was medevaced to Philadelphia Naval Hospital, where he was recovering when he went missing on Monday 18 November 1968. He was declared AWOL and later a deserter. He was never seen again.
That same day, a young man's body was found at the side of a road near Downingtown, PA, stabbed through the heart. He had no identification on him and he has remained a "John Doe" for the past 43 years. This young man was wearing civilian clothing, but was covered with a Navy Pea Coat. He had a USMC Bulldog tattoo on his upper right shoulder and the tattoo of a swallow on his lower left arm. A healed "bullet wound" was found on his upper left arm. I believe that this John Doe and Corporal Corriveau are the same person, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Marine Corps are looking into the matter.
Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
Richard, March 22, 2012
The 761st Black Panthers, they came out fighting. I am writing my mother’s memoirs and I wonder if the 761 Tank Brigade were the ones who liberated her slave labor camp in southern Germany. My mother's name is Anastasia Iwanciw and she was taken from her home in Western Ukraine in 1942, Dec. 14, and taken to Germany as slave labor, she had just turned 17. At first she worked in a factory and then she was sent to be gassed, but survived due to a breakdown and then was sent to southern Germany to dig anti-tank ditches as forced labor, she was injured and instead of being shot a kindly guard sent her to the doctor, who took pity on her because of her age and sent her to work in the kitchen, as the allies neared, the camp guards melted away and she was left in the camp with a handful of people. Some of the workers had been put on a bridge and blown up. Some returned to tell about it.
The one thing about her story which intrigued me is this:
She said she was at the camp well getting water, when she heard the rumbling of tanks and she thought it was the Germans coming back to finish off the few slave laborers who were left. The tanks which appeared were clearly not German tanks, nor Russian. When the men got out she was scared because she had never seen a black man and she thought perhaps they had been burned or something as she had seen many horrible things. However, the men were nice and smiled and handed out chocolate bars. It was her first encounter with Americans as well. She said the tanks left and other Americans came and then collected other people and sent them to a displaced persons camp named Leybach.
I realize that it has been a long time, but I wonder if anyone in the tank battalion remembers liberating a smaller slave labor camp and meeting a girl of 20 or 21 at a well?
I had just watched an hour long video on General Eisenhower and Patton and Bradley at various Nazi slave labor and concentration camps and I got the chills thinking I might see my mother in one of those liberations. I don't even know if the 761st is the right tank battalion or not or if there were others, but it would surely be a wonderful authentication to her story which I am writing for my children and grandchildren. I have been reading about the 761 Tank Battalion and I can't help but wonder if it was the battalion that liberated that camp. I didn't ask the name of the camp. The only clue is that the they reached Leybach after a few hours. I wish I had asked more questions. My children are indignant that some people are saying that the concentration camps never existed. Also I met a senior citizen an American who had been a soldier who had worked with the camp survivors. He encouraged me to write my story. My mother died in 2001 and of course! I can't ask her anymore questions.
I know that she was grateful to the black men in the tanks who liberated her and others. If it is possible and if there is any interest I would love to hear from you and see if I could have a great ending to my story.
Stefka White, March 18, 2012
Afghanistan’s hell, the Sangin Valley: Why Sangin? “The Valley of Death”. One of the facebook pages I check on, the boys of 3/5, posted a link to your essay this morning. I am still reading it, but wanted to say thank you for what seems to be a fact based, rather than political leaning story... at least so far. My wife still has a hard time reading these things, however I find it ... almost cleansing to know more about what is happening there, and why things have happened as they did. Our son's brahs tell us stories, but they don't know the political reasoning for burying so many of their brothers. Until this, the most in depth look we had was General Burger sitting in our living room while colonels tried to explain what happened... and they were politically motivated. Thanks again,
Jim Binion, proud and sad parent of Sgt Matt Abbate, Scout Sniper, Banshee 3, Sniper Platoon, H&S Company, 3/5/1/1, assigned to Kilo Co.
Thank you for sharing all this great information, I recently returned from a 2000 Km trip on the Ho Chi Minh trails in Laos, I got some great info from here and it helped with the planning of my routes. I liked it so much I'm moving there all being well in October, I wish to open a tour company, I have become completely taken in by the whole story and the great people of Laos. I would like to use some photos if I may and quote a few lines from the site and of course put a link from us to you. Hope this is not to cheeky.
Chris Corbett, March 3, 2012, http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/ride-tales/ho-chi-min-trail-laoss-61021
Electric Goons of “Naked Fanny”. Congratulations, I just finished reviewing your "Electric Goons" series of articles on Det 3, 6994th SS, NKP, Laos, and the War, etc! I did not serve in SEA, but I certainly can relate to your stories of flying in USAFSS airborne recon units--I am a retired SMSgt who flew for a decade (1967-76) in the C-130's and RC-135's in Europe. As you may or may not know, I am the author of "The Price of Vigilance," about the shoot down of C-130 60528 over Armenia in 1958 and am currently writing the history of USAFSS--published a three-volume set ("Freedom Through Vigilance," Volumes I, II and III) about USAFSS ground site history last year and will be publishing the USAFSS airborne recon history (Volumes IV and V) in the next few months. Please check out our USAFSS history books on my website: www.larrytart.com
I am presently working on the chapter that documents the history of the 6994th SS in SEA and landed on your "Talking Proud" articles over the weekend. I have also spent time on J.C. Wheeler's EC-47 website and Rick Yeh's 6994th website, and Rick has given me permission to use some materials from his website in our USAFSS history. Would it be possible for me to use some of your materials in the 6994th chapter?
I will certainly credit any materials I use to you, much in the manner that you have attributed memoirs, etc. to Det 3 alumni who have provided you inputs. I recognize the names of many of those mentioned in your treatise on the Det 3 and served with many of them, including Dave Eddy--Lt Col Eddy was my CO in Athens (6916th SS) in the mid-70's (1975-76, I believe). I concur that he was a great commander. (I do have one nit regarding your comments on Col Eddy--he was actually a navigator, not a pilot.) As a captain, he was the navigation on Old Hawkeye EC-47 45-0925--the original prototype ARDF Gonney that flew test missions from TSN in 1965-66.
Larry Tart, Destin, Florida, February 27, 2012
The interdiction campaign against the Ban Laboy Ford Complex. Thanks for the article it was great reading, My Uncle is LtCol McMullen A-26 Navigator mentioned in your article and also pictured in the formation. Uncle Francis lives in California and speaks very highly of the days when they would run up and down the trail. He is a WWII veteran as well. Thanks for keeping the history alive.
Bill McMullen, February 25, 2012
Black Sunday in Sadr City. Sir, I'm not sure if you're the one who wrote the article on "Black Sunday" or if it were someone else, but it bothers me that my Unit is never mentioned and I was there that day 4 April 2004 Sadre City, Iraq. Our medics treated most of the casualties. 2-5 Cav was the main Unit but when it came to the Medics, 1-12 Cav Medics did most of the work. A lot of our guys did go out into the fight. As I can recall, the Camp almost seemed empty when we got the word. Soldiers were piling up in the back of LMTV's and coming back seriously wounded. In fact, 30-45 minute’s into the battle all wheeled vehicles were stopped from leaving the FOB because it was too dangerous. But I didn't write to tell the story, I just wanted whoever wrote the article to know that 1-12 Cav was a major part of the battle as well as the life saving efforts that day. God bless
Sergeant Jonathan Allen West, Charlie Co 1-12 Cav Medic, Sadre City, Baghdad, February 24, 2012
ROK Army and Marines prove to be rock-solid fighters and allies in Vietnam War. Served as an Anglico US Marine attached to Koreans in Nam 1966-67. We were responsible for close air support and naval gunfire for the Koreans. Two of us to a Korean Company. Any Koreans looking for us can use my e-mail or Anglico Association on web. Would like to hear from some old 1st Battalion Blue Dragon Marines who served in 1966/67 Nam. Semper Fi,
Neal Schilling, US Marine 1964-1968, February 19, 2012
Burma Banshees. Hello from France ! I have always been interested into the 80th FG story, and was wondering where did the color view of Elroy's P-40 comes from ? Is there a color movie on this unit ? I am an illustrator for the EAA "Warbirds" mag, and also a French aviation mag. Thank you !! And congrats for your interesting website !
Jean, February 17, 2012
Kriegies of Oflag 64. My Father will be 92 in March and was one of the Oflag 64 POW's who marched the 350+ miles and made it through to Moosburg with two other soldiers who shared his blanket! Thank you for your website! Warmest regards,
T. J. Bugg, February 14, 2012
“Find the bastards, and pile on,” the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Indochina. My name is Curt Lambert and I was pilot (UH-1) with the Air Cav Troop, 11th ACR in Vietnam from 1970-71. I just read your report on Blackhorse that you posted on your website on July 17, 2010. What an amazing read that was for me. Brings back a lot of memories! A few of us from the ACT have created a website devoted to the aviation assets of the 11th ACR. The focus is on the pilots and crewmembers and support units that kept us going. http://11thacraviation.com/ We’re going to try and compile a decent history of the Air Cav Troop……..we’re all getting to be ‘geezers’ now so we are feeling a sense of urgency to have our legacy documented for our families and posterity. I would love to be able to use what you have written about the ACT (with credit to you of course) on our website, or at the least create a link to your page. Thanks for any consideration for our efforts.
Curt Lambert, February 5, 2012
“Find the bastards and Pile On”, 11th ACR. I was there at Snoul (Cambodia) at the air strip, E Troop. 1st. Platoon, 2/11 Armored Cav Regiment (ACR).
Daniel Biho, January 15, 2012
EC-47s and Walking Dead. I was just turned on to your site by a post in the TLC (Thailand-Laos-Cabodia) Brotherhood. Thank you for such a well-done effort. I have reading material for some time to come. I have forwarded the link to the 1 / 9 Walking Dead to a friend in Detroit, whose unit I think that was.
Duane Mullen, 620th TacConSqdn – TACC-NS 67-68, Monkey Mountain – Son Tra, RVN, January 15, 2012
Afghan Withdrawal 2011-2012: Hi, Just wanted to thank you for your up to date news on the Afghan withdrawal. I have bookmarked your page and check it often. My husband is a Marine and is headed there in a few weeks with 1 year orders. Due to recent events over the last few months I'm fairly certain he'll be home well before 12 months. However, he deployed Jan 2010 to Iraq for 12 months and I thought the same thing, but he finished all 12 months to the day as an Air Force General's aide. This time will be different right? :)
Thanks again for info,
Jennifer Collins, January 5, 2012
Iraq Withdrawal 2010-2011: Hi my name is Tina and I am engaged to a man in the Army. I'm really new to military life and how all the processes work. He was deployed to Iraq in July and is still in Kuwait to finish his tour. I look constantly trying to find out news and your website is the only one that keeps up to date that I understand! I just wanted to say thank you! :)
Tina, January 4, 2012
Marlie Casseus: I would love it if this letter could reach Dr. Jesus Gomez.
Dear Dr. Jesus A. Gomez, I am a 12 year old boy who lives in Flushing, New York. You inspire me to help people and to simply be happy. I recently watched a video about Marly a 13 year old girl who is much older now, she had a tumor weighing 7 kilos in the center of her face. This tumor was slowly killing her. She was flown to the Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami, Florida. You had preformed a surgery that changed her life forever. When a person looks into a child's eyes and knows that something is wrong, you see it in that child's eyes, you see that they need help that they are just begging for a chance, a chance to live. You are someone who put the most amount of effort into helping Marly. I had always wanted to be a doctor, since the day i broke my arm and went to the hospital where my doctor reset my two bones in my forearm, my Radius and my Ulna. I know this might never reach you but thank you.
Gabriel DaCosta, December 29, 2011
Iraq Withdrawal 2011: I just read your article about our withdrawal from Iraq. However, a combination of your article and others including why President Obama evacuated early is because it appears that the present Iraq Shiite government didn't appreciate what we did for them and not only dislikes us but it seems like they hate us for the job we did by giving them control over their "friends" the Sunnis. It seems to me that reading between the lines in Talking Proud we are keeping a substantial number of troops of all types in the general area, including Kuwait, because we expect fireworks either in Iraq or Iran. Does my analysis seem to be correct? Thanks. Incidentally, I am an 86 year old former Navy draftee.
Oscar Schabb, December 29, 2011
Canadians in Vietnam. Congratulations on this superb site. As a matter of interest, we had two Canadians in our battalion (5RAR) in Vietnam 1969/70. They were both ex Princess Pat's Lieutenants who needed to resign their commissions to qualify. They both made it back to Oz.
Mike Dench, November 10, 2011
I am a civilian contractor in Iraq, working at COB Basra. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for pictures of 107mm rockets, and found it very informative. Its tough being here, with only a micro-view of whats going on in the big picture, and I have learned a great deal about the drawdown from your serial story on Iraq. I had to laugh when I saw you mentioned the 36 ID, we worked closely with many of them, made a lot of good friends, and it was very sad seeing them go. But of course we are pleased they are now home with their families, having done their time in this place.
Just wanted to write to thank you for your efforts, to let you know someone is reading it, and I am passing the link along to all my friends who are curious about how this whole thing is going to wind down or wind up.
Appreciate your time very much,
Chris Meyer, September 10, 2011
I happened to be “googling” my mother tonight and came across your story. My mother, Mary Rodden Nagel, died in 2002 on February 1st. She and Doris (Gardner) remained friends all of that time. I would love to be in contact with you.
Ann Nagel Tittiger, September 8, 2011
Editor’s note: Ann is referring to our story, Kamikazes Attack USS Comfort. Mary Rodden and Doris Gardner were aboard, survived, were friends, and both were from Wisconsin.
Did you- or one of your relatives - know my uncle - Donald Preston Maxwell - He was a pilot with the Burma Banshees - 89th FTR Sq - 80th FTR Gp - shot down and killed on 1/29/45. Received the Distinguished Flying Cross/OLC and AM/2OLC and Purple Heart in light of his death on 1/29/1945.
My mother - who was a WASP - is his sister.
We have a long history of service to our country. My family never spoke of him - as was the way things were then - especially when your only son is killed at age 20. Just recently found out about his letters and have some of his letters. Am trying to put together an album or book about him and my Mom - as you probably know the WASP's received the Congressional Gold Metal in March 2010. Would love to know more so I can truly honor his sacrifice.
Barbara Samorajczyk, July 31, 2011
Writing this book changed my life and I now spend a lot of time speaking to groups, and collecting info about these brave women.The book is limited to overseas experience. I interviewed almost 200 and have more than 100 oral histories in the book, covering all theaters of war. There were some I could never reach, and then recently a friend told me about her aunt who was on the USS Comfort when it was kamikazied, and soon will share her letters with me. Because of that I began Googling the subject, and found your website - WOW!
There is so much I want to share, but hope you will include my book in your site somehow. Among some reasons: many of "my nurses" were from Wisconsin, or trained sometime at Camp McCoy: book includes stories from the first flight nurses; African- American nurses serving in the segregated army; nurses who were prisoners of the Japanese in the Philippines, and many many more stories - all true
Now that most of them are gone, I am hoping that their relatives will be involved in finding about their experiences.
I have most books that are about or by the nurses of the 1940s, and continue to find new ones. One day I will be able to make a good list!
I may never get to read your whole website, but much of what I read today relates to so much of what I know. And, my husband flew C-123s in Vietnam in 1963-64, when no one knew what was beginning to happen there. But that is another story for another day.
Thanks for writing all that you have, and keep up the good work. I will be checking in pretty constantly for a while.
Diane Burke Fessler, June 6, 2011
I just found this memorial of Canadian Viet Vets and read much of it. I’m from Winnipeg and I had visited Larry Collins grave site about 1986. I never knew him or many of the other guys from Winnipeg who served. Bill Buffie was my sister`s boss where she worked.
I did know a guy who had joined the Marines in 1967. His name is Pat Towers. We both were in the reserves up here in Winnipeg and trained at CFB Shilo for 8 weeks of 1967.
I remembered him because when I was very sick in the barracks he gave me his second blanket since I had the shivers very bad. Anyways after our training we went back to our own units and I never heard of him until 1986 in which he told me of Larry Collins.
Pat Towers had left the reserves to join the Marines. In Nov. of 67 I had been training with the Fort Garry Horse (10th armoured) on a weekend exercise and rolled a jeep which left me injured and I left my unit a year later. I went down to North Dakota ( I think Minot ) with a friend to join the US army. I wanted to get into the 11th ACR since I had learned to drive M113s and operated the 50 cal. and other weapons. I mentioned my injury and that was it. I couldn’t get in of course I was disappointed.
I sit here and think of what if. I know that this may be weird to you that I should write to you and say this stuff . But I feel like I owe something to the Americans who have helped us in our time of need.
I like the brotherhood of Canada and United States in a military way. Especially in Afghanistan . Please take note that I never knew that our flag was at Khe Sanh but now I`m very proud to be Canadian knowing that my country men had done something that I wish I could have done. I will one day get to Washington and see the wall. I thank you in advance if you could forgive me for not having fought in Vietnam.
Wayne Nafte, May 23, 2011
FYI I was on the last Pedro flight with Lt Col Bergold at Udorn RTAFB in Sept 1975. I also have pictures of the last Pedro formation flight. I was the last Med Tech (Aeromedical Technician A901X0) to be trained on Pedro. I was stationed there from Jan-Sept 1975.
Thomas E. Wolf CMA (AAMA), SMSgt, USAF(Ret), May 13, 2011
Executive Trustee, Washington State Society of Medical Assistants
I came across your website, talkingproud.us, and especially enjoyed reading about the Blind Bat missions you chronicle. My dad, a C-130A flight engineer, flew Blind Bat missions. He doesn't express much interest in the past anymore, just as I am becoming most interested in it.
One story you mentioned concerned a C-130 flare mission in which the crew had to deal with a balky engine while completing the mission. I think the crew on which my father was a member topped that one night. They flew on just two engines. It is chronicled in the citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross he was awarded for participating in that mission. Just like you write, his crew was tasked with lighting up an outpost in danger of being overrun. I will let the citation speak for itself:
T/SGT JOHN N. OMAN distinguished himself by extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a C-130-A Flight Engineer near a classified area on the night of 18 January 1969. On that night, while engaged on a strike/Control/reconnaissance mission, Sgt Oman and his crew were tasked with providing flare illumination for friendly ground forces who were under heavy attack. Due to the imminent threat of the friendly position being overrun, Sgt Oman and his crew were forced to shut down two of their engines to conserve Fuel in order to enable them to remain in the area Despite heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire, Sgt Oman and his crew flared for the friendly troops throughout the night and were directly responsible for preventing the loss of a friendly position from hostile attack. The professional competence, aerial skill and devotion to duty displayed by Sgt Oman reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
It is all the more remarkable to me after I read your account saying the Herk was designed to fly on three engines under certain loads. I am very proud of my father, never more than for night. For him, an Irish immigrant, I am sure, on one level, it was just a job. But I know at one time he was very proud of his tenure as a C-130 crew member, a position that took him all over the world, even to Timbuktu, literally. Anyway, I love to to know more about the mission that January night in 1969 — where it occurred, the other crew members, the actual aircraft he was flying, etc. Is this something you can figure out, or should I just go to HerkyBirds.Com and post something? Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read this and thanks for your work.
Noel Oman, May 12, 2011
PS Though I would admit to skimming at times, one thing I didn't see specifically addressed in your articles was how much communication could occur between the Blind Bat crew and the folks they were helping on the ground. In other words, would they have real time communication with the soldiers at the outpost and know precisely how precarious the situation was or was that communication occur somewhere else and the Blind Bat crew only knew second hand? Thanks.
Use of laser designator on C-130A Blindbat missions. I was the aircrew commander on Blind Bat 02 from Dec 69 to June 70. I was tasked with a F-4 from 8th TAC Fighter Wing to hit a road switchback on a high karst in Laos in early 1970. The laser designator was mounted and bore-sighted on the night observation scope used by the navigator on a platform out of the right paratroop door. The laser was placed on target and the F-4 released a 2000lb paveway over my aircraft and it intercepted the beam and made a direct hit. I would be interested to read your article. B-57G models took over our missions and had hunter/killer capability with the lasers.
Joe Tucker, May 8, 2011
Enjoyed your article on the 11th Cav in Viet-Nam. I remember well their arrival and subsequent fine performance. A comment about two photos in the article, marked as being M48 tanks in an urban area. They appear, instead, to be 76mm gun M41 Tanks belonging to the ARVN - check the long overhanging bustle of the turret and the bore evacuator at the end of the main gun.
Edward N. Voke, April 25, 2011
Thanks for your nice spread on the P-38, especially the pictures of the guys -- much appreciated. One thing Hollywood can never duplicate is that healthy state of scrawniness exhibited by shirtless WW2 GIs. I believe the plane identified as a Zero in "Japanese aircraft shot down" is actually a Mitsubishi Ki-30 "Ann" light bomber provided originally to the Royal Thai Air Force. The U.S. wasn't the only participant dumping obsolete equipment into the CBI theater, and the "Ann" made even Vultee's "Vengeance" look good. No wonder the P-38, although always in short supply, ruled in the CBI.
Tom Brown, March 31, 2011
Editor’s note: Thanks Tom. You were right on the Ki-30. I fixed it. Thanks for the tip. Good eye! I just completed an article about my old outift in Thailand. We flew aboard the EC-47 over Laos. I may have taken it out, but I know at one time, having gone through multiple albums of the guys in the outfit, the word I used was “motley.” So that was my word for “scrawniness.” I got chewed out by a wing commander once when he saw my guys at pre-mission brief. It was like he wanted them showered and shaved with after shave on, boots shined, deodorant on etc. I reminded him of what we learned at jungle survival school --- the main way they find our downed pilots was through smell. He backed away from his chewing, reluctantly so.
Superb article about us (Det 3, 6994th SS EC-47s) and the mission we accomplished over there. It is reassuring that we have people like you that want to keep the story alive for all of us. Thank you,
Stephen Brady, March 31, 2011
I am a Korean citizen living in New Jersey. I just wanted to thank you for your insight on the subject of Koreans in Vietnam. I was always interested but didn't take the time to do the research and when I did, it was never as eloquently put. I don't spend too much time reading on the computer but it seems like I will be now. Glad I found your site - the water to the sponge that I am. Thanks.
Steve Lee, March 19, 2011
P.S I just realized as I was writing this email that you have a section on "worthwhile quotes". Just wanted to share one of my own:
“It’s not the quality of the steel, it's the lives that sword has taken.” (Forget who you are, it's the shit you've been through that defines you.)
I found your article about the 11th ACR and Cambodia while using a search engine for another topic. I must say, it is one of the most accurate and well written summaries of what things were like in 1970. I was with the 409th Radio Research Detachment, a cover name for the 409th Army Security Agency Detachment. We had our forward observation base in Quan Loi, and had one track in the field performing Low Level Voice Intercept, which was an excellent source of intelligence. It was a 4 man track with two Vietnamese linguists. I rotated back and forth from the track to Quan Loi.
I remember participating in the defense of an attack on the 2nd squadron/11th ACR at Ft. Defiance, southwest of the Fishook. Hill 98 on the maps. Later interviews with POWs indicated it was a battalion size operation, and the plan was to overrun our location. We had 2 KIA's. Numerous NVA KIA's. We were getting hit quite often during those 2-3 weeks before the incursion. The odd thing was that about 10 days before the incursion, we were watching COSVN and other Central units, (69th NVA Artillery, MR7 command, etc.). They were entrenched just inside the Fishook for several months. All of a sudden, they started moving to the Northwest. Every day, the fixes were farther and farther. At the time the US leadership knew this was happening, but we went in and did destroy many supply depots, and got very good intelligence. The 541st MI detachment was overwhelmed by the volume of documents we captured. I think it took COSVN, and company a full year to recover. Enemy contac! ts in War Zones C & D were reduced considerably. I often wondered how COSVN knew to move out past the 17KM zone 10 days before the incursion. I can only assume that the NVA had very good intelligence sources in Saigon, most probably from the ARVN planners.
I still keep in contact with several of our unit members.I will forward to the link for the web page. I am sure it will trigger some long forgotten memories. Thanks.
Don Dauphin, March 2, 2011
Nice article about Uncle Ernest. I still remember him from stories my father told me when I was a kid.
Editor’s note: Michael is talking about Major Edward Ernest "Hoss" McBride, USAF, Raven 30, a forward air controller operating in the Secret War in Laos. He was known as the "Singing FAC." Major McBride was KIA in Laos by enemy fire November 27, 1968. See our story about the O-1 Bird Dogs.
Michael L. McBride, Esq., February 2, 2011
I read your archive on Black Sunday. I was there as a Forward Observer (13F artillery scout) from 1-82FA attached to 2-5 Cavalry which was my unit I had been assigned to for two years. The 2ACR had not been in Sadr City for most of the previous year and failed to tell us so our guys went out on a patrol to see what the city was like. I remember the fighting started out of nowhere. We did not know what was happening. When the first rounds of Brads and hummers and an LMTV rolled in me and my best friend were getting out gear together to go volunteer to help. We saw them unload the bodies while we were being briefed by our PS. Then they had to get more ammo and people to go out which is why it took about 30 min - 1 hr to get enough people and vehicles to go out. We weren't ready because the reports from 2 ACR had been that the city was quiet. We didn't have any gear just ammo and our rifles when we went out. That was it. Our PS didn't even know where we were, we just jumped on a bradley we told the bradley guys we were dismounts then we jumped in we were the only two in that brad. There were so many wounded and killed it was hard to regroup to launch a counter attack in a timely manner being that the QRF had gone out and gotten shot up which was the LMTV that had come in. Col. Volesky is an honorable man I would follow him anywhere. God bless you and all those soldiers that fight.
In the end we are all dead men. All that we can hope for is that while we were alive we did what was good and right. Even if it meant that we gave everything, even our lives.
Sgt. Christopher Badilla, Sadr City
Great article on the Cambodian Incursion. Just a note for any future reprints. The 2/47th Mech was in the 9th Infantry Division and the 2/34th Armor was in the 25th Infantry Division at that time. True, the unit started out with the 4th ID in 1966 but later on the 4th ID and the 25th ID swapped their 3rd brigades. The 2/34th Armor went to the 25th ID and the 1/69th Armor went to the 4th ID. It is also an interesting fact that the 1st Cavalry Division claims another "First" in its' bragging . . . . as someone else that was OPCON to them crossed the Cambodian border for them - First!
2/34th Armor Combat Medic - 70
Cambodian Incursion Veteran
December 26, 2010
Google found me on your site (The Battle for Buttons). Very cool! Thanks for what you do and for the focus of your work: Talking Proud! We need more of that in our country! By coincidence, I have a lot of military on my mother's side of the family, and their family name is Marrack (similar to yours, at least in pronunciation, I'm guessing). Keep up the great work!
December 22, 2010
I am the daughter of Dr. Floyd M Burgeson, who was a fellow POW at Oflag 64 in Poland. He was the Chief Medical Officer. I have a lot of information that I would like to share with someone who knew him. Please write if you have the time. Thank you for all the work you have done to build your site, (and your story on Oflag 64). It is too bad my folks are gone. They would have appreciated it as well.
November 12, 2010
I thank you (for your report on the B-52 crash at Utapao and the Pedro rescue effort). I was a witness to this incident and participated in the clean up. To this day I did not know there were any Air Rescue survivors. For some reason when I saw your report it was like a ton being lifted from my back. Thanks again,
Chuck Neely, 635 MMS, Utapao, RTNB, 1969-70
I was a Bird Dog mechanic (SP5) with 184th RAC from May 68 to Apr 69. I spent most of my time at Duc Hoa so I didn't see much of the Co HQ at Phu Loi. I do remember the Third Platoon "Third Herd" as having a horses head on the cowling. I was in the third Platoon. At times our aircraft were at Duc Hoa and could very well have been seen at Tay Ninh, fuel was where you could get it. Time has taken a toll on my memory as far as tail numbers but we did have dog's with teeth on them. Great site.
J. Oney, SSgt, USA (Ret)
I just want to thank you for all you do for us veterans....
October 19, 2010
Currently stationed at Fort Bragg, going through a couple of different courses. I was looking for information on Nuristan, since I lost a good friend there, and because I might walk similar ground in the not too distant future. As a military history major, and an officer with a very personal investment in this fight, I just wanted to say how incredible your website it. It is far and away the most detailed source of information that I can find on specific firefights and engagements, especially the Shuk Valley engagement.
With your permission, I would like to use some of the text for a wall of heroes citation at my unit. This is a hardcopy thing, viewed only by other students and Cadre members; it will never be posted online.
Capt. Morgan Brown, USA
October 15, 2010
I want to tell you how much your information (about the 1-9 Marines) has helped me and my Mother these last few weeks. You have given Honor not only to My Mother's only son...but have included Greg (Martin) in your article.
It is with Great Sadness in my heart,to let you know of (Greg’s) Mother’s (Marge J Tatum) peaceful but sudden passing yesterday at 5:32 AM, Thursday Sept 16,2010 in Encinitas Scripps hospital.
You gave Mother "what I now believe to be".... "Her final comfort in knowing her son's life was not in vein". That he is to this day, thought of in loving & honorable consideration.
I am struggling in my mind to convey to you my deepest gratitude for all you have provided in your attempts to bring a much needed and long coming under standing and closer. My Mother, I and my Family wish to Thank You and let you know.... you are now part of our history for your unselfish dedication to Our fallen loved one and all those who have given their lives for our country.
Sincerely Cindy Lou Taylor (Martin/Tatum) “God Bless You Always"
September 17, 2010
Had a look at the site today--hadn't been on it in a while. I think it is great! Very good articles, photos, and layout. I can understand why a lot of people give you credit for this excellent source focused on American heroes. Thanks for all the effort.
August 11, 2010
Thank you so much for “Talking Proud.” The many hours that Mike (late brother) and I spent reading and discussing your stories - good times. The info on Blind Bat 01 brought us to you. Your other stories kept us. On the anniversary of Mike’s passing, I am sending a token ($100) to help the site. So, for Mike, Tom Mitchell and the Blind Bat 01 crew, thank you for your work.
July 7, 2010
You may remember that I contacted you several months ago regarding using accounts in my book about the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, I'm glad to say that the book has now been printed with the accounts included: Blood, Sweat and Steel: Frontline Accounts from the Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq, 1990-2010
Published by New Holland
Again, many thanks for your help in making it possible.
July 7, 2010
Prior to re-designing this web site, I had received and posted hundreds of Letters to the Editor. With the re-design now well underway and the new site published, I want to get this going again. You can your letters to me using the “Contact” section, or send them to me by e-mail --- just click on the “Ed Marek” name in the copyright line at the bottom of this page.
William Mason, commander Blind Bat 01
I am the grandson of William H. Mason, the commander of Blind Bat 01. I am happy to say that we buried my grandfather's remains last Sept. in Arlington National Cemetery. My Grandmother, Irene Mason, plans to attend the mass funeral sometime later this year. I wish that I could attend but I’m currently stationed in Germany and will be unable to go.
May 16, 2010
Becoming a WWII fighter pilot
Thank you very much for adding this article to your archives. I learned a lot from it. I have done quite a lot of research on the subject of pilot training in the USAAF during WW !!, (I have been interested in WW II since early childhood) and found it interesting that even in mid-1941 pilots generally received only 9 months training before receiving their wings. Pre-flight wasn't added until early (Feb, I think) 1942. I was interested to learn how much longer the training for Captain Wergin was.
I look forward to visiting your web site often in the future. And I was wondering what type of aircraft you flew. Thank you very much for your help and for your service.
May 5, 2010
Editor note: I was the operations officer for enlisted crews who flew in the back end of EC-47 electronic reconnaissance missions, mostly over Laos during the Indochina War. Officers flew the aircraft. I would fly with my enlisted aviators, who handled all the electronic equipment, as an observer as often as I could to be sure I understood first hand what happens up in the air.
Thank you for your Oflag 64 story
I would like to thank you for helping to keep our country’s history alive. This is an incredible web site! I didn’t know there was so much to be found on Oflag 64. I am sending you the letter and photos to I sent to Elodie Caldwell, maybe you can use them in the future. Dad was a POW for 18 months and spent most of his time at this camp. Thanks again for your efforts and patriotism.
April 13, 2010