Charlie Troop and Charlie Troop’s GSFM’s News Letters

Posted on November 3, 2015


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
Thirsty-Six News letter
April 2017

I would like to start this News Letter with the results of question I asked in the last News Letter. I had asked for YOUR input on where to hold the 2018 Reunion. The choices were either Branson, MO or Pigeon Forge, TN. The results were 5 for Pigeon Forge and 1 for Branson. I want to thank EVERYONE (all 6) for their input. It seems as though Pigeon Forge won out.

The results from above indicates that either very few read these News Letters or very few just really don’t care where we hold our Reunions as long as we hold them. I have to hope it is the latter and not the former.

The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of April 1966-1972:

Richard Noyola KIA Apr 11, 1966 Blues

Earl Grove KIA Apr 10, 1967 Maintenance

Alton Roberts KIA Apr 13, 1971 Scout Door Gunner

*John Jelich (Ctrp 68-69) KIA Apr 1, 1972 Scout Pilot

Always Honored and Never Forgotten.

* John Jelich was KIA on his 2nd Tour with D Company 229th Scouts.
I asked John Jelich’s sister to send me a story about John as a human being and this is what she sent me:

We grew up in an average town, USA. Attending an all boys high school meant a lot of discipline, hard work and some fun. Most of our dads had been in WWII. This made the VW Bug an object of jokes. “Hitler’s Revenge”. One sunny spring day John and a few of his friends carried a VW and placed it on the front steps of the school. It meant it wasn’t big enough or strong enough to be a real car.

John was quiet. When interviewed by the AP in between tours ( he was a hero who was highly decorated) he was described as taciturn. But he loved fun and he loved his family. His dad was his best man at his wedding.

He got married in between deployments. They lived in L.A. while he finished his degree and taught Flight School. They had a beautiful daughter named Deidre. Just for fun he sent me a gift from California. A diaper full of poop.

John was killed while his wife was pregnant with their handsome son (John Anthony) who was named after him. His last conversation with just me was in our driveway. I was upset because he was going back to Vietnam. He told me very clearly that after knowing the love he has for his daughter, he had to go back to help the children of Vietnam.

So much heart ache when he was killed but when I get morose I think about how even though he died so young at least it was honorable – doing something he believed in. That thought has gotten me through watching his kids grow up. They are spectacular and his grandson is just as mischievous as his grandfather. I expect he will carry a car up some step too.

John was assigned to Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry 1st Cavalry Division (AM) from 1968 to 1969. He was assigned to “D” Company 229 AHB on October 31, 1971 and was Killed in Action on April 1, 1972. John was awarded the following medals for his heroism: Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and a Set of Army Aviator Wings.

Troopers and Troopettes with birthdays and anniversaries this month

Bob Fellin Apr 2
Kurt Schatz Apr 3
Ernie Cairns Apr 10
Marianne Hundley Apr 16
George Van Sant Apr 19
James Toby Tyler Apr 19
Jack Schwartz Apr 24
John Niamtu Apr 24
Bruce Huffman Apr 26
James Goldsbury Apr 28

Cecil and Gywnn Smith Apr 4
Dave and Ginny Blouin Apr 4
Ernie and Rose Cairns Apr 28

On March 8th, Teri Nave came down to visit Carol and I. We took Teri to the Strawberry Festival on March 9th. March 9th was Teri’s birthday and one of her favorite bands is The Oak Ridge Boys. Just so happened that The Boys were in live concert on the 9th. We also took her to see the Redhead Express. I had asked one of the lovely young ladies if they could recognize Teri for her birthday and as a Gold Star Family Member. When she said “Teri Nave” Teri’s face had the most shocked look on it and then the young lady on stage just lost her place. After the show she came up to me and asked to please apologize to Teri for messing it up. I told her that it was no problem. We had a great visit. Went out to eat at a German Restaurant after seeing The Boys and the next day we took her to “Little Harbor” for a seafood dinner. Teri headed back home on the 11th.

One big aspect of our Reunions is “Honoring our Fallen Brothers” and their families. Take the time to walk around the Hospitality room and talk to these super people. I have been blessed to talk to many of them for prolong times. They are super. Our reunions help them heal as much as they help us heal. Their loved one may not have been there when you were there but sharing your “Brotherhood/Sisterhood” with them is a way to help them feel the healing and believe it or not so will you.

I encourage any and all Gold Star Family members who receive these News Letters
to attend at least one of our reunions. We want to Honor you. If you do, you will want to make as many as you can.

Written by: Vaughn Lane Cavalier 28
The ending was near magic. The plan showed the heart of Army aviation…very little thought and a lot of luck. Kind of like the Marines, actually. You know, just keep going, defer to bravery over judgment, throw in a few bad decisions, and concentrate like hell on the resulting situation. It was one of those “pay close attention, because if you f— up you’re going to die,” must see it through to end kind of things. Guys do it that way all the time.

The Cobra was heavy with fuel for the last flight of the day. The mission was appropriately written on the X-Ray canopy, right side high, Grover’s organization applied. As usual, the take off was delicate, nurse it along, slowly forward, take your time, it will fly…touch the ground; pull it all, there she goes. Then the blazing acceleration passing 20k then ten seconds, no altitude, 30k and hang on to your hat, another 10 seconds and 40k, climb now to 50 ft. and away we go. After five minutes, Song Be became a distant sight. If only the F-4 pilots knew what they were missing. In ten minutes we were 1,000 feet and ten miles southwest. Time to start work. Slow to 60k, direct the little bird to the start grid. Radios set with FM on, UHF busy with the LOH, intercom chatter as usual, and music on the ADF.

We had been here and about here before. Nothing exciting expected. A nice day to fly with plenty enough clouds, not a lot of ceiling, visibility OK for late afternoon. I liked left circles. We held our position, a few calls from the LOH, strictly routine. Gauges OK, then look back.

A little bird gets lost easily. Never quite knew why that was. But, never were they lost more than a few seconds. First, look where he is supposed to be. If not there, he couldn’t have gone far, ask the X-Ray. Most of the time he was on, a few words of direction, and there, in sight again. So it went as a routine. Sometimes the X-Ray was bluffing. Even Grover occasionally bluffed. I guess (actually, I know from experience) if the X-Ray didn’t have the little bird, he would know where to shoot once the rocket dive was lined up.

This flight is slow. Nothing is happening. Good. Fine-tune the music. Well, to do that you have to look at the damn radio. Then, you have to fiddle with it. And, guess what? When you look back outside for the LOH, he’s gone. Happens every time. So, just ask Grover. “Where’s the little bird?” Then, the great response, “I don’t see him.” Still looking, looking, …nothing. Time to call, “17 I lost you.” (At this point in the story I can’t remember today who the little bird really was.) Then, again, “Cavalier 17, 28.” No answer. I’m encouraged, now Grover is getting concerned and so states, “Where is he?” All X-Rays think the AC keeps such things a big secret. “I don’t see him” is the reply as a fast descending turn starts, down to tree top level. The turn continues now on the trees. No little bird. More calls, “17, 28”. “Cavalier 17, Cavalier 28”. No answer. But, the intercom works. Now you have two Cobra pilots cussing. “Crap, he’s down.” “Where is he?” We slowly climb back up, 600 feet now, still in the left turn. Nothing. Seems like hours have gone by.

We were flying over a good-sized patch of bamboo, the tall stuff. There were no indications of a crash. No bent bamboo, no fire, no smoke, no call…nothing. This ain’t right. More minutes go by. Then, at the same time, we see it. A flood of emotions – mostly I’m pissed. Green smoke, just the slightest, coming out of the thick bamboo. Right where the LOH was supposed to be when all this started. Damn. Well, get the grid. Now the call to base.

“Cavalier, we’ve got a down bird, grid 694378, stand-by and I’ll tell you what we need.” Now, as soon as you transmit something like that, all the radios go crazy. I had to turn off the music. The X-Ray is talking to the little bird. Great. All are OK, on the ground, and out of the LOH. That’s a good thing; we can’t even see the LOH. Another call to base. “Cavalier, listen close – this is all we want. Send ONE, JUST ONE, lift bird, with a McGuire Rig, JUST ONE!” “Roger” was the reply. On intercom, “We can have them out in no time, tell them the lift is coming”. The ever sharp and astute X-Ray responds to the ground. Everybody is under control, everybody is happy. I knew by default another team would be on the way. Just guard duty now for a few minutes until they get here. We still have 2 hours of fuel. Good shape.

But NOOOO. It never works like that. In just a few minutes, I look back to the east and here comes at least 50 helicopters. What in the hell am I going to do with that? And, of course, no McGuire rig anywhere. Now everybody wants to talk. The radio is flooded. My hand doesn’t leave the selector switch. It constantly moves from one radio to another, now with VHF alive. Holding patterns are set up. Another little bird comes in over the crash with me, that makes me feel better. More requests to base for the McGuire rig. After 30 minutes now, darkness is happening. Ceilings are coming down. Visibility is coming down. No problem. Pile it on.

Time to reassess the situation, more particularly, the Cavalier 28 situation. We’re flying a dog Cobra. All the temperatures run hot. All of them. In this one, all of them show hotter than normal. And, there is no attitude indicator – it has been taken out. But, as well as I can use one, the hole is just as good. The thought goes in back of my head, the weather continues to drop.

I feel the need to line up artillery. No, not for rounds. I remembered somewhere they could shoot flares. I’m busy now lining that up. The artillery guys are enthusiastic about the mission. They quickly take it. By the time it’s lined up, good news! A McGuire rig is a few minutes out. I begin the brief with him.

“We’ll have flares, come in on a 300 degree heading, you’ll have cover. Three to pick up.” A happy “roger” is the reply. This guy is casual. I needed that. Something is beginning to go right. About 40 minutes of fuel left now. That’s OK. It’s raining, with ceilings about 400 feet. It’s going to work.

Artillery is called again. “Fire, and keep them coming.”

I never shot much artillery; there were too many special things to say like “fire mission, over” and “fire for effect” and other stuff that sounded real official. Plus, they couldn’t shoot any better than me and it seemed a lot of work if that’s all they could do. But, THIS TIME, “rounds away” and poof…a flare exactly on target. That was a sight. I was some kind of proud. The lift bird was on short final, then lots of light. Just like in the movies. Damn, this is good. It’s going to work.

But, NOOOOO. Artillery calls immediately after the first round, “Cavalier 28, we can’t fire anymore. We’ve been told to cancel the mission and shut down.” The radio’s heat up again. The lift bird begins his hover, squawking about light and going around, I’m yelling at the pussy artillery guys about people on the ground and I need light NOW, and Grover advises Song Be generators are shutting down, no more communication there and the little bird says something but I don’t know what. Well, this is a fine fix. Fuel is 25 minutes now. Ceiling at 250 feet, raining, and 6 or 8 helicopters flying in circles, low level in the dark. Not good anymore. Time to quit.

I call the guys on the ground and tell them the story. Their reply “Get out of here, we’ll be all right until tomorrow morning.” I immediately release all the ‘choppers and they are some kind of happy, too. They quickly head toward Song Be. A few more circles, last transmissions to the guys on the ground. I hated that. Now, time for us to head back. Twenty minute fuel light – not yet.

I could just imagine going back following all the LOHs and Hueys. I could see mid-air real easy. Well, not me. Climb up, 2,000 feet. The plan…fly northeast until 10 or 12 minutes of fuel remain, if no Song Be, then due south at max speed for about 8 or ten minutes and land straight ahead. Sounded good to me.

Coming up on 2,000 feet now, flying partial panel. Not bad so far. Bing. Twenty minute fuel. Well, just a few more minutes, keep going.

My lucky day. Cliff Lee calls on FM. I asked him how he was doing that, all the radios at Song Be were supposed to be down. He had a field portable FM. Good. Damn good. “19 hold the mike, we’re going to home to you, give me ten seconds.” And, Wrong Way Lee did. This was going well. Instrument flying at it’s best. Cliff kept talking, helping with the homing signal, said he could hear us now, getting closer. I slowed to 60k. Cliff again, “You’re close to overhead.”

The pitch goes down… significantly. On a 040 heading, I figured to miss the mountain just east of Song Be if we were directly over the field. Homing was indicating good, we’re about 1,200 feet. And then, pow… right outside the left canopy, a damn flare on a parachute. It was magical! We found out later that Vince Nelson found a box of flares and had joined Cliff. Bank left now. Crap, no attitude indicator and I need one bad. “Grover, tell me if the bank exceeds 60 degrees.” I checked the descent to follow the flare down. Grover provides the attitude indicator “you’re over 60!”, I correct back, hold the turn, more power, slower on the descent. I wish Grover wouldn’t say it so loudly. We’re coming down, another flare – up and above us now. Slow the descent more, the first flare is out. Continue the turn. Grover saves us again on the bank, watch the speed – 40k now, about 600 feet, coming on down. Another thought comes to me, “Grover, keep an eye out for the ground, tell me when you see it.” You see, a good plan allows you to add to it as you go along. Particularly if you’re going along in deep cocca.

I’m intent on this flare business. Cliff keeps talking, advising we are getting lower. At least we sounded OK from the ground. Grover is hanging in there. That man doesn’t have good sense. He helps with bank angle, speed and altitude read outs. We’re doing OK. Hope the son-of-a-bitch doesn’t quit. Coming around, coming down, steady. Again, “Grover, watch for the ground.” Grover, again, “Your bank is too much”. Correcting. Landing and search light on. No ground… just clouds and rain and a flare. Then Grover, “OH SHIT, THERES THE GROUND!” Hell, I saw it out of the left side, too! Pucker big time. Those big blades were still at 60 degrees bank, the landing lights reflecting now; we’re out at 50 feet. Quick, level and decelerate. Cliff and Vince are running from beneath. We’re near the middle of the landing area at Song Be. Don’t hit the stinger, and down we come to a hover. Just like we planned it that way. I think, “Quick, park this thing before it quits.” We slide into a parking area, pitch down, and we’re here.

Cliff and Vince come running up, with very big smiles, and soaking wet. I know I was smiling bigger than they were, my face was hurting. I couldn’t see Grover’s smile, but he sure was talking fast. As was required, the whole thing was quickly relived while we waited for shutdown – I guess I ran it 2 minutes. It didn’t quit. Neither did Cliff, Vince, and Grover. A fellow just couldn’t ask for better than that to make a plan work. Good guys and luck; that’s all it takes.

For those who were there, I know it wasn’t exactly like that. You should hear the version I give the young, new college grads at the airport going into Air Force or Navy flight schools. F-16’s and such just can’t be real flying, but I will grant it would be the ultimate kick in the ass.

The hero’s in the real life story were Cliff, Vince, and Grover. Because of them, I am here and have fun with the new aviation people – who think I’m certified crazy. A serious problem, though, comes about when I recount Grover and Steve got shot down twice by the same 51 on the same day. See, there’s always a better story.

A humble request, just for fun… Would Grover and Cliff tell the story from their participation and recall? Could be an interesting human study. Well, we’re human sometimes. And, for more help for the feeble minded, who were the LOH crew? And what was the damn call sign for Cavalier operations? I’ve said all kinds of numbers in my head to make a recall…no bells went off up there.

Vaughn Lane Cavalier 28

Thanks Vaughn and Grover. These are the kind of stories we need to keep alive. I will also post this on my Blog on a separate Post by Vaughn.

I will put the list of Our Fallen Brothers, the list of Birthdays, the list of Anniversaries and the updated list of who has reserved rooms for the 2017 Reunion in the next News Letter.

If you have not reserved your room just let me say that time is running out.

God Bless,

Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
Thirsty-Six News letter
March 2017
The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of March 1966-1972:

Edward Kaneshiro March 6, 1967 Blues

Ronald Johns March 15,1968 Scout Observer
Walter Panamaroff March 15,1968 Scout Pilot
Robert Smeal March 15, 1968 Scout Observer

*Jack Sunquist March 15, 1968 Red Pilot

Joel Hageman March 12, 1971 Red Pilot
Van Joyce March 12, 1971 Red Pilot

Bard Davenport March 27, 1969 Lift Pilot
Allan Harper March 27, 1969 Lift Crew Chief
William Porter March 27, 1969 Lift Pilot
John Waller March 27, 1969 Life Door Gunner

* Jack Sundquist was KIA after Transfer to Bravo Troop.

Before I list those Troopers and Troopettes with birthdays this month, I must confess something. I have been getting a lot of dates wrong. You see, my military mind and my civilian mind keep fighting each other. In the military, it was day, month and year. In the civilian world, it is month, day and year. So, many times when a birthday is suppose to be April 2 I list it on the Troop Roster as 4-2. Then when I put it on the calender to remind me, I may put it as April 2 or as February 4. Please be kind when you say I got it wrong. I really am trying.

So here goes.
Kathy Herron March 4th
Billie Williams March 8th
Grover Wright March 22nd
Tom Betts March 24th
Becky Slye-DeBoer March 25th GSFM
Gail Guthrie March 25th
Art Harmon March 29th

The following Troopers and Troopettes have an Anniversary in March:

Kurt and Patty Schatz March 31, 1984 33 years

If you don’t ever see your birthdays or anniversaries on here it is because you never told me them.

As you all know LTG Hal Moore passed away this past month. Several Charlie Troopers made it to the Memorial Service held at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA. Carol and I made the trip to Columbus, Georgia to make the Memorial at the National Infantry Museum and the Trip to Ft. Benning Cemetery. In Columbus, we met up with Titch, Mike Bogdue. Gordon Jones and Galen Rosher. Mike Bogdue made the trip even though it wasn’t that long ago that he had an accident that caused me to have two cracked ribs and a cracked Sternum.

Carol bought two copies of the book “WE WERE SOLDIERS ONCE…AND YOUNG. We took the books around and had as many of the 1/7th, 2/7th and 5th Cav members that actually served in the Ia Drang Valley (LZ X-Ray and LZ Albany) to sign them as we could. We have over 15 signatures in both books. This includes Joe Galloway and three of LTG Moore’s children. It is our intention to keep one of the books for my Military Room and then to Raffle off the other book at the Gettysburg Reunion. There will also be a 4″x6″ photo book of the Memorial and funeral services.

While in Columbus, Carol, I and Susan Jones went to the Regents Bank and opened a savings account for Charlie Troop 1/9th Cavalry. We opened a savings account because the do no charge any type of fees for a savings account. There is also a Regents bank in Sun City Center, Florida. In Sun City Center, we opened a Checking account at Regents for the Charlie Troop Reunion and they will not be charging a monthly fee.

This way Charlie Troops’s money is kept separate from ours. It took us this long to do it because we needed to find a bank that would work with us in such a way as to not charge any fees. We did not want to give any of the money away.

I have sent out request to several of our Troopers and asked them to be on a board that would make a decision as to what to do with the money in case something happened to Carol and I and no one else stepped up to carry the Guidon and keep scheduling reunions. If someone steps up, the money would then go to that person once he is approved by the committee. Carol and I just wanted to make sure that every penny in our funds goes back to the Troopers or a donated to a good organization that will carry on the Charlie Troop Memory.

Susan Jones is also on the Charlie Troop 1/9th Cav bank account and it would be her duty to cut a cashiers check and send it where it needs to go ie the board chairman or to the individual who will carry on our reunions. I have asked for 7 Troopers to be on the Board. The Board Chairman would only vote if there was a 3-3 tie. I guarantee you there will not be that much left in the account. We are starting to spend the money on our reunions to make them better and/or cheaper. This year we are spending money on buses to take us to Washington, DC, a band for our Meet and Greet, Yellow Roses to be left at the Wall, and a bar at the Meet and Greet and maybe the last night of the Reunion. The Board has been completed.

The Chairman of the Board will be Pete Guthrie 67-69
On the board is: Don Coshey 65-66
Tom Betts 66-67
Jerry Duckworth 67-68
Crae Carpenter 68-69
James Pressman 69-70
Cecil Smith 69-70

We had been leaning towards holding the 2018 reunion in Columbus, Georgia. The main reason was to give our “Little Brothers” a chance to participate in another Reunion. Since some of them are going with us to Gettysburg this year we decided to wait until 2019 to hold a reunion in Columbus. This will give our “Little Sweethearts” a chance to be involved again as well.

We are leaning to returning to Branson or going to Pigeon Forge in 2018. I am asking all of you to give me your preference. The place with the most votes win.

The cut of for you preference is March 29th. This way I can put the decision in the April’s News Letter.

If you have not reserved your room and you are planning on attending this year’s reunion, , you need to call 717-334-6211 ASAP. Tell them you are requesting a room under Charlie Troop 1/9th Cavalry group. Remember that you can predate the check you send to me to pay for your meals all the way up to July 14. I will not cash the check until then. We have one bus filled up and two buses to go.
The following Troopers have reserved rooms at the 1863 INN:

Tom Betts 66-67
James Tyler 69-70
Crae Carpenter 68-69
James Pressman 69-70
Titch Titchenell 65-66
John Strickland 69
Pat Bieneman 68-69
Larry Oestringer 67-68*
Gary Farmer 70-71
Blevins 70-71
Jeff Libby 67-68*
George Van Sant 67-68*
Franklin Turner 67-68*
Jerry Schmotolocha 65-66
Galen Rosher 69-70
Bob Lillie 65-66
Jerry Berggren 66
Dutch Florez 68-69
Claude Singletary 68-69
Ernie Cairns 66-67
Dave Davidson 65-66
Ed Gruetzemacher 69-70
Pete Guthrie 67-69*
Jerry Duckworth 67-68*
Billie Williams 65-66
David Blouin 67*
Greg Jayne 68-69
Bob Fellin 67-68*
Al DeMailo 70-71
Don Coshey 65-66

* indicates Troopers to be Honored this year.

I would like to see more Gold Star Family members attending our reunions. These are special people and they need to be honored by us as we Honor their Loved one.

Until Next month, or to make a correction, God Bless you all.

We Can We Will We Did


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
Thirsty-Six News letter
February 2017
The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of February 1966-1972:

Horace Giddens February 8, 1968
John Suydam February 12, 1968
Steven Siegler February 13, 1971

The following Brother and Sisters of Charlie Troop have Birthdays in the month of February:

Jerry Toman 2-3
Butch Mundy 2-5
John Craig 2-7
Joe Crispino 2-11
Ron Peffer 2-20 Gold Star Family Member
Jolie Brazier 2-23 Little Sweetheart of Charlie Troop
Debby Baker 2-26 Gold Star Family Member

The Following Brothers and Sisters have an Anniversary in February:

Billie and Dorris Williams 2-15 They are celebrating 57 years of Wedded Bliss
Don and Jo Coshey 2-18 They will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary

There is only 7 months and 16 days until the beginning of the 2017 Charlie Troop Reunion. I will include a list of names of those who have reserved rooms at the 1863 Inn and/or paid for the reunion at the end of this letter.

There is another revision to our Itinerary for our Reunion 2017. Our “Reading of the Names” of our “Fallen Brothers” will be conducted on September 19th after our Ceremony to Honor those who went to Vietnam in 1967. This change was made after reviewing the amount of distance required to walk form where the buses would drop us off at, walking over to Area 5 (which is past the Vietnam Wall), then walking back to the Wall and then to the Korean War Memorial. Many of our Troopers and some of our Troopettes could do that much walking.

A slight change to our Ceremony to Honor our ‘67 Troopers as well. The Troopers being honored this year served with many of the Troopers who went to Vietnam in ‘68. Therefore, along with Billie Williams, the presenters this year will be many of the men from the ‘68 class.

Recently, I made contact with Mrs. Cleo Hiner, Cpt Franklin Joe Hiners’ widow. She had not been contacted by any Trooper from either Charlie Troop which he served with in 1965 nor with the unit (240th AHC). We talked for 15 minutes. She asked if I could come and visit her. I told her that I was to Alabama the following week and I would be spending some time with a man who served with her husband. Titch severed with 1LT Hiner ( he was a 1LT in 66). Titch said that when he came back from the hospital after being wounded, the then 2LT Hiner walked into his hooch and asked him if he would like to take his R&R. Titch said his money was being held and he couldn’t get it fast enough to go on the R&R. Lt Hiner gave him $300.00 to go on R&R with. Titch of course paid him back as soon as he came back from R&R. I know that Mrs. Hiner will love to her that story.

I have been using a lot. I search for Franklin Hiner. I found him but it did not list a spouse. It did list a sister who had passed away. I went to her page and seen she had two sons living in Utah. I went to and found them. The first one I called was very helpful and he gave me Mrs. Hiners’ phone number. She lives outside of Birmingham. Titch and I will drive up to see her.

Titch and I drove up to meet with Mrs. Hiner. What a lovely lady. We had only planned on spending about 45 minutes there but we actually spent over 2 hours. Cleo gave us some great pictures of Frank.

For those who don’t know, Frank was killed in a three helicopter mid air collision during extremely limited visibility. Frank along with 28 other Troopers died in that accident.

I am still needing three pictures to complete our the 111 Photos of our “Fallen Brothers”. WO Billy J. Talley Pfc Warren F. Brown SP4 James Whitmore
Reservations at the 1863 Inn are slow. We have reservations for the following:
Don Coshey X
Tommy Betts X
Carol Bieneman X
Titch Titchenell X
Al DeMailo X
Gary Farmer X
James Tyler
Frank Turner X
James Pressman
Galen Rosher X
Smoky Schmotolocha
George Van Sant X
Crae Carpenter X
Larry Oestringer X
Jeff Libbey X
John Strickland X
Robert Florez X

I can not express the necessity for you to register.

Remember to send in your checks for the reunion. We will only reserve buses for the number of people paid and the buses must be paid for in advance. Once we have order the number of buses we will need, we may not be able to get anymore. Carol will assign people to buses as their forms and checks are sent in. You can pre-date your checks for up to the 14th of July. I will call you or email you one week prior to make sure that it will be okay to cash the check on the 14th.

Until next month, May God Bless all of you.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
Thirsty-Six News letter
January 2017

If one of your New Year’s resolutions is not to make this year’s Reunion, then you made a mistake. The comradery felt and shared at each reunion make for a great feeling.

The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of January 1966-1972:

Gary Isaacson Jan 22, 1966 Blues

William Geis Jan 28, 1966 Blues

Joe Kiefer Jan 4, 1967 Scouts Observer

LeRoy Peagler Jan 27, 1967 Blues

Harvey Howe Jan 28, 1967 Pilot

Rudolf Schrader Jan 23, 1968 Scouts Observer

Anthony Battel Jan 28, 1970 Red Pilot
Michael Hunter Jan 28, 1970 Red Pilot

Waldo Williams Jan 4, 1970 Scouts Observer
James Whitmore Jan 4, 1970 Scout Pilot

Gregory Peffer Jan 22, 1971 Blues

Richard Donellas Jan 27, 1970 2nd tour 25th Inf Div Blues
Always Honored and Never Forgotten.

The following Troopers and Troopettes have birthdays in the month of January:

1-1 Claude Singletary
1-2 Jeanie Greutzemacher
1-4 Tom Hemmelgarn
1-7 Harry Reeg
1-8 Nancy Stokesberry
1-9 Doc Hipple
1-11 Pat Bieneman
1-17 Dorris Williams
1-18 Edd Hogeboom
1-20 Brenda Merritt
1-21 Karen Schwartz
1-21 Leslie Criser
1-21 Jim Reid
1-24 Darwin Heffner

The following Troopers and Troopettes will be celebrating anniversaries during the month of January:

1-4 Del and Sharon Dinsmore
1-16 Joe and Connie Crispino
1-31 Julian and Sarah Beth Johnston
1-31 Ross and Suzanne Rainwater

As all of you know, we are getting closer to our next reunion. I will publish a list of attendees every two months starting in February. We have several Troopers who are going to be attending this reunion that have not been to a reunion that Carol and I have put together and for that we are grateful. I have also invited a WWII Battle of the Bulge Veteran to come to our reunion. I offered to pay for him and his son-in-law to attend but he said no. He said they will gladly pay. He is a good man. He has a book full of memories that I will insists that he brings along. I am sure that if you want to you will gain a lot from talking to him. His name is Francis (Fran) Chesko.

Carol and I just attended the Battle of the Bulge reunion in Washington DC. We had a wonderful time with the men and one lady who fought during the Battle of the Bulge. We also attended two Receptions. One at the Belgium Ambassador’s Residence and one at the Luxembourg Ambassador’s Residence.

One of our side trips was to Arlington cemetery to place a Wreath at the Battle of the Bulge Memorial and at the Tomb of the Unknown. We then went to the WWII Memorial to place another Wreath.

Another trip was to the Holocaust Museum. That was a trip I suggest that everyone make. Take your children so later on they can take theirs. If you would like to see the pictures taken during this reunion go my blog:

There will be at least one change to our Itinerary. From the “Vietnam Memorial” we will walk over to the Korean War Memorial. We will have the buses pick us up there. It is a shorter walk this way than it is from the WWII Memorial to the Korean War Memorial.

Carol and I went to the “Wall” as I had promised 3 Gold Star Families that I would secure etchings of their Loved One. That morning there was a slight mist falling. The Park Rangers would not supply a Ladder for short people like me to make a etching that was high on one of the taller panels. Of course, one of the names I needed, Willie Green Jr, was high on one of those panels. A man came over as he seen I couldn’t do it and asked me if he could do it for me. I said yes but I needed 5 copies. He said no problem. He made all five etchings for me and then asked if he could keep the pencil he used as a souvenir. I said sure. He was from Poland and said it was a “Great Honor” to do this for me and for the Green family. He then asked if he could get someone to take a picture of all of us. I said sure. He had his daughter to send me the pictures that he had someone take. I enclosed a copy of this and one of him doing the actual etching in with the etching for Willie’s family. Carol had also taken pictures of me doing the etchings of Barry D. Kingman for his sister Carrie. She said she did not have one. Carol also took a picture of me doing the etching of Ronald Johns for his sister Betty. I will enclose a copy of these pictures with the etchings I am sending to both Carrie and Betty Wingard.

If you are a Gold Star Family Member and you have not received your Gold Star Lapel Pin, please let me know. I will have the Army send you one.

***I can not express enough that when we go to “Union Station” for lunch, that you understand that when you are told a time to be on the bus that means you must be on the bus at that time. We will not be able to wait for anyone. This includes me. As time approaches I will ask 3 people to be “Bus Monitors”. I will also come up with a roster of who is to be on what bus. This roster will be given to the Monitor for his/her use to make sure everyone is accounted for. You will be assigned to a bus for control purposes.

In December, I received the pictures of two more of “Our Fallen Brothers”. John Powell told me that he knows he has one James Whitmore that I am looking for. This will leave us only two pictures out of 111 that we need to complete “Our Fallen Brothers” book. They are WO Billy J. Talley 65 (Red Platoon) and PFC Warren F. Brown 68 (Scouts). With or without the last two, I will have three books made. I will be left at the “Wall” with a Park Ranger for inclusion in the Museum that they say is going to be buil. One will be sent to the 1st Cavalry Division to be included in the 1st of the 9th section of the Museum. I will also have them put a copy of the DVD I have made which has over 600 Troopers from Charlie Troop on it.

I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas. Now, it is time to move forward. If you hadn’t made a New Year’s Resolution, then make this one. I will attend the Gettysburg Charlie Troop 1/9th Reunion.

Until next time, God Bless.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry
Regiment Thirsty-Six
December 2016 News Letter

The following Troopers Gave their All during the month of December 1965-1972:

George Gavaria Dec 1, 1966
Clifford Smith Dec 1, 1966
Allan Nelson Dec 1, 1966

Albert McAuliffe Dec 18, 1966
Joel McDonnell Dec 18, 1966

Melvin Crossman Dec 13, 1967

Victor Austin Dec 29, 1968
Barry Kingman Dec 29, 1968
Ronald Roberts Dec 29, 1968

Charles Hood Jr Dec 12, 1969

James Dean Jr. Dec 30, 1969
Thomas Soma Dec 30, 1969

John Buchanan Dec 24, 1970

As you celebrate the Christmas Season, Say a Little Prayer for the families that are missing their Loved ones during this time.

Twas the night before Christmas up in Fiddler’s Green
Things were quiet and there were No Cavalry Troopers to be seen
I asked the Lord “Where were all the Troopers” and he said to me
“A special request had been made and to this I agreed”
“A Trooper came up and on bended knees he said
”You know Lord we have not been with our families since coming
to Fiddler’s Green”
“We would like just one more night to hold them near
And whisper something special in their ear.”
“I gathered all of them around me and this is what I said”
“I grant you this evening to go to them while they are laying in
“Whisper in their ear and kiss their cheek”
“Give them what they long for and what it is your seek”
With this, each the Trooper mounted his steed
And flew through the night with Blessed speed
So loved ones when you wake up in the morning feeling warm and renewed
It’s because your Trooper came down, kissed your cheek, and said

Birthdays during December:
Jerry Grimm December 1st
Jo Coshey December 3rd
Jean Grimm December 4th
Don Coshey December 6th
Suzanne Rainwater December 8th
John Woodruff Decemeber 9th

David Drews December 12th
Karen Schwartz December 31st
Tom and Nancy Stokesberry December 2nd
Randy and Kim Zahn December 23rd

As you celebrate the birth of our Lord this month with family and friends, think of those Troopers or Troopettes that have lost their Trooper or Troopette and make sure that they are going to be alone on the 24th and 25th.
Joe Waters lost his wife Cynthia in November and Phil Merritt lost his Father in November. Phil’s father, Johnny Merritt, was a WWII veteran and a veteran of the Battle of the Bulge.

We are 10 months away from the 2017 Reunion in Gettysburg, PA.
You can help Charlie Troop out by registering with the 1863 Inn now. They will not charge you until the day you get there. This helps the hotel out as well as Carol for doing headcounts.
Carol and I have signed a contract with a band for our Meet and Greet. Once again, we were able to cut the cost in half. The man said there was no way that they would be able to make any money off of this deal but all of the members have said that that was okay since it is for Vietnam Veterans.

I have posted a story on Face book and my blog about Mrs. Marianne Hundley. All I can say is Marianne Hundley is a Special Lady.

Recently I talked to Frank Turner. Frank was in the Blues in Charlie Troop in 67-68. Frank will be attending our reunion in 2017. Frank also set me copy of orders with names of fellow Charlie Troopers. I have since made contact with Ernest Daniels who was the Blue in 1967-4-68. Ernie was then transferred to Delta Troop to be the XO but shortly after arriving the CO got sick and Ernie took over as Acting CO until he DEROS’d. Ernie and his wife (Jimmie) just celebrated their 60th Anniversary on November 3rd.

I have also contacted Mrs. Manuel C. Fernandez who informed that her husband passed away from agent Orange cancer on October 21, 2014. She said he did talk about Charlie Troop and wondered how everyone was doing. His nick name in Nam was “Chico”. RIP Chico. Slow Hand Salute.
I also made contact with George H. Felhker. George was in the Blues as well. George had only been in country for a little over two months when he was seriously wounded along with 7 other members of his Squad. George was medivacced with serveral others that day (June 6, 1968). George will also be making our reunion in 2017.
Just made contact with Earl Howell. Earl served as a Blue in 1967. Earl and his wife, Lisa, will do their best to make next year’s reunion.
In June of 1968, Charlie Troop Blues went out on a Recon Mission. One complete squad became casualties. All but one or two were medivacced out. One of the Troopers we were told was a KIA. We held a Memorial Service for him. About two months later during mail call someone yelled out that they just got a letter from Sgt Larry Kasper and that he was alive and back in the states. On November 28th, I made contact with Larry and we talked for about 45 minutes. Larry is legally blind as he lost an eye that day and the other one isn’t doing so good. He had married and had four terrific children. His lovely wife had passed away about 6 years ago. Phil Merritt and I had been looking for this man for years. An old set of orders was given to me with SSAN on it. I put Larry’s into the computer andit said that SSAN was given out in Texas. Then I went to and put Larry’s name in for Texas. Sure enough it cam up with a phone number. Sure enough it was Larry’s. Larry has an email and I am sure he would appreciate hearing for anyone who would like to “Welcome him home”. His email is His emai program reads his emails to him.

This year has been a productive one for me. I have obtained photographs of:
Frank L. Gonderman
Billy M. Knight
James R. Riley
Donald Radcliff
Danny Bowers
James Dean
Joel Hageman
Hopefully I will receive one of Ronald Johns very soon. I am just waiting for his niece to send it to me. I have feelers out for three others.

God Bless all of you as you go forward in this world. He has blessed me just allowing me to know all of you.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment Thirsty-Six
News Letter November 2016
As always we will begin this News Letter with the Names of our Troopers who Gave Their All during the month of November 1965-1972:

Let us remember these Brave Men each and every day. We must Never Forget but Always Honor them. It is only through us living our lives to the fullest that we can truly honor them.

James Parrett Born: Jul 22, 1942 KIA: Nov 3, 1965
Florendo Pascual Born: Dec 24, 1924 KIA: Nov 3, 1965

Benedicto Bayron Born: Jun 3, 1934 KIA: Nov 16, 1965
Billy Knight Born: Sep 18, 1937 KIA: Nov 16, 1965
James Riley Born: May 8, 1935 KIA: Nov 16, 1965
Billy Talley Born: May 31, 1938 KIA: Nov 16,1965
Terry Clark Born: Jun 18, 1946 KIA: Nov 19, 1967

When you sit down at the Table on Thanksgiving, say a prayer for those who will not have their loves with them. Take a moment to remember our Fallen Brothers.

Birthdays for November:
Carol Hockenbury 11-17
Dennis Junger 11-18
Julian Johnson 11-20
Michael De Rhone 11-21
Judy Jenkins 11-21
Dave Keel 11-23
Heidi Washburn 11-23
Del Dinsmore 11-25

Anniversaries for November:
Crae and Peggy Carpenter 11-14
Claude and Jean Singletary 11-27

As we all know, Eldon “Keith Ball” had passed away. I am sorry to say that his Wife, Betty, has also passed away. She passed on October 20, 2016.

I received notification from Keith Owens that he has learn one of the men he had been trying to find had also passed away. Roger Deel had passed on January 11, 2006.

I served with a man named Frank Turner in 1968; I was in contact with him but he changed email address. Recently he made a trip down to the Croydon, PA VFW to talk to George Van Sant. Frank gave him his new phone number and email address and expressed that he would like to make our reunion in Gettysburg. Welcome home Frank.

Plans are almost completed for the 2017 Reunion. We have tried to keep the costs as low as possible. With the money that we received from the old Bullwhip, we have added a third bus to our trip to Washington DC so that they will be free to everyone up to 150 people. Bullwhip had given us $3000 and the buses were $3,600. We are numbering the registration forms as they come in so we can keep a headcount. Please send in your forms as soon as possible.

If you need to, you can pre-date your checks up to the July cut off date. We will not cash it until then and we will email or call you the week before to make sure you still plan on attending. Once the meals are paid for we can not refund your money.

If you may need assistance in paying for your reunion, let me know by personal email or by phone. If you don’t know my phone number, here it is: 859-771-6342.
We will assist you without anyone else knowing. We can not pay for your entire reunion but we will assist as much as possible. Our assistance is limited to the Trooper’s cost.

Note that on the registration form is a place for donations. This money will be used to buy the soft drinks and snacks for the Hospitality room. If needed, some may be used to assist those in need.

Billie Williams is at home now and on the mend. Of course, he has the best Nurse possible in his beautiful wife, Dorris. Dorris may need some time off once Billie is up and on his feet again.

For those of you who attended the Branson 2016 Reunion, may I say Thank you for attending and Thank you for letting me know you returned home safely.

The other day I was in Sam’s Club wearing my 1st Cav Cap and a gentleman came up to me and Said, I was in the Cav, I was in the 1/9th Cav. I asked which Troop and he said Delta Troop 67-68. His first name was Stan and his last name started with a K. I gave him my business card and told him to call me or email me. So far I haven’t heard from him but I know he works at Sam’s so I’ll find him again.

Our last reunion was over on the 2nd of October. Today is the 30th of October and I can tell you that I am still physically and mentally exhausted. I realize that it is taking more time to recoup after each reunion. Maybe part of my problem is that Carol and I organized two reunions in one year. The one we had in Branson and then one we will have in Gettysburg. For those who may be hoping right now, I’m sorry but Carol and I have no intentions of quitting. I’m not looking for a pat on the back. I just want you all to know that I could use some help. I can’t keep writing a news letter without you all giving me some input. How about a story? How about a short story about why you think reunions are important. How about what it was like seeing so and so for the first time in 40 or 50 years. How about anything. Someone Anyone.

In a week or two I am going to send an email with all of the names of our KIA’s. I am asking each of you to take a few minutes and loom over the list and see if I have forgotten anyone. Maybe you heard of a Trooper who became a KIA on his second tour. I have added Major Donald Radcliff to our list.

I started a Post on my blog about LTC John B. Stockton. I need those of you who served with him to write me a short story about what he was like or what it was like to serve under him. I also have a Post called The Wives of Charlie Troop. How about you married men sending me an email about why your Wife is so special.

Start making your reservations for the Gettysburg Reunion. The rooms are available for reservation now. The sooner the better. You won’t be charged until you show up.

I had “Thank you” cards made up from Charlie Troop. Carol has sent them out to everyone or business that supported us in Branson.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry
Regiment Thirsty-Six

News Letter September 1, 2016

Twenty-nine days until the beginning of our 1st Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment Thirsty-Six Reunion. This is actually the sixth reunion that Carol and I have organized for Charlie Troop. Last year’s reunion will be hard to outdo. We will always try. The window of opportunity to enroll in this year’s reunion has closed. We have sent in all of the head counts required. Now let us get ready to enjoy.

Let us all remember that these reunions only have one theme that run through all of them. That is CAMARADERIE. We should be coming to these reunions with the intentions of maintaining and building on Friendships. Take a moment when you first walk into the Hospitality Room and listen to the laughter. This is what the reunions are for.

****One very important note. If for any reason you have to cancel out of this reunion please notify us as soon as possible. We can get you money back for the meals pretty much up to the last few days. HOWEVER, once the Show Boat Cruise tickets are purchased we MAY NOT be able to get you a refund.

Our reunions offer everyone the opportunity to share in many events. We have been very lucky in that we have only had two problems with excessive drinking. Neither of these two individuals will be coming back to share in our reunions.

The following is a list of Our Fallen Brothers who were Killed In Action during the month of September 1965-1971. We salute and Honor each one. Always Remembered and Never Forgotten.

James D. Wise KIA: Sep 16, 1967 Blues

Louis E. Porrazzo KIA: Sep 27, 1967* Pilot

Douglas Gossage KIA: Sep 26, 1968 Scout Crew Chief
John W. States KIA: Sep 26, 1968 Scout Observer
John C. Wallace KIA: Sep 26, 1968 Scout Pilot

Cordis R. White KIA: Sep 18, 1969 Blues

Ronald J. Fulton KIA: Sep 24, 1969 ** Lift Pilot

Robert G. Fortin KIA: Sep 12, 1971 Scout Pilot

*Louis Porazzo had been reassigned to Bravo Troop prior to his death.

** After 2n to 25th AVN

The following Troopers/Troopettes have birthdays this month:

Charles Derrick 9-2
Rebecca Strunk 9-7
Doc Hockenbury 9-9
Carol Toman 9-13
David Shanklin 9-15
Peggy Carpenter 9-17
Delanie Brazier 9-22 “Little Sweetheart of Charlie Troop”
Tommy Pepper 9-23
Stephanie (Stevie) Wright 9-30

The following have anniversaries this month:
Jerry and Tamara Schmocholocha 9-2
Tom and Karen Betts 9-21
Terry and Heidi Washburn 9-25

This reunion will be somewhat like last years. The biggest difference will be the “Gold Star Family” Ceremony. We have recognized our Gold Star Family members before but we have never honored them. This reunion we will. It will be a special ceremony for special people.

A Special announcement will be made at the “Troopers Only Luncheon”.
It will have to do with next year’s reunion.

If you do nothing else, please remember to be very careful as you make your way to Branson. We want to see smiling faces and not new casts and braces.

God Bless each and everyone of you. See you soon.
2016 Branson Missouri Reunion Attendees

1. Banks, Larry and Grandson 2x 65-66 D Trp
2. Berggren, Jerry and Ellen 2x 66 C Trp
3. Betts, Tom and Karen 2x 66-67 C Trp
4. Bieneman, Pat and Carol 2x 68-69 C Trp
5. Blouin, David and Ginny 2x 66-67
6. Cairns, Ernie and Rose 2 x 66-67 C Trp
7. Carpenter, Crae and Peggy 2x 68-69 C Trp
8. Coshey, Don and Jo. 2x 65-66 C Trp
9. Crispino, Joseph 1x 66 C Trp
10. Cyphers, Edd 1x 68-69 C Trp
11. Duckworth, Jerry and Teri 2x 67-68 C Trp
12. Farmer, Gary 1x 70-71 C Trp
13. Florez, Robert (Dutch) and Kim 2x 68-69 C Trp
14, Gleaton, Diane and Michael and Delia and Virgil Hamilton 4x GSFM Louis Walton 66
15. Goldsberry James and Peggy 2x 65-66 HHTrp
16. Gruetzemacher, Ed and Jeanie 2x 69-70 Ctrp
17. Herron, Richard “Reb” 1x 65-66 HHTrp 70-71 CTrp
18. Hockenbury Jay and Carol 2x 65-66 HHTrp Medic attached to C Trp
19. Jones, Gordon and Susan 2x 66-67 C Trp
20. McKinnon, Frank and Rain 2x 69-70 HHTrp
21. McMichaels, Marvin and Sandy 2x 66-67 A Trp
22. Merritt, Phil and Brenda 2x 68 C Trp
23. Mundy, Butch 1x 65-66 HHT Medic
24. Oestringer, Larry and Jean 2 x 67-68 C Trp
25. Rosher, Galen and Ilah 2x 69-70 C Trp CDR
26. Sanders, Art and Grace 2x 68-69 C Trp
27. Schmotolocha, Jerry and Tammy and Dan 3x 65-66 C Trp
28. Singletary, Claude and Jean 2x 68-69 C Trp
29. Smith, Cecil and Gwynn 2x 69-70 C Trp
30. Smith, Gene and Anne 2x 65-66 C Trp
31. Stokesberry, Tom 1x 69-70 C Trp
32. Strickland, John 1x C Trp
33. Walt “Titch” Tichenell 5x 65-66 C Trp
34. Lillie Bob and Carla “Friends of Titch. Served in 5/7th Cav 2x
35. Tyler, James 1x 69-70 C Trp
36. Walton, Richard GSFM 1x Louis Walton 1966
37. Williams, Billie and Dorris 2x 65-66 C Trp
38. Wright, Grover 1x 69-70 C Trp
40. Knight-Brenner, Ruth 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965
41. Brenner, Billy x2 GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
42. Brenner, Richard 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
43. Donaldson, Judy 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
44. Blevins, Charles 1X 70-71 C Trp
45. Johnston, Julian and Sarah 2x 67-68 C Trp
46. Jenkins, Jerry and Judy 2x 7-66 to 1-68 C Trp
47. LaChance, Ava 1x
48. Vinnigre, Don, Mary Ann and Scotty 3X HHT/C Trp
49. Davidson, Dave 2X 65-66 D Troop
50. Fellin, Bob 67-68 C Troop
51. Nave, Teri 1X GSFM Billy Nave 1965/66
52. Nave, Joe X2 GSFM Billy Nave 1965/66
53. Lane,Vaughn 2X 69-70 C Trp

Once again, here is the itinerary for the Branson Reunion. You will also be furnished a copy when you check in.
Itinerary for the 2016 Reunion:

Thursday September 29th:
Hospitality Room open at 10AM. Registration all day long in Hospitality Room.
Hospitality Room closes at 5PM to allow set up for Meet and Greet.
7PM Meet and Greet
8PM DRAWING for Show Tickets and Free Hotel night

Friday September 30th:
Hospitality room open at 10AM and closes at 12:30PM
2PM: “Our Fallen Brothers” Ceremony at the boat dock under the Gazebo. 3PM to 3:30 PM Boarding boat for the Show Boat Cruise:
Hospitality Room will be opened from 7PM until 11PM.
7:30PM Silent Auction and Raffle fund raisers to make extra monies for our
next reunion.

Saturday October 1st:
10AM Hospitality Room opens
12PM to 2PM: Troopers Only Luncheon and Meeting in Hospitality Room.

Hospitality Room will stay open after Luncheon and Meeting until 3:30PM.
4:30PM Gold Star Family Ceremony
5:15PM Ceremony to Honor the 50th Anniversary for the Troopers arriving in Vietnam in 1966.
Hospitality Room closes at 6PM in order to set up for dinner.
7PM Dinner
Hospitality Room will be open from end of dinner to 11PM.

God Bless and once again be careful.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
August 1, 2016

Sixty days until the start of this year’s reunion in Branson. A detailed itinerary will be in September’s News Letter.

Anyone who is planning on attending this year’s reunion must have their check into me NO LATER THAN THE 15TH OF THIS MONTH. Anyone who pays after the 15th and wants to attend the Boat Cruise will still be able to do so but you may not be sitting with the rest of us. If you have sent me a check more than 5 working days ago and I have not sent you an email letting you know I received it, you need to let me know ASAP.

Please remember to bring 2 items for the Auction table. They do not have to be expensive nor do they need to be new. Please bring one for a man and one for the Ladies.

These are the names of our Fallen Brothers for the Month of August::

David Kink Aug 3, 1969 Scout Pilot

Tony Bakke Aug 8, 1966 Red Crew Chief
Richard Meehen Aug 8, 1966 Red Pilot
Leslie Nickles Aug, 8, 1966 Red Crew Chief
Gerald Simons Aug 8, 1966 C Trp Commander

Honorio Fidel Aug 9, 1967 Forward Observer
Ray Moran Jr Aug , 9, 1967 Red Door Gunner
Francis Rochkes Aug 9, 1967 Red Crew Chief
Robert Thompson Aug 9, 1967 Red Pilot

Charles Sonnkalb Jr Aug 16, 1968 Scout Pilot

Only by living our lives to the fullest can they be properly remembered.
Birthdays in August:

Earl Reece 6 August
Patty Schatz 6 August
Rose Cairns 8 August
Jacky Slye DeBoer 8 August Gold Star Family Member
Tom Stokeberry 15 August
Terry Washburn 19 August
Sharon Dinsmore 22 August
Galen Rosher 25 August
Elizabeth Dresel 26 August Daughter of Larry Wright
Ed Gruetzemacher 24 August
Junius Jordan 27 August
Walt “Titch” Titchenell 28 August

Anniversaries in August

Jay (Doc) and Carol Hockenbury 4 August 1968
Reb and Kathy Herron 11 August
Galen and Ilah Rosher 16 August 1958 58 years
Gerald and Jean Grimm 27 August 1956 60 years

I have been remiss in not bringing up the fact the Gloria Rogers ( wife of Cleveland/Julio) has been hospitalized with a major stroke. Gloria who has been battling Breast Cancer had a major stroke that left her incapable of walking. She is just now starting to take her first few baby steps. Julio says her spirits are high.

I talked to Jack Schwartz on July 6. Jack had also been hospitalized for a lung infection that collapsed his lung. He is home now and doing much better.

I went on line and looked up Gonderman. Joanne Gonderman came up. I have to admit when I saw her profile picture I thought she had to be a grandchild of Frank Gonderman who was killed in the same helicopter as Billy Nave, Louis Walton and Richard Perrin. I messaged her. She said no she was his daughter. I asked her if she would like to talk to someone who knew her Dad and she said yes. I called Titch and he gladly called Joanne and talked to her about her Dad. Joanne was very happy. I also gave Joanne Diane (Walton) Gleaton’s phone number. I am hoping that someday we can get her to come to one of our reunions and meet the Nave and the Walton children.

Charlie Troop is very fortunate this years as for the first time we will have members of Billy M. Knights family in attendance. Billy was a member of a Red Team that was lost in the Ia Drang Valley on July 16, 1965. On that tragic day we lost: Benedicto Bayron, Billy Talley, Billy Knight and James Riley. In attendance will be; Ruth Knight Brenner Billy’s widow, Judy Knight Donadlson, Daughter and both sons, Billy and Robert.

I want to give everyone a heads up on the Meet and Greet. The following will be made available to eat and drink at the M&G:

Breaded Chicken Tenders 3 trays
BBQ Chicken wings (hot, medium and mild) 3 trays
Sandwich Tray
Vegetable tray 2
Cheese Tray 3
Fruit trays 3
Condiment Tray 1
Ice Tea
Beer and soft drinks.
Sheet Cake 1

We are still working on getting entertainment. It may be left up to the women to come up with some kind of skit.

The following is a list of attendees as of July 31st:

2016 Branson Missouri Reunion

1. Banks, Larry and Grandson 2x 65-66 D Trp
2. Berggren, Jerry and Ellen 2x 66 C Trp
3. Betts, Tom and Karen 2x 66-67 C Trp
4. Bieneman, Pat and Carol 2x 68-69 C Trp
5. Blouin, David and Ginny 2x 66-67
6. Cairns, Ernie and Rose 2 x 66-67 C Trp
7. Carpenter, Crae and Peggy 2x 68-69 C Trp
8. Coshey, Don and Jo. 2x 65-66 C Trp
9. Crispino, Joseph 1x 66 C Trp
10. Cyphers, Edd 1x 68-69 C Trp
11. Duckworth, Jerry and Teri 2x 67-68 C Trp
12. Farmer, Gary 1x 70-71 C Trp
13. Florez, Robert (Dutch) and Kim 2x 68-69 C Trp
14, Gleaton, Diane and Michael and Delia and Virgil Hamilton 4x GSFM Louis Walton 66
15. Goldsberry James and Peggy 2x 65-66 HHTrp
16. Gruetzemacher, Ed and Jeanie 2x 69-70 Ctrp
17. Herron, Richard “Reb” 1x 65-66 HHTrp 70-71 CTrp
18. Hockenbury Jay and Carol 2x 65-66 HHTrp Medic attached to C Trp
19. Jones, Gordon and Susan 2x 66-67 C Trp
20. McKinnon, Frank and Rain 2x 69-70 HHTrp
21. McMichaels, Marvin and Sandy 2x 66-67 A Trp
22. Merritt, Phil and Brenda 2x 68 C Trp
23. Mundy, Butch 1x 65-66 HHT Medic
24. Oestringer, Larry and Jean 2 x 67-68 C Trp
25. Rosher, Galen and Ilah 2x 69-70 C Trp CDR
26. Sanders, Art and Grace 2x 68-69 C Trp
27. Schmotolocha, Jerry and Tammy and Dan 3x 65-66 C Trp
28. Singletary, Claude and Jean 2x 68-69 C Trp
29. Smith, Cecil and Gwynn 2x 69-70 C Trp
30. Smith, Gene and Anne 2x 65-66 C Trp
31. Stokesberry, Tom 1x 69-70 C Trp
32. Strickland, John 1x C Trp
33. Walt “Titch” Tichenell 4x 65-66 C Trp
34. Lillie Bob and Carla “Friends of Titch. Served in 5/7th Cav 2x
35. Tyler, James 1x 69-70 C Trp
36. Walton, Richard GSFM 1x Louis Walton 1966
37. Williams, Billie and Dorris 2x 65-66 C Trp
38. Wright, Grover 1x 69-70 C Trp
40. Knight-Brenner, Ruth 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965
41. Brenner, Billy x2 GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
42. Brenner, Richard 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
43. Donaldson, Judy 1 x GSFM Billy Knight 1965 x
44. Blevins, Charles 1X 70-71 C Trp
45. Johnston, Julian and Sarah 2x 67-68 C Trp
46. Jenkins, Jerry and Judy 2x 7-66 to 1-68 C Trp
47. LaChance Ava
48. McKinnon, Frank and Rain x2
49, Vinnigre, Don, Mary Ann and Scotty 3x

84 as of 7/31

Over the past 12 months, we have lost Three of Charlie Troop Commanders. LTG (then Major) Charles Bagnel, Colonel (Then Major) Cecil “Lynn” Shrader and Colonel (then Major) Keith Ball. Let us keep their families in our thoughts and prayers.

We have also lost one spouse, Jean Reid. Jean was the wife of Jim Reid and she was loved by many of us that knew her.

I have attached a picture of the photo display that covers the Cup Carol and I sent to Mrs. Betty Ball and Mrs Jean Shrader. Jean called me on the 29th of July and told me she had received her cup that day. She said it is very special and came at the right time. As her and her daughter were going through a lot of Lynn’s things they found a letter form Ernie Cairns asking Lynn to come to a reunion. Lynn came to that reunion and he and Ernie rekindled a relationship that started in Vietnam when Ernie was his Crew Chief for almost 12 months. I told Jean that with that Coffee Cup she could either drink coffee from it or just set it on the table and she would still be able to have coffee with Lynn every morning.

God Bless each and every one of you. See you soon.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
News Letter July 2016

Ninety days until the start of the 2016 Reunion. As you know, anyone wishing to attend needs to have their check into me by August 15th. The Reunion is shaping up and everyone is looking forward to it. Remember that all of our activities are casual dress. You may wear a suit if you want but most of us will be wearing jeans or dress slacks.

The following is a List of Our Brothers whom sacrificed all. Let us bring Honor to them by the way we live our lives.

William E. Strobel KIA: Jul 27, 1967 Crew Chief

Stephen T. Moody KIA: Jul 2, 1969 Scout Pilot

Ernest D. Burns KIA: Jul 14, 1969 Lift Pilot
Dewey R. Butler KIA: Jul 14, 1969 Lift Crew Chief
Ray G. Davis KIA: Jul 14, 1969 Lift Door Gunner
Thomas Felton KIA: Jul 14, 1969 C Trp Commander

John C. Hansen KIA: Jul 15, 1969 Scout Pilot

John E. Anderson KIA: Jul 21, 1969 Scout Pilot
Edward M. Dunnell KIA: Jul 21, 1969 Scout Crew Chief

*Gregory A. Antunano KIA: Jul 24, 1972 Crew Chief

Kevin M. Frye KIA: Jul 28, 1970 Red Pilot
David E. Zimmerman KIA: Jul 28, 1970 Red Pilot

*Gregory Antunano was KIA on 2nd tour with 2/8th Cav

** David Kink was the 3rd person in the aircraft. David lived to be sent to Japan where he became a KIA on 3Aug69.
The following Troopers and Troopettes have birthdays this month:

Pat Rogers July 5
Walker Jones July 5
Greg Jaynes July 6
Anne Smith July 12
Allen Sellers July 14
Dave Rogers July 15
Danny Hyleman July 16
Robert LeMasters July 25
Jacky Waller July 17
Dorris Williams July 17
Randy Zahn July 20
Crae Carpenter July 25

The following Troopers and Troopettes will celebrate an Anniversary this month:

Jerry and Carol Toman July 15th.

A Poem by Phillip Gaudette Sr.
Posted on January 17, 2011 0

This is a poem written by Phillip Gaudette Sr. Phill passed away on January 13, 2011.
I’d like to tell a story,
About the men so far from home,
About the life they live,
And how they all must roam…
The life they live is a lonely one,
But that’s the way it must be,
To safeguard all our loved ones,
And keep our country free…
We all know why we’re here,
And what we all must do,
And pray the lord so high above,
That he will see us through…
Last night we had a fire-fight,
A friend of mine had died,
But don’t take it wrong my friends,
He died with more than pride…
He died so you could live,
And walk the lands back home,
He died so you could live,
And not be so alone…
Now you demonstrators back at home,
Keep this thought in mind,
Was his life worth that cost,
Or are you really so blind…
Open your eyes and face this life,
We are all in today,
Instead of burning draft cards,
Go to church and pray…
Pray for the day that all the world,
Will someday be as free,
As the country that we live in ,
And always hope will be…
But till that day has come,
That we will live so well,
You’ll have to face the fact,
That we all must see some hell…
Hold your head up high,
And think of why we’re here,
Be proud of what we’re doing,
And give a little cheer…
Oh lord, why won’t they listen,
To the words we all will say,
That if we stick together,
The world will be free someday…
So lay aside those little signs,
And stop that picket line,
Say we all get together,
All of us combine…
Lets win the fight for freedom,
Have lots of fun and cheer,
And stop the world from seeing,
All this war and fear…
These men are of the best,
But we can’t win alone,
So let us stand together,
And let our freedom roam…
Lets spread the word around,
Don’t let us stand alone,
With all of us together,
Our men will soon be home…

The following are those who have already signed up for the Branson Reunion:

1. Bieneman, Pat and Carol
2. Jones, Gordon and Susan
3. Carpenter, Crae and Peggy
4. Merritt, Phil and Brenda
5. Titch
6. Coshey, Don and Jo.
7. Betts, Tom and Karen
8. Herron, Reb
9. Williams, Bill and Dorris
10. McMichaels, Marvin and Sandy
11. Tyler, James
12, Strickland, John
13. Grover, Wright
14. Berggren, Jerry and Ellen
15. Sanders, Art and Grace
16. Oestringer, Larry and Jean
17. Farmer, Gary
18. Banks, Larry and Grandson
19. Smith, Cecil and Gwynn
20. Gleaton, Diane and Michael and Delia and Virgil Hamilton
21. Cairns, Ernie and Rose
22. Stokesberry, Tom
23. Mundy, Butch
24. Blouin, David
25. Joseph Crispino
26. Hockenbury Jay
27. Goldsberry and Peggy
28. Blevins Charles
29. Crispino Joe
30. Singletary, Claude and Jean
31. Rosher, Galen and Ilah
32. Schmotolocha, Jerry and Tammy
33. McKinnon, Frank and Rain
Have a Great Independence Day. Be Care and Be safe.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment Thirsty-Six
June 2016 News Letter

Three months and three weeks until the 2016 Reunion. We are receiving a lot of registration forms. Remember that you must sign up by the 1st of July to be guaranteed a room at our rates. They will not charge your credit card until you show up.

The following is a list of “Our Fallen Brothers” for June 1966-1972:

Gary Isaacson                KIA: Jun 22, 1966 Blues

Frank L. Gonderman   KIA: Jun 27, 1966 Lift Crew Chief
Billy J. Nave                  KIA: Jun 27, 1966 C Trp Commander
Richard T. Perrin         KIA: Jun 27, 1966 Lift Pilot
Louis E. Walton           KIA: Jun 27, 1966 C Trp Crew Chief

Gerald D. Boyd            KIA: Jun 21, 1967 Red Pilot
Thomas E. Campbell KIA: Jun 21, 1967 Red Pilot
Dean D. Crane            KIA: Jun 21, 1967 Red Door Gunner
Howard A. Sessoms  KIA: Jun 21, 1967 Red Door Gunner

*Franklin Hiner Ctrp 65     KIA: Jun 6, 2968 Pilot

Gary G. Evans            KIA: Jun 12, 1968 Red Crew Chief
Warren F. Brown      KIA: Jun 2, 1969 Scout Crew Chief
Donald J. Porter       KIA: Jun 2, 1969 Scout Pilot
Paul F. Weber           KIA: Jun 2, 1969 Scout Door Gunner
* Franklin Hiner was KIA on 2nd Tour with 240th AHC**
** Attack Helicopter Company

Only by living our lives to the fullest can we Truly honor these brave men.

The following are the birthdays for this month:

Pete Guthrie June 4
Cathy Weed June 4
Ross Rainwater June 6
Rob Struck June 13
Jeanette Fellin June 20

The Following Anniversaries for this month:

Pete and Gail Guthrie June 30, 1973
Stephen and Marianne Hundley June 28

On the 29th of May, Carol and I drove up to Columbus, Georgia to the National Infantry Museum for their Memorial day ceremonies. We had coordinated with Tiffany Hoffman in advance to have our “Little Brothers” there. We purchased a Floral Spray (see attached pictures) and had the Boy Scout place it in position at the Wall. I have also attached pictures of the Quilt that Chuck Knowlen had donated to the Museum. It has taken a long time, however, getting the case just right so that it would be “dust proof” took a little longer than expected. If you would like to see the pictures mentioned here send me a comment and I will forward them to you.

Don Coshey’s granddaughter Merrick has written many poems. I would like to share this one with you.

You Troopers from 66, look at the following list and see if I have missed someone. If I have, make sure they are coming to the reunion and then let me know who they are.

Tom Betts, Ernie Cairns, Gordon Jones, Jim Hohman, Randy West and Cecil Schrader.


Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry Regiment
Thirsty-Six May 2016 News Letter

Three months and three weeks before the beginning of the Reunion. Go ahead and make your reservations. You will not be charged until you get there. I want to Thank those of you who have filled out your Registrayion forms and sent them in. For those of you who haven’t, I will send a better form also.

Our Fallen Brothers who “Gave their All” during the month of May 1966-1972. “Always Remembered and Never Forgotten”:

James Rickerson KIA May 31, 1967 Blues

Thomas Koch KIA May 28, 1966 Blues

Danny Bowers KIA May 2, 1970 Scout Observer

George Slye KIA May 2, 1970 Blues/ Observer*

Gary McKiddy KIA May 6, 1970 Scout Observer
Tommy Whiddon KIA May 6, 1970 Scout Pilot
LeLand Chestnut KIA May 10,1970 Door Gunner
David Combs KIA May 27, 1970 Door Gunner

* Georger Slye was KIA after being transferred to Bravo Troop

We must live our lives to the fullest in order to truly honor our Brothers.
Birthdays for this month:

Gywnn Smith (Cecil) May 2
Carol Bieneman (Pat) May 13
Cecil Smith May 17
Janice Tacconi (Frank Gonderman) May 27 GSFM
Larry Donaldson May 29


Pat and Carol Bieneman May 12, 1970 I am proud to say that this lady has stayed with me this long. Now we re pushing for 50.

Each month I have put a story in the News Letter that a member of Thirsty-Six wrote. This is one of those stories only it is a little grim but it shows the Courage that these men had. I am so proud to call them “MY Comrade in Arms”.

The following is a true story about the deaths of John Clayton Wallace, John Wayne States and Douglas Eugene Gossage. It is written by J. Bruce Huffman. Bruce was a pilot of a Light Observation Helicopter (LOH). His aircraft tail number was 67-16079. His crew consisted of SSG John States and SP/4 Douglas Gossage. The crew of a helicopter fondly referred to the ship by its last three digits. In this case, Zero Seven Niner (079). The complete version of this story can be found by clicking on the “C Troop (website) home page” link on the right hand side of this blog’s home page and then click on “Stories” and “A Brave Air Crew”.
I landed to a hover on the nasty oiled dirt strip we shared with Bravo Troop and saw WO (Warrant Officer) Wallace running toward my bird. WO Wallace was relatively new but had shown skill and aggressiveness. I sat the bird down and Wallace leaned in and said “Get Out! I need your bird and crew. Lobes Echo is in contact and the Snake (Cobra) is cranking.” I said, “we’ve already been up 3.8 hours. Give me the damn brief or get your own bird up!” John replied, “We don’t have time, it looks like it is going to be a “Prairie Fire!” A Prairie Fire is called when an American unit is in contact with the enemy and it is possible they might be over run.

I stepped out of the LOH, picked up my chicken plate (Aviator’s armored chest protector ) and helmet and watched as John flew over the concertina wire and turn west headed for the foot hills leading to the Ashau Valley. Less than 30 minutes later Cavalier White (1LT James G. Ungaro) walked into my Hooch to tell me that “Wallace is down and they are all dead!!”

WO Wallace had “checked in” with Lobes Echo and found out they felt they were engaged with at least a Battalion of NVA (North Vietnamese Army) troops. Echo was under canopy on the high ground that overlooked a depression held on three sides by the NVA. Echo was a company size unit against a much larger force but they had the high ground and they also had the “great equalizer” on their side: fire power.

John made an initial pass and discovered a 12.7mm machine gun in a doughnut bunker and had Gossage mark it as they blazed by. The AC (aircraft commander) of the Snake refused to shoot due to the proximity of the friendly positions. He had recently been involved in a “short round” incident that wounded US troops and had been badly reprimanded and humiliated by an officer that should have known better for doing exactly what the US ground commander had requested. While the high bird was fooling around trying to get some artillery cranked up, Wallace decided to take out the gun.

He flew in and with a combination of M-60 fire and fragmentation grenades got the 12.7 mm. Unfortunately the other two positions that were protecting the NVA regimental CP got him. The aircraft landed in the wrecked position of the first gun. SSG States stepped over what once had been the front console and canopy and went head to head with an NVA who got off the first shot. WO Wallace un-strapped and went out the right door and began to run for his life toward Lobes Echo who was laying down an intensive base of fire to cover him as he ran up the hill with less than 100 meters from the down bird to the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) position. Wallace was hit in the legs 40 meters from relative safety. He went down hard and before he could get up an NVA officer, in full view of the US Advisor working with the ARVNs, shot him in the neck with a pistol. SP/4 Gossage had everything he needed; lots of ammo and plenty of targets. The ARVN Rangers said that the sound of the M-60 rattled on until finally the NVA fired an RPG-7 (rocket propelled grenades) into the down bird and the gun went silent. When the recovery was complete, the bodies of 12 NVA were found in and around the remains of ‘Zero Seven Niner’. Gossage had done his duty.

I often reflect on ‘What if?’ about their loss, but realize that on that day their fate intersected with their destiny with terrible consequences. It was an honor to serve with them; Warriors to the end.

I agree with Bruce’s assessment of these three men. Just for one minute close your eyes and try to see things as these three men did.

John States stepped out of what was left of the helicopter and before he could get a shot off the enemy soldier in front of him shot him dead. What was John’s last thoughts on this earth?

Close your eyes and try to see things as John Wallace did. Here he is shot in the legs and lying on the ground and before he could get up an enemy soldier shot him dead. Did he see the man or not? What were his last thoughts?

I think the hardest would be trying to imagine what was going through the mind of Douglas Gossage. He had plenty of time to know what was happening. He was barely 19. Here he was fighting for his life with no help. Did he see the RPG grenade coming at him? I hope not. I hope he had no idea of what was to happen. Try to remember what it was like when you were 19 years old. Try to think just how you would have reacted in that situation. I was there and I can tell you that the thought of what this young man (kid) went through brings tears to my eyes. The next time you find yourself in a lousy situation or having a “bad” day just think of Douglas’s last day.

Ladies give your man a big hug tonight. Men Thank God you are where you are. For those of you who lost fathers, brothers, uncles, all I can tell you is that your loved one stood tall and did what he had to do. They love you still today. Give them that love and honor today as well.

Gordon and Susan Jones’s granddaughters (our Little Sweethearts of Charlie Troop) once again won a championship in Cheerleading. This time is was the Gulf Coast District Championship. Next month they will compete for the National title. Carol, Susan, Gordon and I will be there to watch them.

I am honored to say that at our next Reunion the son of Billy Knight (KIA in the Ia Drang Valley) will be attending with us. This will be Billy Brenner’s first reunion. We may have one or two more new KIA family members joining us as well.

God Bless each of you.

April 2016 News Letter

The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of April 1966-1972:   Always Honored and Never Forgotten.

Richard Noyola      KIA Apr 11, 1966 Blues

Earl Grove               KIA Apr 10, 1967 Maintenance

Alton Roberts        KIA Apr 13, 1971 Red Door Gunner

*John Jelich (Ctrp 68-69) KIA Apr 1, 1972 Scout Pilot

* John Jelich was KIA on 2nd Tour with D Company 220th Scouts

Birthdays and Anniversaries:

Kurt Schatz April 3rd
Ernie Cairns April 10th
George Van Sant April 20th
John Niamtu April 24th
Bruce Huffman April 26th

There are not any Anniversaries to announce.
We are now 5+ months away from the 2016 Thirsty-Six Reunion in Branson. Carol and I still continue to work on all of the aspects of the reunion. I have attach a Registration form with this News Letter. The costs have been kept as low as possible. As you know the rooms are opened now for registration. The costs of the rooms are : $69.00 per night for a regular or Handicapped room, $95.00 a night for jaquzzi room and $129.00 a night for a Jacuzzi Suite. These prices are good for three days prior to the Reunion and three days after. This is to allow you to experience the city and all it has to offer.

This past month, Carol and I had the pleasure of having Ernie and Rose Cairns visit our home. They were down in Sarasota for the Orioles Spring Training. Sarasota is only about 25 mile away. We spent a couples of hours at the house talking and then went to dinner at our favorite German Restaurant. It was a great time spent together.

Anyone who has not yet visited the New Charlie Troop Website needs to do so. Grover Wright, his daughter and Dennis Junger are working very hard on the site. If you have photos email copies to Grover or the website.The web site is accessible by going to

This is a poem by Edd Hogeboom. Edd was a Pilot in 69-70.

To Honor Those of “The Crossed Sabers”

It was a time when his Country called
The Army trained him in the finest and latest combat skills of the time
Yet his enemy would live in the ground and fight with weapons that time forgot
He was about to enter a life of experiences he could never have begun to imagine
His Mom, through her tears, told him to be careful and keep his head down.
His Dad told him to do his best and come back to them when he’s done
He put his old Navy Wings into his son’s pocket and said, “You bring ‘em back, OK?”
The son nodded and turned away and took the first step into the rest of his life.
When he stepped off the Air Force Starlifter at Tan Son Nhut, he became an FNG
At CAV Charm School he’s told what he can to do, not do, and who not to do it with
Then he gets his orders — Charlie Troop, 1st of the 9th Air Cav
The others look at him as if he has drawn the Ace of Spades from the deck of life
The legend of the Ia Drang and “lifers” shaking their heads at the mention of 1st of the 9th
He had heard of incredibly high mortality rates of these men called crazy, but courageous
For a moment, he wondered, “Should I raise my hand and ask for a second choice?”
He knew from all he heard, he was essentially a replacement for a body bag going home
In the coming days and months, he would grow in areas most men would never know
He quickly acquired a “taste for Charlie’s blood” – a hooch mate took a .51 in the face
Finally his 50 hours were over and he became Cavalier 16, Scout Platoon, “C” Trp, 1/9
The days were endless and the nights were longer
When sleep came it might be in a hooch, his LOH, or a clay pit at an LZ taking incoming
He ate out of a bag, peed in a can and tried to stay up-wind of the “honey buckets”
In no time, he learned that happiness is a fully automatic weapon, preferably belt fed.
Since his “Snake Pilot” had the “funny papers,” he never really knew where he was
He saw men, women and children die every imaginable death and went back for more
He lost friends and non-friends alike, but it didn’t matter…a little piece of him died too
When his day came, the Big Six let him and his crew “pass go and collect their $200”
Banged up, but the crew would fight again and the Army’s inventory was less one LOH
Elephant grass and morning dew would tell him when and how many had moved through
Flying sideways into the wind would lead him to pack animals and Charlie’s cookouts
He’d drop Willy Petes in three potential LZs, but the insertion would be in a fourth
His helmet carried the crease of an AK round and he kept his Ithaca grease gun close by
His days were filled with adrenalin and his nights with scotch and insomnia
He saw friends hanging in their straps — dead
He saw open flesh after incoming
But nothing prepared him for the day he flew into a .51 cal trap and lost his crew
Today he has memories and he has nightmares
Several times a month he sits in a VA Clinic waiting for substandard care
He watches other old men reliving their memories and getting their drugs for the pain
Freedom’s cost is high, but if called, he would grab his Cav hat and mount up once again
To honor and remember our fallen brothers and to acknowledge with love and respect, my brothers and sisters who still wear the “Crossed Sabers” proudly.

Cavalier 16 (Hogie)
C” Trp. 1/9 Air Cav“
RVN ‘69

Two businesses to mention. Tom and Leslie Criser opened a brewery in Corpus Christi. It is the Lorelei Brewery. Sorry, no free beer. Congrats to Tom and Leslie.

Melissa Jones Brazier ( daughter of Gordon and Susan Jones ) along with a friend (Brooke) opened a Beauty salon in Columbus, Georgia called “Rumor, Skin, Hair and Beauty. It is an “upscale” Beauty Salon with crystal Chandeliers and it offers hair grooming, facials, manicures and total comfort.

Congrats to both of them. Free perms to any man getting a facial, manicure and Hair cut. Just kidding.

March 2016 Newsletter
The following Charlie Troopers gave their all during the month of March 1966-1972. It is our responsibility to make sure they are never forgotten. It is also our responsibility to live our lives to the fullest because they only continue to live through us:

Edward Kaneshiro March 6, 1967 Blues

Ronald Johns March 15, 1968 Scout Observer
Walter Panamaroff March 15, 1968 Scout Pilot
Robert Smeal March 15, 1968 Scout Observer

*Jack Sunquist March 15, 1968 Red Pilot

Joel Hageman March 12, 1971 Red Pilot
Van Joyce March 12, 1971 Red Pilot

Bard Davenport March 27, 1969 Lift Pilot
Allan Harper March 27, 1969 Lift Crew Chief
William Porter March 27, 1969 Lift Pilot
John Waller March 27, 1969 Life Door Gunner

* Jack Sundquist was KIA after Transfer to Bravo Troop.

Birthdays this month:

Bill Williams Thirsty-Six March 8th
Don Gresham March 20th
Grover Wright March 22nd
Tommy Betts March 24th
Beck Slye-DeBoer March 25th GSFM
Art Harmon March 29th

Anniversaries this month:

Kurt and Patricia Schatz March 31, 1984 Happy 32 years
Charlie Troop has many amazing Troopers. One of these amazing Troopers is Mike Bogdue. As most of you know, Mike is a Doctor here in Florida. What many of you may not know is that Mike is also a sponsor for Foreign exchange students from Asia. Each year, after the students have completed their studies. Mike goes to their country of origin and spends time with the families and donates some of his time to perform his doctoring skills. This past year, Mike’s students were from China. I will attach some of the photos that Mike sent to me. Many of us give back one way or another to our fellow man. Mike’s way is truly a blessing for those that he helps. I would like to hear from others about what you do to give back for the blessing that you have. Talking about what you do is not bragging. It is only sharing with us your contributions to this world.

Forrest Frields was a Scout Pilot in Charlie Troop. This is his story.

War stories and PTSD tales are about releasing the demon energy residing within you. In my case and those cases of friends and co-patients of mine – that energy will never go away – at least not completely. Our only salvation is found in capturing it; in encapsulating it in a locked compartment in the recesses of our minds; that darkness keeps it at bay even if only temporarily.

And when it peeks out, when it sneaks out for a breath of clean bright air – it manifests itself in different ways with different people. With me its sadness, with sorrow. Still today.

I didn’t see atrocities and pain. My experience with fear arrived after my experience with reality. We were young, we were soldiers, some of us died…but most didn’t. At the time fear was masked by the elation, in my case on my first tour in RVN (Republic of Vietnam), by FLYING; flying a small helicopter in battle. Alone at the controls with a trusted sidekick beside me – with his trusty sidekick – an M60 machine gun with 1000 rounds of ammo.

I soared about the jungle of the mountains and the sands of the coastal plain; not high, unseeing above, just above the tree tops. Seeking, searching for signs of the enemy; finding it; dealing with it. We usually returned to base camp victorious; sometimes only bored without reports of enemy activity – he had succeeded in hiding from my prying eyes. More often with a body count of enemies sighted, often – killed.

Nothing compares with combat – unless you lose. The chatter of the ’60 and the multiple radios; the smell and staccato sound of your machinegun. You toss hand grenades; they explode next to the target. Maybe you’re on a BDA – bomb damage assessment – mission. The jungle is thrown around like a child’s playground littered with fragments of former life, now tree stumps, vegetation debris and holes – bomb craters huge gaping mouths of destruction. Maybe a stumbling NVA regular, dragging his AK-47, staggering under the blast of sound and the impact of concussion in his previously hidden jungle world. He’s already dead, he just doesn’t know it. My M60 tells him.

I know killing is not right. I did it anyway. The price for bending life’s rules is remembering it. Memories of death, dismemberment, inflicted pain and suffering; destruction of “stuff” remain long after the act. The danger, the fear, the excitement of battle – all gone. No glory here only pride in winning; pride in avoiding the hundreds of ways of death-dealing wounds. I hated “the enemy” – not his person only his intent in killing me and mine. I remember his face; I saw his grimace, the fear in his eyes, the smoke pouring from his submachine gun as he unsuccessfully sought to escape his pending death.

I remember all this shit! Not everyday, not all the time. I’m not debilitated by it. I don’t run from it. I tear up and sometimes cry about those days. Sometimes I write about those days, like now. I tell my story to my friends and family but really I’m telling them to me. The tales don’t make the telling easier nor do they make the memories less but they do release – if only for the time of the telling – some of that suppressed energy. Thank God, if He wills it – for my sense of humor. It has saved me countless times. I trust it will continue to do so.

The inflicted pain and suffering; destruction of “stuff” remain long after the act. The danger, the fear, the excitement of battle – all gone. No glory here only pride in winning; pride in avoiding the hundreds of ways of death-dealing wounds. I hated “the enemy” – not his person only his intent in killing me and mine. I remember his face; I saw his grimace, the fear in his eyes, the smoke pouring from his sub-machine gun as he unsuccessfully sought to escape his pending death.
Forrest Frields

I decided to post this article this time because I have read where so of our family member are still struggling with PTSD. Yes, PTSD among our family members is real. It was passed down from us to them. I know I passed many of my PTSD traits down to my son and a few to my wife. I’m not proud of the fact. I know I didn’t do it on purpose, yet it happened. We must talk to our family members about PTSD. We must let them know that it is not what we wanted nor is it what we wanted to do to them. We must be willing to assist them anyway that we can.

Once again, our “Little Sweethearts,” Jolie and Delanie Brazier and the rest of the “Striped Pythons” performed in a Cheerleading competition which included teams from as far away from Columbus, Georgia as California. These very talented young ladies came in second. That is second over all among all age groups. They are in the middle age group but beat out other teams from the top age group. In April, they will be competing for another National Championship. This time it will be the Grand Nationals held in Orlando, Florida.

Let’s take just a minute to talk about skin cancer. Yet again I had a cancerous spot cut out of my back. This time, it was the size of a thin pencil lead. I had a precancerous spot cut off of my nose and had a total of 11 spots on my back, nose and ears frozen to kill the spots before they became cancerous. Take the time to let your love one check out you back and take the time to check out your face and ears. If anything is a “not for sure” then go see a dermatologist. Skin cancer can turn into Bone Cancer if not taken care of early enough. Most cancers that present themselves now are from getting too much sun many years ago.

I would like to get some input about one option for the Branson Reunion. I would like to do the following. On the second night, weather permitting, I have scheduled to hold Our “Fallen Brother’s” ceremony on Friday afternoon. It will be held at the “Gazebo” down on the dock on Table Rock Lake at 2:30pm. This will include a musical tribute to the Army, Pledge of Allegiance, Amazing Grace and Taps as well as the “Reading of The Names” by our beautiful Troopettes. Following the Ceremony we will take a Dinner Cruise on a River Boat on Table Rock Lake with musical entertainment. The cost per person will be $49.44 or a few pennies less. The Dinner Cruise is a two and one half hour cruise. Charlie Troop Thirsty-Six will also be recognized while cruising on the River. You do not have to take the Dinner Cruise if you don’t want to. You can make the Ceremony and then do what you want to do.

So Far I have only two approvals. I don’t have any non-approvals however, if I don’t get the idea that more people are in favor of it I will have to cancel the Dinner Cruise as a “Reunion” activity. If you think of it, a boat cruise, a dinner and a show for less than $50.00 is a pretty good deal.

For those of you who may be considering flying into the reunion, I talked to the Airport people in Branson. Ann told me to wait for a couple of weeks because they are getting ready to come out with their new schedule. She said a lot of flights will be added from various airport around the US.

Our Brother, Kurt Schatz, is having some Agent Orange related problems. I ask for all of you to put him in your prayers.

May each of you have a blessed month.



February  2016 Newsletter
The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of February 1966-1971:

Horace Giddens Jr Feb 2, 1968 Co-Pilot UH-1B
John Suydam Feb 12. 1968 Scout Door Gunner
Steven Seigler Feb 13, 1971 Crew Chief

Always Honored and Never Forgotten.

Birthday and Anniversaries during the Month of February:

John Craig 2-8
Ron Peffer (GSFM) 2-20
Barry Sipple 2-23
Debra Baker (GSFM) 2-26 (Cordis White)
Jolie Brazier 2-23 one of our “Little Sweethearts of Charlie Troop”
Levin Cordero 2-1 “Little Brother of Charlie Troop”
Jacob Bess 2-24 “Little Brother of Charlie Troop”

Don and Jo Coshey Anniversary 2-18-67 Congratulations and Happy 49th

Bill and Dorris Williams Thirsy-Six 2-15-1950 Congratulations and Happy 65th

This newsletter is going to be a little long. First, I will cover the upcoming Reunion in Branson. Then I am going to post an After Action Report that James Hohman submitted to the old 1/9th website but may also be viewed on my Blog: I am posting it, even though it is 15 pages long, because I so often hear from spouses and family members that the Trooper just doesn’t discuss Vietnam. This will be your opportunity to follow a battle almost from beginning to end. This is not sugar coated but it really isn’t Blood and Guts either.

Before I start, let me say Stan Newbury, Charlie Trooper 69-70 is a new member of Charlie Troop Tirsty-Six. Stan is planning on making our next reunion.

As you know, the Reunion for 2016 will be held in Branson, Missouri September 29th, 30th and the 1st of October at the Stone Castle Inn. The address for the Stone Castle Inn is: 3050 Green Mountain Drive, Branson, MO 65616. The Inn is under reconstruction until the 10th of February so in order to make reservation until then you will need to call: 417-231-4721. Either Tiffinie (yes, this is the way she spells her name) or Sharon will take your reservations. After the 10th you may still call that number or 800-677-6906.

All information as to the various activities at the reunion will be put out in the next two months.

Jim Hohman: The Battle of Hoa Tan Thank you, Jim.

Office of Information and History
APO San Francisco 96490
AVDAIN 7 August 1967
SUBJECT: Unit Historical Reports

1. The attached is one of several unit historical reports prepared by the 1st Cavalry’s Office of Information and History.

2. The text of the action is as factual and accurate as humanly possible. Participants at all levels were personally interviewed for an insight to the greatest possible depth into what actually happened.

3. Although each report is intended solely as a historical document, an analysis of this military history may pinpoint key decisions and crucial turning points of the battle. Combat lessons learned may stand out for future awareness.

4. We hope by this and subsequent unit historical reports a far greater number of present leaders in Vietnam and in the military training and school systems in the U.S. will personally benefit from reading these recent actions of their contemporaries whether on squad or battalion level.

5. As a limited number of copies have been prepared by this office, permission is granted to reproduce this report at the unit level.
Major, Infantry

“A chopper is down! A chopper is down!” came the urgent cry crackling over the radio at Landing Zone (LZ) Two Bits, the 1st Cavalry Division’s forward command post and the command post of its primary reconnaissance element, the 1st Squadron of the 9th Cavalry. Ears remained glued to the headset; orders were formulated for instantaneous reinforcement and extraction of the helicopter crew.
Additional information came over the wireless later which indicated that the downed chopper had landed to pick up a Viet Cong (VC) suspect. It was reported that when the chopper touched down, one of the door gunners had jumped out and run toward the location of the VC suspect. Suddenly, intensive and accurate small arms and automatic weapons fire opened up on both the helicopter and the door gunner. Damaged severely by this hail of lead, the ship, was forced off before the door gunner could get back to the craft; the pilot just barely coaxed his chopper long enough to make a landing 800 meters to the east among the relative security of sand dunes along the coast of the South China Sea. This contact initiated one of the most successful battles of Operation Pershing in Binh Dinh Province when on 6 March 1967 elements of the 1st Air Cavalry Division and the 3d Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division decisively engaged at Hoa Tan (pronounced: Wah Tahn) several companies of the 9th Battalion, 18th. NVA (North Vietnamese Army) Regiment.

The action at Hoa Tan. is a remarkable example of the high level of cooperation and coordination required of US Forces in the Vietnam conflict. To successfully drive the guerrilla from his sanctuaries, usually a superiority in men and equipment is necessary in the area selected for the operation. Consequently, to build up the needed advantage US troops will frequently be moved from their normal area of operations into new locations under new commanders to confront a different enemy. This is necessary to effect a fluid response to the guerrilla’s many faceted tactics. More than in any previous war in US history, this coordination has been effectively accomplished. The action at Hoa Tan is illustrative of the capability of US Forces to completely integrate elements to accomplish the mission.
The village of Hoa Tan, a typical farming community, is located in the northeastern end of the Crescent area about forty miles northwest of Qui Nhon in Binh Dinh Province. There are extensive rice paddies to the west and south of the village. On the east the Chau Truc River flows in. a north-south pattern to the Tra-0 Lake 2.4 kilometers to the south. On the west bank of the river and east of Hoa Tan a finger of and, which figured prominently in the action on 6 March, 200 – 300 meters wide and 1200 meters long parallels the course of the river and acts as a dike during the monsoon season to the rampaging Chau Truc River. As this finger of land is quite fertile and easily accessible to a source of irrigation, a series of terraced rice paddies have been carved into its gentle slope. Several hundred meters north of the village the terrain raised gradually from rice paddies to a small lightly vegetated hill mass. To the west and southwest, the Cay Giep Mountains rise in sharp relief from the extensive rice paddies. Through the center of the village runs one of the major roads of the area which joins with Highway 1 to the south and slowly disappears as a trail in the Cay Giep Mountains to the north. In addition, innumerable hedgerows, trenches, and dikes originally constructed to control the rampaging waters caused by the monsoon compartmentalize the village. Interspersed randomly throughout the area are the coconut palms so characteristic of the eastern coastal region. The terrain here was an important factor, for, while the village offered the defensive advantages of good cover and concealment and excellent fields of observation and fire into the rice paddies around the village, it had very few concealed routes of withdrawal thus facilitating an encirclement by US Forces. This battle was fairly unique in this last respect as seldom does a hard core Viet Cong or North Vietnamese Army unit place itself in such a vulnerable position. Previously such a situation had occurred on 2 and 3 October 1966 in the Battle of Hoa Hoi. Here also a large enemy force was surrounded and given little chance for escape. The 1st Air Cavalry Division since September 1966 had been involved in this area as a result of its missions during Operations Thayer I, Irving, Thayer II, and finally Pershing to fully pacify Binh Dinh Province. To further buttress allied units during Operation Pershing, which commenced on the 12th of February, the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry Division had been placed under the control of the 1st Air Cavalry Division. The 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry (3/25) was assigned the southern sectors of the division area of operations. Its mission was one of insuring that enemy main forces did not sweep around the 1st Cavalry forces to the north and contest areas already cleared of VC and NVA (North Vietnamese Army) forces. One of the units of 3/25, the 1st Battalion 14th Infantry, was given the task of keeping the Suoi Ca Valley region clear. This area had been cleared of enemy forces and all its camps and shelters destroyed. The other unit in 3/25, the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry (minus) under Major James E. Moore, which was to figure so prominently in the action at Hoa Tan, was operating in
the Crescent area. Major Moore had two companies, A/l/35 and B/l/35, while C Company of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry (C/l/35) was under the operational control of the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry.
As the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry had a large area of responsibility, C Troop, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division (C/l/9) was attached to provide aerial reconnaissance. In practice, C Troop with their scout (OH-13) helicopters or their weapons (UH-1B) helicopters reconnoiters a large area to determine where the enemy is, then after making contact, their organic infantry platoon (blue platoon) is air assaulted into the area to develop the situation. If the troop uncovers a significant enemy force, a ready reaction company from the unit for which the troop is screening is heliborne into relieve the blue platoon and further exploit the contact. If a contact proves to be major, then other units are committed as the situation requires. The reaction force on the 6th of March was A Company, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry of the 1st Cavalry Division which had been placed under operational control of the 3/25 on the 5th of March 1967.
C Troop was initially employed by the 3/25 in the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry’s area of operation. The northern limit of its reconnaissance was the southern edge of the Cay Giep Mountain mass, while the southern boundary was placed just south of the Tra-0 Lake. C Troop had been given this mission in
part because it had been several days since friendly units had operated in the area, yet there were definite indications of recent enemy activity. Major Donald B. Adkins, the operations officer of C Troop, later said,, “We had suspected that there were enemy in this location. We had been in there
before and we saw numerous military-age males around the villages…most of these villages had bunkers and trenches around them… We felt the VC had moved in there and had started fortifying some of these areas.” (Map 2) At first light on 6 March, a red team of C/l/9 composed of two UH-1B gunships commanded by Lieutenant Clinton W. Carter and Lieutenant James Grissom, left Position Pony, one of the 1st Cav’s landing zones and artillery positions, with the mission of screening along the southern edge of the Gay Giep Mountains, After screening the area for about thirty minutes, the door gunner in Lieutenant Grissom’s aircraft said he saw a man in a foxhole covered with palm leaves on the finger of land to the east of the village of Hoa Tan. (Map 3) As is usually the case when a suspicious individual is noted in a suspected area, the ships circled slowly over the area to observe his reaction. After circling for several minutes, Grissom set his chopper down thirty feet from the foxhole to let his door gunner, Specialist Four James A. Hohman, apprehend the individual. Hohman walked toward where he had seen the foxhole and when he arrived, shoved his M16 into the opening and told the man to come out. Suddenly, the enemy in the foxhole opened up with a burst of automatic weapons fire. The fact that Hohman was on a lower level of the terraced rice paddy than his opponent saved his life and allowed him time to fire a, return burst back into the foxhole and then take cover in a nearby hedgerow. At this time, however, other automatic weapons opened up on the landed chopper and forced Grissom, after receiving several hits, to take off leaving Hohman on the ground. Grisson’s rising chopper, accurately engaged by the enemy as it became airborne, was so severely damaged in its hydraulics system that it had to make an emergency landing in the immediate area. Selecting the exposed sandy area on the other side of the Chau Truc River as the safest location, Grissom just barely made the several hundred meters to the partial security provided by the sand dunes. Lieutenant Carter remained circling over the abandoned door gunner to insure that he was provided with as much aerial fire support as possible until further help arrived. Carter, meanwhile, had notified Major Adkins of the developing situation. Adkins, at LZ Two Bits, immediately apprised Major Charles w. Bagnal., C/l/9 Troop Commander, of the contact. Bagnal, while enroute to the scene of the action, alerted the Troop’s organic infantry platoon to “saddle up”. Arriving at Hoa Tan, Bagnal
reconnoitered the area and estimated that: “We had at least a squad of enemy held up in a couple of bunkers…on a rice-gathering deal or something…”
Platoon Sergeant Lonnie G. Samuel, C/l/9’s acting infantry platoon leader, was at Landing Zone Two Bits when he received orders to prepare for an air assault into the Crescent area. For this action Samuel would have four squads and a headquarters element totaling thirty-two men. Each rifleman would have fifteen clips of twenty rounds each and several fragmentation and white phosphorus grenades. Each squad had an M-79 (grenade launcher) grenadier and the platoon had two M60 machine guns for support. Samuel’s platoon air assaulted into a hot (under enemy fire) landing zone to the east of the village after the area had been “well prepped” by the gunships. When a landing site which is under hostile fire is selected for the blue platoon, the gunships make several. strafing runs on the area firing 2.75? rockets, M60 machine guns and 40 millimeter cannons at suspected or observed points of contact. (The 40mm cannon mounted on the front end of UH-1B helicopter accurately fires a round with a killing radius and affect similar to a fragmentation grenade. A chopper so armed -carries a basic load of 300 rounds.)
Meanwhile, alone and scared, Specialist Four Hohman, under the protection of Carter’s gunship, had made his way to the approximate location where Grissom’s gunship had originally landed to pick up the suspect. This was the same area selected as an LZ for the incoming blues. Samuel’s platoon was split
up at this time with one squad being diverted by air to provide security for Grissom’s downed and exposed craft while the rest of the platoon was given the mission of extricating Hohman and developing the contact.
After air assaulting into the selected LZ, Samuel provided security while Hohman was evacuated, and then deployed north with his squads on line up the finger of land to the east of the village. As he moved his people through the terraced paddies and thick hedgerows, he received notification from Staff
Sergeant Edward N. Kaneshiro, the second squad’s leader, that he had seen a “Charlie” in the heavily-foliated hedgerow to his front and was receiving sporadic sniper fire. Samuel sent the first squad, under Sergeant Smith, up to reinforce while Kaneshiro had his men hold their fire. The Troop received it’s first casualty here as Sergeant Smith, maneuvering his squad in the cover and concealment of a hedgerow running north to south, was wounded as he came into a slight break in the underbrush. Both the squads fell back and Samuel was notified.
Major Bagnal, learning of the first casualty, decided to have the “blues” pull back and to adjust in artillery, aerial rocket artillery (ARA), and Tactical Air support. For the next hour the terraced peninsula was pounded with all of the fire support available. During the fighting on 6 March, five ARA
strikes were called in on suspected enemy positions. Aerial Rocket Artillery provided by the 2d Battalion, 20th” Artillery was effective and extensive. In support of all friendly elements, 564 high explosive aerial rockets were fired. This rocket artillery with its high pitched whine has a psychological effect as great as its destructive powers. VC or NVA caught in the open conducting an
assault on friendly troops and faced with the unpleasant consequences of an ARA strike, will often break and run. On March 6 this fire support must be credited with knocking out many enemy defensive positions and forcing the enemy to keep in his foxholes while friendly units attacked.
Major Bagnal, while the fire support was being adjusted in, contacted Major Moore, the Battalion Commander of 1/35. As his blues were on the ground and had received strong resistance, he felt that at least a platoon of NVA were in opposition. He requested that one platoon of the ready reaction force, A Company, 2d Battalion, 5th Cavalry (A/2/5), at LZ Uplift be committed to the rapidly escalating situation. Moore readily agreed.
Bagnal sent his organic lift ships to pick up a platoon from A/2/5 which was to be to the north of the finger of land on which the majority of the action was taking place. At 10:30 AM, the 1st platoon of A/2/5 air assaulted into the selected landing zone on a small hill mass to the north. (Map 5)
Although the choppers had received no fire while landing, before the platoon had completely unloaded, Private First Class Carlson, a machine gunner, and Private First Class Morton, a rifleman, were wounded. Both were immediately replaced on the choppers and evacuated to medical treatment facilities. The platoon continued to receive accurate automatic weapons fire from the slopes of a hill mass to the west. The gunships, in retaliation, made several passes firing their 40mm cannons, 2.75? aerial rockets and machine guns into the observed areas of resistance. After this there was a strange lull in this section of the battlefield. While the platoon was utilizing the opportunity to position
itself in a blocking posture, an alert infantryman reported that he saw movement along the heavily vegetated river bank to the left of the defensive positions. To the men of the 1st platoon, it appeared that they had arrived just in time to stop an attempted enemy escape and that the previous enemy fire had been used as a diversion. Immediately, the M79 grenadiers placed extremely effective fire on the well-camouflaged and concealed figure(s) near the river. After a small barrage, the VC suspect–a confused water buffalo–staggered onto the beach. Shortly after this, the positions were secured and there was a lull in the fighting. The platoon leader, Sergeant First Class Gonzales, took this opportunity to check his defensive posture and to reassure some of the men who had arrived for duty with the platoon only two days before and were experiencing their first firefight. Leaving his small command group, Gonzales made his way toward the new men who had been assigned positions on the right front of the perimeter. Reaching their location, he remained in a half-upright position.
There had been no firing for several minutes. Suddenly a short burst of automatic weapons fire from 200 meters to the west killed him instantly.
Major Bagnal was in the air overhead when he received notification of the third casualty of the 1st platoon, A/2/5, He decided that another platoon was needed as there was definitely a significant force opposing his units on the ground. Major Moore, after being informed of the situation, decided to
commit the second platoon of A/2/5 along with the company commander, Captain John F. Conlon. Conlon would take control of both infantry elements on the ground.
The second platoon was also back at Uplift when the orders were given to reinforce the first platoon. The time was close to 11:30 AM. The second platoon, under Conlon, landed without real incident, although they were still receiving fire from the northwest–the same area from which the 1st platoon had received fire while landing over an hour earlier. The second platoon linked up with the first and continued the joint perimeter further to the west, inclosing the entire hill pass to the north of the village. Conlon then started calling in artillery and Aerial Rocket Artillery on the automatic weapons locations to the northwest of the village.
The blue platoon of C/l/9 meanwhile waited during this period in a defensive posture to the south, while they adjusted their fire support and while elements of A/2/5 air assaulted into position. Major Bagnal had originally intended to have the two platoons to the north start sweeping down to the contact area to the southeast while the blue platoon acted as a blocking force. As the fight developed, it became clear that the units to the north were effectively pinned down by automatic weapons fire and consequently Bagnal decided to reverse his concept and have the blues sweep the enemy into the two platoons to the north. In accordance with this plan, Sergeant Samuel placed his squads on line with the first squad on the right, the second in the center, the fourth on the left and the third squad in the rear as a reaction ana rear security force. At about 12:00 noon the units moved out on line and, simultaneously, it seemed to Samuel, his three squads were engaged. Samuel, ten feet behind the second squad, moved forward to make an estimate of the situation. As he ran forward he crossed into an open area and became pinned down. He called on the second squad, under Sergeant Kaneshiro, to maneuver over to his position and provide covering fire until he could extricate himself. After accomplishing this Samuel and Kaneshiro decided that the best covered means of approach to the enemy automatic weapons, which had stalled the platoon attack, was a hedgerow running north to south along most of the length of the terraced finger of land. Kaneshiro volunteered his squad to maneuver up the hedgerow in order to place flanking fire on the enemy’s positions. While Kaneshiro was coordinating with him, Samuel noted what appeared to be a VC raincoat in a hedgerow to the front, Kaneshiro looked, and while he didn’t see the raincoat, he spotted an NVA in a spider hole about ten feet away. Grabbing a fragmentation grenade, Kaneshiro had all of his men get down, and then holding it slightly longer than usual to have less chance of the NVA being able to return the present, he tossed it in the hole with deadly accuracy–killing the sniper.
The second squad now attempted to maneuver up the north-south hedgerow. The lead element was composed of Specialist Fourth David Dunn, Sergeant Kaneshiro and his radio-telephone operation, Specialist Four Claud Burns. Specialist Four Dunn was slightly in the lead as Kaneshiro had abandoned a line formation in favor of a modified column to take advantage of the cover and concealment offered by the hedgerow. Dunn, equipped with an M79, crossed a slight open area to get to the next hedgerow when suddenly an enemy sniper in a hedgerow in front jumped up and from a spider hole less than five feet away, aimed a burst at both Kaneshiro and Dunn. Kaneshiro, reacting instantly, was able to find cover, but Dunn, who was wounded in the initial burst in the arm, tried to get up and was hit again in the back of the head. Kaneshiro withdrew to where Specialist Four Burns had taken cover. Burns and Kaneshiro could see from their position in the hedgerow that Dunn was still alive, but bleeding profusely.
Because of the proximity of the sniper to Dunn, the gunships were unable to provide any fire support. Kaneshiro, realizing this, decided to throw a fragmentation grenade into the area where the sniper was last observed. The sniper promptly returned it in a deadly game of catch. Shortly before the grenade
reached Kaneshiro and Burns’ position, it detonated and a fragment hit Kaneshiro on the forehead. Private First Class Michael Row, the platoon’s medic, who had learned of Dunn’s injury and was moving forward to treat him, arrived at this time. Kaneshiro grabbed another grenade and pulling the pin threw it a little farther past the enemy’s position. As it exploded, Kaneshiro motioned to Row to
follow and both raced through the exposed area between the hedgerows to Dunn’s position. Row grabbed the feet and Kaneshiro the shoulders, and they started to move back toward the protection of the hedgerow. Suddenly the sniper, again at a range of less than five feet, fired a burst at Kaneshiro killing him instantly. Row momentarily halted and the enemy fired a shot that grazed the right side of
his head, temporarily stunning him. Dunn, Row and Kaneshiro now were lying in close proximity to the sniper and to each other making extraction of friendly elements extremely difficult.
As the situation was rapidly intensifying on the ground, Major Bagnal’s gunship was temporarily placed out of action. Slightly north of the second squad’s point of contact, Bagnal saw an NVA attempting to escape. He pointed out the individual to his crew chief, but the other door gunner failed to see him.
Bagnal made a gun run on the NVA, but missed him on the first pass. As the aircraft came parallel to the sniper’s position, the enemy soldier opened up with an accurate burst, one round of which grazed the pilot, Warrant Officer Joe Fulton, and hit the door gunner in the mouth. Another round came through the floor of the chopper and got the same man in the leg. Bagnal immediately turned the situation over to Captain Cecil L. Shrader, his weapons platoon leader, and made his way to the sandbar on which Grissom had been forced to land earlier that morning. Here he exchanged door gunners with another gunship and sent his wounded door gunner to LZ Uplift for medical treatment. The door gunner was later found to have received only minor wounds although, they appeared at the
time to be major.
Meanwhile, Specialist Four Burns, Kaneshiro’s radio operator, had placed suppressive fire on the sniper and notified Sergeant Samuel of the second squad’s predicament. Samuel decided to deploy his fourth squad to relieve the pressure on the second squad and to allow removal of dead and wounded. As the fourth squad was using fire and maneuver to get to the point of the contact, Row, who had been momentarily stunned, now became cognizant of the situation. As “Doc” Row later vividly recalled, “I laid there for a while acting like I was dead…and then Burns threw one grenade to me. I threw the grenade a little farther than the sniper was…then I threw another one. 1 held it for four seconds (it’s supposed to go off in five), and just dropped it over the hedgerow and it went off…after that we didn’t have any trouble with this sniper.” Row then dragged himself away from the tangled bodies of Kaneshiro and Dunn and collapsed in the relative security of Burns’s position. The fourth squad arrived
at this time to help evacuate the other two men.
As C Troop’s lift ships were attempting to evacuate the dead and wounded, Major Bagnal had returned to the area directly north of the second squad’s position and had his door gunner and crew chief throw white phosphorus grenades into the bunkers and the hedgerows, where he had first seen the NVA, to provide cover for the extraction of the friendly casualties. The white phosphorus grenades unnerved the NVA and about ten decided to escape toward the north, Bagnal had his door gunners take them under fire. Immediately two were killed and one wounded, and on a second pass two more were killed. In addition, to the north A/2/5 simultaneously reported that they had killed one NVA attempting to flee. Bagnal now estimated that probably an enemy company was in the area and decided to have his platoon pull back to a blocking position to the south until more of Major Moore’s elements could arrive in the area. It is probably well to reemphasize here the mission of an Air Cavalry Troop. This mission is one of finding and fixing the enemy and developing the situation. When it becomes obvious that the enemy force is superior in manpower and firepower to the troop, the mission is turned over to larger units up to battalion size.
Major Moore, Battalion Commander of l/35, who had periodically been in the area observing the contact, had after consulting with Bagnal decided to commit two of his companies located about 3500 meters southeast of Hoa Tan to the action. This decision was made about 12:00 noon when the blue platoon had initiated its second sweep. Moore had toyed momentarily with the idea of air assaulting his elements into position, but as the companies to be used were in relative proximity to the action, he decided to have them move by foot. Both units, which were to be committed, had been involved in a routine search and destroy mission in the village of Chau Truc on the morning of 6 March. A/l/35 had acted as a blocking force to the south of the village while B/l/35 had swept through the village from the north. No contact had resulted from this action. Moore’s concept of operation was to have B/l/35, under Captain Edgar L. Nealon, make a rapid road march to the south of Hoa Tan. The company would then be split into two forces with two platoons relieving C/l/9’s blue platoon and. the other two platoons assaulting up the highway which ran through the village. Both elements would then push the enemy into the blocking forces of A/2/5. Meanwhile, A/l/35, under Captain Lloyd Yoshina, would also have a dual mission. Its primary function would be to move rapidly over rough terrain on a circuitous route and occupy blocking positions to the west of the village. At the same time the company would leave one platoon at LZ Anchor 2500 meters southwest of Hoa Tan to provide security for A/2/9, a 105mm howitzer battery attached to 1/35 which was going to be airlifted to that LZ to provide a fire base for the battalion’s operations.
Alpha Company left Chau Truc at 12:00 noon moving with the company in column on a northwest route toward Hoa Tan. Its progress was rapid and after dropping the one platoon off at LZ Anchor, it made its way to the high ridges of the Cay Giep Mountain complex to the west of the village by 3:00 PM. It received no opposition in setting up its positions, Yoshina placed a platoon on each of the main terrain features covering about a thousand meters with his company minus. Bravo l/35 was at the same time making a more direct approach from the south along the main road in the area. At about 2:30 PM the company had reached a small bridge at the outskirts of the village and waited here while Aerial Rocket Artillery and a napalm and cluster bomb units (CBU’s -anti-personnel bomblets ranging in size from golf balls to tennis balls which are rained from the rear of a pod resembling an external fuel tank) were called in on the finger of land where the blue platoon had suffered its casualties. After this fire support, Captain Nealon split up the company, sending the 1st and 3d platoons to relieve
the blue platoon while the 2d and 4th. continued to in arch up the main trail. Second Lieutenant John Gordon McRae Jr., the first platoon leader, was in command of the elements that were to relieve the blue platoon. He also had under his operational control Sergeant First Class Robert Gore’s third platoon. McRae moved his men in a platoon line, squads in column formation, across the open rice paddy separating himself from the blues’ position while Sergeant Gore followed behind in a platoon file. McRae’s forces crossed the rice paddy without incident and formed an assault line on the southern end of the finger approximately at the same place the blue platoon had landed earlier. Sergeant Gore’s platoon also crossed the rice paddy and came up on the first platoon’s left flank. The blue platoon had been airlifted out shortly before the elements of B/l/35 arrived.
McRae started moving his platoon on line on the right side up the finger of land which was 200 -300 meters wide, while the third platoon under Sergeant Gore moved on the left side. The first contact was on the right where the second squad of the 1st platoon saw an individual trying to escape. He was taken under fire and killed. He had a fragmentation grenade attached to his belt. McRae got his people on line and moved forward again. Suddenly, over to the left in Gore’s area of responsibility he heard heavy automatic weapons fire, then, less than a minute later, his own people received fire. As he tried to maneuver his elements forward using the hedgerows for cover, McRae’s platoon came under increasingly heavy automatic weapon and sniper fire. They were now approximately in the same
location in which the blue team had suffered its serious casualties. On the right flank the terrain dipped evenly towards the river and the open area between the hedgerows in this area invited sudden death to anyone attempting to cross it. Platoon Sergeant William Poole of the 1st platoon, deploying elements in an attempt to flank on the left of his platoon, was killed now as he exposed himself trying to knock cut a bunker which was placing deadly fire on the 1st platoon’s positions in the hedgerows. (Map 8)
Sergeant Gore, meanwhile, was going by the book in deploying his men on the left side of the attack. (The platoon had initially deployed three squads on line. The weapons squad had been divided and added to the first and third squads giving them each a machine gun.) As a former drill sergeant instructor, Sergeant Gore relied on the “school solution” in this, his first main battle. The concept of operations here was to force the enemy from the sanctuary of the hedgerows into the blocking forces to the north. He noted later of the tactics utilized, “This action…I refer to as a rabbit hunt…flushing the enemy out.” While Gore’s men were deployed to hunt, one of the hunted in a hedgerow to the front fired an accurate burst which hit Private Taylor of the second squad. The platoon’s medic moved up to help him and determined that Taylor was dead. The medic now was in an exposed position and every time he attempted to move the sniper would place accurate fire on his location. Gore saw that the terrain which had favored the NVA over on McRae’s right flank now favored him on the left. The terraced rice paddies allowed five of his people to maneuver with relative impunity and position a machine gun placing enfilade fire (a fire running parallel to the enemy’s position) on the snipers, thus allowing them to extricate his medic. Gore at this time hesitated between sending these elements on a sweep from the left or pulling back and having artillery and TAC Air called in on the position. He was not sure of the exact locations of the 1st platoon and was afraid that his people might end up firing at them. He also was that the enemy sniper was, in fact, part of a much larger force that was moving up and down the trench to his front. This apprehension was reinforced by the fact that M79 rounds had boon steadily placed in the enemy’s location with relatively minor effects. McRae, with his advance stalled on the right, contacted Gore and they both agreed that the time had come to fall back and call in some artillery. As both platoons were heavily engaged, they felt a larger force was in the area than originally believed. …. On the left side of the company’s two-pronged attack, Captain Nealon was in the process of deploying his people against a small extension of the hamlet of Hoa Tan to the southwest of the village. This area had given no indication of enemy activity, but it did present definite possibilities for an enemy ambush. There were twenty to twenty-five palm thatched huts in the area and a series of thick hedgerows which both encircled and intersected the hamlet. . Heavily foliated coconut palms interspersed in the hedgerows provided excellent cover for snipers. Nealon decided to sweep the area before moving on. His concept of maneuver was to have the weapons platoon move to the left and take positions up in the southernmost hedgerow and then sweep forward. The weapons platoon, including the platoon leader, numbered seventeen men and had been readily utilized previously as a regular rifle platoon. While the weapons platoon maneuvered on the left, the second platoon was to maneuver on the right several hundred meters north along the main trail and then, if the weapons platoon became pinned down, the second platoon would sweep to the left. Between the crossfire provided by the 2d platoon and the weapons platoon, Nealon felt that any enemy force in this kill zone would be immediately annihilated.
Circling overhead as Nealon’s elements deployed were the omnipresent gunships of C/1/9. At least two gunships were in the air providing surveillance and fire support from dawn to dusk on the 6th and on the morning of the 7th. Captains Cecil L. Shrader, Robert A. Letchworth, and Roger B. McIntosh and Lieutenants Grissom and Carter were constantly exposing themselves and their ships to deadly enemy ground fires. Major Bagnal, while providing the same support as the other ships, also adjusted in four of the five aerial rocket artillery strikes and helped Major Moore coordinate the ground attack. The importance of this air support was clearly demonstrated to the elements of B/1/35 in the ensuing firefight. Captains Letchworth and Shrader were providing close-in support as Lieutenant Thomas J. Blue initially deployed his weapons platoon. As Shrader slowly circled his UH-1B over the area where Lieutenant Blue had initially deployed, he noted from the air large numbers of NVA waiting in the hedge rowed trench to Blue’s immediate front. At this time Shrader did not have radio contact with l/35 because he had been given the wrong radio frequency. Realizing the vulnerability of the friendly elements to ambush, he hovered at treetop level and “popped smoke” on NVA positions. With a sister gunship, under Letchworth, he made several strafing runs on the enemy locations. This proved invaluable, for although there had been some sniper fire, no major enemy force was anticipated in this area.
After Shrader’s warning, Lieutenant Blue deployed his men along the southern hedgerow encircling the small hamlet. He placed the lone machine gun in the center between his two squads. Blue then had his platoon, advance on line through the hedgerow and into the open area beyond. He was not sure of the exact positions of the enemy or his strength, but the line formation gave him maximum firepower toward the anticipated location of the enemy• Suddenly, North Vietnamese Army regulars in a trench and hedgerow complex to the front engaged the weapons platoon with “just about everything they had” related Blue, On the left and right flanks, the enemy’s light machine guns raked friendly positions
in the field. In the center a recoilless rifle pumped rounds into the leading elements. In addition, while an NVA M79 grenadier to the right front placed deadly fire on Blue’s platoon, snipers were accurately engaging them from the cover of the abundant palm trees. The weapons platoon immediately dropped to the ground and returned fire–luckily the enemy opening volley had resulted in no casualties. Part of the credit for the ineffectiveness of the enemy fires must be attributed to Captain Shrader’s early warning, for besides alerting Nealon’s element of the enemy’s proximity, it would appear that it unnerved the NVA and caused them to engage friendly units at a greater distance than they normally do. Support for this conclusion is provided by the location of enemy positions which were constructed with restricted fields of fire–ideal for engaging elements in close combat of from five to ten meters but relatively ineffective at greater distances.
Now using fire and maneuver, Blue withdrew his elements to a defilade position behind a small knoll in the center of the field. He then had one squad and the machine gun provide a base of fire while he sent the other squad under Sergeant Minari maneuvering to the left of the enemy position. Blue now left his machine gun and with his other, squad under Sergeant Taylor, maneuvered to the right in a minature pincer movement. Meanwhile, Minari’s squad had advanced rapidly using the north-south hedgerow until they arrived at the probable location of the enemy machine gun on the left. They then received such intense machine gun, sniper, semi-automatic and automatic weapons fire that the
squad assault was effectively halted. Blue on the right had his machine gunner and M79 grenadier engage the enemy’s positions in Minari’s sector. When the volume of enemy fire abated somewhat, Blue had Minari pull back slightly to an east-west hedgerow from which they had initially received the enemy’s fire. Due to the platoon’s continued assault, the enemy had to pull back from this hedgerow to another combined trench end hedgerow farther north. Lieutenant Blue was not able to advance any farther than this the rest of the afternoon as the enemy effectively placed accurate fire on his elements whenever they attempted to cross the open area between the hedgerows. During the afternoon several individuals attempted to close with the enemy while the rest of the platoon lay down covering fires. Private First Class Guy in Sergeant Minari’s squad almost reached the enemy trench works to the front before he was hit in the chest and the side by a sniper concealed in the palm trees, Guy, seemingly oblivious to the pain, determindedly reached back and pulled a fragmentation grenade from his web belt. After pulling the pin, he heaved it in the general direction of an enemy automatic weapon and. was rewarded as the grenade detonated “knocking out” the position. Someone in Minari’s squad yelled “Medic” and Private First Class Ferguson, the platoon’s medic, who had only
been’ with the unit a week, rushed forward from his position with Lieutenant Blue on the right through the fire-swept rice paddy to Guy’s side. -As Ferguson knelt beside him to ascertain the extent of the wounds, intensive fires from the enemy automatic and sniper positions converged on his exposed location and killed him instantly. Shortly after this, Private First Class Nichols in Taylor’s squad tried to maneuver up on the right to get in close enough to silence the enemy positions with grenades hoping to allow Guy and Ferguson to be evacuated from their exposed position. As he moved forward, an enemy sniper creased him across the forehead breaking his glasses and temporarily blinding him. He was forced to remain at the spot where he was hit most of the afternoon unable to advance or retreat. Lieutenant Blue had his men sake several other attempts to assault the enemy positions but each time accurate enemy fires effectively pinned down the maneuvering elements forcing a stalemate in this
area until the decision was made to withdraw about 5:00 PM.
The second platoon and the headquarters element of B/l/35 meanwhile were moving up the main trail. After Shrader’s strafing run and Blue’s initial deployment, the headquarters element was positioned in the middle of the second platoon. The platoon was in column with squads on line . The second squad was the point squad, the 1st squad was on the right flank, the third squad on the left. When it became obvious that the weapons platoon was heavily engaged, Captain Nealon directed Lieutenant Joseph R. Weis, the platoon leader of the second platoon, “to move and link up with the weapons platoon’s right flank and form a reverse “L” and try and sweep through to relieve the pressure.” To accomplish this, Weis had the third squad and second squad swing to the left. The 1st squad on the right flank, under Platoon Sergeant Pollard, swung in a large arc to the left while the company headquarters element positioned itself between the 1st and 2d squads. Prior to this maneuver the second platoon had been on the right side of the trail, and now as they maneuvered left they observed fifteen to twenty NVA attempting to escape to the north. The company headquarters, in the center of the platoon, immediately engaged the fleeing elements and killed two. As the second platoon and company headquarters started to deploy across the open rice paddies, the 2d and 3d squads became pinned down while the elements to the north encountered only slight resistance. The headquarters element, with Captain Nealon and the artillery reconnaissance sergeant, Specialist Four Steven Peck, in the lead, maneuvered too fast and temporarily found itself in the vanguard of friendly forces assaulting from east to west. If the other squads had been able to maneuver as fast as planned, Nealon would have been in an excellent position to control the company’s movements. Instead, Nealon had outdistanced, his other units and found himself now in an extremely exposed position on the furthermost point of the company’s assault. Realizing his vulnerability, Nealon gave a hand signal to the 1st squad under Sergeant Pollard on the right to move up to support. As he raised his arm, a burst of light machine gun fire from a hut to the right front hit Specialist Four Peck, killing him instantly. The same burst caught Nealon on the right arm and knocked him down. The round, almost severing the bone in his arm, caused a profuse amount of bleeding. Nealon rolled over and attempted to direct his company’s attack from this exposed position.
First Sergeant Herbert Tinnat, slightly left of the fallen company commander temporarily assumed command and notified the platoon leaders and the battalion commander of the situation on the ground. Tinnat was less than ten feet from the bunker which had fired the deadly burst at Nealon and Feck. He
remarked later, as did several others, about the defensive positions of the NVA. The bunkers had very narrow triangular slits in them on one or two sides leaving the bunkers almost defenseless if the assault came from a direction other than the one anticipated. In addition, the aperture confined the horizontal and lateral usage of the weapons in the bunker. The position in front of Tinnat had all of these disadvantages and this saved his life as the NVA in it were unable to engage him. Tinnat places suppressive fire on the position which allowed Private First Class Wayne A. Lorfing, the platoon medic, a chance to move up to Specialist Four Peck and Nealon. Lorfing wont first to Peck and, discovering that he was dead, made his way under intensifying automatic weapons and small arms fire to Nealon. Prior to this, Specialist Four James M. Alton, one of the radio-telephone operators, had seen that Nealon had no cover and had thrown his own body between Nealon’s and the raking machine gun fire. Lorfing and A3ton, in the exposed location, now did what they could for the wounded Nealon.
In the air overhead, providing what support they could, were Captains Shrader and Letchworth. Shrader, occupied with 3 Company’s two other platoons and the elements of A/2/5, left the majority of the air support for the 4th and 2d platoons to Letchworth. Letchworth had made several gun runs over the area and with his M-5 system (a 40 millimeter cannon mounted on the front of his UH-1B helicopter) and machine guns gave a great deal of support. At this time his chopper was so low and so vulnerable to enemy fire that Shrader, who observed this action, later said, “If he had been hit, and there was a good possibility due to the height and speed at which he was flying, his craft would have crashed in a definitely hostile area with little possibility of us being able to reinforce or extract him.”
While Letchworth was making his passes, Second Lieutenant Donald M. Keith, the artillery forward observer with A Batter, 2d Battalion, 9th Artillery (A/2/9) attached to B/l/35, asked if there was any possibility of smoke support to allow the beleaguered friendly units to effect an extraction of the exposed elements of the company headquarters. Letchworth agreed to attempt this even though it would involve flying lower and slower to throw an accurate smoke screen. This tactic worked,. Keith rioted afterwards, “He (Letchworth) put out a terrific smoke screen for us with white phosphorus and we were able to get Peck and the company commander back out…”
Meanwhile, Major Moore, learning that there were no helicopters available to pick up B Company’s dead find wounded, ordered his command chopper to load and act as a medevac. He also decided to replace the seriously wounded Nealon with Captain Kenneth I. Barton, his battalion staff intelligence officer. The command chopper received intense automatic weapons fire during its descent. This fire increased as it “set down” out in the open rice paddy, slightly to the rear of where B Company’s command group had dragged their dead and wounded. Moore scrambled off the helicopter to help evacuate the dead and wounded and while on the ground he decided to remain and. make a personal analysis of the situation.
As his chopper was receiving accurate fire, he motioned to the pilot to take off. Moore, after making a quick estimate, recommended to Lieutenant Weis, who had assumed temporary control of the company, to pull back and call in some of the artillery support available. Lieutenant Keith, meanwhile had done some extremely accurate adjustment of artillery fire on the strongest areas of enemy resistance, and the primary enemy locations had been effectively engaged with delayed time fuses for the bunkered positions and trenches and high explosive rounds for the open areas. Captain Barton arrived on the scene about 5:00 PM and completed the withdrawal of friendly elements.
As it became apparent that B/l/35 would not be able to finish sweeping through the village of Hoa Tan that day, Major Moore decided to partially encircle the village by placing blocking forces on the dominant terrain to the south, west and north of the village. In addition, several units were air
assaulted into position in blocking and ambush sites on probable enemy escape routes to the north and northwest.
As the action had developed, it became obvious that friendly elements had uncovered an entrenched enemy force of significant size. As the best enemy escape route was to the north, Major Moore positioned B/2/5 in a valley 1500 meters northwest of Hoa Tan. He had been given operational control of this unit around 2:00 PM. The B/2/5 company commander, Captain Gerald M. McKenna, placed
ambush sites along the main routes of egress in his area. One ambush was set on a main trail which ran through the site selected for the company command post in the center of the valley. Other ambushes were placed on both the left and right sides of the valley paralleling tributaries of the Suoi Cai Rung River.
At about this same time, the operations officer of 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry, Major Tippin, was air assaulting C Company, 1/35 into a blocking position four kilometers to the north. The company landed in a relatively open area on the northeast edge of the Cay Giep Mountains with their objective being to occupy the dominating terrain of the mountain mass about 1000 meters south. C Company
was faced with the unenviable task of moving through extreme] heavy brush up almost vertical terrain. After extremely rough going the company, under Captain Joseph Caudill, arrived in position about dusk and established blocking positions overlooking possible escape routes along the coast and in the heavily-forested region in the center of the eastern Cay Giep Mountains.
Meanwhile, C/l/9’s blue platoon, an hour after being extracted from the finger of land east of Hoa Tan and taken back to LZ Two Bits, was again given the order to “saddle up”. This time the platoon was to air assault into an ambush position about 1600 meters north of the village on the major trail
leading into the Cay Giep Mountains. In addition, two infantry platoons from D/l/9 were placed under Major Moore’s operational control at 4:00 PM and placed on the northwest side of the Cay Giep Mountains in “VC Valley”–a favorite enemy escape route and sanctuary.
In closer to the village, Major Moore decided that the best way of effecting an encirclement was to control the dominating terrain in the area. Gaps between units would be covered with interlocking bands of automatic weapons fire and artillery. Artillery would also be utilized to keep the enemy in his bunkers in the village and on likely avenues of escape. The longest gap between units an open area to the east of the village where there was almost a thousand meters (north and south) between friendly elements; however, extensive artillery concentrations had been placed along both banks of the Chau Truc River to fill this gap.
To the north occupying the same blocking position during the night that they had during the day, were the two rifle platoons of A/2/5. Captain Conlon had two-man foxholes every ten to fifteen meters around the hill mass. To the east of A/2/5’s position, the river was covered by M79 and machine gun fire. On the west side A/2/5 had interlocking bands of fire with the elements of A/l/35 which were situated on the main terrain features west of the village.
A/l/35 had only two rifle platoons to cover its sector for the night of 6 March as one platoon was still acting as a securing force for the 105mm howitzer battery, A Battery, 2d Battalion, 9th Artillery (A/2/9) at LZ Anchor. As Captain Yoshina had over 1000 meters to cover, he had his men withdraw from a position along the rice paddies west of the village to the heavily vegetated hill mass to his rear. This was dense jungle-type terrain, and so artillery concentrations were scheduled about 1000 meters to hit. rear along probable escape routes.
To the south, split into two separate forces as they had been during the day, were the elements of B/l/35. The first and third platoons under Lieutenant McRae had taken up positions on a small hill mass directly south of the finger of land on which they had been fighting. McRae’s elements were on the
right side with automatic weapons, starlite scopes (infra-red devices which enable infantry soldiers to ascertain movement over a wide area as any object producing heat will show up on the scopes), and M79’s to cover the area to his east along the river. On “the west side of this hill mass, Sergeant Gore had approximately the same equipment for surveillance of the 600 meter rice paddy between his elements and those of the weapons platoon. The company headquarters, the second platoon and weapons platoon had, after withdrawing late in the afternoon, taken up positions on a small hill mass south of their contact point. The weapons platoon had set up its positions on the eastern side of the hill while the western side was covered by the second platoon. Again both elements tied in with units on the right and left with starlite scopes and interlocking fields of fire.
In addition to the encircling forces, artillery was used extensively to keep the enemy in the village. Harassment and interdiction from A/2/9 kept on an irregular schedule to confuse and disorganize the NVA. This 105mm howitzer battery fired over 600 high explosive rounds during the afternoon and night of 6 March. Although the night was overcast, only three rounds of illumination were fired as Major Moore planned to leave the enemy guessing as to the actual locations of friendly units, hoping a major enemy force would stumble into his blocking position while attempting to escape. Added to the considerable fire support of A/2/9 were the fires of A Battery, 1st Battalion, 30th Artillery
(A/l/30), a 155mm howitzer battery located at LZ Uplift, the command post of the 3d Brigade, 25th Infantry. Two hundred and thirteen high explosive, four white phosphorus and four smoke rounds proved crucial to the overall’ effectiveness of the encircling operation.
During the night friendly elements experienced no major enemy probes. The biggest problem encountered was the cold moist wind from the South China Sea which made it a very uncomfortable night for the encircling infantry. Private First Glass Charles Hoffmann of A/2/5 later vividly recalled, “Our night there was one I will never forget because we originally left LZ Uplift…without our heavy gear; just weapons and ammo. We spent the night cold and damp with one among four men.
After fairly uneventful night, Sergeant Gore’s platoon from B/l/35 to the south of the village, observed an odd procession boldly proceeding out of the village right through the middle of the rice paddy separating the first and weapons platoons. As it was 6:00 AM and still partially dark, Gore had his men hold their fire until he could identify the figures. Most of than appeared to be women and children, but one nude NVA carrying his khaki uniform under his arm was trying to use the civilians as cover. As the platoon attempted to engage him, one of the choppers from C/l/9 which had returned at first light, took him under fire. The result was one naked NVA-killed.
Major Moore’s operations order formulated on the night of 6 March was essentially the same as the one planned the previous day. A Company, l/35 would block on the edge of the hill mass to the west of the village. A/2/5 would remain in their blocking positions to the north of the village. B/l/35 would
again attempt to assault through the village in much the same manner as before with the 1st and 3d platoons under McRae moving on line up the small finger of land to the east of the village. The second and weapons platoons would move on line sweeping both sides of the main trail to the west of the village. There was one minor change, though, for the weapons platoon would assault toward the
village on the right side of the trail rather than on the left as it had done the day before. (Map 14) Major Moore later picturesquely described the initiation of the attack, “B Company at 8 o’clock after a pretty good artillery preparation ala WW I or WW II…jumped off in the attack–just like in the
movies…” As the units moved toward the village, the elements under McRae met with no resistance while Captain Barton’s weapons and second platoon received some light fire when the units got inside the first hedgerow. Fire was returned immediately and this was the last contact experienced. The sweep was without further incident. Major Moore now sent B/l/35 on an intensive police of the battle area which resulted in the discovery by the weapons platoon of one NVA soldier with a Soviet model SKS 7.62mm carbine and ammo in a bunker which had been bypassed in the initial sweep. Further on, the same platoon found a badly wounded NVA soldier who was immediately evacuated to a medical facility, The continued police of the battlefield resulted in the capture of three light machine guns, three AK47’s (the 7.62 assault rifle, standard infantry weapon used by USSR and Soviet bloc nations), five more SKS’s, one rocket launcher, one US M79 grenade launcher, one US M-l Carbine, four M16’s, (a US infantry assault weapon), twenty-five Chicom grenades and a great deal of ammunition, much of it still encased in its original shipping wrappers. While B/l/35 was sweeping through the village, B/2/5 was conducting a search and destroy operation in the same valley in which they had set up ambush positions the night before. During this maneuver, the company found four NVA suspects in a bunker about 1000 meter directly north of the hamlet of Hoa Tan.
The rest of the units committed on the sixth of March made additional sweeps during the seventh with negative contact. Early on the morning of the eighth the units were withdrawn from the area and a B-52 strike was called in to the northwest of the village. An aerial inspection afterwards revealed
no significant results.
One of the prisoners of war captured on the morning of 7 March later stated that several companies and the battalion headquarters of the 9th Battalion, 18th NVA Regiment, had been in the village at the beginning of the contact. The battalion’s command post had been located on the finger of land to the east of the village where US forces encountered such intense opposition. A glance at the casualty statistics reveals the extent of the damage done to the 9th Battalion’s combat effectiveness. The enemy lost eighty-one killed by body count and an unestimated number of dead and wounded. By comparison, US forces under the command of the 1st Battalion, 35th Infantry suffered seven killed and nineteen wounded.
The battle of Hoa Tan was an outstanding battalion size action of Operation Pershing since it dealt a crushing blow to the 9th Battalion of the 18th NVA Regiment. There were several factors which were crucial to its success. The terrain around the village with its limited avenues of escape, the immediate exploitation of the situation by C Troop and the positioning of US units in blocking positions to the north, the forced marched of elements of the 1/35 over thirty-five hundred meters in less than three hours, and the effective use of artillery, Aerial Rocket Artillery, and Tactical Air Support. But above all, the most outstanding factor was the cooperation between units from different
organizations which seldom operate together. Throughout the afternoon and night of 6 March, the interchange of information and support among these elements must be considered as the greatest factor in producing this major victory over the enemy forces..

God Bless


Happy New Years.

Once again, we must start out our Newsletter with some sad news. Jean Reid, Loving wife of Jim Reid passed away on December 31st. We all knew Jean as a woman full of Joy. She was a pleasure to be around as well. God Bless Jean, Jim and their family.

We must also acknowledging the death of another one of our Troopers. John Joseph Woodruff went to Fiddler’s Green on December 6, 2015.

We also want to send our condolences out to the Ferrizzi family over the loss of Ron’s Dad this month. Ron’s Dad was a Veteran, a Police Officer and a Mayor. God Rest His Soul. .

The following is a list of Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of January 1966-1972:

Gary Isaacson Jan 22, 1966 Blues

William Geis Jan 28, 1966 Blues

Joe Kiefer Jan 4, 1967 Scouts Observer

LeRoy Peagler Jan 27, 1967 Blues

Harvey Howe Jan 28, 1967 Pilot

Rudolf Schrader Jan 23, 1968 Scouts Observer

Anthony Battel Jan 28, 1970 Red Pilot
Michael Hunter Jan 28, 1970 Red Pilot

Waldo Williams Jan 4, 1970 Scouts Observer
James Whitmore Jan 4, 1970 Scout Pilot

Gregory Pfeffer Jan 22, 1971 Blues

Richard Donellas Jan 27, 1972 2nd tour 25th Inf Div Blues

Always Honored and Never Forgotten.
For those of you who may have missed this response to December’s News Letter, I thought I would reprint it in this News Letter and on my Blog.

RE: News Letter for December

As many of you know, Lt/Gen. Charles Bagnal (Ret.) was a scheduled speaker at the 2015 reunion, but had to cancel in June because of failing health. He died June 30, and was buried at West Point July 15.
As a Major, he commanded Charlie troop 1966-67. He had a direct effect on many of our lives, and because he unable to re-connect with us at the reunion, I thought I would talk a little about him.

During my career in both the Army and the Air Force, I served with many fine commanders. Charles Bagnal was the top of the mountain. As a troop commander, he always led. He was in the thick of every battle, and he had guts. One time Blue was pinned down by a machine gun position, and both helicopters had run out of ammo and rockets. Only the gunners had any left, so Maj. Bagnal told his crew chief that he was going to take him down by the enemy position so he could have a clear shot and kill them. And down they went, came to a hover, and the crew chief came out winner. Probably could have fried a steak on his gun barrel. Just another day in the war. He demanded the best from all of us, but he also cared about each and every one of us. His wife confided in my wife at a reunion, that he still grieved for the men who were killed.

I looked him up in 2000, and we began to stay in contact, and meet at reunions. During one of our visits, he told me that when he was the Pacific commanding general of army forces, he attended a meeting with generals from other countries in the area. The evening entertainment was two SF soldiers in an arena with several cobras. When they had finished their show, they slit the snakes open and drained their blood into a container. Then, they made cocktails of clear liquor and cobra blood, and handed them out. When he was handed his, he asked,” am I supposed to drink this”? Told that the other officers were drinking theirs, he downed it.

In 2005, he e-mailed me that he had developed a blood disease associated with agent orange. From then until his death, he was constantly undergoing treatments. Some of the chemo doses he had to take would have paralyzed a water buffalo, but each time I saw him, he always had a smile, and we enjoyed our visits. We had planned to meet at Ft. Benning, and then in March as I was sitting in my truck, he called to let me know that he now had leukemia. He still hoped to make the reunion, but it was not to be.

I once told him, if I could add one thing to my military career, I would like to have been his SgtMaj. We agreed to do that in Saint Michaels Army.

Steve Hundley

I, Patrick Bieneman, only want to add that LTG Bagnal told me two weeks before he passed away that he would sign some more Certificates that I had and that he still planned on making the reunion at all possible. Oh how did love his Troops.

In December, Carol and I meet Gordon and Susan Jones in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We went to see the Country Tonight Christmas Show and it was very good. We also went to Cades Cove and Dollywood. A trip to Gatlinburg to the Aquarium. Then on Saturday, we had a treat of watching Gordon and Susan’s Grand Daughters, Jolie and Delanie Brazier, “Our Little Sweetheart’s of Charlie Troop”. Along with the rest of their team compete for a Championship in Cheerleading. They did a fantastic job and did take the Championship Trophy home with them. I gave each of these young ladies a Charlie Troop Challenge Coin that I had bought at the Indianapolis reunion. Be prepared men because I told them how to use it so you may be challenge at a future reunion. Jolie and Delanie, along with their team mates, once again competed in a Cheerleading Competition. This time in Atlanta. Once again they won their age group competition. Maybe more importantly out of 160+ teams they came in 4th place overall. This included all age groups. Now on to Orlando in April for the Nationals.

I am sorry to report but I only have the following Birthdays to report this month:

Harry Reeg January 1st.
Pat Bieneman January 11th.
Edd Hogeboom January 18th
Brenda Merritt January 20th
Jim Reid January 22nd.

So far I have about 20% of the birthdays and about 15% of the anniversary date of our fellow troopers. I want to thank those who have sent them to me. Remember I do not need the year of birth as I will not post that. I would like the year of marriage if possible.

I have decided to wait until February first to open the rooms for our reunion in Branson. The rooms will then be opened until August 29th . After that the hotel will take the rooms back. If they have any rooms open after that, they will offer the discounted price IF they can. Remember the reunion is September 29th, 30th and October 1st. It will be conducted at the Stone Castle Inn. These prices once again will be offered for 3 days before and 3 days after the reunion. The Inn only has 10 handicapped rooms and only two of those have wheel in showers. You must specially ask for the Wheel in Shower handicapped if you need one. For those who need this type of room, I will get you the phone number for the hotel and Carol will call the hotel and ask that these rooms be offered at the $69.00 price as soon as possible.

We have a lot to look forward to this year. The reunion, births and marriages. Let me know if you become a grandpa/great grandpa or a new Father-in-law.

I have 7 of the coins that were presented to the 1965 Troopers at last years reunion. If any 1965 Trooper would like to get another coin, they will be $12.50 each plus postage. These had to be reordered. The money will go into the Reunion Fund.

We have had several people donate to the Charlie Troop Trooper and Reunion funds. I have not asked if I have their permission to mention their names so I won’t. One Donation was made in Mike La Chance’s name. That was not by a family member but by one of our Troopers.

At the Reunion in Branson, we will be conducting at least a “Silent Auction” a “50-50″ and a “Raffle Table” fund raisers. Bring something from home that you no longer need but you think someone else might (this does not includes Wives nor children) need or want.

I hope that this month goes well for all of you. God Bless.


Charlie Troop and Gold Star Family News Letter
December 2015

To all of my Brothers and Sisters, Carol and I love each and everyone of you. We hold our Cav Family very close to our hearts. We pray for nothing but the very best for all of you.

I am posting the list of Our Fallen Brothers first in this news letter. I want to try and end this letter on a positive note and reading the names of our brothers Who Gave all is always a sad note.

These are Our Brothers who Gave Their All during the month of December 1965 – 1971:

George Gavaria Dec 1, 1966
Clifford Smith Dec 1, 1966
Allan Nelson Dec 1, 1966

Albert McAuliffe Dec 18, 1966
Joel McDonnell Dec 18, 1966

Melvin Crossman Dec 13, 1967

Victor Austin Dec 29, 1968
Barry Kingman Dec 29, 1968
Ronald Roberts Dec 29, 1968

Charles Hood Jr Dec 12, 1969

James Dean Jr. Dec 30, 1969
Thomas Soma Dec 30, 1969

John Buchanan Dec 24, 1970

As you celebrate the Christmas Season, Say a Little Prayer for the families that are missing their Loved ones during this time whether it was through War , a battle with an illness or whatever the cause.

I wrote this poem one day while thinking of our “Fallen Brothers”.

Twas the night before Christmas up in Fiddler’s Green
Things were quiet and there were No Cavalry Troopers to be seen
I asked the Lord “Where were all the Troopers” and he said to me
“A special request had been made and to this I agreed”
“A Trooper came up and on bended knees he said
”You know Lord, we have not been with our families since coming
to Fiddler’s Green”
“We would like just one more night to hold them near
And whisper something special in their ear.”
“I gathered all of them around me and this is what I said”
“I grant you this evening to go to them while they are laying in bed”
“Whisper in their ear and kiss their cheek”
“Give them what they long for and what it is you seek”
With this, each the Trooper mounted his steed
And flew through the night with Blessed speed
So loved ones when you wake up in the morning feeling warm and renewed
It’s because your Trooper came down, kissed your cheek, and said
I am waiting for information from all or any of you to put in the News Letter. However, since today is the 1st of December, I must publish this edition of the News Letter.

So, let me begin. Not to long ago I read where a fellow Trooper said that one of our men died for no good reason. This statement makes me very mad. We may believe that our Government let us down by not supporting us as we thought they should. Maybe some even think the war was for no good reason. Not everyone who served in Vietnam wanted to be there. I’ve heard some say they were not proud of what they did there and some of these even threw their medals away.

I did not know anyone who was Killed In Action that just wanted to die. No one went to Vietnam saying “I’m going there to die”. However, I firmly believe that these Brave Troopers Die for one of many reasons. Whether it is was a mechanical malfunction, a lucky enemy shot or that he died while trying to make sure that his Brothers were safe or gave his life “in place” of his brothers.

So no, I don’t believe any Trooper was Killed in Action for “no good reason”. They were all Brave Honorable men. We hold our “Fallen Brothers” in highest regards. They deserve all of the accolades that we can bestow on them. So please do me a favor and if you ever hear someone say a veteran died for no good reason, you tell them they have no idea of what they are talking about.

The other day I was reading the book Joe Nave gave to Carol and myself. The Book called “Tears of a Soldier’s Son”. It is a book of poetry that Joe has written. One poem in there hit me as a poem I would like to share with all of you this month. It should really be meaningful to those of us who served as well as to our Gold Star Family Members.
It is entitled: True Family

My dad’s death haunted my sister and I for 37 years
until my sister found Walt Titchenell, dad’s wartime peer.
His name is Titch to his friends…but always had dad’s ear;
He belonged to the bullwhip Squadron…dad’s musketeers.
At the 2004 reunion my sister finally got to meet him;
Not being able to attend, I came down later on a whim;
I missed the reunion, but didn’t miss stepping out on a limb:
For between dad’s First Sgt. and Titch, I heard a heavenly hymn.
At the 2006 reunion, I met men who had served with my dad.
I heard many stories from men who thought him armored clad.
It was all news to me for I grew up thinking he was just bad;
he was not discussed in my home for my mom believed him to be a cad.
For the 2008 Reunion I carved a cross to give to dad’s Bullwhip crew;
for these veterans, there wasn’t anything I wasn’t willing to do.
I came to know some as brothers, their wives as sisters, the rest as glue
because without each other there would be no more to accrue.
In 2010, at Fort Benning, everything changed; for just one circumstance
no one spoke of heroes this time, or shared with those at the dance.
Reminding me of Fiddler’s Green where booze flows freely in a glance
where we will all wind up when we’ve used up our very last chance.
Then, in 2012, when it looked like we’d come to the end of the Bullwhip line
members behind closed doors discussed how to save their only shrine.
Much was said but not much had been done to keep together their design
but whatever happens, I have found family that I will always call mine.

It is mine and Carol’s honor to be hosting Charlie Troop reunions for as long as we possibly can. We encourage not only all Charlie Troopers but also as many of our Gold Star Family Members to attend our reunions whenever possible.

At our reunion in Branson, we will be honoring our Troopers who went to Vietnam from January 1, 1966 to December 31, 1966. If you happen to know one of these Troopers and they haven’t made one of our reunions let me know and I will try and find them and get them to attend. We have a close knit family that attends our reunions but we are always looking to let it grow.

Although it may not be overly wise to discuss religion, I know the majority of us celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior this month. He has blessed the soldier greatly. Sometimes, for reasons we may not understand, he takes some of us home way to early. For those of us who have served with these Brave men, we understand and yet very often ask “why him and not me”. The pain never goes away. For the families of these Brave men, the pain is deeper and the questions rage forever. I believe it is through these reunions that the Soldier and the Families can help each other. No, the pain does not go away, however, when it is shared between families and we Troopers, it just could be that the pain is somewhat lessened.
God Bless each and everyone of you.
If you know of a Trooper or family member who may be alone this Holiday season, give them a call on Christmas day and let them know you are thinking of them and that you care.

I talked to Ava La Chance on Veteran’s Day. She is doing great. Of course she misses Mike but as she said she will see him again. She is thinking she will probably move to Arkansas to be near her son and his family. She said to tell everyone Thank you for your prayers and cards.

If anyone has a story they would like to share about their time in Vietnam or something they did last month or plan to do next month, please let me know. How about telling us of new Grand Babies or even Great Grand Babies?

Last month Carol and I visited Bob and Jeanette Fellin. Jerry and Teri Duckworth went with us. It was a great time had by all. For the past two days and for the next 3 days, we are in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee with Gordon and Susan Jones. Once again, we atr having a great time. Lwt us know what you are doing.

Birthdays During the month of December:

Bob Andrews 12-28
Don Coshey 12-6
Stephen Hundley 12-27
John Woodruff 12-9
David Drews 12-12

Merry Christmas to Everyone

November 2015

We begin this month’s news letter in Remembrance of two Charlie Troopers. Michael T. (Lucky) La Chance. Mike was a Blue Platoon Leader as well as a Scout Platoon leader in 1969-70. Mike will be surely missed by his personal family as well as his C Troop Family. Robert (Bob) Forsyth passed away on the 24th of October. Bob served in 1969 and he was a Pilot.

I had been sending out a Charlie Troop Gold Star Family News Letter each month but I have decided to combine the GSF News Letter along with the one I will send out to Charlie Troop. If you would like to know if I have contact with the family of one of our “Fallen Brothers” please ask. If, you as a GSFM, would like to make contact withe a Charlie Trooper who may have know your loved one let me know. If you have a question you would like to have answered, let me know and I will post it in the next monthly news letter.

Just for anyone who does not know, the C Troop Reunion for 2016 will be held in Branson, Missouri. It will be held the 29th, 30th of September and the 1st of October. More information will be sent out in the News Letter for January 2016.

On the 30th of September this year, Carol and I met up with Jerry and Teri Duckworth in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We took three days to look at the area and hotel accommodations. We will be setting up the 2017 reunion in Gettysburg. One option that we are looking at will be a bus ride to the Memorial Mall in Washington, DC. It seems like we may be able to get a good price on the bus service.

After completing the tour of Gettysburg, the four of us drove up to Sheppton, PA to attend Bob and Jeanette Fellin’s 40th wedding Anniversary. Bob serviced as a Grenadier in C Troop 67-68. We had the great opportunity to meet both sides of their families. It was very refreshing to have so many people in one area and see everyone get along so well. It really did remind me of our reunions. Carol and I have had the opportunity to meet Bob and Jeanette’s daughter, Kelly, and their Grandson, Owen, once before but this time we got to meet their son-in-law Jason. I told Bob that Jason was the type of man every parent wishes for their daughter. He is a great husband, Father and son-in law.

The Pennsylvania colors were starting to emerge which made Carol very happy. She loves the Fall colors. Down here in Florida the only change in Colors starting in the fall are the different license plates from the different states.

The following Charlie Troopers have birthdays or Anniversaries during the month of November:

Gordon Jones November 12 ‘66-‘67
Dennis Junger November 18 ‘69-‘70
Michael De Rhone November 21 ‘70-‘71
Dave Keel November 24 ‘68-‘69

I wish I had more Birthdays and Anniversary dates to report.

Let us remember these Brave Men each and every day. We must Never Forget but Always Honor them. It is only through us living our lives to the fullest that we can truly honor them.

James Parrett Born: Jul 22, 1942 KIA: Nov 3, 1965*
Florendo Pascual Born: Dec 24, 1924 KIA: Nov 3, 1965*

Billy Knight Born: Sep 18, 1937 KIA: Nov 16, 1965*
James Riley Born: May 8, 1935 KIA: Nov 16, 1965*
Billy Talley Born: May 31, 1938 KIA: Nov 16,1965*

Benedicto Bayron Born: Jun 3, 1934 KIA: Nov 17, 1965*
Terry Clark Born: Jun 18, 1946 KIA: Nov 19, 1967

* These Troopers were killed in or around the Ia Drang Valley prior to the 7/1st Cav moving in.

Talking about the Ia Drang Valley, LTC Billie Willaims, C Troop Commander at the time and Captain Chuck Knowlen, the Blue Platoon leader were interviewed at the last reunion. Here is that interview as it was written up:

Billie Williams, commander of C Troop, 9th Cavalry Regiment with 165 soldiers, said the unit was going 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

With eight helicopters in the airmobile unit, Williams said they were assigned to actively engage the enemy and fix the enemy.

“C Troop happened to be the only troop that was engaged in the Ia Drang Valley,” he said. Williams said Ia Drang was the worst battle. They had to make sure 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry didn’t get overrun,” he said.

We supported them with aircraft any way we could with gunships and scouts. Moore had to fight them eyeball to eyeball where my people had to fight in the air.”

During the battle, Williams said his unit lost a gunship and crew.
“The people were some of the best in the world and continued that tradition up until we withdrew from Vietnam,” he said. “Air mobile was a fighting unit. It proved itself time and time again. We would start it and let someone else finish it.”

Chuck Knowlen was a young Captain during the battle at Pleiku at the Ia Drang River. He led an ambush of a North Vietnamese force with grenades, machine gun fire and other light weapons. “That was the first real fire fight we had,” he said.

Knowlen 79, said details of the battle were reported by Charlie Black, a war correspondent for the Columbus Enquirer. “He was in th area,” Knowlen said. To meet some of the soldiers again will be fantastic, Knowlen said. “It’s wonderful to see them all,” he said.

During the reunion, Chuck Knowlen donated a quilt with the signatures of many C Troopers to the National Infantry Museum. This quilt is not on display yet. The Museum had ordered a case but it was not big enough. I have been told that they are having a Special Case built. As soon as the quilt is on display, I will send out a picture.

May the Lord Bless all of you and may you have a Very Good Month. Remember on Thanksgiving to say an extra Blessing for all of our Gold Star Family members who will have an empty chair at their table.