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News Letter July 2006
“The Monthly Diamondhead”
July 2006
Editor-Reporter-Chief Cook-Web Slave-
Ron Leonard
(cell) 907-354-7062
E- mail: webmaster@25thaviation.org
This page survives strictly on Donations, no Donations no exist.
Web Page Accounting as of NOW

Note:
Please Add Yourself to our electronic US MAP "Where We Are", then I can loose all these pins and flags on my wall

Company Stuff:
This month we have turned up a couple of new people, for the Little Bears.  Ronald Holmes Crewchief 66, Sal Cannizaro gunner 68, Oscar M Garza, Medic 67-68, For HHC Ronald Haight Divarty pilot

Notifications:
We still have afew of our reunion coins available. There was only 100 made so they will be collectors items. If you want one let me know. They are $10 and the proceeds go into the reunion fund. If you have paypal, my account is webmaster@25thaviation.org,
or mail a check to

Ron Leonard
5885 Fireweed Dr  E. ,
Wasilla Ak, 99654

Our friends at the popular blog called, "Say Anything," have posted a video documentary about the dangers posed by radical Islamic jihadists.
The documentary contains actual video from Arab television networks that show how this radical element has become an increasingly mainstream voice in Arab media, and how they have painted the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom as the enemies of the Arab world.
This is a must see video clip, to understand the threat posed to the civilized world.  You should take the time to watch this documentaryfor if we do not understand what it is that we are fighting in the war on terrorism then how can we muster the will and determination to prevail in victory?
Watch the documentary online here:
http://sayanythingblog.com/2006/07/30/obsession/


                             Care Packages:
                             The 25th Aviation Regiment is fixing to deploy to Iraq as we speak, so it is time for us to pick of where we left off last time and support these
                             guys. When I get a final destination and APO to send packages to I will let you know. Lets do it again right like we did last time.         

History:
We have approached a very special point in time. There is a window open to us to tell our stories, to get our side of the story told. Every day this window gets smaller, as can be attested to by the number of our members that have left us since coming home. If you can all just take the time to sit down, and write that one good story, send it to me so I can record it. This way the historical events are not forgotten. Don't worry about it being perfect, I can fix it up for you.

Reunions:
Association Reunion Nov 2008 ,San Antonio Texas
(In Planning Stages)

Sept 1st week Alaska Fishing Trip
If your coming I need to know ASAP
The first week of Sept there is an open invite to come to Alaska Fishing. If you want to attend you will only be out a plane ticket fishing license, and chipping in to the grub and beer funds. (Unless you motor home it or motel it) We have camping gear up here for a bunch, do bring your own sleeping bag and a camera.

We are planning on a base camp on the Kenai River in Sterling Alaska The guides will give us one day on the river pro bono, and I am setting up a two-day float trip down the Swanson River (free). It's a pretty easy float with few portages. But is loaded with trout and Silver Salmon that time of year. It is also Moose season, so hopefully one will have my name on it along the way<G>. There will also be lots of other wildlife, like bears, both black and brown, and a wolf or two, maybe a grizzly or two, grouse, ducks, Trumpeter Swans....it should be a fun trip. I am working on one-day (reduced rate) offshore fishing trip from Seward with Saltwater Safaris as I write this, so it will make a full week of fun and adventure. I hope to see you here; I assure you it will be a trip of a lifetime.

Medical and VA Issues:
Below is a request for assistance,  Mr. Harrigan is conducting a study that will help all veterans.
He has a deep respect for Vietnam Veterans. I have completed the study and agree that he is on the right track.
I have also validated his study thru professional that I know, after review they agree and encourage participation.
He is seeking an additional 70 Vietnam veterans for this study. He seeks veterans of all services who served in country.  This includes all military occupations.
Below is his request, please contact Paul via email or by phone.
Please forward this request to other Vietnam veterans that you are in contact with.
This is all Vietnam veterans not just combat or veterans with PTSD.
I thank you guys for helping
 Bill Ball
Dear Vietnam Veteran,  
     My name is Paul J. Harrigan and I am a US Marine, Gulf Era, Veteran who desperately needs your help. I am currently a doctoral (Ph.D.) student of psychology and am working on a dissertation research project.  I am writing to request your assistance with my dissertation research project on Vietnam Veterans.
     Over the past several years I have been working as a counselor at a Vet Center and also as a psychology intern at a VA Hospital. In this role, I was able to provide the much needed counseling for veterans and family members, of all generations, coping with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other psychological problems related to serving in a theatre of war.    
     As a result of my military experience, combined with that of working with our Veterans, I decided to conduct a dissertation to improve our understanding of Veterans living with wartime memories across the lifespan.  At this time, I am not employed with the VA as I need to focus my attention on this project. I plan to return when my dissertation is completed.  
     Much of what we know of PTSD has come from the efforts of your generation, the Vietnam Veterans.  You all have contributed so much to all of us by encouraging this nation to improve the physical and emotional treatment of our veterans.  
     I respectfully request your assistance with my project.  I recognize the honorable service of all veterans, however, for the purposes of this study I require at least 200 Vietnam theatre/combat veterans to participate in my study (all branches. At this time, I have 60 completed packets so I need 140 more.  To help, all I require is that you and other Vietnam Veterans fill out a questionnaire packet that takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Participation is completely voluntary and no identifying information will be attached to any of the questionnaires you fill out.   
      If you  would like to participate please send your mailing address to me at: paulpsyche@aol.com
 I will send the packet to you along with a postage paid return envelope in the mail to return the materials.     
 Email me or call at (716) 946-7451 if you have any questions or require more information.
 I thank you for your service to our country.  
 Respectfully,
 Paul J. Harrigan, MA
University of Miami

VA Watchdog dot Org - VA NEWS FLASH - 07-21-06 #5

VETS' COMMISSION TACOMA, WA MEETING -- THEME: "IT'S BROKEN,

PLEASE FIX IT." -- Commissioners hear of understaffing, lack of co-ordination with DoD and long waits for claims and healthcare.

Commission says: "We are not trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of veterans. Our #1 goal is better things for veterans."


The traveling version of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) held a meeting in Tacoma, Washington on the evening of July 20, 2006.

Over 135 veterans were in attendance and were greeted by an "informational picket" by Local 3197 of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)...the VA union. The "picketers" stood on the corner outside the hotel where the meeting was held. I was amazed at the response of the people driving by...honking and waving and giving the "thumbs up" sign.

If we could get all of those drivers elected to Congress we would have the VA funded immediately!
The VDBC's web site is here... http://www.vetscommission.org/index.asp

The meeting was from 7pm to 9pm and opened with brief remarks from the Commission's Team Leader, Donald M. Cassiday. Bio here... https://www.1888932-2946.ws/vetscommission/e-documentmanager/gallery/Documents/Commission_Members/Bio_Cassidayv2.pdf

Commissioner Cassiday stated, "We are not trying to balance the federal budget on the backs of veterans."Â Later in the meeting Cassiday said, "Our #1 goal is better things for veterans."

Cassiday was joined by Commissioner Rick Surratt, bio here... https://www.1888932-2946.ws/vetscommission/e-documentmanager/gallery/Documents/Commission_Members/Bio_Surratt.pdf

And, Commissioner Ken Jordan, bio here... https://www.1888932-2946.ws/vetscommission/e-documentmanager/gallery/Documents/Commission_Members/Bio_Jordanv2.pdf

Commissioner Cassiday noted that the Center for Naval Analysis (CNA) will be conducting a phone survey of 26,000 veterans as part of the Commission's studies.  He added that veterans will receive a letter from Secretary Nicholson and from the Commission notifying them they have been chose for this survey so they can be prepared for the call from CNA.

My feelings about the evening can be summed up in one word:Â Sad.

Time after time, veteran after veteran, we heard how the system had let them down. Missing records...long waits for claims...long waits for healthcare...and just plain old bureaucratic stupidity.

A mother whose son is a disabled veteran told the Commission that it took the VA five years to award 100% compensation.  Her son was with her...in a wheelchair...unable to move or speak because of brain damage caused by a helicopter accident. And now, she continues to fight the VA for Aid and Attendance. The VA says "NO" because she is his mother.  If she was his wife or his daughter the VA would approve A & A. The system is truly broken!

The most shocking testimony of the evening came from disability claims specialist Sue Walters of Spanaway, Washington.  Ms. Walters told of her client who was ordered to a Compensation and Pension Examination that was to be done by QTC, the company owned by former VA Secretary Anthony J. Principi. Background here... http://www.vawatchdog.org/old%20newsflashes%20MAY%2006/newsflash05-19-2006-10.htm

Ms. Walters stated that QTC had outsourced the exam to a subcontractor who was NOT a doctor. It was done in an office with no medical equipment.  Ms. Walters said the Commission should investigate this matter and stated that these exams should be done by VA doctors only.

That sentiment was echoed by Barbara Phinney, an RN at the Seattle VA and President of AFGE Local 3197.

Throughout the evening the Members of the Commission were thoughtful and attentive. But, I must toss in this cynical note. I would be attentive, too, if I were being paid at the rate of $143,000 a year plus all expenses.

Were Surratt, Cassiday and Jordan listening? Or, just going through the motions? We'll have to wait for their report next year to find out.

My statement before the Commission is below:

If you prefer an audio track...here is an MP3 recording of my remarks from the meeting..... Listen or download here...



I would like to thank the members of the Commission.

My name is Larry Scott. I`m a veteran of a little over four years active-duty service in the Regular United States Army and I have multiple, service-connected disabilities. I`m a member of the DAV and the VFW. And, I am the Founder and Editor of the web site VA Watchdog dot Org.

This Commission's Charter charges you with “determining whether a disability or death of a veteran should be compensated. Whether?!” What a question!

Many veterans and their service organizations consider this charge immoral. Most consider it completely amoral.

The American Legion questioned the legality of this Commission. Their Legal Counsel decided not to fight that particular battle, opting rather to put your deliberations under a magnifying glass and taking you to task whenever you strayed into territory they deemed unacceptable to the welfare of veterans.

The Legion has also stated that “members of congress” and other government officials, have publicly expressed their desire to use the [Commission] as a vehicle to institute radical changes in the VA disability system that would negatively impact and restrict entitlement to benefits for a large number of veterans.

The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) reacted with shock when this Commission announced they wanted to study veterans who receive VA disability compensation and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). The DAV stated: “The idea that disability compensation is some kind of income security or welfare program cheapens the service and sacrifice of disabled veterans.”

Thankfully, the Commission has backed-off on part, just part, of that study, but still continues to look at the SSDI issue.

So, Members of the Commission, as we meet here in Tacoma, your reputation precedes you.

But, that doesn't mean we want you to live up to your reputation.

We, as veterans, sit here this evening and wonder, “What are these guys up to?”

Members of this Commission have publicly stated that veterans shouldn't worry because the Commission has no power, no authority, no ability to change laws or regulations. After all, you're just going to issue a report.

But, reports have a habit of turning into Congressional hearings that spawn legislation that then end up changing veterans benefits. So, to say that you have no power, is disingenuous, at best.

You hold the power to radically and permanently change the lives of millions of veterans, their spouses, their dependent children, and, in some cases, their widows.

But, you know that.

Therefore, you also know that your work on this Commission can do just the opposite, it can help guarantee the benefits disabled veterans have EARNED with their service to this great Country.

As you look around, you can see that we, for the most part, make up the “old guard” of the veteran community. But, we,re here tonight for more than just ourselves. We're here as proxies for the “new guard” in our community who cannot be here. Because they are boots on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan, on a ship, in a plane or, maybe, pulling guard duty over at Ft. Lewis. They cannot be here so we speak for them. And we speak with a loud, clear and unified voice that demands the protection of ALL veterans benefits for their sake.

In a little over a year your final report will be due. Lives hang in the balance.

I have often thought that if I had a hand in writing this Commission's Charter, I would have included one little line: “Do the right thing.”

And you can. ”Do the right thing,” for the disabled veterans who have so bravely given so much for this Country.

Although I know what I'm about to suggest will not happen, when it comes time to issue your report, wouldn't it be nice to meet right here again? And, have each of you hand out copies of your report to each of the veterans assembled in this room?

And, then, have each of you look each of us in the eye and be able to say, “I did this for you, brother veteran. I did this for your good and for the good of your family.”

Whether in person, or from a distance, I certainly hope you will be able to say just that.
Larry Scott

Army Activates VA Data Website
Army News Service | June 29, 2006
Washington D.C. - The Army has activated a secure Web site, https://ID-Theft.army.mil, enabling current and former servicemembers to determine if their personal information was potentially compromised as a result of a data loss from the Department of Veteran's Affairs on May 3.

The data loss included names, social security numbers and dates of birth of as many as 20 million veterans, to include active and reserve members.

“Although there is no evidence that the data has been used illegally, all Soldiers should be extra vigilant with regard to their financial well-being,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston in a joint message to Solders.

For a valid response to queries done at the new Web site, users should enter all requested information in the format specified. Anyone identified as having had their personal information compromised will be linked to the VA Web site, which lists steps for protection from identity theft. For additional information on identity theft protection, go to DoD's Military One Source at www.militaryonesource.com or call (800) 342-9647.
As you all know, over 26.5 million veterans and retirees information was stolen from a VA laptop. In addition to those numbers, 2.2 million active duty and reservists information has been stolen as well. Even if you have not applied for VA benefits, you may still be subjected to fraud. To protect yourself, add a Fraud Alert onto your credit report. You can do it telephonically by calling 1-800-525-6285. The information will be passed onto all 3 credit bureaus. The idea is to have the company contact you prior to opening an account in your name. Also, take the time and order a FREE Annual credit report by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. Pass the information onto all those that have served or are serving currently. Thanks.

Letters:

Hey
I just got a package of a flag and certificate from CW3 Matt Hobbs, 25th Avn Bn, Diamondheads that he and his crew flew into combat in Afganistan 2 years  ago.  He had packed it away when he came home and forgotten it until he was repacking to go to Iraq next month.  He sent me a long letter with it. I have his email address and will share it with you

CW3 Matt Hobbs
13 co 2-25 Avn Regt
TF Diamondhead
 thobbs623@yahoo.com

Jim Cannon


Hello Ron,
You've done a wonderful job with the WebSite,WELL DONE !!

                             I'm writing to see if someone in the organization could write a general letter to the membership requesting contact information
                             for former Bears  and  Diamondheads. I was a Little Bear from Nov '68 through Oct '69, but have heard or read little of fellow
                              Bears on the Website. I noticed                                                                                                            
Justin Miller's picture, but have not seen anything about guys like Ed Behne, Jerry Beaudoin, Ed Just, Fred Dickens, Randy Judge, Fred Ziolkowski,John Mistretta, Jeff O'Hara, Mitch Wilhelm, Ed Mitchell, John Webb, Tim Horan, Howard Brown, John Driscoll, Jesse James, Don Rodgers, etc. All of the aforementioned were pilots assigned during 68-69, among many others
There are a significant number of awards and lots of great stories among the Bears of 68-69 , and if you can reach out to the membership for help in contacting these guys perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised.
On a personal note, I was awarded the DFC for an action that took place on 3/14/69, and a second DFC (1olc) for an action that occurred on 9/28/69, but could not find any mention on the website.
Keep up the good work!
Regards,
Jim Collins Little Bear 30
Ron -

                            let me tell you where we are at.........we won........the last stress letter I sent in on 31 January put it over the top. The VA approved     
                             the case without going to the appeal. They granted 50% and that, coupled with my 40%, came to 70%.  

If you can stand some more info let me fill you in on the rest of the story. It took 27 months for the VA to approve my claim. I asked them when I would get the back pay differance between the 40% and 70%. They told me that I wasn't authorized any backpay, because I was a military retiree........needless to say that did not sit well. All my challenges fell on deaf ears, then on 14 July it was ruled (because someone else had the same problem) that ALL military retired veterans drawing disibility over 50% had been "cheated" and the VA and the DFAS (retired pay) will have to compute the back pay for us.

Now for some more good news. Because the PTSD (50%) is combat related, and my hearing (20%) has been confirmed as combat related, they combine for a 60% special military retirement program .  It is a complicated process, but essentially only mitary retirees who have a disibility over 40% can draw both there militiary retired pay and VA disilbity and then they can not get all their disibility unitl 2013. Those below 50% simply get a tax exemption in their retired pay. However, congress approved a plan by which those have direct combat disibility can draw an additional check from their retired service (my case Air Force) as long as the total between the VA and special pay does not exceed the VA total (told you it was complicated). Bottom line, I will be getting my entire military retired check and my 70% VA check.     

I want to thank you and Bud for everything. I am going to send a letter to the VA on Bud's help and want to make a "contribution" to your Web site.......just send me instructions.  I also would like to send a small personnal thank you to both of you. Addresses please..........

Richard Bentley
USAF Maj Ret

Hi Ron:
I came across this the other day and thought it interesting and you might  put it to good use

Here are links to lineage & honors of 25th Aviation Regiment:

Headquarters Company-25th Aviation
Regiment: 25av.htm" http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/av/025av.htm
A Co-1st Battalion 25th Aviation:
http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/av/025av001bn.htm
B Co-2nd Battalion 25th Aviation:
 http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/lineage/branches/av/025av002bn.htm

This is interesting. Good tracing of where we fit into the history of today's units.
Fred Panhorst

Once again we are writing to correct our E-mail problem. We are now using Jake22@650dialup.com as our E-mail address.  We have not received any mail for the past several months and want to receive all news and bulletins. Thanks again for correcting our problem. Best to you for the on-going summer.  The next time you come to Norwich, either don't tell us or make a plan to stop and see us in Milford. Best regards. Ed Davis


Hi You guys.

I had a great father's day, a great week of schooling at the Defense Acquisition University , and an OUTSTANDING evening at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in DC last Wednesday, 14 June.  

The Armed Forces Foundation Gala fundraiser for the troops on 14 June raised $830,000.00.  
It was an AWESOME night.

Well over 20 General officers in the room included Peter Pace and Randy West. Gordon England, Secretary of the Navy, was one of the speakers.  There were 8 Senators present including Daniel Inouye of Hawaii who sat one table over from my wife and I.

General Peter Pace, USMC, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and (arguably) the greatest living public speaker was two tables over from us. There were 23 Congressmen including Duncan Hunter, Bill Young, John Murtha and Ike Skelton.  
It was a gala to beat all others. It was also one of Monika and my best nights ever.

In this town you have a `major'  event if you manage to get just one congressman or one senator to attend.
At a dinning out or dinning in or even at our USMC annual balls we are well pleased to get one  two, three or four star general to attend.

We had so many General Officers we could not acknowledge them all by name.

Each table was set with photographs of a soldier who died in Iraq or Afghanistan and the story of their life and final sacrifice.  

More importantly we had 60 of our wounded heroes there and they were our guest speakers. Our guest speakers were the young wounded troops who have returned to tell tales of bravery about their fallen comrades. You should have seen General Pace get to his feet applauding the plight and success of these young kids.
Awesome night!

How was your week?

Joseph R. Finch
Environmental Program Manager
14041 Worth Avenue
Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 490-6022
This Is Going to be one kick ass idea…watch the preview below!!
Hi Ron:
I apologize for the delay but I just recently got back from NTC and with work and what not I have not had much time to do much.  I haven't been down to the museum just yet but as soon as I get some down time I will.  If you can send some things that would be greatly appreciated.  My address is
Chris Hoffert
95-1063 Kaapeha St. #133
Mililani, Hi 96789
How was your vacation?  Here's an updated promotional video I have been working on for a web based mini-series when we get to Iraq.  I am forming a film company with in my unit dedicated to the production of this mini-series.  I got the idea for it about a week and a half ago when I realized that the people of this country do not see what really goes on short of what is on CNN and that is never good anyway so I am doing this to take people away fromt he blood and gore that comes with the job and to show them that there are faces in this fight.  I am featuring a Q&A section of each episode where people outside the army community can ask questions and we will answer them with our own thoughts.  I know I will get into some fights with S-2 about content but I am a persistent little twirp.  Right now I am talking to Ernie's House of Whoop Ass (www.ehowa.com) to help promote this series and get it out to millions.  I am also going to contact several other websites as well that will get it out to even more people.  I am going to dedicate a website with webmaster to insure that updates are constantly made so that people can view our content.  (A) BLACKJACKS (J) is now a registered copyright under my name, my companies name, and my produciton companies name.  
I am not looking nor do I wish to profit from any of this but I do hold a deep desire to illustrate to the world that CNN does not cover the stories that matter the most.  I will keep you posted with things as they unfold as I am sure you will be interested.  So here you go.  
http://video.freevideoblog.com/video/970dee3c-3377-4195-b540-3615c0ecbbe8.htm

Effective Monday, June 12 my new email address is veedub_060@yahoo.com.      Gary Eddy

The Vietnam Veterans Museum in Tampa, FL has restored an AH-1G Cobra, tail number 67-15722.  67 designates it was built in 1967.  It served with the 25th Aviation Bn, B Company (Diamondhead) unit in Cu Chi, Vietnam.  It will be painted up with the Diamondhead logo and sharks teeth.  The log book reflects it took numerous ground fire hits during it's time in country.
A 25th Infantry ground unit had captured an NVA or VC after a Cobra attack and he keep saying something over and over.  When they got an interpreter he told them he's saying "Fire Dragon, Fire Dragon!"  He was on the receiving end of the 2.75 rockets and minigun.



War Stories:

 When You Can't Kill `Em
Greg Bucy

Sometimes a Cobra fire team needed just a little extra. Too bad the crew chief didn't fly with us, because I'm sure all the possible contingencies would have been covered. As it turned out on this particular day, four WO's went to war unprepared for the ensuing battle. It happened like this:

We were scrambled from the “scramble shack” on the flight line and since this was a daylight mission the crew chiefs were already at the ships performing whatever magic it was that they always performed to keep my young ass in the air. Of course, they had our two Cobras ready as three of us hurried to the aircraft, the pilot (front-seater) of the Fire team leaders Cobra got the mission details on the phone and then ran to the lead ship. By the time he was strapped in we were taking off. One advantage of the Cobra over the “Charlie Model” gunship was its more powerful engine, a combat ready Cobra would actually hover which made takeoff more science than art, the combat ready “Charlie Model” well, it hopped instead of hovering and only real pilots could get one in the air. But I digress (and probably will again before this story is told).

My pilot briefed me as to the direction we're headed and the frequency and “call sign” of our contact in the target area. I briefed my wingman, who was flying behind and slightly above me as we climbed to our en route altitude of 1500 feet. I recognized the call sign as that of one of our local FAC pilots (Air Force pilots who at that time flew the OV-10 “Bronco”). The target area was just south of the Angels Wing (a part of the Cambodian border northwest of Saigon that looked like its name) in the Plain of Reeds. This was a large area, flooded to a depth of three to six feet during the monsoon season with grass or reeds of about the same height. During the dry season the water receded into a series of wooded creeks or streams that ran roughly from Cambodia into Vietnam  through the Plain of Reeds to a river that served either as the border between Cambodia (a no-no at that time) and Vietnam or the eastern edge of the Plain of Reeds. There were no `friendlies' west of the river 99.9% of the time. The border was constantly patrolled by the FACs and they count the leaves on the trees from 1500 feet. Needless to say, it was not a good idea for the NVA to try to cross the border during daylight, duh. But they tried anyway, and it usually didn't work and it wasn't going to work today either.

A big sampan chock full of nuts had been spotted by the Bronco driver trying to hide in one of those wooded creek lines, and since he was by himself he called for us. When we arrived and started our orbit at about 500 feet, we had no trouble finding the sampan once he marked the target (read blew about 6 to 8 NVA out of the sampan). We rolled in, sank the sampan and began to blow up everyone who was left. Our job. It wasn't long until we were no longer receiving AK fire from the folks who had abandoned ship. Then it began to rain, and anyone who has been in a monsoon knows I'm not kidding about the rain. Some of the time it was raining so hard the only direction you could see was down, and there is just no way to shoot rockets aiming through the rocket site and the canopy of the Cobra when it is raining. By the time you see the target you are much too close and the rockets don't arm (I believe that takes about 300 feet), and unless you stab the target with a rocket (which has been done) it just sticks up in the mud. We had to shoot the chin turret miniguns at such a deflection they soon jammed which was one problem we had with the Cobras and tried to avoid.

By the time both ships guns jammed we were down to one lonesome NVA, who had made it 100 to 150 yards from the splitters of the sampan. We stabbed a few rockets in the ground around our prisoner, but it became obvious we just couldn't see well enough to shoot. I looked around and discovered that in my haste to leave I had left my side arm in the scramble shack. So I inquired of my pilot “Dandy” Dave if he had his - can you guess his reply? Nope, so I called my wingman to inquire if either of them had a weapon, thinking we would just pull up beside our NVA - who wasn't going anywhere - and boom, no more NVA. Can you guess their reply? Yep, no guns. At this point, both we and our NVA are up the proverbial creek without a paddle. There's no way I'm leaving the area with an enemy left alive. So I called battalion to see if they could divert a slick to pick up our prisoner, and although they answered in the affirmative, it was going to take 20 to 25 minutes and we just simply could not remain on station that long. So that's out, which leaves us with just one option - capture the prisoner ourselves.

The only extra seat on a Cobra is one of the ammo bay doors underneath the pilot or gunners position. Cobra pilots have opened one or both of these ammo bay doors in dire circumstances, usually to effect a rescue (one door on either side of the aircraft, which open out and down to form a tray on which you can slide the ammo cans from beneath the pilots seat to rearm them - each holds 4000 rounds of 7.62 mm ammo. Each door is about 4 feet long and 2 feet high [or wide when open]). I told Dave, up front, I had a plan if he would get out to open the ammo bay door. He answered in the affirmative and I brought the aircraft to a low hover 100 yards or so from our prisoner. Dave opened up his canopy and dismounted (not such an easy task on a slick aircraft in a monsoon). While standing the skid as we hovered above the Plain of Reeds, Dave somehow managed to get the ammo bay door open without being knocked off or falling off the skid. He climbed back in and hooked up and I told him my plan. I was going to hover over to our prisoner, he was going to motion for our prisoner to sit on the door, and all the while he was to make very threatening gestures with our breakout knife (the breakout knife is a piece of safety equipment on the Cobra, it is about 10” long, weighs about 10 pounds, and has a 1” to 2” blade; its main job in life is to allow the crew to breakout the canopy when there is no other means of escaping  a Cobra whose canopy cannot be opened). As soon as our prisoner was aboard, I would come to a high hover, and in the event of a struggle at least our prisoner would have a long way to fall (assuming Dave was successful). We had spent considerable time checking out our prisoner and had determined if he was armed it was hidden, because he appeared to us to be as anxious to surrender as we were to capture. Happily, everything went according to plan. So off we went in the rain with Dave hanging out of the cockpit making threatening gestures with the breakout knife, and our prisoner hanging on for dear life.

On the way in we had flown by a fire support base some clicks back so I called them and ask if they would meet us outside their wire because we had a prisoner for them. Although I'm sure it sounded fairly stupid, I suggested that someone bring a weapon since we didn't have any. They took our prisoner, who happened to be an NVA nurse (probably headed for the tunnels under Cu Chi) and we returned to base (Cu Chi). After the CG's briefing the following morning where, so I'm told, the proper use of Cobras was discussed, higher-ups suggested, strike that, ordered us to refrain from capturing prisoners with Cobras in the future; which leads me to believe the amount of intelligence gathered from our prisoner was about equal to my own.



I was a PFC with HHB, 2d Bn, 77th Arty, 25th Inf Div., on Feb 22/23 at Dau Teing.  

We called the mountain The Black Virgin.

When I got there in Nov '68 it was green, when I left it was a sand pile.  I don't know if anyone remembers, but me and 8 guys
were on "Orphan Anne," the 105 Howitzer on the runway that night (I have a photo). She was named by Sgt.
“Miracle.”  

That night her barrel was level with the runway and we were blowing 8/9 sec. beehives, practically shooting ourselves. VC were running right past us with satchels -incredible.  At one point we were so low on ammunition me and my buddy drove
a duece-and 1/2 back to the dump to get more; we were driving on the rims. I remember two F100 jets coming in side-by-side
at tree level.  Right over our heads they released napalm - 2 or 3 each - 5 seconds later it lit up the night.  Two of us were killed before morning. There were Cobras overhead and we took some shrapnel - nobody could see.  I was spattered, but a large piece went right past me and hit the guy behind me in solar plexis. He was looking right at me when he died, but
I can't remember  what he was saying. The next morning we're sitting there and this guy crawls out on his belly, falls into the bunker and says "their shooting  at you."  We finally isolated the sniper and on 3-count stood and riddled the tree with M16s.

I don't know why, but I was laughing  so hard I had tears in my eyes - we all were.  

After a beer hall brawl a few days later, I found myself an RTO with Charlie company supporting Diamond I, II, III- night ambush.  There was a place called the "hardspot" on the Saigon River - believe it was called FB Harris - I left from there 365 days after in a loach - you could see tracers - the guy went straight up - never thought we would make it.  I wonder if anybody remembers me?   Looking for Sgt. Miracle -he'd be in his mid to late 60s now, Bob Wooson, and Hector Elatia. Jim Kesso was wounded within a month after Dau Tieng - he made ithome, but was t-boned at an intersection on his motorcycle in South Dakota.  I talk to his nephew who is named after him.  I was also at Cu Chi - can't remember all the places - wish I could remember more names.  My sister worked for GTE corp in WIS program throughout the 1980s with a pilot named John Keegan who flew a lot of guys off of firebases - none of us made the connect at that time but,wondered if coincident was crazy enough to have had us pass in the night.  Anyway, thank you for the excellent maps - a great site.

Bill Harwood

News:
Hackett Files Lawsuit On Behalf Of 26.5 Million Vets

CINCINNATI (AP) -- A Cincinnati attorney has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of 26.5 million veterans whose personal information was on a stolen computer disk. The suit asks the Department of Veterans Affairs to compensate the veterans and pay for credit monitoring.

Paul Hackett filed the suit yesterday in US District Court in nearby Covington, Kentucky.

Hackett is a Marine reservist who served in Iraq and ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year.

The suit asks the VA to pay damages of at least one-thousand dollars per veteran.

VA officials say the disk stolen from a data analyst's home in early May included Social Security numbers and
birth dates, and in many cases phone numbers and addresses.

                    Harvard University Commencement Address
                             Becky Kirzan

I listened to a clip of the owner of the New York Times speaking at Harvard University, a commencement address, on the radio today. He said to the graduates: You were not supposed to be graduating into a world of violence and a misbegotten War. You were not supposed to be graduating into a world where King Oil rules. You were not supposed to be graduating into a
world with an inept President.... and so on. (I did not use quotes, because I had to paraphrase what he said from memory, so it is not exact.)

As a thoughtful, reasoning adult, I am willing to listen to most educated opinions, whether they differ from mine or not. However, as I listened, I began to get a glimmer of what is dividing this country, and one question kept repeating itself in my mind, over and over.

WHY?

Why are they supposed to graduate in a world where they need not stand up for what they believe in? Why are they supposed to graduate into a world where all they need do is sit back in a life of ease and collect huge salaries, in total peace, with no strife, no opposition, no hard choices?

Why should they never have to deal with ineptitude, or wrongs?  Who in the world dared to promise them all of that, just because they live in America?

EVERY generation of Americans, from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson - clear up to today - has had to go through the refining fire of the fight for freedom, regardless of your politics. Whether you choose to fight from within, by running for office, or joining the ACLU, or whether you choose to pick up a rifle and join the brave men and women who stand in front of our
enemies and fight, physically, to protect evil from overrunning our borders - it does not matter. Each new generation must pick up the yoke, and carry the responsibilities of freedom forward. With great freedoms, come great responsibilities. Who dares to promise ANY generation that the work is all done, and they need not remain vigilant, or work for what they have?

This is the bill of goods that today's liberalism is selling our youth...... we were supposed to handle it all, so there was nothing
 left for them to do but to be sluggish dilletants, sipping wine and barbequeing chicken in their backyards.

My parents did not promise me any such thing. They only said they did the best they could, and that they hoped I would work hard to make it better, and learn from their mistakes. They said, "Go out, and fight the good fight, and make America better. Leave it greater for your children!"  and "That which does not kill you, makes you stronger". Apathy was NOT my legacy, but
hard work, and study, and responsibility.... and along the way, the joy of helping to create a better America, the joy of making a family, the value and self-respect of being an integral part of something wonderful - carrying on the work of the Continental Congress and our forefathers.

No easy ride - but hard work. And worth every tear, worth every bruise, worth every minute.

I disagree with you, sir.

Becky Krizan

                    Red China Opens NAFTA Ports in Mexico
by Jerome R. Corsi
Posted Jul 18, 2006  
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/article.php?id=16077
The Port Authority of San Antonio has been working actively with the Communist Chinese to open and develop NAFTA shipping ports in Mexico.

The plan is to ship containers of cheap goods produced by under-market labor in China and the Far East into North America via Mexican ports. From the Mexican ports, Mexican truck drivers and railroad workers will transport the goods across the Mexican border with Texas. Once in the U.S., the routes will proceed north to Kansas City along the NAFTA Super-Highway, ready to be expanded by the Trans-Texas Corridor, and NAFTA railroad routes being put in place by Kansas City Southern. Kansas City Southern's Mexican railroads has positioned the company to become the “NAFTA Railroad.”

Right now, the cost of shipping and ground transportation can nearly double the total cost of cheap goods produced by Chinese and Far Eastern under-market labor. The plan is to reduce those transportation costs by as much as 50% by using Mexican ports.
Click the link above for the rest of the article -

FLORIDA NEWS
A news article from a Florida Newspaper:
 When Nathan Radlich's house was burgled, thieves left his TV, his VCR, and even left his watch. What they did take was "generic white cardboard box filled with grayish-white powder." (That at least is the way the police described it.) A spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale police said, "that it looked similar to cocaine, and they'd probably thought they'd hit the big time."

Then Nathan stood in front of the TV cameras and pleaded with the burglars, "Please return the cremated remains of my sister, Gertrude. She died three years ago."

Well, the next morning the bullet-riddled corpse of a drug dealer known as Hoochie Pevens was found on Nathan's doorstep.  The cardboard box was there too with about half of Gertrude's ashes remaining, and there was this note which read, "Hoochie sold us the bogus blow, so we wasted Hoochie. Sorry we snorted your sister. No hard feelings.  Have a nice day."

A Poem:

The Worth of a Soul
Written by Dr. James A
Cardin May 22, 2006
What my friend is the worth of a soul?
What redemption do you bring, in exchange for that priceless thing?
Where early days ofdisregard
When your folly fling, you played real hard
To vanish its identity
To squelch all accountability
What be worth your soul?
What be the worth of your wretched soul
In the time when the bell shall toll
When you shall see
where it landed
And the books are open, and you are
handed
The sentence of death as your hands doth
 fold
What is the worth of your soul.
Well done o good and faithful soul
Or depart from me a voice will ring
A soul that's pure will heaven sing
What be the worth of your soul.?
The soul is worth the time to tell
About the Heaven, or about the Hell
You pass them like a ship in the night
Only to condemn them to the blight

Of faithlessness at it's best
When they lay their soul to rest
What is the worth of your soul?
Their voices chant in cadence call
Through the darken caverns in Hell's great hall
"Take that preacher; put him in the hole"
Now ask him what is the worth of his soul.

"We few, weWe few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother."
-Wm Shakespeare-
Well guys Until next month..keep a smile on your face and  your skids out of the TreesJ--Ron