"So, There you have
I've enjoyed reading everyone else's recollections so I thought I would add my own. I was a slick driver in the 187th and stayed one the whole tour. I showed up after a bad new years eve party in Oakland Jan 2 1968 and left just before Christmas on the same year. I logged 1258 hours and never returned to do any more. I did stay in the Minnesota National Guard and retired a part time W4 after 28 years.
My very first mission was the
hour glass at Katum. I was Peter Pilot on the
maintenance ship and pulled a medevac under fire. I
had a feeling it was going to be a very long year.
My last mission was as Crusader lead on
Thanksgiving. One hell of a way to end a
tour. Al Duneman was my room mate and best friend.
I logged 13.5 hours that day and hung up the spurs.
I was one of three ships that went in to get John
Fitzgerald and Steve Eckle when
I went to my one and only
reunion in Philadelphia. There I met up with old Asa Vest
again after 25 years. Asa and I went through basic
training, flight school and the 187th together. It
was wonderful to see him and all the other guys again. It
was at that reunion that I finally connected up with Al
Dunemans wife, daughters, and family. Al has a
daughter, Allison, who was born after he died. I
have since visited his former wife Theresa
My greatest contribution to nostalgia is when I painted the roof of the second platoon slick drivers hooch. If anyone has a picture of the roof with the Huey logo, I'd like to get one.
I always wondered what happened to the O club wall with all the dollar bills and signatures. Somebody's got to know.
For excitement I used to total out Hueys. I remember breaking one in half near Cu Chi on what I termed a hard landing in dust. It's shocking when the dust settles and you're looking at your tail rotor out the front window.
I was there for the rocket that hit the showers and the one that hit the bunker. I'll never forget the smell of those things after they go off.
I've done a few things with my
life since the Crusaders. I have been married
twice, have two daughters and a son that range from 22 to
14. I was an air traffic controller until Ronald
Reagan lost his sense of humor. Now I run my own
comfortable consulting business. I have an airplane
and lots of boats.
I travel around a lot on business and like to look in on old army buddies. Don't be surprised if I show up in your home town. I spent a night with Joe Gorecki in Alabama and Pete Davis in Oregon a while ago. Pete had the greatest line. He said "after 25 years of not talking with you, we spend one night together, and I now remember which of my war stories are actually true!"
I still have my Blackhawk and Crusader patches. I was there when we changed the name. My photo album is pretty sparse, though. I have three pictures of me and Al Duneman that I cherish, however.
So there you have it.
©1997 - Tom Tesmar
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