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Friends - Thanksgiving
                          John Broome - "Rat Pack 18"

Friends,  This Thanksgiving is going to be a real tear jerker for me, and a number of folks out there. I figure why not put my feelings for the last couple of nights on paper and to the net.  Well I did but I didn't see them because they were an attachment not this time.  Just blew my classes this week and wrote all my feeling down before, I lost them again. You make them and you loose them all through your life, let me speak of three or four friends tonight. The first one is Steven Ponty.  I have been carrying this monkey around long enough it's time to let the world know.   I have never felt like I was a hero or anything to the sort but at the end of the gulf war as our unit moved back from the Saudi land to Hanau Germany, the yellow ribbons and bows and people just everywhere, treating us like Hero's Hero's are the Stephen Ponty's, John Marshall's, Jim Rohde's, Fred Bruce's, Tishner's, and a couple of lLt's I forgot their names but not their faces. But on 28 December the one month one day of the tragedy.  The morning operation was supposed to be me an insertion up by Dau Tieng.  Me and Jimision crewing the Smokey.  I Feared that aircraft and I threw a tantrum, John Marshall and Ponty said "No problem John we will fly Smokey if you feel that way about it.  Well we lifted off that morning and I want to say Asa Vest was the AC but he couldn't have been maybe it was Cpt. Jim Ray am not for sure. Some of the Pilots I get mixed up still today.  I wanted to say Ronnie Hopkins but he was the AC on Smokey this morning.  He and Mr. Markland (he was going to be such an asset to the gun Platoon (RatPack) everyone liked him, he was a natural with the controls and he had a leadership skill that I would and tried to emulate through my Army Career.  Jim Rohde and some Lt. was our wing that day with Fred Bruce and Trishner on board as gunners.  As we lifted off Tay Ninh International that morning my engine was nice and cool with plenty of power to spare.  In route to the Razorbacks in support of a unit,  we hadn't work with things were going to shit rapidly. I think and please do not snip this but Crusader 5 (the famous one) was in charge today.  Wanted us the Rats down low and reconning the AO.  No problem until the famous words, "Rat Pack go North, Go North I'm sorry." Artillery rounds were on the AO Ours.  Well we pulled max power turned to the right to pick up and go North as fast as we could.   But a fully Armed UH-1C with 38 17 Pounders (2.75's), 4000 rds of min gun (7.62); 3400 rounds of door gun, case of grenades (smoke) a ice cooler with water and soda's for us.   Hell I had been Crewing for nine months in the Pack.  I lived Well. The Dam engine surged, bleed band recycled about four five times engine started bleeding off.   I turned to Jimision and said "if he looses another foot throw these damn ammo boxes out grab hold of any thing loose and chunk it, then hang on to your 60 and strap tight." We hit the trees and I , suggested to the pilot do not fight it let this bird settle into the trees pick your spot if you can? (sounded good anyway).  Because I remember this same scene but about 8 months prior when THARP and his crew went in and I was a fucking neewbie then, except I wasn't a neewbie now and I was not going to get pinned in the damn bird, not now.  We hit the trees and lucky for us we had an ACE of a pilot.  He slide her right in between them rubber trees and others going by us at 60 - 80 knots and then stopping right in front of big tree.  All without a scratch except Jimision, he had lost some teeth when his 60 came back and hit him in the mouth.    He forgot to secure his free gun.  The Aircraft was a wreck.  We survived the fight another day but with my nerves really stretched this time.  But Stephen, John Ronnie and Markland were not so fortunate.  They were down low below the trees smoking the LZ for the slicks when they got caught in a L shape ambush with a 51 setup in the Apex.   I didn't get to see any of this because I was down in the trees or on my way back to Tay Ninh for another A/C.  We had more ships than crew's.   Anyway, they continued the run.  The fire power was son intense that they flipped over and went into the ground.  Mr. Rohde who ( we crewmembers didn't think he would come through if the going got tough because he was on a friendly term with God, than we were) put his crew on the ground.  Then proceeded to kick some ass without a crew.  In other worlds, he flew and fought all by himself without a wing man.  I imagine he has a citation for this probably a star or better.  He went back to Dau Tieng refueled and rearmed, came back out to support his folks on the ground.

In the meantime Fred and the Lt. and Tishner had gotten to Smokey and they had to fight their way down the trench line that was the bad part all the way there and back out into the open of course every turn they made there was a VC .  Mr. Markland took a 51 though top of his head. Mr. Hopkins was a broken mass of bones (saw him later in 69 at Ft. Eustis was very emotional then.)    Ponty, well the aircraft was on top of him and it was bad.  John had a bunch of bullet holes in him too, but I haven't seen his name on any list anywhere so I assume he survived.   Ponty had a birthday and a deros pretty close to mine.  For thirty years I have carried that monkey around with me and it has eat my insides wide open to the point that I was a real asshole to every neewbie I had dealings with Lt's 2nd ones anyway,  WO1's and a private didn't have a chance while I was a NCO when I took the direct appt to CW2 I was even harder then, more on myself than I had come to realize.   But Stephen wasn't the monkey after all David was the Monkey and I'll tell you all about him the HERO tomorrow or sometime between now and the 11th of November.  I have a story to tell my side of Crusader Down.  I miss them more now than before.

Friends - A reply
                                                         Mike Powell

Hey John, Let the big dog eat. Write or die mother.  I have no idea of what you went through. That's why you have to write it down.  Not only to purge your soul, but to help us purge ours. I hate to say, "Good writing", but it was and will continue to be.  Neat thing about us "almost writers" is that we can let it out here.  I say things here I could never say to anyone else.  Sometimes I type through the tears.  Just know that it's OK, and we all understand in our own little way.  Keep on keeping' on, as a buddy of mine used to tell me.  He made it back OK, but "Taps" at his funeral a few years ago beat me up pretty bad.  I hope for you, as for me, that this medium helps.  I write a lot of crap, but then sometimes I write for real. The real stuff helps. The crap is just for the hard asses to give me shit.  Lets me know I'm still alive with real guys.  Ain't going into that "feel your pain" crap.   Got enough of my own.  Just like everybody else.  I just feel honored that you would share your thoughts with us. No shit, man.

Your buddy,



Thanksgiving - 1968
                             John Broome
- "Rat Pack 18"
That has got to be one of the worst I have spent my Adult Life but I want to tell a story about a crew on the 27th of NOV 68. We were awoken odark thirty and sent to DauTieng. We were lead gun this day and looked like it was going to be a pretty good day we was working with the Wolfhounds out of Dau Tieng. After the second insertion of Infantry into the woods, we were called off HOWELL was my driver we climbed to 1500 ft. which was a signal this isn't going to be good. As we arrived into the AO Crusader 6 started telling my man were he was wanting to put the lead slick at and where the enemy was thought to be and how many were suspected to be home. about that time and F4 laid her eggs right in the corner between the two dike lines and they pounded the place pretty good 2nd indication this wasn't going to be nice that our cakewalk was over. I pulled a yellow smoke out straighten the pins and hooked it to my bungee cord then I pulled out two red smokes and did the same with those except one was attached onto my seat and the other in my chicken plate. after the jets finished prepping the LZ the artillery rounds started falling as we circled out a ways west of the LZ By listening to the conversation between Crusader 6and Rat 32 I knew where the first slick was going to land. Then I asked a dumb questions who were we going to be working with why of course the 4th of the 9th 25th INF (MANCHU) third indications this was not going to be a nice day every time we got together somebody got hurt.  Well we started inbound and last rounds not on the ground so 32 says slow it back hold this train, then the last rounds start hitting the LZ we were rolling over to 80 knots to 90 knots full suppression on machine gun blazing mini's working perfectly drop smoke perfect right on the top of the dike of the rice paddy haven't seen anyone yet radio blares chalk three taking fire chalk four on fire we go into immediate hammer head return to target on right side of flight and still blazing away richoets every where now the whole fucking fleet is pretty much fucked. and I still haven't seen a dam dink. Then my machine gun breaks all the rivets come loose I have been on it steady and I have less than 100 rounds left in the box. the mini-guns are still blazing but we see no dinks. Most of you know the rest of the story but I want to say something that last night up on the chat channel a point of view was put to me and then I had to write this. How do you think Maj. Gaffney feels, well sir I'm so glad that I didn't walk in your moccasin's. Anyway the day before all of this Me and David Creel acquired a jeep I want to say it was the Old man's but time has changed some of my story. Anyway me and David went somewhere on the bunker line and over to the Philippine Compound and got us a couple of bottles and some beer we got half the quarters shift faced. came back eat chow and just enjoyed each others company. Now you gotta understand we in the Rat Pack were not primadona we were scared just like anyone else maybe we hid it better because of all the awesome power we had. Anyway the LZ is hotter than fresh f&$#@#* fox in a chicken house and we are blowing ordnance everywhere. Later that day we all that were not shot up or burned up got a chance to come in for a quick bite to eat and back out to the alert pad. LOTS of folks said a lot of things that day but I want you all to know That flair ship I hear all the calls because we sorta have to monitor them. After a very long day of what 18 slicks 5 guns only 3 slicks and one gun. Howell scared me that night I thought he was going to drive it into the ground. When we landed I said Sir I need to just a trunion out !!"" He argued with me for a minute or two but I grounded that aircraft at 2230/2300 whatever after watching that flair ship burn all the way to the ground and then explode. Damn I was mad but there was nothing I could do.  I walked into the Maintenance Hooch and told some Maj. and a Master Sgt. That I had just grounded 642 and I wasn't going to fly anything else tonight or my crew they could but we weren't going back out there. Not realizing that Crusader 6 and another Slick was still on station I told them the fucking Playboy's can handle it.  I went to the NCO club to get a cold beer and they wouldn't by orders of the OLD Man smart move I went to the Officer club and got one cold one for the road. That day and a month later and a day another story . God I miss them I miss em all.  Everyday I try to live it and smile but there are a couple of days that are hard and Thanksgiving is Thank god I'm alive and maybe I can help another VET. 


  My Christmas in Nam, 1968  
                  Skip Davis "Rat Pack 36"    

Gentlemen and Lady:

A friend suggested I should add my 1.5 cents to the Christmas stories.  My Christmas in Viet was in 1968.  I was away from home for the first time, all of 23 years and an L T at the time.  I ended up in the Bien Thuy Air Force Officers' Club some how in the evening of the 24th of Dec. There were two AF pilots and a 1LT Air Force Lady (Nurse?), a bar tender (NCO) and one guitar.  Somehow, through the fog and haze, we sat around singing carols to the accompaniment of the guitarist well into the morning of the 25th.

I had never met the others, nor do I think I ever saw them again.  I was terribly lonely for home - it being my first Christmas away - but somehow, it has stayed as one of the warmest memories of that time that I have.  I have often thought of putting pen to paper about the experience, but somehow the memory doesn't seem to translate to the written word. I  still get somewhat emotional about it, 29 years later.  Strange the things you remember on this wonderful journey.

From the Davis Household, a very Happy Holiday to all and may 1998 be the best of years for everyone.

Skip Davis Rat Pack "36" 187th AHC - 71

Vets Day 1998                                                Mike Hodges "Rat Pack 38"

Veterans Day 1998

Today our County pays tribute to the American Fighting man and Woman.

Today there will be parades with people and observed by people who have no idea what today is really about.

Today those fighting men and women will take time to re-live our part in the wars or deal with the war that has never left our minds or the friends we shall never see again.

Today a little part of each Veteran will either rejoice in the purpose of our mission or regress a little farther into their own personal hells.

Today the banks and post offices will be closed in honor of what we did; while those that did it will probably be working.

Today the Country that never supported us or knew the truth of our struggle tries to say thank you.  The same Country that never welcomed us home or tried to understand what we have seen.

Twenty Six years ago my Country delivered a blow to me, to us, that is still with most of us today. The people of this country, the ones who didn't go to war, the ones who enjoyed their everyday lives betrayed us.  They spit on us, they berated us with profanity and they made us the criminals in their very narrow vision of life.

Had we not lived through enough horror and personal hell without all of this.

Didn't they realize that they were able to burn their draft cards and burn our beautiful flag because of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who had died for our freedoms in all the wars gone bye.

Today I will hurt for the horrors of war I do not want to remember but will never forget.

Today I will hurt for all of my Brothers and Sisters who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy.

Today I will hurt for all of my Brothers and Sisters who have lost limbs, sight, hearing and much, much more.

Today I will watch all those who did not support us enjoy this day of remembrance with no clue as to what it really means.

Today I will remember most of all that this is my Country.  Like me it is not perfect.  Like me it makes mistakes.  Like me it is still growing and learning.  Today I will remember my Brothers and Sisters who fought and died for this Country and would do it all again simply because This Is OUR COUNTRY..

Mike Hodges
Rat Pack "38"

Veterans Day Speech - 1999                                              Bill Hadfield

This is a speech delivered to a local high school by Bill

Good Morning

First on my list I would like to thank a few people that made this event happen. I should thank the cheer leaders;

Meagan Emmons & Genny Carr. Thanks to Paul Redmonds for the Pledge of Allegiance & Leading us in the Star Spangle Banner, Ms. Piccolo, Aaron Semminski, Les Schiner, and Eric Stepper. Thanks to Megan Dumas for the introductory remarks and Melanie May for my introduction. Thanks to Mr. Garnaas for the music that he and the band for playing America The Beautiful & The Star Spangle Banner this morning. Last but not least a big thanks to Mr. Dennis Samples, Mr. Steve Mc Caughley, and Mr. T. J. Eyers for inviting the veterans of our community to be here this morning for this celebration of Veterans Day with you the students of Jefferson High School. Thanks to you all!!!!!

Here is a historical picture of Veterans Day provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs Handbook 1999.

The Origins of Veterans Day

In 1921, an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. This site, on a hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington, became the focal point of reverence for America's veterans.

Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).  These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).  The day became known as "Armistice Day."

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action.  If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "the War to end all wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day.  But only a few years after the holiday was proclaimed, war broke out in Europe.  Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part.  Four hundred seven thousand of them died in service, more than 292,000 in battle.

 Armistice Day Changed To Honor All Veterans

An answer to the question of how to pay tribute to those who had served in this latest, great war came in a proposal made by Representative Edwin K. Rees of Kansas: Change Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and make it an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.

On Memorial Day 1958, two more unidentified American war dead were brought from overseas and interred in the plaza beside the unknown soldier of World War I.  One was killed in World War II, the other in the Korean War. In 1973, a law passed providing interment of an unknown American from the Vietnam War, but none was found for several years. In 1984, an unknown serviceman from that conflict was placed alongside the others. To honor these men, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, The 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

National Ceremonies Held at Arlington

The focal point for official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day continues to be the memorial amphitheater built around the Tomb of the Unknowns. At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath. The bugler plays "taps." The rest of the ceremony takes place in the amphitheater.

Veterans Day ceremonies at Arlington and elsewhere are coordinated by the President's Veterans Day National Committee. Chaired by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the committee represents national veterans organizations.

Governors of states and U.S. territories appoint Veterans Day chairpersons who, in cooperation with the National Committee and the Department of Defense, arrange and promote local ceremonies.

Taken from Department of Veteran Affairs Handbook 1999

We have completed a few very important things this morning . We have posted the United States flag and Montana State flag. We have said the pledge of allegiance. We have sung the Star Spangle Banner.

#1 By posting the colors we honor our country, the United States of America. This also show honor to all veterans and those serving in the military today. This patriotism

#2 We pledged allegiance to our flag which also honors our country and its veterans . These words have power. The pledge of allegiance links us to patriotism and our civic duties. I believe the most important civic duty we have is voting. This is a privilege that is provided by our constitution. Our veterans serve to protect this privilege or right. I would like to read this historical sketch on the Pledge of Allegiance.

VFW - The Origins of Veterans Day

Pledge of Allegiance

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The original draft of the pledge is said to have been written in 1892 by James B. Upham, one of the publishers of Youths Companion, until 1929 a Boston, Mass., magazine.

The first version was, "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

At the first National Flag Conference, held in Washington, D.C., June 14-15, 1923, to adopt a flag code, delegates from patriotic societies, civic and other organizations substituted the words "the Flag of the United States: for "my Flag." That change was made because it was thought that the foreign-born might have in mind the flag of their native land when they said "my Flag."

Still another change was made at the second National Flag Conference in 1924 when the words "of America" were added. So, for 30 years the version was --"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Then in 1954 Congress added the words "under God" to the pledge and now we recite--"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

The pledge of allegiance should be rendered while standing at attention facing the Flag with the right hand over the heart. When not in uniform men should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Members of the armed forces in uniform should remain silent, face the Flag and render the military salute.

Copyright 11996,1997,1998; Veterans of Foreign Wars of United States. All Rights Reserved.

Last Modified: Wednesday, 10-Dec-97 10:37:38 CST


#3 By singing the national anthem we re-enforce the ideas and thoughts of the author. We feel the emotions and we can imagine what took place during and after the battle.  This song has deep meaning to those of us that have been in similar battles.

These battles were fought to protect our constitution, the bill of rights, in essence our freedoms.  All these veterans here today went to serve not knowing if they would be in battle or not.  This was our selfless civic duty.

In summary we honor our veterans everyday that we raise our flag, sing the Star Spangle Banner or say the Pledge of Allegiance.  This is the Honor that is do them. GOD BLESS AMERICA

Here are a few names of veterans that are a part of our community:

Speed Simons, Waylen Gill, John Grace, William Hadfield II, Bill Hadfield, T. J. Eyer, Shannon Sullivan, Dennis Sullivan, Larry Sarrinen, Sid Miller, Larry Lattin, Larry Jessen, Dick Weebe, Rich Usenda, Jim Richardson, Clearance Sherlock, Thomas Hutchinson Ex- POW, Joel Connel, Monty LeTexriau, Jerry Dupler, Ron Smartnick, Gene Husinge, John Johnston, Bud Smith, Chuck Wynn, Rodger Johnson Tracy Hadfield, Wolfgang Gabse, Trapper Hogberg, Tony Zufelt,

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