Proud to be a Vietnam Vet

CIB and Helmet

Proud to be n American Vet

The badge in the center above is the Combat Infantryman's Badge,  better known as a CIB.  When you see a man wearing this badge you are looking at a man who has proven himself in combat and has seen more than anyone wants to see in his lifetime.  Take this man's hand and shake it while you thank him from the bottom of your heart for the sacrifices he has made for you and this country.  

Freedom didn't just happen.  The President and all the the politicians did not win and do not insure the freedom's we enjoy in this country.  It is the man who who has earned this badge and all the members of the military of the United States that insure our freedom.

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Many thanks and honors to our brothers who served on the ground, in the jungles, and in the swamps.

We hope we were always there when you needed us.

We proudly salute all the grunts from all services who gave so very much to their country

Messages to the 187th AHC from the "Grunts" we proudly worked for:

6/13/2000
From: John Gilbertson  - 4th Battalion. 9th Infantry Division

I was with the 4/9th in 69 & 70.  We frequently flew on your birds going in and out of base camps for bush patrols. I remember how sweet it was to get up and feel the cool air after a PZ. Thanks for the rides and smokes when we were  out of cigarettes, and especially the M-60 fire on a hot PZ.

 

6/11/2000
From: Ken Blakely - D Company 2/12, 25th Infantry Division
Dear Rat 38 and Heroes of the air

I was a medic D Co. 2/12th. 25th Div. Dec 67 to Dec 68. You guys flew support for us and took us places via slicks that would have been better unvisited. You always came back for us and I thank you for that especially when there were others near who did not welcome you as we did.. Your men would fly me and a casualty in to a hospital and then fly me back in the hot LZ we left. I am grateful. We grunts are in your debt.

I have always wished to meet someone who flew support, and had that wish come true when a few years ago I met Bob "Frenchy" Gibeault.   I was deeply moved and honored. He had been wounded in a village south of Cu Chi while or near the time we were fighting a week battle east of Cu Chi in Tan Hoa. Frenchy was a gunner on your ships and had many insights on battles we were in. This past weekend I had the most memorable event happen. Frenchy came to visit this old medic once again but the highlight was when Jack Lindeman, a pilot in the 187th, who had flown support at Loc Ninh a nasty battle for us, came to my home to meet with Frenchy. The stories, the history from another perspective, the heroics of these men have moved me more than I can express. You  men and brothers were not given adequate recognition or the highest medals you deserved in this old medics opinion. To have both a pilot and gunner in my humble home in No. Calif. was an honor I will never forget. I have heard and read many of your stories and feel I know many of you I have never met. I would like to meet and thank each of you . I pray you are all well and have recovered to some extent from your sacrifice. I feel a kinship to the men in the air in the respect that when the S--- hit the fan we had to remain exposed. A very uncomfortable feeling I might add. God Bless you all, HEROES beyond description.

Just an old Doc
Ken Blakely

 

Date 06/11/2000
From: Jim Mason  -  A Team 324 of the 5th Special Forces
I was with A Team 324 of the 5th Special Forces on top of Nui Ba Den for a total of five months during my year in Vietnam.  As any pilot who landed up there will tell you, it was no easy task. The winds were treacherous, and there were helicopter parts all over the sides of the mountain as proof of the difficulty.

During my stay on top of the mountain one particularly dreary time was during the monsoon season.  A cloud formed around the top of the mountain during the daytime, which I guess was caused by the warm solid granite mountain coming into contact with the cool moist air.  The fog was so thick that no choppers could get in to re-supply us with food.

Several times I had lied to the people on the ground below, telling them that it was clear up on top - just looks foggy from down below. The few choppers I was able to coax into trying had come up and flown around in circles for a while in the fog and left. I was standing on top of the mountain in the fog and it sounded like the chopper was everywhere.

We had a few tons of rice and whatever we could catch, and had mongoose and rice, baboon and rice, and puppy soup.  When the fog finally cleared a Huey from the 187th came in with an unexpected passenger about 4:30 one afternoon.  When we asked the pilot to make a run to our B Team in Tay Ninh for food, he told us it was too late, that he wanted to be back at his base by 5.  We offered to give him a carbine, and when he said he had one, we offered him an AK-47.  He agreed and we gave him the radio frequency and call sign and away he went.

I called the B Team down in Tay Ninh and told them he was coming, and 20 minutes later we saw him approaching.   I called him on the radio and asked if he wanted smoke and he said "I don't need your help - just get out of the way."  When someone told me that I had a nice large boulder to hide behind and that's where I went.  When the chopper got closer I could see they had stuffed the Huey to the gills with cases and cases of beer and cokes and canned goods.  One Vietnamese woman was squatting on top of all the cases of canned goods, and she held a string leash and had the string tied around 4 live chickens.

As the chopper approached the wind was in the pilots face and was gusting to about 50 mph.  The pilot was fighting the wind to bring it straight in when suddenly the wind died completely. Then a few seconds later the wind blew even stronger from the side. The result was that the pilot flew into the mountain and before he could adjust for the side wind, the chopper was thrown over on its side.  The blades contacted the ground and it ripped up the blades, then tore the transmission out of the top of the chopper, which flew about 500 feet up into the air. 

When the body of the chopper landed on the ground it landed on the down slope on the side of the LZ, and began rolling down the slope.  We had three strands of barbed wire around the outer perimeter of the camp, and it was about 20 yards in between each strand.  When the chopper began rolling down the slope I ran over to the edge of the pad with our Captain, and when the chopper rolled over the first strand the Captain said "That's ONE." About the same time the woman jumped out of the chopper with her
chickens flapping their wings and clucking, and the cases of cans were coming out and busting up and cans were flying everywhere along the slope.  Many of the Vietnamese CDG (national guard - of which there were about 125 up on the mountain with their families) went running down the slope picking up cans and stuffing them into their fatigues. They looked like Harpo Marx characters in a bizarre shoplifting scene, and were jabbering away in Vietnamese and scrambling to stuff all they could into their pants.  About this time the chopper reached the second strand and rolled over it and the Captain said "That's TWO." It was then I realized they were rolling toward the last strand and after that it was a 3,000 foot drop down the side of the mountain. I said out loud "Come on STOP, STOP, STOP ROLLING!"

One of the door gunners who was getting thrown around was screaming when the
chopper rolled up on the third strand and then finally came to a stop.  The door gunner who was screaming had his leg outside the chopper and the tail was on his leg.  One of the Vietnamese lifted it up and he stopped screaming.  The crew was a bit shaken up, but there were no injuries.  The pilot pulled the radios out of the chopper and when he came walking up the hill the Captain handed him the AK-47 and said "Thanks." The pilot (1st Lt.) just looked at him and then went walking away muttering to himself.  A few minutes later he came back and asked to use my radio.

One thing the flight crews dreaded more than landing on NBD was the thought of having to spend the night up there! 30 minutes later another Huey flew in and picked up the crew, and also picked up the wrecked Huey under it and flew away toward Tay Ninh.  As far as we could see there were parts falling off the wrecked Huey. 

In the event the pilot or any of the crew is reading this - thank you again guys! You really have no idea how important the re-supply was to us - saluting you!

 

Shannon Tilton
(Son of a Manchu) - 2/27/2000
Mr. Pat Dougan,

On behalf of my father SSG James Tilton, Co A, 4/9th, 1st platoon, I would like to extend our thanks to you and your unit, for the support you gave to the Manchus in Vietnam.  My father arrived in Vietnam in Sept of 68 and left in Sept of 69, and has on several occasions praised the AHC for their support of the ground units.  I have several pictures that he took in vietnam, some of which are of the Cobra gunships in the Manchu AO.  Again thank you and welcome home.

 

Date: 12/11/99
From: Chuck Boyle

Note:  Chuck was the Commander of Charlie Company 3/22 Inf. at Dau Tieng, in 67-68 and is the author of "Absolution" http://www.geocities.com/apcho_2000/

I'm Chuck Boyle.  I'm a good friend of Frenchy Gibeault and he sent me the reunion pictures. I've checked every one of them and you guys really had a great reunion. I just wanted to say how much we "grunts" appreciate you guys and everything you did for us in Vietnam. I was in the 3rd Bn, 22nd Inf at Dau Tieng, in 67-68. I'll never forget you guys! Thanks!

Chuck

 

Date: 23 Oct 99
From:
Rich Parris richp@foothill.net
Ref: "Thanks from a Manchu"

I visited your website for the first time today, and after reading the stories, looking at the pictures and remembering the horrors, I just need to add my thanks to the list from grateful grunts you supported. I am a Manchu (Delta, HHC and Charlie companies, 4th Bn, 9th Infantry) from July, 1967 to July, 1968.

I still have my Rat Pack insignia and treasure it as I do the CIB. Blackhawks, Crusaders and Rat Pack soldiers are as much brothers of mine as the grunts with whom I served. You NEVER failed to be there for us. You risked it all without hesitation every day and if you weren't putting us in or pulling us out of a paddy somewhere, you were kicking Charlie's butt to keep him off of us or ignoring potential disaster by turning a gunship into a dustoff (I had that pleasure once).

Few of you guys ever had the experience of knowing just what a beautiful sound the whup-whup-whup of approaching Huey rotor blades made when we were out of ammo, bleeding or just ready to leave the area. Let me assure you there was no more beautiful music on the face of this earth. Most of the time, that music was made for us by members of the 187th AHC. God bless all of you. None of us will ever forget the sacrifices you made for the guys on the ground.

Rich Parris

 

Date: 14 May 00
From: Andrew Alday <alday@ulua.mhpcc.af.mil>
Subject: Subject: A Grunt's farewell to a Crusader

Hi Mike,
Read with a great sense of loss about the passing of a valiant "Crusader" today. I did not know or remember Ron Timberlake, but having had the honor to have flown with many of the "Crusaders" during my tour-of-duty in Vietnam in 1968 & '69, any and every "Crusader" and member of the "Rat Pack" will always have a place of remembrance and gratitude in this "Grunts" heart. May you all , family and friends of Ron, know that he will always be held in high esteem and honor by not only me, but also the members of the 22nd Infantry Regiment who also had the honor to have been associated with him as a Brother-in-Arms. Farewell "Crusader" from a "Regular".

In Brotherhood,
Andrew Alday,
"Alpha" co., 3rd Bn./22nd Infantry Reg.,
25th Infantry Division, Vietnam, '68 & '69.
" DEEDS NOT WORDS "

 

M C Toyer  Bravo322@gte.net
22nd Infantry Regiment Society
http://www.22ndinfantry.org
I served in Bravo Company 3rd Battalion 22nd Infantry in 1970, and logged many a klick in your birds.  When on the ground, and in trouble, we always looked skyward for help, not for the sight of God, but toward the sound of whirling blades, which we instinctively knew was our immediate salvation, whether it be re-supply, extraction, or just a better overall view of the situation.  We salute you all !

 

From: Lawrence Nuckolls
Date: Sunday, January 17, 1999
Subject: Thanks
My name is Larry Nuckolls. I served with C Co. 3/22 and B Co. 2/22 from
Nov 69 to Nov 70. and just found your site. Just wanted to say a big
THANK YOU, for always being there in 'Nam and Cambodia. You guys were
truly heroes to the folks on the ground !

Larry; - LarryN1121@aol.com

 

From: BL8@aol.com
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 1997 03:08:58 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Thanx from a grunt

I was an FO with the 25th, 1st Bd. You guys put me in and took me out, dusted me off and provided fire support. Thanx for savin' my and my brother's asses.

Callsign Blueboy

 

Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 14:24:47 +0000
From: Andrew Alday <alday@ulua.mhpcc.af.mil>
"A" co., 3rd/22nd Inf. Reg., 25th Infantry Division III Corps, 
Vietnam, '68 & '69
Subject: A Grateful Grunt!
Hey 187th "Crusaders",
I was looking at your 187th website and realized how really grateful this 'ol "grunt" was for all the truly fine support we always received from the "lift" platoons and "gun" platoon, the "Rack Pack", of the 187th Assault Helicopter Company! God bless you all! From a "Grunt" who remembers...............

In Comradeship,
Andrew Alday

 

ANDREW ALDAY
"A" CO., 3RD/22ND INF. REG.,
25TH INFANTRY DIVISION '68 & '69
Call Sign: "POINTMAN'
E-mail address: alday@ulua.mhpcc.af.mil
ALTHOUGH I WAS NOT A MEMBER OF AN AVIATION UNIT, I FLEW ENOUGH TO HAVE EARNED AN AIR MEDAL. THE 187TH A.H.C. "CRUSADERS" AND "RAT PACK" WILL ALWAYS HAVE A SPECIAL PLACE IN THIS "GRUNTS" HEART! THANK YOU ALL FOR THE MANY MANY TIMES THAT YOU CAME TO SAVE OUR ASSES AND TO ALSO BRING US JOY WITH MAIL AND HOT "CHOW"! GOD BLESS YOU ALL FROM A "GRUNT" WHO WILL NEVER EVER FORGET!

 

Rich Owen
Co B 2/27th Wolfhounds
1968
I am very grateful to be able to send you my sincere appreciation for being there for us grunts. I wanted to do this for a long time, and thanks to the WEB I can do it now

 

Herb Artola      ghartola@erols.com
      "Deeds Not Words"
22nd Infantry Regiment Society
http://www.22ndinfantry.org
Great web site, great unit! Thanks for all the support you gave the 25th Infantry Division. I had the privilege of seeing both sides, ground and air, in Nam, CONUS, and Korea. In Nam, I had the honor to serve as a rifle, support, and recon platoon leader in the 3d Battalion, 22nd Infantry, 25th Division in 70-71 (Dau Tieng and Xuan Luc). After flight school, I flew slicks with the 60th Aviation Co (Assault Helicopter), 17th Aviation Group, II Corps in 72-73 (Cam Ranh to Qui Nhon).  After the ceasefire, I left on one of the last "freedom birds" out of country.  Most of the passengers were aviators -- pilots, crewmembers, maintenance.

Appreciate your link to our Regimental site. The 22nd Infantry Regiment Society is seeking all former "Regulars," offering camaraderie, fellowship, a quarterly newsletter, biannual reunions, and a Web Page at http://www.22ndinfantry.org.

God Bless.  

 

Larry Mitchell,
Co B 4/9th Inf.
This is an incredible site by an incredible group. I read about 2 incidents on your unit operations page that I remember pretty well. The Rat Pack support on 12/22/67 at Bo Tuc and the Blackhawks at an LZ on 1/5/68 were both with the 4/9th Inf. of the 25th Division. I think we were always getting you guys into some kind of trouble. At Bo Tuc we hastily dug in along a road that night after a convoy had been stopped by a mine. The gun ships made a big difference with the Bn basically split apart.

On Jan 5, the helicopters were hit by 51 caliber machine guns while bringing in the second lift of Manchu Bravo to an LZ that we came to call "The Hourglass" because of its shape. The crew chief of one ship was killed and trapped inside the burning wreckage. The crew was pretty happy to see the Manchus get to them first. If they felt indebted, they did not have long to wait to return the favor.  The pickup was delayed that afternoon because Manchu Delta was having problems of their own and needed helicopters. Eventually two lifts of Bravo got out successfully and were dropped off at at FSB Burt where the Manchus had relieved the 2/22 Inf. after their famous battle of Jan 1.  The 1st platoon with a few members of the 2nd platoon came under severe attack at the LZ before they could be lifted out. There were numerous air strikes and artillery missions required to get the situation under control. It was almost dark when the Blackhawks were able to get back in and extract these guys - 9 standing, 7 KIA and 16 WIA.  We heard that Blackhawk crews volunteered for the mission.  Needless to say, it was profoundly appreciated by Manchu Bravo.  I would be interested in hearing from crew members or others who remember this event. In any case, you guys were the best.

 

Merrill K. Sellers
"D" Co.,1/27 Wolfhounds,
May 68 - May 69.
I served with "D" Co.,1/27 Wolfhounds, May 68 - May 69.  We Flew with the Crusaders, the Bears, the Hornets, and maybe others I can't recall.  Many a time a tear would appear in my eyes at the end of a long, crappy day, when I was anxious to be extracted from a particular area.  To be waiting there in our groups of 6 or so, hoping to hear the "wop" of those main rotor blades, knowing your birds were on "final" was quite the answer to my prayers.  We never new if we'd be going back for some hot chow and bunker line guard duty (every 3rd hour awake) or staying out there because the pickup was "hot" at the time you guys "flaired" your blades.  We worked the Ho Bo Woods, Boi Loi Woods, Iron Triangle, Michelin area (Dau Tieng) (never did get to jump in that nice pool they had there). And of course, the Nui Mtns (Tay Ninh).   We even had some time into Cambodia.  

Thanks again for being there for this grunt.
Always proud, always will Be!

 

Frank McGann
Bravo Company 3rd of the 22nd Infantry
I just came across your web page.  In particular, I appreciated the story about FSB Burt.

I was on the ground there that night and I was not aware that any helicopters got in that night.  I often wondered where all the ammo, (especially the beehive rounds) came from.  Now I know --- thanks for the story and THANKS for the deliveries.  If it hadn't been for the beehive rounds, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be typing this right now.

By the way, that battle (Soui Cut) was "memorialized" in the last battle scene in the movie "Platoon".  Oliver Stone was also there that night as a grunt with Bravo Company 3rd of the 22nd Infantry.  He was hit and eventually medevac'd.   I think he caught the morning stage though.

Alan McKean
River Division 594/Advanced Tactical Support Base Ben Keo, 1969

Good afternoon….. A day or two ago I was searching for a site from another Assault company and came across the 187th’s. I was in the U.S. Navy with River Division 594 at the Advanced Tactical Support Base, Ben Keo, about 15 miles south of the Tay Ninh Base camp. Anyway, I noticed that Amy Comer had posted a poem and story about her uncle, Harold Comer. I was on watch in the base tower when his Huey went into the Vam Co Dong river with all aboard on that day. I sent her an email at the Virtual Wall site, then another to an email address that is now defunct. The Wall posting was dated 2002, so I don’t know if she ever checks it or not. Regardless, if you or someone in the 187th organization is still in touch with her, please let her know that I posted that email to her, and if she has any questions that she can feel free to contract me if she wishes. It might help answer some questions that she’s had over the years. BTW – I can speak for all of us at Ben Keo when I say thank you to the 187th for sending out a Huey during the many times that we were hit. Because we were so isolated, we received virtually everything from the Army, and our gray Navy pickup truck was well-known on the base – particularly in supply, the mess, and the ammo dump. I can’t remember your call sign, but we always knew that it was the 187th that came in. Great web site…keep up the good work, especially for an outfit that was truly great and always went above and beyond.

Really hope to hear from more of you guys

Mike Ribbon Strip
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