2013 Old Front Page News

FLATIRON Air Ambulance/Crash-Rescue Reunion

Attention ALL former or current: pilots, firefighters, medics, crash guards and maintenance personnel. The 2nd Bi-Annual FLATIRON reunion will be held 25-27 April 2014 at Ft. Rucker, AL.

Warren R. Blake
P.O. Box 67
North Conway, NH 03869

Gene A. Bess
447 Marshall Drive
Saint Robert, MO 65584

AAAA Scholarship Application Deadline

Please remember that membership in the DUSTOFF Association is required as well as membership in Army Aviation Association. For additional information, please visit our DUSTOFF Scholarship Award page.

Ben Knisely Visits C/2-3GSAB

Ben Knisely was invited back to his former unit by its current commander, MAJ Jason Jones, to share a piece of history. As a lieutenant in Viet Nam, Ben Knisely flew with the 498th Air Ambulance Company that was later reflagged C/2-3 General Support Aviation Battalion.

Knisely’s air ambulance was shot down by an RPG while performing a hoist mission in the A Shau valley. After being dragged to safety by his co-pilot, the two evaded capture for three days, without food or water, as the enemy was nearby on the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

Knisely told his combat story apologizing ahead of time for getting emotional. He said it was the first time telling the story to a group, since most of the time he only explained it to family members. His composure was impressive during the recollection of events, even telling the occasional joke for levity.

“We had decided between the two of us that if we heard anybody in a rescue mode that we would wait until we look them in the eye to make sure they were Americans. That was our plan,” said Knisely, when discussing the rescue plan with his co-pilot. Knisely later jokes about himself and his co-pilot jumping up and waving their arms at the sound of an approaching voice saying, “hey DUSTOFF.” He said that contrary to what they agreed was the plan, both of them just yelled for help, joked Knisely.

Fall/Winter 2013 DUSTOFFer

The latest edition of the acclaimed DUSTOFFer Newsletter is available for you to download and read at your leisure on your mobile device or send to your printer so you may read it while sitting on the "throne."

As always, Suzie Gower and Jim Truscott have turned out a great issue with informative articles and terrific human interest stories from past conflicts and about present crewmembers saving lives around the world. Come to the next reunion and give them the proverbial pat on the back for all their hard work.





DUSTOFF Association To Receive
Legacy of Service Award

Washington, D.C. – The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) will host its fourth annual signature fundraiser, the Build the Center Benefit, on November 21, 2013 at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. This gala event was created to raise awareness and funds for the building of the Education Center at The Wall while also honoring individuals who have been visible, vocal and generous in their effort to bring greater awareness of the values of loyalty, duty and service.

This year VVMF is proud to salute individuals and groups who cared for the wounded, not only highlighting the bravery of those who served America overseas, but focusing on the role that medical teams from all branches played in providing in-country life-saving care to our fighting forces and allies.

The DUSTOFF Association will be honored with the Legacy of Service award. VVMF will honor the 214 DUSTOFF Warriors who gave their lives in the course of the Vietnam War so that others might live, the five DUSTOFF Warriors still missing in action, and the thousands of members of the DUSTOFF Association. Accepting the award on behalf of the DUSTOFF Association and all DUSTOFF Warriors will be COL Doug Moore, (Ret.) Vietnam DUSTOFF Aviator, DUSTOFF Hall of Fame and Army Aviation Hall of Fame member.

“There are those who walk among us today who would not be here were it not for the dedicated and unhesitating service provided to our fighting forces,” said Dan Gower, Executive Director of the DUSTOFF Association. “An American service member’s survival in Vietnam depended on the response of the DUSTOFF pilot and the medic or hospital corpsman that came to their rescue,” said VVMF Founder and President Jan C. Scruggs. “The valiant medical staff in Vietnam saved countless lives, giving tens of thousands of soldiers the opportunity to return home to their families, friends and loved ones. VVMF is proud to recognize these unsung heroes.” “The infantryman on the ground today, as well as during the Vietnam War, knows that in his time of crisis DUSTOFF will come - and they will come in spite of the risks,” Gower said. [Learn more.]

H-19 Restoration Project Update

The H-19 John McWilliams restored in his backyard in Keller, TX was officially dedicated 15 Oct 13 at the AMEDD Museum at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. The plaque accompanying the helicopter dedicates the aircraft in honor of COL Bob McWilliam and reads: This representation of an early Sikorsky H-19C helicopter was restored and donated to the AMEDD Museum by John D. and Michael R. McWilliam in honor of their father, COL Robert D. McWilliam.

H-19 Display

McWilliam Family

Plaque Unveiling

Matching Tradition, DUSTOFF Lifts
Patient Care To A Higher Level

The medevac platoon at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, is comprised of soldiers from the Michigan and New Hampshire National Guard, and continues the Dustoff tradition of providing timely aid to injured service members on or off the battlefield.

Meeting the demands of the medevac profession requires constant training. Because of this, U.S. Army soldiers from the Medevac Platoon “Dustoff,” Company C, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Dragon, conducted hoist exercises on a mountaintop near FOB Fenty, 16 Sep 13. [Read More]

DUSTOFF Helps At Colorado Flood

Air crews from C/2-4 Avn Regt, Ft. Carson, CO commanded by Seth O. Swartz are assisting with rescue and recovery operations due to massive flooding near Boulder, CO, in support of the Colorado National Guard. To date, 43 persons were hoisted in the recovery effort. [See more]


H-19 Restoration Project

Bob McWilliam's son, John has restored an H-19 in his backyard in Keller, TX. He located and purchased the Chickasaw in FL. He's been on this project for almost one year assisted by his brother Mike from CO and other comrades interested in this type of undertaking . This aircraft will be placed in the AMEDD Museum at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, with dedication date of 15 Oct 13 at 0930.

The plaque accompanying the helicopter will dedicate the aircraft in honor of COL Bob McWilliam. The plaque will read: This representation of an early Sikorsky H-19C helicopter was restored and donated to the AMEDD Museum by John D. and Michael R. McWilliam in honor of their father, COL Robert D. McWilliam.

Col McWilliam was born in northern CA. After graduating from the University of California in 1954, he entered the US Army. He began his Army Aviation career as a "Solo-Pilot" in 1955 at Landstuhl, Germany, flying the Bell H-13. He transitioned to the Sikorsky H-19, which he continued to fly at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. He then transitioned to the Bell UH-1, which he flew during two tours in Vietnam. The first, in 1962-1963 with the original "DUSTOFF" unit, the 57th Med. Det. in Nha Trang. The second, as the Commander of the 54th Med. Det in Chu Lai, 1967-1968. COL McWilliam served in the US Army for 30 years, during which time he earned a Masters Degree in Hospital Administration from Baylor University. COL McWilliam is remembered as one of the greatest DUSTOFF pilots and unit Commanders in US Army history.

Army Awards Medevac Training System Contract

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., a National Security Solutions provider, was awarded a new multi-million dollar contract to develop UH-60 Black Hawk medevac air crew training systems for the US Army. The company will provide multiple simulated full-fidelity Medical Support Equipment Suite (MSES) trainers to teach flight medic students how to operate all the necessary onboard systems.

The MSES is a full-fidelity training system proving flight medics with the training required to treat, stabilize and provide in-flight medical care to critically injured patients while transported onboard the air ambulance. The simulated systems replicate the confined environment of the air ambulance and include a fully functional medical interior kit.

In addition, the training system will support scenario-based team mission training. Teams will be able to use an authentic training environment for communication, patient loading and unloading, and patient care, while addressing obstruction issues under day, night and NVG conditions, just as they might encounter under actual combat situations.

10th Mountain Medevacs Fly to Rescue Injured Comrades

The interior of a Dustoff helicopter, stripped of its usual medical support supplies to make the aircraft lighter in the hot, thin Afghan air. (Paul Shinkman for USN&WR)Computer screens in their control center spit out the "nine-line," a simple document that informs any medevac crew of everything they need to know for the rescue mission, including the likelihood of an attack on the ground.

Every Dustoff mission includes two helicopters. One marked with a Red Cross, which Geneva Convention regulations dictate cannot carry heavy weapons on board. It is usually accompanied by a sister helicopter that traded these markings for twin M-240 Hotel machine guns.

Within an hour of the initial alert, a medevac unit similar to Dustoff brought the fighter to Jalalabad for initial surgery. Less than an hour after receiving this care, he was delivered to Kabul where he would likely survive his injuries to fight again. [Read More]

Patrick Brady To Be Honored At 51st Annual National Aviation Hall of Fame Ceremony

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) will soon add another illustrious name to its roster of 215 air and space pioneers previously honored by the Congressionally chartered organization. The first Army Aviator to be enshrined into the Hall will be retired MG Patrick H. Brady. He will be inducted on 4 Oct 13.

Considered by many to be the top helicopter pilot of the Vietnam War, Brady is legendary among Army aviation and aerial medevac communities. His 34-year Army career includes flying over 2,500 combat missions as a Dustoff helicopter pilot, saving over 5,000 wounded, and earning the Medal of Honor among his other awards for valor. He also developed foul weather and tactical techniques for air ambulance rescue, none of which had ever been executed in combat before. Serving to present Brady his enshrinement at the ceremony will be his daughter, former Army CPT Meghan Brady Smith.

The enshrinement dinner and ceremony will be Friday, 4 Oct 13 at the National Aviation Hall of Fame Learning Center and the adjacent National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. Often referred to as “America’s Oscar Night of Aviation,” the black-tie dinner and ceremony is open to the public and reservations are available by advance purchase from the NAHF. Patron seats are $150 each and Premium seats are $300 each. Sponsored tables are also available.

OH-23 Medevac Helicopter Dedication
at Fort Campbell

The Fort Campbell Warrior Transition Battalion (WTB) is now the proud home of a Korean War era OH-23 Raven medical evacuation helicopter. WTB leadership, along with the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital commander and 101st Airborne Division leaders, dedicated the aircraft display at a ceremony in its new home at the WTB Complex.

During the ceremony, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Ft. Campbell Senior Mission Commander Brig. Gen. Stammer recognized all of the men and women within the WTB, honoring them for their dedication to healing, overcoming personal obstacles and transitioning either back to their units or into the civilian world as honored veterans.

In front of the gathered crowd of WTB Soldiers and staff, veterans who served in the Korean War, and other guests, Stammer spoke of the symbolic nature of the Raven’s mission of helping Soldiers transition, just as the WTB helps Soldiers transition today.

“The Raven heralded in a new age of Army Medicine, this aircraft was the first of its kind to evacuate wounded soldiers and civilians by air, quickly and efficiently, from the battlefield,” said Stammer.

The DUSTOFF Association was represented by our President, COL (R) Johnny West and COL(R) Bill Colbert, a member of the Solo Pilot Society who had 150 missions evacuating patients using the OH-23 during his tour in Korea. CPT Rodney Potter, WTB Logistics officer who spearheaded the restoration, explained that prior to the Army introducing the Raven for medical evacuations, it might take hours or days to transport a Soldier over land from the battlefield to get the medical care they needed. By air, Soldiers could be out of harm’s way in just minutes.

“I think this display is a perfect example of how the Army is always working to improve the ways we take care of our Soldiers,” said Potter. “That’s what the WTB is about, making it right for our Soldiers.” The Don F. Pratt Museum at Fort Campbell previously displayed the Raven around 1975, however the aircraft was in disrepair when the restoration began six months ago. The helicopter was restored at minimal cost to the Army thanks to the hard work by structural aircraft mechanics from Company B, 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division on behalf of Fort Campbell WTB Soldiers.

Crew Chief of the Year - Rescue of the Year Awards Presented

Due to funding constraints, the Crew Chief of the Year, SGT Kelton Glorfield, and the Rescue of the Year Award (CW3 Monica Narhi, PIC, CPT Jerrell Whaley, P, SFC Deane Bostick, MO, and SSG Jesse Allen, CE) were awarded at Fort Bragg on 13 Jun 13. In attendance was MAJ (R) Graham Bundy, former commander of C-3-82 and the recommending officer. Also presenting awards that day were Scott Schisser from Sikorsky Aircraft who sponsors the Rescue of the Year Award and Christine Hawk from Breeze Eastern who sponsors the Crew Chief of the Year Award.

As cited on the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade Facebook Page, The DUSTOFF Association honored troopers of DUSTOFF 72, C Company, 3rd Battalion, 82nd Aviation Regiment, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Jul 13. CW3 Monica Narhi, CPT Jerrell Whaley, CPT Bryan Kozak, SFC Dean Bostik and SSG Jesse Allen were named Rescue Crew of the Year. SGT Kelton Glorfield was named Crew Chief of the Year. These troopers showed exceptional valor during their tour to Afghanistan in 2012. Dustoff’s former commander, MAJ Graham Bundy, retired, was in attendance to speak to the formation. “I was so proud of the time I spent with these troopers and I am very proud of them,” Bundy said.

Flatiron Welcomes New Detachment Sergeant

Flatiron welcomes new detachment sergeantSFC Troy Rudolph, incoming detachment sergeant, assumed responsibility from SFC Gregory Givings, outgoing detachment sergeant, as the NCO sword was passed from Givings to MAJ Joseph C. Alexander, Flatiron commander, to Rudolph during a change of responsibility ceremony in the Flatiron conference room.

“This is a very small organization with a huge mission, and today we have the awesome opportunity to say goodbye to Sergeant Givings and welcome Sergeant Rudolph,” said Alexander. “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Sergeant Rudolph, and I’m looking forward to having him come on board as the detachment first sergeant.”

Rudolph began his military career when he enlisted in the Navy in 1993 as a hospital corpsman. He was honorably discharged from the Navy in March 1997, and enlisted in the Army as a 91B Combat Medic in November of the same year.

New T-shirt In DUSTOFF Store

Have you visited the DUSTOFF Store lately? When you have some time, take a walk through the store and see the items we have for sale. We've just added another item - a DUSTOFF Honor T-shirt.

Go ahead...click here to open the door to the DUSTOFF Store. We'd love to have you stop in.



Restored Solo Pilot Aircraft
Honors War Casualties

A dedicated team of structural aircraft mechanics with Company B (the "Bandits"), 563rd Aviation Support Battalion, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, has devoted numerous hours of their personal time to restoring a Hiller OH-23B Raven helicopter at Ft. Campbell, KY, soon to be on display outside the Warrior Transition Battalion here.

"The Raven was used to transport wounded Soldiers from the battlefield to the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MAST) units," said CPT Rodney Potter, the XO for the WTB. "It's symbolic because we, as a WTB also. help Soldiers either get back to the Army or transition out."

The Solo Pilots were a group of courage, committed and innovative elite military aviators who brought rotary wing ambulances into the battlefield environment during the Korean War. 

This aircraft will be dedicated on 13 Jun 13 at Ft. Campbell, KY.

SFC Armando Ocon Named
AAAA NCO of the Year

3-25 AVN Flight Medic named AAAA NCO of the YearSFC Armando Ocon, a flight medic from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, was presented with the 2012 Army Aviation Association of America Rodney J.T. Yano Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Award at the 2013 AAAA Annual Professional Forum in Fort Worth, TX, 11 Apr 13.

During 2012, SFC Ocon served as a senior flight medic, company standardization instructor, and platoon sergeant for “Lightning DUSTOFF” in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

On more than one occasion, SFC Ocon selflessly risked his own safety to save Troops on the battlefield. “SFC Ocon embodies the NCO Creed,” said CPT Margaret Larson, executive officer, C/3-25 AVN. “He is always willing to mentor soldiers and leaders. He does the same tasks he asks of his soldiers.” [Read More]

Montenegro Humanitarian Assistance

Less than six months after returning from a tour in Afghanistan where CPT Hill saw some of the worst of the worst, he was chosen to lead the Aeromedical Evacuation part of the support of Montenegro during some horrible winter weather. The 1-214th Aviation Regiment from Germany deployed with a part of C-1-214th in support. Here is a clip from a video highlighting the humanitarian mission performed. In the words of his former commander Major Patrick Zenk, “Terry Hill is a stud that represents those of us who came before him, and presents a great example of a young DUSTOFFer who is continuing the legacy."
[Watch video interview]

AdoptaPlatoon Highlights DUSTOFF Unit

AdoptaPlatoon is an organization that sponsors campaigns for sending needed items to our troops. One current campaign is "To Afghanistan With Love." U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan have a difficult task and need to know they are supported. By participating in one of their campaigns, support is sent to chaplains and/or civilians supporting our troops in the area and items are distributed to the troops. [See More Pictures]



FlightSafety Looking For UH-60 Pilots

FlightSafety International is hiring UH-60 pilots, here and overseas, with attractive salaries. Check Instructor Job and Simulator Location documents for additional information.

All employment opportunities with FlightSafety International are subject to specific job skill requirements, qualifications and preferred experience. The employment opportunities provided on their Web site are for informational purposes only and subject to change in availability and content at any time without prior notice.

Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit

A Reading of the names of the 3,417 Texans who died in Vietnam was conducted by more than 110 volunteers, including 30 names of fallen fellow Texans read by DUSTOFFer Wayne Aurich was done at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. On the same day, the Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit of 3,417 hand-stamped dog tags honoring each Texan was opened in the Great Hall of the LBJ Library.

A U.S. Army "DUSTOFF" crewmember aboard medical evacuation helicopters, Aurich is beyond certain that among the tags are names of those whose bodies he helped lift from the battlefield. "Their lives are a part of me. They are in my memory. They won't go away," said Aurich.


C/6-101 Newsletter

Read the whole newsletter (Adobe Reader format (2Mb) with articles about their return from combat.

You may also keep up with C Company, 6-101 AVN REGT - "Shadow Dustoff" on Facebook



AMEDD School Shows "DUSTOFF Legacy"

The documentary “When I have your wounded – the DUSTOFF Legacy” was shown 11 Mar 13 at the AMEDD Center and School’s Blesse Auditorium. We were honored to have Judge David McNabb, father of SSG Shawn McNabb, in attendance. Shawn was killed in action with the 160th SOAR. Shawn flew with the 57th Medical Company in combat in Iraq. Parts of Shawn’s interview with Arrowhead Films were featured in the documentary. It’s always a humbling experience to honor one of our fallen and to be with Gold Star Parents.

From L to R – 1SGT Thompson, Judge David McNabb, Karen Hill, COL(R) Johnny West and COL(R) Bob Driscoll

AAAA DUSTOFF Medic of the Year

SFC Jose Pantoja, a flight medic from Company C, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, was presented with the 2012 Army Aviation Association of America DUSTOFF Medic of the Year Award at the Fort Rucker Senior Leader’s Conference at Fort Rucker, Ala., Jan. 29. He received the award for his actions during deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 12-13.

During his time in Afghanistan, Pantoja rotated to the most kinetic, geographically dispersed MEDEVAC sites throughout Regional Command South. While at the remote locations, Pantoja’s tactical and technical expertise were employed rigorously to execute the most dynamic and challenging mission sets.

One instance that tested Pantoja was a mass casualty mission on June 7, 2012. The initial call was for three U.S. soldiers wounded by an improvised explosive device blast. Upon arriving, Pantoja exited the aircraft and began moving the patients to the aircraft. While moving patients, he observed a second IED blast that knocked him off his feet into the aircraft.

The IED disabled the litter team heading to the aircraft. Pantoja called for immediate departure to avoid damage to the aircraft and crew and allow for the ground forces to secure the landing zone. Without the aerial security of a scout weapons team, the crew landed again to load the nine casualties at the landing zone and proceeded to the Combat Support Hospital in Kandahar.

Old DUSTOFFer Reunites With Younger DUSTOFFer

COL Scooter Drennon, currently commanding a Combat Support Hospital, linked up with MAJ Chris Chung, Commander of C-6-101 while they were in Bagram recently. Chris worked for Scooter when Scooter was a DUSTOFF Commander. As Scooter said, "I was his first MEDEVAC Commander and he still turned out great in spite of that!!"




C/6-101 Newsletter

Read the whole newsletter (Adobe Reader format (2Mb) with a nice mention of CW3 Adam Stratton being selected by the DUSTOFF Association as the DUSTOFF Association's Aviator Of the Year.

You may also keep up with C Company, 6-101 AVN REGT - "Shadow Dustoff" on Facebook