2018 Old Front Page News

J. Craig Honaman Induction into
Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame

You are cordially invited to attend the Unveiling Ceremony of the 17 framed photos and citations of the GMVHOF Class of 2017, which include DUSTOFFer J. Craig Honaman.

The ceremony will begin at 1100, Monday, 26 February 2018 on the Plaza Level (Main Floor), West Tower of the Floyd Veterans Memorial Building (2 Martin Luther King Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30034), across the street from the Georgia State Capital Building.

The addition of the 2017 class will bring the total to 83 of the great Americans who have been inducted into the GMVHOF since its inception in 2013.

Please feel free to invite your family members and friends to this memorable event. This ceremony is open to the public.

Task Force Marauder training with Romanian Armed Forces

Task Force Marauder trained Soldiers with the Romanian Armed Forces on hot and cold-load procedures for a UH-60 Black Hawk, November 2017, in order to know how to safely load a patient in the event of a real-world emergency in Afghanistan where TF Marauder medevac responds.

Soldiers with Detachment 1, C Company, Medical Evacuation, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion with the Iowa National Guard, currently deployed to Afghanistan, trained more than 150 Soldiers with the Romanian Land Forces over the course of a week on the proper procedures for calling for a medevac and loading a casualty.

U.S. Army CPT Erin Doyle, Det. 1, C Co., 2-211th GSAB commander, explained the training came as a result of a recent mass casualty attack where members of the previous task force’s medevac unit responded and provided medical care and transportation for the Romanian Soldiers. The event showed the importance of the ground troops understanding the procedures for calling the medevac and how to approach the aircraft with a casualty.

The training covered what information needs to be reported in order for the medevac to launch, what equipment and medical capabilities are available in the aircraft, preferences for signaling the aircraft for landing for both day and night, how to prepare and secure a patient before the helicopter arrives, and how to approach the aircraft and interact with the medic to give a patient report.

AUSA 2017 Black Hawk Breakfast

AUSA Black Hawk Breakfast

Sikorsky Aircraft has been a valued supporter of the DUSTOFF Community for years. They are honoring us at a breakfast to be held in conjunction with an AUSA event. If you are in the area and can attend, you are invited to represent the DUSTOFF Family of Warriors.

MG Pat Sargent, Deputy Commanding General, US Army Medical Command is the guest speaker this year. Sikorsky Aircraft will recognize the MEDEVAC/DUSTOFF community for their outstanding support to the US Army and Army Aviation.

PLEASE RSVP in accordance with this flier by Friday 22 September by e-mailing Rita Burke rita.a.burke@lmco.com 


DUSTOFF Association Scholarship Winner

DUSTOFF Association Scholarship.Congratulations to Taylor J. Slagle – Grandchild of DUSTOFFer LTC (R) Jim Wingate – he’ll be attending University of Arizona.

The DUSTOFF Association Scholarship is administered for the DUSTOFF Association by the AAAA (Army Aviation Association of America). The DUSTOFF Association Memorial Scholarship is open to DUSTOFF Association members, spouses, children and grandchildren of DUSTOFF Association members. [Read More]


Alamo DUSTOFF Helps in Houston

Alamo DUSTOFF is assisting residents of the Houston area as part of Texas Taskforce 1.


WO1 John Stephen Chrin Day

On 13 October, a remembrance will be held for WO1 John Stephen Chrin and the crew of DUSTOFF 71, 57th Med Det. DUSTOFF 71 was lost on a night time mission in rain and fog in the Seven Sisters Mountains of Viet Nam, on 13 October 1971. John Chrin was a native of Lebanon, PA and is buried in Lebanon. A remembrance for John and A/C CWO Ronald K. Shultz, CC SGT Michael Darrah, Flight Medic SGT Hugo Gaytan, PFC Rickey Pate, OJT Crew Chief, and all veterans, will be held the morning of the 13, “WO1 John Stephen Chrin Day in the City of Lebanon”.

Anyone who may be in the area of South Central PA (Lebanon is 25 miles East of Harrisburg – 20 miles North of Lancaster – 20 West of Reading) is welcome to attend. E-mail Bill Sypher at sypher1@comcast.net or call 717-865-5982 for directions and specific information.

Longest DUSTOFF Unit Self-deployment

Twenty-seven years ago this month the 45th Medical Company (AA), commanded by MAJ Richard S. Ellenberger, MSC, flew twelve Black Hawk helicopters 3,500 miles from Darmstadt, Germany, to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The trip, which was spread over five days, took the crews south from Germany, through Austria, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt, and into Saudi Arabia-the longest unit self-deployment of the UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter ever attempted. It challenged their resourcefulness in mountain, over-water, and open desert flight. One crew repaired a rotor blade skin separation by drilling holes in the blade with a hand drill and injecting glue using syringes from their medical supply kit.

Once in the Persian Gulf the crews dealt with the ever-present elements of heat, sand, desert navigation, and flying with night-vision goggles. CPT Randall G. Anderson, MSC, a pilot with the 57th Medical Detachment of the XVIII Airborne Corps, said his crew of four found that the Black Hawk helicopter was a multipurpose vehicle in addition to being an ambulance. The constant requirement for mobility necessitated keeping all their personal effects with them at all times, and they used every nook and cranny of the aircraft for storage. They found that the four-litter carousel support device in the cabin afforded the crew an excellent place to sleep. The helicopter's main rotor blade served as a hanger for a shower bucket and, despite the fact that bathers were covered by blowing sand by the time they dried off the shower made them feel (and smell) clean. So equipped, Anderson's crew evacuated four thousand patients during the operation, including over a thousand enemy prisoners of war.

MAJ Ellenberger flew as Flight Lead (navigation) in Chalk #1 with the unit Instructor Pilot, CW3 Rich Seifried, for the formation and also as the Air Mission Commander for “Talon Flight” with SIX Diplomatic Clearances (Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Cypress, and Egypt) based on a contingency plan developed for the Middle East region by LTC Art Hapner.

 A “slick” Blackhawk without ESSS tanks has about a 300 nautical mile flight range (very “short” legs). The takeoff at Pathos, Cypress to Port Said, Egypt required a “tail wind” to make landfall on the Egyptian coast with the required 20-minute reserve fuel (225 lbs. of JP5).


Army personnel lost contact with the UH-60 Black Hawk DUSTOFF helicopter about 2130 Tuesday, 15 Aug 17, half an hour after it left Wheeler airfield. The helicopter was flying with a second Army helicopter on a routine training mission. The search for the downed craft began immediately after the aircrew lost visual and video contact with the other helicopter.

The crew consisted of 1LT Kathryn M. Bailey, 26, of Hope Mills, N.C., CW3 Brian M. Woeber, 41, of Decatur, Ala., CW2 Stephen T. Cantrell, 32, of Wichita Falls, TX, SST Abigail R. Milam, 33, of Jenkins, KY, and SGT Michael L. Nelson, 30, of Antioch, TN. CW3 Woeber flew with C/1-214 DUSTOFF commanded by Pat Zenk in Afghanistan and ILT Bailey was the daughter of COL Tom Bailey a DUSTOFF Aviator.

The massive search for the five soldiers started shortly after the chopper went down and continued through the weekend, extending up to 160 miles from Kaena Point and as far as Niihau.

The Coast Guard and Army made the tough decision 21 Aug 17 to suspend the search for five crewmembers missing since 15 Aug 17, and begin a salvage and recovery operation.

Spring-Summer 2017 DUSTOFFer

The latest issue of our award-winning newsletter has been published. Make sure you visit the newsletter to keep up with what's happening in the aeromedical field, read more about the Memorial Helicopter Fund, and read the credentials of this year's nomination for the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame.

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Memorial Helicopter Fund

In 1973 MG Spurgeon Neel and then LTC Patrick Brady (now MG Retired) dedicated a UH-1 Helicopter as a memorial to the 213 DUSTOFF Crewmembers who died during the Vietnam War while flying to save lives on the battlefield.

In the ensuing years, the helicopter remained in that spot serving as a visible symbol of the ultimate sacrifice of those brave men (no female DUSTOFFers were killed during the Vietnam War).

Despite the paint jobs on the aircraft the airframe deteriorated due to corrosion. In December 2007, the rear strut collapsed due to high winds and corrosion of the cross tube and retention straps. The aircraft was repaired but access to it was limited as a caution avoiding injury to onlookers and visitors to the site. In 2010, the existing helicopter was traded with a newly refurbished UH-1 helicopter through an “intra-Army Museum trade” between the AMEDD Museum and the Army Aviation Museum. That aircraft was in place on July 1, 2010. To date, no further painting, maintenance or protection of the aircraft from the elements of the Texas weather have been accomplished.

 The DUSTOFF Association membership voted at the Annual Membership Meeting at the 2017 Annual Reunion to take on this project and raise the funds necessary to construct a suitable structure on the site as well as installation of a first-class memorial to not only our Vietnam War KIAs but also all other DUSTOFF Crewmembers who were killed in the conduct of life-saving missions, both in peace and during combat operations.

To aid in raising this money, the DUSTOFF Association Executive Council has contracted with Foundation Search and formed a fund-raising committee to search out grants and philanthropic Foundations who donate money for such projects. Membership participation has already begun to bring in money for this major effort.

Contributions may now be made by printing and filling out the donation form and sending with a check or making a contribution with a credit card, debit card or PayPal account.

We need your help! Click HERE to read more about this project and make a donation.

Belated DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year Award Presented

Hank Tuell helps award DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year award.Hank Tuell made the trip from Red Lodge MT to Cheyenne WY to assist the governor and the State AG present the award of the DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year award to those crewmembers able to make our last reunion.

CW2 Bryan Herget and SSG Derrick Perkins were part of an aircrew on a UH-60 Black Hawk during a MEDEVAC mission in Afghanistan in 2015. Thanks to their heroic actions during the mission they save the lives of five Soldiers.

Governor Matt Mead as well as the Wyoming Military Adjutant General helped honor them at F.E. Warren. [View Video of ceremony]

Lowes Veteran Discount Program changes

Lowes Military DiscountLowes Veteran discount program is changing. In the past you would show your VA health photo ID Card or your Retired Military photo ID card to get the 10% discount. They are transitioning to a program called MyLowes. It's easy to apply at: Lowes.com/Military

Enter general information and then your military information that they will verify your honorable service. There is a possibility you might have to provide your DD-214 if you have not used the discount in the past.

Once you are approved you only give them your telephone number and you receive the discount. It is also good for immediate family members (Spouse or children in your household). You can request a MyLowes card if you want one, but you don't need it to receive the discount. I process my application and it was approved in 30 seconds.

Nebraska ANG Crew Receive
Air Medals with V for Bravery

Nebraska ANG DUSTOFF Crew honored for bravery.On 9 Feb near Sangin, Afghanistan, in Helmand province the crew were dispatched to evacuate a wounded Soldier. The LZ still was receiving heavy enemy fire as they arrived and it was already difficult to approach because of a number of nearby obstacles.

After the mission, someone saw that the aircraft had been hit with at least one round of gunfire penetrating the helicopter’s back window and passing within inches of crew members.

At the ceremony, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts presented the four — CW3 William Score, CW2 Hector Lima-Bermudez, SSG Matthew Hawke and SGT Jared Cornell — the Air Medal with Valor.

The crew could have decided “there was too much risk to the helicopter,” Cyrulik said. Instead, he said, the crew “swept in at low altitude and high speed, surrounded by dust and chaos and explosions, and landed in broad daylight in an area that would only fit one aircraft.”

Following days of treatment, the wounded Soldier was reunited with his family.

Hawke said there never was any question what the crew should do: “We were there to do a job. One of our comrades was down, so we had to take care of him.”

Monument Honoring Vietnam Helicopter Crews Approved

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and Congress came together for the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Monument Act, directing the secretary of the Army to place a 2 1/2-foot by 2 1/2-foot monument at the cemetery in Virginia. It will be placed in Section 35 along Memorial Drive, not far from the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association will donate this monument to Arlington National Cemetery.

Helicopter monument

A monument that honors the Vietnam-era helicopter crews is important not only for family members who visit Arlington Cemetery to see their loved ones, but also for those who aren’t directly impacted.

Request for Information

We've been asked to help answer questions about the background of the aircraft in the picture. The aircraft is being purchased by Bill "Moon Mullen (past Pres. of the VHPA), and will be put on static display in Mt. Pocono, PA. The aircraft is a UH-1M, with Medevac markings. UH-1M model Hueys were used as gun ships in Vietnam, most being converted UH-1C model gun ships. So the question being asked is how did an aircraft built to be a gun ship end up with air ambulance markings?

UH-1M Medevac

Any info would be appreciated.
John "Pepe" LaDue
WO1 with B & D Co., 227th AHB, 1st Cav

Announcement of 2017 DUSTOFF Awards

2015 DUSTOFF Association reunion picture.It is with a great deal of pleasure and pride in our legacy that the DUSTOFF Association makes the announcement of the winners of the DUSTOFF Aviator of the Year, DUSTOFF Medic of the Year, DUSTOFF Crew Chief of the Year, and the Rescue of the Year. This year’s selection was one of the more difficult in recent memory with the dedicated and sacrificial service of our DUSTOFF Warriors.

Awards will be presented at the 2017 DUSTOFF Reunion to be held in San Antonio, TX at the Holiday Inn – Riverwalk Hotel on Saturday evening, 1 April 2017. Since the DUSTOFF Association is not funded at sufficient levels to provide travel and per-diem monies, we are hopeful that supporting commands of the awardees will provide TDY funding or at least Permissive TDY approval.

The following awards are officially announced:
The DUSTOFF Aviator of the Year – CPT(P) Daniel Jones – C/2-4
The DUSTOFF Flight Medic of the Year – SSG Carl Piper – C/2-4
The DUSTOFF Crew Chief of the Year – SSG Troy Brown – C/2-1
The DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year – Crews from F Co, 1-214th Avn Reg, UT/WY ARNG CW3 Christopher Flannery, 1LT Jared Heiney, SPC Seth Lockard, SGT Timother Vasbinder, CW4 Scott Upton, CW2 Bryan Herget, SSG Derrick Perkins, SGT Bleu Hawkley

Free Money for Schooling


The DUSTOFF Association Scholarship is administered for the DUSTOFF Association by the AAAA (Army Aviation Association of America). The DUSTOFF Association Memorial Scholarship is open to DUSTOFF Association members, spouses, children and grandchildren of DUSTOFF Association members. For Eligibility Requirements and the Application Procedure, please visit the Scholarship Information page.

If you have any questions, please contact our Executive Director.

Online AAFES Exchange Opening to All Vets

After two years of study and debate, the Department of Defense has made a policy change, effective next November, to allow 16 million honorably discharged veterans to shop online for discounted military exchange products.

AAFES logoPeter K. Levine, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, signed a memorandum Wednesday announcing the benefit expansion, effective Veterans’ Day Nov. 11, and giving Congress the required 30 days’ notice before actions begin to implement the plan.

Months of preparation are needed to make e-shopping portals more robust and to allow the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) time to create software for verifying veterans’ status using Department of Veterans Affairs records. Several million vets already are eligible to shop in exchanges — on base or online — because they are active or reserve component retirees, or 100-percent disabled from service-connected injuries or ailments, or Medal of Honor recipients.

This will reward their service with exchange product savings that, on average, will be near to 20 percent versus commercial department store prices when military exemption from state and local sales tax are considered too.

Shull’s other purpose was to increase exchange revenues to help offset troubling declines due to the drawdown of active duty forces, base closures and the end of military tobacco discounts for the higher priority of healthier populations.

With DMDC verifying shopper identifies electronically, the department will not have to produce special identification cards. DMDC estimates that 13 percent of eligible veterans, primarily those who served before 1981 might not be in their data base when the shopping benefit becomes available. Presumably guidance will be issued for veterans who might have access problems initially.

DUSTOFF Association Honors Soldier
for aid under fire

In October, 2016, SFC Brian Miles contacted the DUSTOFF Association to inquire about honoring a Soldier who had performed life-saving actions under fire during a combat tour in Afghanistan. The DUSTOFF Association responded with a DUSTOFF Association Certificate of Appreciation and Association Coin for CPL Kyle Boucher’s actions.

DUSTOFF Association Honors SoldierCPL Kyle Boucher exemplified himself as an Infantry man during his combat tour in Afghanistan, May 2010-April 2011. On one occasion during an intense firefight the Squad’s only Medic sustained a significant gunshot to the neck. Without hesitation CPL Boucher jumped into action as the Eagle First Responder (EFR). He provided lifesaving measures while preparing a 9-Line MEDEVAC. CPL Boucher packaged the patient and prepared for movement to the LZ.

The LZ was under sustained and accurate gunfire. The squad laid down suppressive fire to keep the enemy at bay so the DUSTOFF aircraft could land. He and his Squad loaded the patient on the aircraft without sustaining any additional casualties.

CPL Boucher demonstrated medical and tactical grit during an intense engagement with a formidable enemy. He treated life-threatening injuries and prepared the patient for a MEDEVAC. These actions are in keeping with the traditions and mission of the DUSTOFF community.

CPL Kyle Boucher, formerly of 1-327th, 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division is now a fire fighter with West Springfield, MA. At the ceremony, Mayor William Reichelt and Fire Chief William Flaherty made the award along with DUSTOFF Association Member SFC Bryan Patrick Miles on 22 December 2016.

What Do Coins Left On Grave Markers Mean?

Coins on grave marker.Have you ever been in a cemetery and saw coins lying on a tombstone? All these coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who have perished, depending on their denomination. Leaving coins on the headstones of those who served in the military, especially those who died in combat, dates as far back as the Roman Empire.

A coin left on a headstone lets the deceased soldier’s family know someone stopped by to pay their respect. Leaving a penny means you visited. A nickel means you and the deceased soldier trained at boot camp together. If you served with the soldier in some capacity, you leave a dime. A quarter is significant because it means you were there when that service member was killed.

Vietnam Dustoff Association Reunion

As promised at our 2016 reunion, we would have our 2017 reunion data posted on our webpage. The 2017 reunion for Vietnam Era Dustoff Crewmembers will be held in Dover DE. All of the information minus a lodging reservation link is provided on our Web site: www.vietnamdustoff.com .

In reunions past, our agenda has included many different tours and informational presentations along with exciting guest speakers. The 2017 reunion is no different with the exception being that WE ARE BEING INVITED. Yes, your eyes read correctly. This year, our host is local Vietnam Veterans Association who have invited us to be their guests for a dinner, at their cost, a memorial dedication of a brick honoring Vietnam Dustoff Crew Members which will be placed in a walkway beneath a "Huey on Stick" which is decked out in a Dustoff paint scheme along with a having a 45th Dustoff Patch painted on the aircraft.

Our guest speaker, has asked to speak to us, and is retired US Air Force Officer shot down over the north and spent 6 years as a POW. The governor of Delaware has asked to speak at one of the gatherings as well. We are sure as the agenda develops further that additional dignitaries will be present and wanting to speak.

As you can see the differences between past and present is that we went somewhere, had to ask for assistance and support and seek out a guest speaker. Now the tables are reversed--we are invited, we are hosted, we have speakers of keynote wanting to talk with us and we have organizations wanting to say 'thank you' for what we did for them.

Take a look at the webpage, check your calendar and please consider joining us for this event. I believe you will find it to be a very rewarding event.

Fall/Winter DUSTOFFer Newletter

Fall/Winter DUSTOFFer NewsletterThe latest edition of our world-famous newsletter is now available. So get in your helicopter and hover over to the nearest newsstand, or maybe just visit our Newsletter section and read it online. It's available for reading online or downloading to your tablet for enjoyment standing on a line somewhere or your sitting waiting for your next medical appointment. Sure beats reading the 1973 edition of Field and Stream!







Reunion Events Schedule Taking Shape

DUSTOFF reunion hotel.Once again we will be in Military City, USA, San Antonio, TX, for our reunion. The Holiday Inn–Riverwalk has provided us with all the requested amenities and locations for our events. So, mark your calendar and make your travel plans. Get those hotel reservations locked in. We are excited to be coming back to “the Mother Ship” as Ben Knisely calls San Antonio.


The dates are 30-31 March and 1 April. Checkout on Sunday 2 April after memorial service. Hotel accommodations may be made by visiting this reservation site. You can then select the dates, and select the rooms and the group rate is applied (Group Code is WEG).


To liven up things a bit we’re expanding the dates a little bit and exploring some ways to enjoy Texas culture and each other’s company. For those who want to arrive early, we have a smaller block of rooms available for early check-in and departure.


If you want to arrive on the 29th and go to a SPURS basketball game, we suggest you lock in tickets now. They are not cheap and by then can/will go up in price. We are not providing tickets and it’s up to you to go to http://spurs.com or to http://ticketmaster.com 290 Wine Roadand purchase your tickets. We suggest you get together with your own groups and make those connections.


On Thursday, 30 March 2017, we’ve secured transportation to and from Fredericksburg, TX, for a day of shopping, some good German food, and THREE winery tasting tours. Transportation is round-trip and the three tasting tours are a special group rate with wine tasting fees included. Bus will depart the Holiday Inn – Riverwalk at 0900 hours and return you to the hotel at about 1830-1900 hours—full day of exploring, good food, and wine tasting.


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