Closing the Flight Plan
Arthur J. Ketchum
Arthur James Ketchum (AJ), age 45 of Jacksonville, FL shed his mortal bonds
10 Jan 17 after a battle with Non Hodgkin's Burkett lymphoma in
Winston-Salem, NC. AJ was born to James and Lois (VanDyke) Ketchum in
Kalamazoo, MI. Ketchum was graduated from Otsego High School and shortly after
joined the Army where he traveled to Germany, South Korea, and served 3
tours in Balad, Afghanistan. AJ was a rabid Cubs fan, a sci-fi geek, and an
A & P Mechanic. Ketchum served 19 years in the United States Army and was a
member of the 256th Medical Company Aerial Support in the Florida Army National
Guard when he died.
Jennifer M. Flood
Jennifer Marie Flood of Valley Cottage, NY, passed away on Tuesday, 10
Jan 17. She was 41.
Jennifer was born 24 Jan 75 in Suffern, NY to John and Laraine (Gill) Flood.
She attended Minisink Valley Schools and was graduated from Minisink Valley
High School where she was a member of the soccer and track teams.
Jennifer was a flight medic with the U. S. Army, attaining the rank of
Sergeant before leaving in 2000 after serving six years of active duty.
Michael M. Fuller, Sr.
Mike Fuller, 73, of Panama City, passed away 20 Oct 16. Michael was born
in Detroit, MI, and lived in Bay County for the last 22 years, coming here
from North Carolina. He served 10 years in the US Air Force, and then
transferred to the US Army as a helicopter pilot where he flew with the 68th
Med De, retiring as a CW2 after his service during Desert Storm. After his
military service, Michael worked with the Florida Department of Corrections.
Dallas L. Knox
Dallas Knox, 35, of Treasure Island succumbed to the effects of a tragic
boating accident. CW3 Knox’s current duty assignment was Ft. Knox, KY, and
while on leave, he jumped from the rear of a boat that was still moving. The
other three passengers of the boat circled back around to search for Knox
but were unsuccessful in finding him.
CW3 Knox faithfully served his Country in the U.S. Army and performed
duties as a Pilot in Command on Black Hawk MEDEVAC Helicopters. During CW3
Knox’s service to our grateful nation, he performed tours in Kosovo, Iraq,
Afghanistan and numerous stateside locations. For his dedicated military
service to our Country, CW3 Knox was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal
posthumously. CW3 Knox was buried with full military honors.
Quincy D. Sittingdown
Colonel (ret.) Quincy D. Sittingdown, 77, of Junction City, departed this
life 21 Nov 15, at his home. Quincy was born July 18, 1938, in Hoisington,
KS, the son of James N. & Jasmine (Mullins) Sittingdown. Quincy was
graduated from Hoisington High School and later earned a B.S. in Biology at
Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX.
After high school, Quincy enlisted in the U.S Army and left as a
sergeant. He was a member of the ROTC while at Hardin-Simmons, and rejoined
the Army as a commissioned officer after graduating. Quincy was a helicopter
pilot in the military, serving as an Aeromedical Evacuation Officer, and
flew medevac helicopters during the Vietnam War. He also was graduated from
the Command & General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth and retired as a
Lieutenant Colonel. Quincy earned the Ranger tab and was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, the Legion of Merit, and
other medals and ribbons during his distinguished military career.
Robert Minor II
Robert Ernest Minor, II, age 45 of Clarksville, passed away on 14 Sep 16 at
Robert was born on 28 Dec 70 in Fort Carson, CO, the son of Robert Ernest
Minor and Donna Strasheim. Robert was currently serving in the U.S. Army as
SFC and was a recipient of a Bronze Star and Angel of Battlefield Award.
Alvaro J. Dominguez
Alvaro J. Dominguez (USAF Ret) passed away 11 Aug 16. CMSgt Dominguez was a
veteran of the Vietnam War, where he earned several medals, including the
Bronze Star with One Oak Leaf Cluster. After retiring from the US Air Force,
he went on to work as the Facilities Manager at the U. S. Army Medical
Department Museum - Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
Al was a great friend of DUSTOFF and an Honorary Life member of the
DUSTOFF Association. He assisted in our DUSTOFF displays and helped greatly
with our Hall of Fame Wall construction and the addition of each new
Between his military and civil service careers, CMSgt Dominguez proudly
served fifty years of federal service. The discipline and patriotism he
learned in the Air Force never left him, as family and friends will attest.
Connors, 79, passed away 21 Jul 16, in Lakeway, TX. He was born 18 Sept 36
in Logansport, IN to Paul and Phyllis Connors. Richard grew up and attended
schools in Logansport, IN. After his graduation, Richard joined the U.S. Air
Force. In 1956, Richard married the love of his life, Ruth Ann Tennison.
After serving in the Air Force, Richard earned his B.S. in Microbiology
at Purdue University. He then joined the U.S. Army, where he attended flight
school. Richard served his country in the US Army as an aeromedical
evacuation pilot (DUSTOFF) in the Vietnam War. He completed many rescue
missions, saving and helping anyone he could. In 1968, during his second
tour of duty in Vietnam, he was shot while attempting an air ambulance
rescue. His bravery in the war earned him a Purple Heart Medal and Bronze
Star Medal. He medically retired with honors from the US Army as a Major.
Richard then completed his M.S. in Science Education at Trinity University
in San Antonio, TX and a PhD in Administrative Education at the University
of Texas- Austin. Richard then worked as a civil servant for the U.S. Army
in Fort Sam Houston, TX and Fort Detrick, MD.
Richard was an active member of the DUSTOFF Association. In addition, for
many years, he served on the Bandera County Water Board, contributed regular
editorials to the Bandera Bulletin, volunteered for the Pipe Creek Volunteer
Fire Department, and donated hours of his time to the Texas Institute of
Culture, where he completed dozens of oral histories of Texas military
pilots. He also assisted homeless dogs by donating the use of one of his
houses to the local animal welfare society.
Richard always enjoyed gardening, traveling, and do-it-yourself projects,
but his favorite pastime was wood-working. His children and grandchildren
have many furniture pieces that were created by Richard and these items will
be cherished for many generations to come.
CW3 Keith Junas filed his final flight plan on his birthday
24 May 16 in Syringa, ID and was in hospice first. His ashes were scattered 25 Jun by his family. He was originally
from Manteca, CA.
Keith was a crewchief with the 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam, and upon returning applied for flight school. He flew with the 326th Medical
Battalion 101st Airborne Division “Eagle Dustoff”. While assigned to them he did a TDY at Eniwetok Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the late 1970’s for medical coverage . Upon returning to Ft. Campbell he was reassigned to the 377 Medical Company in Korea. He will be missed. RIP Brother!
James H. Ihli, 68, of Boise, passed away
29 Mar 10 at the VA hospital in Boise.
He attended New Mexico Military Institute on a ROTC scholarship where he also played football. He was graduated from
Idaho State University in 1965. He entered the Army March 66, and spent 5 years in the service -19 months of
that in Vietnam as a U S Army Medical Evacuation Helicopter pilot. He served with the 254th Medical Detachment from
For heroism and extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight, Jim earned the Distinguished Flying
Cross. This is an amazing record of dedication to recover our wounded soldiers in the field under fire. In
addition, Jim was awarded the Air Medal with 29 Oak Leaf Clusters. The air medal definition is "person shall have
distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while in aerial flight or acts of heroism".
After Jim returned home, he owned the Glenwood Bar, 44 Club, and a ranch in the foothills of Mountain Home. He
worked for the Boise City Parks and Recreation until he retired in Jan 07.
Jim had a heart of gold. He was always willing to help someone in need financially or just be there as a friend. The
courage Jim displayed during his life was notable. The numerous missions he flew in Vietnam as a DUSTOFF pilot
continuously put him in harm's way. The last 20 years of his life were difficult at times while he battled cancer.
In all things, his ability to continue to fight for life everyday was remarkable. He will not be forgotten.
Edward J. FitzGerald
Joseph FitzGerald's physical life ended on 15 Jun after a short but arduous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by
his children, grandchildren and brother allowing him to pass peacefully and to continue on in his spiritual
journey. Ed Jr. was born on 3 May 43 in Jackson Heights, New York, to Edward and Dorothy (DeChiara) FitzGerald. He
lived on Long Island, graduating from Chaminade High School and continuing his education at Providence College. He
was accepted into the first ROTC Aviation program and became a skilled helicopter pilot. He served over four years
in the Army Medical Service as a Medevac pilot. During the Vietnam War, Ed flew with the 498th Med Co (AA) out of
Nha Trang and Qui Nhon from Jan 67 to Jan 68 flying hundreds of rescue missions, logging thousands of flying hours
and saving countless lives, all while risking his own. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He also served
in Germany as a medical evacuation pilot for two years prior to discharge from Active Duty. Upon discharge, Ed and
his family moved to California, endured the 1971 San Fernando earthquake, and then relocated to central Connecticut.
He was employed by AETNA Life and Casualty Insurance Company in Hartford, while continuing to fly helicopters with
the CT Army National Guard. After retirement, Ed worked part-time jobs in Rhode Island and Georgia.
Howard Ronald "Ronnie" Crotty
77, passed away 15 Jan 16 in Dallas. Ronnie was born 5 May 5 38 in Herndon, WV to the late Howard Richard Crotty and
Thelma L. Patterson Crotty. He was a retired U.S. Army helicopter pilot, serving two tours in Vietnam. Crotty flew
air ambulance helicopters at Fort Hood, TX 1980-1985 and was a member of the DUSTOFF Association. He was an active
member of the Military Order of the Purple Cross and Benbrook VFW. Ronnie was a graduate of UNT.
Alfred G. Nichols III
Alfred G. Nichols III (Ret.), passed away peacefully at Hildebrand Care Center in Canon City 14 Feb 16. Born in
Greenwood, Florida, on 8 Dec 37, to Virginia N. Nichols and Alfred G. Nichols, Jr., he held degrees from the
University of South Florida and the University of Colorado. He began his 23-year Army career in the 82nd Airborne.
He followed that with two tours in Vietnam as a Special Forces (Green Beret) A-Team Commander and a medevac
helicopter pilot, where he carried over 2,000 wounded. He was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross,
Bronze Star for Valor, Army Commendation for Valor, three Air Medals for Valor, and the Purple Heart, among many
other medals. After moving to Colorado, he commanded a helicopter rescue unit (MAST) at Fort Carson, taught JROTC at
Canon City High School, was an adjunct professor of Criminal Justice at Pueblo Community College, and served on the
Canon City Police Reserve.
William D. Mostek
"Bill" Dean Mostek, 62, passed away 3 Sep 11, in Bonners Ferry. Bill was
born 28 Jan 49, in Sandpoint, to Leonard and Elizabeth Mostek. He grew up
and attended schools in Bonners Ferry, graduating high school in 1967. Three
days after his graduation, Bill went to work at Boeing in Seattle, where he
worked until enlisting in the Army in June 1968. Bill served his country for
three years, first as a crew chief and then cross-training as a medic
transporting wounded soldiers in an UH1H air ambulance. He received 14 air
medals and four Bronze Stars for his service.
In 1986, Bill married the love of his life and lifetime friend Lynn
Truesdell, and formed their family with her son Jason Whittaker. Bill worked
at the Co-op and then scaled logs for 30 years. He helped most of the
scalars in this area, as well as the local cub scouts, learn how to identify
species and scale. Every year that Bill taught the cub scouts they took
first place in the state competition.
Bill is a member of the Disabled American Veterans and volunteered to assist
veterans in Boundary County with needs such as purchasing wheelchairs and
food. Bill has also belonged to the Lions Club, Eagles, VFW, and the
American Legion. Bill loved his family with unconditional love. Bill and
Lynn also loved hunting for firewood and spent many hours looking for rocks
with faces in them. Bill loved to dance and enjoyed nights sitting on his
Robert A. Carr
LTC Robert Adam "Bob" Carr, 82, of Waynesboro formally of Maryland,
passed away 22 Dec 15 at his residence. He was born in Texas on 27 Feb 33, a
son of the late Edward and Edith Carr. Bob proudly served his beloved
country during the Vietnam and
Korean War as a
helicopter pilot in the United States Army. He received his masters from
St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas. Bob was a member of the American
Legion Post in Millington, Maryland. In his retirement, Bob greatly enjoyed
fishing, hunting, shopping for antique furniture and art. He was a humble
man with great love for his country and his family.
Jason M. Smith
Jason M. Smith, 35, whose home of record is Destrehan, LA, died 23 Nov 15,
when his UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter crashed on Fort Hood. He was assigned
to 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment, First Army Division West and had
flown DUSTOFF in a previous assignment.
Smith entered active-duty service in June 2000 as a UH-60 Blackhawk crew
chief, and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 291st Aviation Regiment,
Division West, 1st Army, Fort Hood, since October 29.
He deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Aug 04 to Mar 05,
in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from Sep 11 to Sep 12 and in
support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Freedom's Sentinel from
Sep 14 to May 15. He was also deployed for relief efforts at home and
his accomplishments aided in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
He was a graduate of ALC, SLC, USAF Airlift planner WLC, FI school, SI
school, ER med tech course, Hazmat Family Safety, Small Arms Maintenance,
developed SOP for LUH at Fort Polk. He attended Destrehan High School, and
was graduated in 1999.
Earl F. Deming
Fred Deming, age 74, of Meadow Lane, Oak Grove passed away 2 Oct 15, of
natural causes at his home.
Mr. Deming was born in Ellsworth, KS on 18 Apr 41, the son of the late
Earl J. and Violet L. Kempke Deming, Jr. He was a retired US Army SFC who
served in Vietnam where he earned a Silver Star. After the Army he worked as
a chef for Western State Hospital and Memorial Hospital in Clarksville. Earl
was a member of Faith Lutheran of Hopkinsville and a lifetime member of VFW
Post 1913 and
Vietnam Dustoff Association.
Byron P. Howlett, Jr.
Pearman Howlett, Jr., died 18 Sep 15. He was a retired Colonel, U.S. Army,
and retired Executive, USAA. Byron loved God, his family, and his country in
very close order. He learned these things from a devoted family whose
descendants went back to the American Revolutionary War.
Byron was born on July 1, 1929, in Charleston, MO, and moved with his
family to Monticello, AR, when he was three. He received a B.A. in Business
Administration from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1951 and was
retained there as an Assistant Football Coach.
The Korean War was raging and he was soon drafted into service. After
commissioning and flight training, he flew medical evacuation missions for
16 months in Korea. As he neared completion of his military obligation and
thinking he would be returning to civilian life, he did graduate work at the
Harvard Business School and received an MBA. It was at this point that he
realized that he had felt strongly about serving his country and chose a
military career over corporate. His duty assignments took him to three
continents. His greatest pride came from serving with the men of DUSTOFF
flying medevac missions in both Korea and Vietnam. He commanded a medical
evacuation unit in the northern part of Vietnam and felt all these men were
heroes. He earned many medals including the Silver Star.
He remained in the Army for 31 years and retired as the Assistant
Commandant at the Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston. After
military retirement he felt privileged to have a second career with USAA,
which he considered one of the nation's most honorable companies. He had
served on the Boards of the DUSTOFF Association, MOAA, the Harvard Club of
San Antonio, the USAA Golden Eagles, and the Bexar County Appraisal Review
Board. He was a member of Sons of the American Revolution, was a lifelong
lover of golf and a founding member of the Dominion Country Club.
Byron was a classic example of the values of his era in which integrity,
frugality, and high moral values were not negotiable.
is with deep sadness we announce that COL(R) Ernie Sylvester, 74 of Tampa,
passed away on the morning of 14 Aug 15. Born in New Orleans, LA, growing up
in Gulfport, MS., Ernie served his country in the US Army in his early
career as a air ambulance pilot, and later as a Hospital Administrator.
Ernie was a Past President of the Dustoff Association (2004-05) and a member
of the DUSTOFF
Association Hall of Fame.
In 1964, as a 2LT, he was assigned to the famed 57th Medical Detachment
(AA) in Soc Trang, Vietnam. He often flew as MAJ Kelly's co-pilot, flying in
all conditions, and directly into the teeth of the enemy to save the wounded
under the most dangerous conditions. Ernie was the first Army helicopter
pilot to exceed 1000 hours of flight time in a 12-month period, and was the
Pilot-in-Command of the helicopter that recovered MAJ Kelly's body when he
was killed on 1 July 1964. He carried the lessons learned from Kelly forward
to the newly arrived 82nd Medical Detachment (AA) in the fall of 1964, and
commanded both the 54th and 68th Medical Detachments in Vietnam in 1970.
During his two tours in Vietnam, he earned three DFCs, 47 Air Medals
(multiple with V/device), the Bronze Star with V, and the Purple Heart.
The DUSTOFF Association strives to both honor and follow in the huge
footsteps left by those who paved the way. Ernie was one of those who left a
lasting legacy through his humility, his gregarious personality, and his
selfless service as a leader and mentor in the DUSTOFF community. He was
also a dedicated leader within his church and a highly respected individual
within his community.
Jacob W. Mast, Jr.
Mast Jr., 75, of Chesterfield, died peacefully 12 May 15, after a five-year,
courageous struggle with Agent Orange exposure sarcoma. Jake served as a MAJ
in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps, where he was involved in the
operation of military hospitals and medical evacuation detachments. He
piloted medevac helicopter rescue missions in the Republic of Korea and
Vietnam, earning the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, Combat Medic Badge,
Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Korean Prime Minister's
Citation for civilian disaster rescues.
A graduate of Randolph-Macon College and master's degree recipient from
the VCU School of Rehabilitation Counseling, Jake pursued a career dedicated
to public service, concentrating in long-term geriatric care administration.
Jake retired as CEO of the nonprofit Lucy Corr Village of the Health Center
Commission for Chesterfield County. In his almost three-decade career there
he demonstrated foresight in his understanding of the health care industry
by inspiring development and construction of an expanded nursing home, the
first special care unit for dementia residents in the Commonwealth of
Virginia, a licensed assisted living adult day care center, a state of the
art health care center, and a full service continuing care retirement
community, "Springdale." Jake served on numerous boards of directors of
health care commissions and foundations. Jake was also Past Commodore of the
Greater Richmond Sailing Association and a 43-year active member of Rotary
International, South Richmond Rotary Club.
Jake always enjoyed golf, tennis and jogging, but his favorite pastime
was sailing with Kay, either when racing their Flying Scot daysailer or
relaxing upon their Freedom yacht cruising the Chesapeake and the East Coast
from Nantucket and Newport to Florida and the Bahamas. Jake always said he
"had saltwater in his veins."
Joseph P. Madrano
Joseph P. Madrano, U.S. Army (Ret.), born 20 Apr 22, in Reading, PA, to Dan
and Agnes Madrano, filed his final flight plan 8 May 15. A proud veteran of
three wars and over 39 years of total service, he started his military
career at the age of 17 while still in high school, by joining the Oklahoma
National Guard. Inducted into active federal service in 1940, he trained as
infantry squad leader before transferring to the Army Air Corps, training as
Aviation Cadet at Randolph and Ellington Fields, where he received his
commission as 2LT and rating of Pilot.
Following training in Florida as a pilot of a Martin B-26, commonly
called “The Widow Maker,” the “Flying Coffin,” or the dubious name of
“Prostitute” (because it had no visible means of support), he completed 46
combat missions in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. After completing
his tour, he returned to the States and served as a pilot instructor until
his separation from the service in 1945. After graduation from University of
Tulsa in 1949, he worked as a schoolteacher until he was called back into
active service, this time as Medical Service Corps officer. He was then
assigned to Japan, where he “sat out” the Korean conflict by training troops
and providing services to returning troops.
In 1953 he returned to the States and undertook helicopter training at
Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Rucker, AL, where he was retained as an instructor for
two years. Over the following 20-plus years he served at a number of posts
as a commander and staff officer, including two tours of Germany and one in
Vietnam. While in Vietnam he commanded a medical evacuation unit. He also
attended a number of schools, including the Army Command and General Staff
College and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The recipient of
numerous awards and decorations from the U.S. and foreign governments, he
was most proud of the Army Good Conduct Medal, which he claimed to have
earned the old-fashioned way—by being a good soldier. Joe retired in 1979 at
Ft. Lewis, WA, and since that time has been a volunteer in a number of
activities in Washington and Texas.
Henry Mayer Jr.
Henry “Hank” Mayer Jr. (Ret.), a military surgeon, DUSTOFF pilot who flew
two tours in Vietnam and thousands of life-saving hours, rancher, sports
enthusiast, Army veteran and community supporter, died unexpectedly May 5,
He was a resident of the Killeen area for 35 years and actively involved
in many community activities. During his 30 years in the U.S. Army, his last
assignment included serving as an orthopedic surgeon and deputy commander of
Darnall Army Medical Center. He received numerous military awards including
the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal.
After his military retirement, he was employed as an orthopedic surgeon
by Kings Daughters Clinic of Temple for over 20 years. He was a graduate of
Ohio University and Texas Tech University School of Medicine. He was
recruited to the new Texas Tech University School of Medicine after his
second DUSTOFF tour in Vietnam where he met the man who was to be its
During the last 35 years, Dr. Mayer rarely missed a Killeen Independent
School District football game. He joined the teams on the field the first
quarter of his first game he attended in fall 1980 and stayed with the teams
from then on. He was the “team Doc” for all of the Killeen ISD athletes who
needed help. He also volunteered with the Athletic Department of the
University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as the team physician for the last seven
Dr. Mayer was a member of the Killeen Evening Rotary, a director on the
board of the Greater Killeen Free Clinic, a recipient of the Medicine Man
award in 2009, a Bell County rancher, a member of Harker Heights United
Methodist Church, Junior Livestock Show supporter and lover of the outdoors.
Louis L. Mizell
(R) Louis L. Mizell was born in Oshkosh, NE in 1931 and died on March 19,
2015. His family moved to western Colorado when he was 5, where he lived
until 1948, when he joined the Army as a private. He retired in 1969 as an
LTC. The major part of his career was spent in the Medical Service Corps,
where he flew medical evacuation helicopters in Germany, Iran, Korea,
Vietnam and a number of US locations. He was awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, the Air Medal for Valor with 12 Oak Leaf
Clusters, and many other awards.
Louis married Doris Dahl, an Army Nurse, at the old Madigan Chapel,
immediately prior to his Vietnam deployment. After retirement they, and
their family moved to University Place. He was employed by Great Western
Helicopters, which was located at Tacoma Industrial Airport as the Manager
and Chief Pilot. The company contracted with the National Forest Service to
fight forest fires and also did some work in positioning radio towers and
installing air conditioners on building roofs.
He was a life member of the Veteran's of Foreign Wars Post #318, Olympia,
the Military Officers Association of America, the DUSTOFF Association, and
the Solo Pilots
Henry" Hank" P. Capozzi
(Ret.) Henry" Hank" P. Capozzi passed away after a long bout with cancer, 28
Feb 15 at 87 years of age.
Capozzi was a lifelong Army officer and DUSTOFF air ambulance helicopter
pilot who served bravely in Korea and also completed two tours in Vietnam.
He served as an Operations Officer and an Instructor Pilot 1957 to 1959.
Capozzi hand picked his aircrew for the 82nd Medical Detachment at Soc Trang
Army Air Field, serving as its Commander from July 1964 through July 1965.
Under his leadership the 82nd received Presidential Unit Citations, a
Valorous Unit Award along with other medals of recognition.
Hank was among the original H13, Sioux "Bubble Helicopter" pilots, which
later led to his passion in founding "The
SoloPilots Society". Along with his fellow SoloPilots, this small elite
group remained steadfast in recognizing the pilots who not only flew solo,
but had to be their own mechanic and medic. They were responsible for
emergency helicopter evacuations leading to saving thousands of wounded on
the battlefield. Under Capozzi's leadership as President of the SoloPilots,
the society was able to have these hero's recognized and a plaque honoring
their commitment and sacrifice placed at the Army Medical Department Museum.
His dedication, bravery and savvy flying skills were his biggest virtues.
He was highly decorated throughout his career, respectfully declining the
Purple Heart commendation following what he deemed to be a minor injury
during combat. " I was just doing my job, that is not what the Purple Heart
is for..." He explained.
Michael Wayne Rinehart
Wayne Rinehart, 71, Tallahassee resident, passed away peacefully Saturday, 7
Feb 15 at Big Bend Hospice after a brief battle with lung cancer.
Born 9 Oct 43, in Obion County, TN, he was preceded in death by his parents
Sara Bizzle Rinehart and Charles Edwin Rinehart.
Mike attended the University of Tennessee and Memphis State University. He
served proudly in the Army from 1967 to 1970 and was most proud of the year
he flew as a DUSTOFF pilot in Vietnam. He enjoyed sailing, drawing, reading,
traveling and bird watching. He worked at the Florida Dept. of Insurance and
Dept. of Agriculture and in recent years worked for North American Midway
Donald L. Underwood
Underwood (LTC ret.) was graduated with Flight Class 68-1 and flew in
Vietnam with the 283rd Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) under the
Call Sign DUSTOFF 61 in 1968-69 as a Warrant Officer. On one fateful day,
while attempting to evacuate wounded soldiers from a mountain top fire base,
his ship was hit by enemy fire resulting in a loss of aircraft control and a
subsequent crash. He and the Aircraft Commander, CPT Conners, the unit
commander, were both severely injured. He was evacuated to the 71st
Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku and eventually to Japan where he quickly
recovered and was back with the 283rd in only a month. He completed his
year-long combat tour in spite of his injuries. Later he accepted a
commission in the Air Defense Artillery branch.
The project for which Don is most famous was a flight test of the
Williams Aerial Surveillance Platform (WASP). The vehicle was essentially a
cruise missile engine mounted vertically and stabilized only by the pilot
shifting his weight. He was one of only two uniformed service members to
achieve sufficient proficiency to operate the WASP in free flight.
He accrued over 3700 flight hours in 35 models of 24 different types of
aircraft. Don retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1989.
Ronald Wells Sr.
(Ronnie) Hugh Wells, Sr., aged 67, was called home by his Lord and Savior,
Jesus Christ on Sunday, 14 Sep 14 at his home in Yazoo City, MS. He was born
22 Nov 46 in McComb, MS to Thelma May Wells and James Hugh Wells, Sr.
He was graduated from McComb High School and attended the University of
Southern Mississippi majoring in graphic arts. He proudly served his country
in the Vietnam War as a DUSTOFF (Medevac) pilot. After the war, he served 34
years with the Mississippi Army National Guard 185th Aviation Battalion,
retiring as a CW4. He then worked for Dyncorp International in Columbia,
South America until he retired in November, 2013.
Edgar Franklin Mote
Edgar Franklin Mote (Ret) passed away 6 Dec 14 in San Antonio, TX. He was
born 25 Mar 39 in Albany Georgia.
Ed excelled at both high school and college football and track and field. He
attended the University of Georgia and Troy State University, graduating
with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1963.
Ed's military career commenced in 1964 with two tours of Vietnam as an
aeromedical evacuation pilot (DUSTOFF) platoon leader and detachment
commander. Ed retired as a LTC in 1987 in San Antonio, having fulfilled
numerous postings, including: project manager establishing the first
Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST), Chief of Plans,
Operations, Training and Security Division at Landstuhl ARMC in Germany, and
Commander of 507 Medical Company at Ft. Sam Houston, TX. His military awards
include: Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and the
Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal.
Ed met his future wife, Ellita Wallace Dodson in San Antonio, TX and they
married in 1972 at Maxwell AFB, AL. Ed's post military career included over
a decade in the restaurant business. His best times after retirement were
spent in pursuit of his greatest passions - the great outdoors and "Miss
Ellita", the spice in his life for 42 years.
He exemplified dedication to duty and demonstrated an unwavering work ethic.
He is fondly remembered for his banana pudding, venison sausage and cheesy
Thomas “Egor” Johnson
Founder of the DUSTOFF Association
(Retired) Thomas “Egor” Johnson died peacefully in his sleep at 0640 hrs,
Saturday, 29 November 2014 in the Hospice Care Wing of the St. Francis
Hospital - the same hospital he was born in 68 years, 2 months, and 20 days
ago on 09 September 1946. What many don't know is that he was one of those
people who would give anyone who would need it the shirt off his back, and
not think anything about it. As the Bible would say, he suffered the little
ones to come unto him and did what he could to ensure those who required it,
received the help they needed - even if they didn't really deserve it.
He served in the US Army from 1964 until 30 September 1984 as a Helicopter
Crew-Chief and Mechanic, as a Recruiter, and as a Military Policeman (MP,
MPI, and CID). He served 3 combat tours in Viet Nam and was awarded 17 Air
Medals, 4 for Valor; the Bronze Star Medal; 2 Army Commendation Medals for
Valor; and 3 Purple Heart Medals. Upon his return from Viet Nam, Egor set
out to establish what has become the DUSTOFF Association. It was his vision
that the DUSTOFF Association would protect and honor the legacy of Army
aeromedical evacuation. The result of his efforts is an organization that
today stands in the breach to defend such efforts as the award of the Combat
Medical Badge to DUSTOFF crewmembers. The Association has served as an
advocate for modernization of aircraft and equipment. His legacy as a
DUSTOFFer means putting others before oneself, never leaving a comrade
behind, standing up for those in need, taking one’s vision and making it
happen through persistent hard work, and living an honorable life dedicated
to serving our fighting forces.
Following his military service Egor/Tom had many interests in his life – in
addition to founding the DUSTOFF Association, he served and protected his
fellow man and the communities in which he lived and worked as a security
specialist. His steadfast mental attitude, intelligence, and abilities to
organize things, and putting everything together (even to its smallest
fundamentals) was amazing to see.
He was always available to assist someone in doing something that would
further the organizations for which he toiled and took pride in - be it the
DUSTOFF Association, Private Security Companies for which he toiled, or
someone who needed assistance. He was even a published author - and wrote a
book regarding the 1968 Tet Offensive and the defense of the American
Embassy - Saigon, South Vietnam.
SSG Thomas “Egor” Johnson was inducted into the DUSTOFF Hall of Fame on 18
Feb 2007 for his life-long impact on the DUSTOFF Association and his
contributions to the legacy of DUSTOFF. MG(Ret) Patrick Brady, Medal of
Honor recipient for his actions flying DUSTOFF in Vietnam, says of “Egor”
“He was the perfect example of the guts of our Army, the Non-commissioned
Officers. While many of the officers of that time pontificated about the
incredible accomplishments of DUSTOFF and how we should organize to tell our
story, Egor went to work and got it done. He, and he alone, is responsible
for where we are today.”
Right now, he's probably partying with all the former DUSTOFF Association
Members, all his friends, associates, and co-workers who have proceeded him
and waiting for the rest of us to show up; and, he’s keeping an eye on us,
doing what he always did!!
Brian Scott Waring
Scott Waring, 40, of Cumming passed away April 9, 2011, at Emory Hospital in
Decatur. Born in New York, Brian was the son of Jerry and Nancy Waring of
Cumming. Brian was a graduate of Norcross High School and earned his BA in
business administration from the University of Georgia. He served in the
U.S. Army from 1993-2000, where he attended flight school and served in the
229th Med at Fort Drum and in the 507th Med at Fort Hood. From 2002-2007 he
served in the U.S. Coast Guard. Brian was a pilot for Air Life Georgia,
owned by Air Methods, the largest EMS helicopter service in the world.
Coast Guard in Savannah, Georgia awarded Brian with the Eurocopter Golden
Hour Award in 2006 for bravery after his helicopter crew flew though severe
thunderstorms to rescue a tugboat crew. He flew through severe
thunderstorms, over an ocean with 25-foot seas in response to a distress
call from the crew of the tug Valour. The boat was being battered by 70-knot
winds and was taking on large amounts of water. The pilots positioned the
aircraft to prepare their rescue swimmer for the high surf and winds, which
were causing severe difficulties. After several attempts the swimmer reached
the boat and assisted the crew while they were being hoisted into the
helicopter. Suffering from hypothermia, the rescued men were taken to the
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recognized Brian with inclusion
in the prestigious FAA Airmen Certification Database. The database, which
appears on the agency's Web
site , names Waring and other certified pilots who have met or exceeded
the high educational, licensing and medical standards established by the
Willie M. Dixson
in 1927, as the oldest of five children, Willie Mercy Dixson was an
extraordinary human being. Instilled with a resounding sense of duty and
responsibility, he began working at a young age and continued to support his
family at home by sending allotments from his paychecks.
In 1948 "Bill" Dixson enrolled at Eta Jima, Japan's 8th Army
transportation Training School in a Cargo Checker's Course. In 1950 he
became part of the Army's first integration effort, as a platoon sergeant of
an ambulance company assigned to a MASH unit in Korea.
graduated from Army Aviation School to follow up his training in Germany and
then a year in Vietnam. And, although many a night he would come back to
base with numerous holes in his chopper, he had the great fortune to never
be shot down.
His studious demeanor saw him through the 559th Medical Ambulance
Company, to the 45th Medical Company (DUSTOFF), continuing with a stint at
the 388th Evac. Hospital, as well as the 63rd Med. Det. and rounding out his
career serving a Commanding Officer of the 507th Med. Co. (AA as well as
Battalion Commander of the 37th Med. Bn. Throughout an undeniably
distinguished career, spanning 22 years, he earned various accolades
including the Gallantry Cross with Silver Star and Distinguished flying
Cross. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1970.
Kent W. Bennetts
Bennetts passed from this life at his home in Olathe on 19 Jun 14. He was
born 14 Sep 31 in Flint, Michigan, the son of Weldon J. and Mabel E.
(Weaver) Bennetts. He graduated from Fenton High School, Fenton, Michigan in
1949 and attended Graceland College in Lamoni, Iowa, prior to enlisting in
the United States Army in 1951. Kent served in the Korean War with the 68th
Engineering Company and afterward was accepted for Officer Candidate School
at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the
Infantry and later entered the Medical Service Corps. After completing his
initial military service, he attended the University of Missouri at Kansas
City School of Pharmacy.
Kent re-entered the U.S. Army in 1957 and became a helicopter pilot. He
served in Vietnam as a member of the “DUSTOFF” medical evacuation team
during the 1965-66 buildup of American forces.
Kent retired from active military service at the rank of Major after a
23-year career. He was a senior aviator and was awarded the Air Medal with 8
oak leaf clusters, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Combat Medical
Badge as well as numerous other decorations during his career.
Kent was a member of the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots’ Association, the Solo Pilot Association. and the
James "Pappy" Coleman
Lloyd Coleman, 74, of Connelly Springs, NC, formerly of Turkey Creek, Ky.,
passed away Monday, 16 Jun 14 at his residence.
He was born July 6, 1939 in Pike County, Ky. the son of the late Ira and
Beulah Thompson Coleman. He was retired from the United States Army after 18
years of service. He served in Vietnam with the 54th Medical Detachment. He
was inducted into the
DUSTOFF Hall of Fame as well as the
Army Aviation Association of American Hall of Fame.
Staff Sergeant James “Pappy” Coleman epitomized the DUSTOFF medic:
completely fearless, professionally expert, and totally dedicated to life
saving. There was no soldier who served with this man who would not want him
above all others to be their medic if they were wounded in battle. He was
among the most highly decorated medics of the Vietnam War. He was also one
of the most competent and courageous.
Conrad “Connie” Walker
U.S. Army COL Conrad “Connie” Walker died 1 Jun 14 in San Antonio at age 82.
His family said the death was the result of Agent Orange-related illnesses.
Chaplain Walker was a long-time chaplain to the DUSTOFF Association, penned
the DUSTOFF prayer, and performed many of
our reunion memorial services.
He gave up a promising sports career in pursuit of a higher calling,
becoming a chaplain with the 101st Airborne Division and 173rd Airborne
Brigade. Chaplain Connie Walker was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star for
Valor, Legion of Merit, and Purple Heart for his pastoral missions under
hostile conditions in Vietnam. He was a Master Parachutist, having made over
600 jumps with the troops, including one combat jump, earning him the
nickname of “The Leapin’ Deacon.” His wife of 60 years, Joan “Ann” Walker,
said he even modified his jump routine for his faith, replacing the
numerical countdown with “Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Amen” before leaping.
a noncombatant chaplain, he only carried a machete. When he accompanied a
relief platoon to the scene of a firefight in Vietnam on 29 Jun 66, he
earned the Silver Star for gallantry in combat for helping the medic bring
the wounded men back from the direct line of fire, despite machine gun fire
intermittently raking the area.
J. Walker Winslow, co-author of the book about chaplain Walker writes,
"You will smile and be uplifted as Connie displays his joyous sense of humor
by sharing anecdotes of the growing of a legend. Your heart will grow heavy
as the veil of wartime is lifted ever so slightly. Conrad Walker is a
minister, shepherd, soldier, hero, devoted husband, and father to five grown
children. He has been labeled a legend by the hundreds of 'Pups' that he has
mentored, and is admired by those who had the good fortune to have been
ministered to by this remarkable man of God."
Warren Dale Tinseth Sr.
U.S. Army aviator Warren Dale Tinseth, Sr., 80, took his final flight on
Saturday, 22 Mar 14. He died at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston
due to complications resulting from a five-month battle with congestive heart
failure. He was born 8 Jan 1934, in Duluth, MN, to Otto and Gladys (Almos)
Tinseth, and attended Duluth Central High School. Growing up, he enjoyed playing
hockey and worked at a golf course. Warren joined the Minnesota National Guard
in 1949 at the age of 15. During a two-week camp in Brainerd, MN, he went to a
roller-skating rink and fell in love at first sight when he saw a local girl,
Joyce Carol Walker. They married on Feb. 23, 1952, a union which lasted nearly
59 years until her death in 2010.
Warren entered active duty as a Sergeant First Class in 1953. The following
year, he enlisted in the regular U.S. Army, planning to spend 20 years in the
military and retire young. However, he didn't retire until 1980, as a CW-4,
having been deployed twice each to Korea and Vietnam and serving three tours in
Germany. In 1958-59, he attended warrant officer flight school. During the next
two decades as a pilot, he flew both rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. He also
became an instructor pilot, an instrument flight examiner, and an aviation
safety officer. He enjoyed mentoring new pilots and was well-respected by fellow
aviators. Among his assignments, he served with Co. C of the 5th Regimental
Combat Team in Korea in 1954; the 196th Transportation Company, deployed to Quin
Yong, Vietnam, then infused with the 179th Transportation Company in Pleiku in
1966; and HHC 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry
Division in Phouc Vien, Vietnam, from 1969 to 1970. Warren was assigned twice to
Fort Sam Houston, first from 1972 to 1977 with the 507th Medical Company in
support of the Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) Project
providing helicopter ambulance service to South Texas. In 1978, he returned to
Fort Sam, serving as the Aviation Safety Officer to the Flight Detachment at
Randolph Air Force Base prior to his retirement. He received high honors for his
military service, including the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying
Crosses, three Bronze Star Medals and the Purple Heart, along with a number of
other commendations. He pursued higher education during his military service,
earning a Bachelor of General Studies from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, in
1972, and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma in
He belonged to the Kerrville Hangar of the Quiet Birdmen, the Alamo Chapter of
the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the Dustoff Association, the Army
Aviation Association of America and the Military Officers Association of
Kenneth Edward Trotter
(R) Trotter passed away peacefully on 21 Sep 13 in Houston, TX, surrounded his
loving family. He was born in Mexia, TX in 1941 and married his wife, Sandra, in
He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army in January 1963.
He graduated Flight Training with Class 65-18 and flew in Vietnam with the
498th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) in 1966-67 as DUSTOFF 49 helping to
save countless lives. Among his other services to the Army, he served as the
Chief Aviation Officer at Fort Sam Houston.
During his service in the Army, he received the Bronze Star, Meritorious
Service Medal, Air Medals, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam
Service Medal, and Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. He also earned the
Master Army Aviator badge and the Order of Military Merit.
After 20 years in the Army, Ken honorably retired as a Lieutenant
Colonel. He embarked on a second career by working at Texas Instruments and
Raytheon Company. During this time, Ken decided to return to school in his
spare time and become a lawyer. He earned his Juris Doctorate from Texas
Wesleyan University and became a member of the Texas Bar in 1994.
William R. Knowles
(Ret.) Bill Knowles passed away peacefully in his sleep on 10 Jan 13, in
Portland, OR, where he had been visiting with his daughter Cindy and her husband
Hollis. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Marmion, who also died on
10 Jan, twelve years earlier. Bill was born 5 Feb 23, in Seattle, WA, to Frank
and Odelia Knowles. He attended Cleveland High School and the University of
His education was interrupted by World War II, when he dropped out of
school to fight for his country as a Marine fighter pilot. He was graduated
from flight school as a Lieutenant and at age 20 found himself on the next
plane to the South Pacific. Bill flew 52 combat missions with VMSB 243 (The
Flying Goldbricks) in close air support of troops fighting in the jungles as
they recovered island after island from the Japanese. He flew dive bombers -
the Corsairs, Dauntless, and Helldivers.
After the war he returned to the states, finished up his university
degree, and earned a commission in the Regular Army. Assigned to the Medical
Service Corps, Bill became a Master Aviator. He was graduated from the first
MSC helicopter flight class and continued flying helicopters and fixed wing
aircraft throughout his 30-plus year Army career. Bill did two combat tours
in Vietnam, flying MEDEVAC helicopters. In his second tour of Vietnam, with
the rank of Colonel, he commanded the 498th Medical Company Air Ambulance -
nicknamed "Dustoff." As a "Flying Commander" he flew 330 combat hours, 262
combat missions, and evacuated 361 patients during his tour. He was awarded
the Legion of Merit for his service in Vietnam. Following his second combat
tour, Bill was tapped to attend the prestigious U.S. Army War College in
Carlisle Barracks, PA, in 1968. After graduating, he transferred to the
Medical Brigade in Fort Meade, MD, and took over as Chief of Plans and
Upon retiring from Military service in 1971, Bill began a successful
second career in real estate and property development in Arizona. In 1977,
Bill and Marmi made their last move together to CA, where Bill became
Manager of Agricultural Leases for the City of San Diego, a job he continued
and enjoyed until retiring in Leucadia. A convert to Catholicism in his
twenties, Bill was a religious man who went to Mass every day while his
health lasted. He was a generous, thoughtful, prayerful man who remained
devoted to the Catholic Church. He was an inspirational father to his five
children, and held the family unit together with his wisdom, strength, and
great sense of humor as he and Marmi shepherded the clan on more than twenty
moves overseas and around the United States. Looking at his life, you can
say that for much of it he was a warrior who fought courageously for God and
Country. But the measure of his spirit was the gentleness and kindness that
was felt by all with whom he came in contact.
John A. Dowless Sr.
Retired LTC John Alexander Dowless Sr., 86, passed away 21 Dec 13. in Saint
Vincent's Medical Center with loving family by his side.
John was born in Fayetteville. NC on 18 May 27, to the late Joseph and Manic
Dowless. He served his country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. During WWII.
John served as a naval corpsman. At war’s end, he returned to North Carolina
where he attended Wake Forest. Upon graduation he received a direct commission
in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army.
While serving in the U.S. Army he earned a Master’s degree in Hospital
Administration from Baylor University. During the Korean War, John was a MEDEVAC
helicopter pilot and during the Vietnam War, he served in a Mobile Army Surgical
After retiring from the U.S. Army in 1972, John was a college professor at
Fayetteville State University and Florence-Darlington Technical College. At
Florence-Darlington Technical College, John established their new Department of
Allied Health. After establishing the Department of Allied Health, John
relocated to Jacksonville where he worked for the State of Florida as a health
care surveyor until he retired in 1989.
Joseph I. Martin Jr.
(Ret) Joseph I. Martin Jr., of Enterprise, AL passed away Saturday, 8 Dec 12 at
Medical Center Enterprise. He was 85.
He was born 24 Feb 27 in Des Moines, IA to the late Major General Joseph I.
Martin Sr and Margaret Shander Martin. He was graduated from West High School in
Rockford, IL and earned a BS Degree from the University of Illinois and a MA
degree from Baylor University. He entered the US Army in 1944 and served during
WWII, Korean, and Vietnam wars. He served for 24 years earning the rank of
Lieutenant Colonel, received many awards and medals, including the Purple Heart,
and was a member of DUSTOFF. He served as Administrator of Army Lyster Hospital
at Ft. Rucker. While at Ft. Rucker, he volunteered for 20 years teaching in the
William Robert Schmidt
Robert Schmidt was born on 12 Oct 24 in Buda, IL to Ernest and Minnie Schmidt.
He was graduated from Neponset High School with the class of 1942. Before
graduating, a Navy recruiter gave him a ride on a Link trainer. He enlisted in
the Navy V5 program on his 18th birthday. He received his wings 6 Dec 44, and
married his high school sweetheart, Shirley Pardue, on 18 Dec 44.
Bill loved to fly. He and his family returned to Neponset after WWII with a
promise of a job flying for Con Ed. That fell through and he joined the National
Guard so he could continue flying. His group was activated for the Korean War.
He was on his way to Korea when his orders were cancelled, because he was
selected to go to helicopter flight school. He was in the first class of Medical
Service personnel trained as a helicopter pilot.
When Bill was stationed at Ft Lewis and Madigan, he wanted to retire in this
area. He and Shirley built their home in the Winlock/Toledo area and lived there
for 15 years before moving to Chehalis where they started their ceramic
Ryan J. McDermot
Ryan J. McDermot 26, of Hampton, died suddenly 21 Dec 13 at Fort Hood, TX. He
was born in Portsmouth, 5 Feb 87 a son of Jeffrey and Donna (Carpenter) McDermot
of Hampton. Ryan was raised in Hampton where he was graduated from Winnacunnet
High School with the Class of 2005. He enlisted in the United States Army in
2010, where he proudly served honorably for the next 3 and half years in Charlie
Company 2nd Battalion 227th Aviation Regiment, Fort Hood, TX. During this time
he bravely served one tour in Afghanistan. Ryan was an avid Patriot and Red sox
fan who enjoyed snowboarding and the outdoors. He was also an accomplished scuba
diver, who was very proud to serve our county. Most of all Ryan loved spending
time with his family and friends, where he always had this uncanny way with
words and one liners that would leave you in tears from laughing. Ryan’s passion
for life, and to be the best solider he could be, was what he strived for.
Michael W. Trader
Michael W. Trader, of Estero, FL, died 1 Dec 12, at Joanne's House at Hope
Hospice in Bonita Springs. He was 71. Formerly of Grosse Pointe, MI, he had been
an Estero resident for the past 11 years. Michael was born July 8, 1941 in
Detroit, MI, the son of the late William and Jean (Kurtz) Trader. Mike attended
high school at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy and was a graduate of
Ripon College in Ripon, WI. Mr. Trader was a Captain in the U.S. Army, serving
two tours of duty as a Medevac pilot in Vietnam. Michael retired as a management
consultant for the Thomas Group where he managed the account for the United
He was an avid golfer who also enjoyed playing tennis, hockey, squash, riding
his motorcycle and skiing.
Charles E. Williams
Edward Williams was called to his Heavenly home on 9 Nov 13, at the age of 69.
He was born in Helena, Arkansas, on 8 Aug 44, to Edgar Lee and Catherine
(Trainer) Williams. He enjoyed a childhood full of outdoor sports: swimming,
diving, water skiing, fishing, hunting, baseball, and football. He attended
Ouachita Baptist University on a football scholarship and also played baseball
worthy of notice by professional scouts. He participated in ROTC and was
graduated with a Bachelor's degree and a commission as a lieutenant in the U.S.
He became a helicopter pilot and flew Medevac for the 1st Cav. Div. in
Vietnam, from 1968-1969, and was highly decorated for his service. In 1971
Charles married Janice Koltermann in San Antonio, TX. Charles served as a
Platoon Leader in the 507th Med. Co. and was charged with moving the 4th Flight
Platoon/507th Med. Co. and its aircraft from Ft. Sam Houston, TX to Ft. Sill,
OK. At Ft. Sill he established aeromedical evacuation support for Reynolds Army
Community Hospital, the Army Field Artillery School, and established Military
Assistance to Safety and Traffic (MAST) in the state of Oklahoma.
Charles was later diagnosised with Multiple Sclerosis but met the challenge
with courage and determination continuing to move about in his powered wheel
chair doing activities he enjoyed. One of the greatest joys in his life was
coaching youth soccer. His teams, always called the Mustangs, won many
tournaments and district or season championships. He had great talent in the
field of developing young athletes. He was also a great Spurs fan.
Michael Ralph Bush
was a beloved Husband, Father, Grandfather, Son, Brother and friend to many died
29 Jul 13 in New Braunfels, TX. He was born 1 Jan 52 in Portland OR, the son of
Maxine Trierwailer and Jack and Mary Bush. He attended Winslow High School
before entering in the United States Army where he served for 6 years as a
DUSTOFF medic including a tour in Vietnam. He later attended Lee College where
he obtained a associate in Applied Science degree. For the next 30 years he
worked as a Safety/Medical Engineer.
James L. Van Horn
L. Van Horn, age 80, of Shiloh, IL, born June 12, 1933, in Richmond, VA, died 20
October 2013 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Belleville, IL.
James was a retired Staff Sergeant and medic with the U.S. Army and a veteran of
the Korean and the Vietnam Wars. He was a 33rd Degree Mason of Teikoku Lodge #19
in Okinawa, Japan and a member of the VHCMA – Vietnam Helicopter Crewmen
Association and the Dustoff Association of San Antonio, TX.
L. Fred Belcher
L. Fred Belcher, (Ret.), age 84, passed away peacefully in San Antonio, TX, on 2
Sep 13, after a brief illness.
He was born 29 Oct 28 in Old Hickory, TN, and spent his childhood in TN, OH, OK,
and TX. He was graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1950.
Fred entered the military in 1951 and married the love of his life, Genevieve
(Jenny) Staudt, in Orange, TX in 1954.
He had 34 duty stations with service in Korea and Vietnam during the war years
and 25 moves including two tours in Germany, before retiring in San Antonio in
Fred earned many awards and citations for service including the Legion of Merit
and the Meritorious Service Medal. His combat awards include the Distinguished
Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, and the Air Medal with 24 awards
for over 240 combat medical evacuation missions.
Upon retirement, Fred was a faithful volunteer with the St. Pius X Catholic
Church Arboreans and served as an Election Judge in Bexar County. Fred will be
remembered for his deep, abiding love of his wife, his family, this beautiful
country, his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and desserts.
He had a lifelong interest in literature and published his own book of poetry, A
Soldier’s Journey, in 1998.
Ernest Dale French
E. D. French made his last flight on 21 June 2013. My father was a true war hero
but also a hero in peace time. As far as my sisters and I are concerned, not
just our father but all medevac pilots and crewmembers should be issued the
Medal of Honor.
Dad went to high school in Dundee Michigan where he also became an Eagle
Scout, then attended Michigan State University and Eastern Michigan University
where he earned a Bachelors Degree, attained the rank of LTC in ROTC, met and
married my mother (Donna Ausum) and started his family of four children.
In 1958 he was commissioned in the US Army Medical Service Corp and left for
flight school. He served 23 years - one tour in Korea and two tours in Vietnam.
His awards for service are as follows: Master Aviator Wings, Distinguished
Flying Cross, two Bronze Star Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, 12 Air Medals,
Joint Service Commendation Medal, two Army Commendation Medals, National Defense
Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, US Vietnam Service Medal,
Korean Defense Medal, RVN Gallantry Cross with Bronze Star Medal, Vietnam
Campaign Medal and three Unit Citations. His first air medal was the DFC awarded
by General Westmoreland, for plucking Moroccans from roof tops as they were
being washed away.
Ernest is an American hero. He was a proud member of the Solo Pilots
Association, DUSTOFF Association, VFW, the Masons, and the Zion Church of
Christ. He retired in 1980 and had a long fun retirement with his third wife
Around 2001 he was diagnosed with emphysema and dealt with it well for the
last 12 year. Combined with other health issues it took his life at the young
age of 78.
My dad was a great guy who took great care of everyone he let into his life
and was a fair man whose handshake and word was as good as gold. I would love to
tell some of his stories of chopping up tree limbs with the rotor blades of his
Bell H-13 while plucking wounded rangers from a cliff in Korea or having to hop
away from danger in his Huey way over loaded for its power. Thank you dad for
the thousands of children, grand children and great grand children who would
never have been if not for you and your helicopter. I hope some way they know
what was given and from whom. Tim French
Thomas Osborn filed his last flight plan on 10 June 2013. He was born at home in
Owensburg, IN, on 28 Nov 1934, the seventh child of Verdie and Susie Strosnider
Osborn. He attended the old Owensburg elementary school, graduated from Oolitic
High School in 1952, and was valedictorian of his graduating class. His
classmates honored him with the Outstanding Alumnus award at his 50th high
school reunion. He attended Indiana University and Incarnate Word in San Antonio
where he received a BA in 1971. In 1974, he received a Masters in Health Care
Administration from Baylor University.
Osborn joined the Army and was trained as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot,
shipping out from Fort Sam Houston with the 498th Air Ambulance Company, the
first such company deployed to Vietnam, in 1965. Osborn's copter was shot down
once, in the last month of his second tour of duty. He was rescued but suffered
wounds to his left arm that required more than a year of rehabilitation at the
old Brooke Army Medical Center.
His military awards include Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars with
Oak Leaf Clusters and V device, Purple Heart, Air Medal 1 - 18 with Oak Leaf
Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, two awards of
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Medals, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device, Army
Commendation Medal, Korean In Hun Medal. He flew Medevac for 18 years and was
proud of the fact that he helped save many lives.
He was a member of several organizations including The Military Order of the
Purple Heart, American Legion, Disabled Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
He was a member of the VFW Honor Guard for many years.
David Lee Fenstermacher
earned his private pilot's license while in college, and chose to serve his
country by joining the U.S. Army during the buildup of the Vietnam War. He
served with the First Air Cavalry as a Medical Service Corps helicopter pilot,
flying wounded soldiers from the battle zone to hospital ships off the coast. In
April of 1968 his helicopter came under fire on a medevac mission, and he was
wounded. After medical evacuation to Japan and several surgeries, he spent long
months recovering at Fort Gordon. He later was cross-trained in the CH-47
Chinook twin-rotor helicopter and flew medical coverage for the flight school at
Mineral Wells, Texas. His medals included the Purple Heart, and he was medically
retired at the rank of Captain.
Following his military service, David earned an M.B.A. degree in management
from the University of Mississippi and later a master's degree in health
administration from Georgia State University. He and his family then returned to
Augusta where he served more than 25 years in hospital administration at
Walter M. Harris
Walt passed 3 June 2013. He flew over 600 hours in Vietnam, was awarded 20 Air
Medals and a Distinguished Flying Cross. He served in all four areas of military
service in his lifetime. Army, Guard, Air Force and Navy. He had many friends
through the Dustoff Association and spoke often of his friends and the
Edward J. "Pat" Brogan, Jr.
72, has returned to the “all Healing Hands” of the Lord. Pat retired from
the U.S. Army Special Forces having served in Germany twice, Thailand and
multiple tours in Vietnam.
Pat was born September 18th 1938 in Tampa, a seventh generation “Cracker”.
His eternal PCS was March 6th, 2011 at Mease Countryside Hospital. Pat
fought a courageous battle with COPD for the last 8 years his final with the
assistance of Hospice in his home.
Pat served with the 77th Special Forces Company, the 46th Special Forces
Company and the 5th, 7th and 10th Groups. In Vietnam he was in III Corp and
II Corp Mike Force, as well as MACV-SOG. He served as an instructor in the
Advanced Training Committee teaching HALO, SCUBA, and Skyhook. He was a
member of the U.S. Army Parachute Team that pre-dated what is now known as
the Golden Knights. He was a member of the Trojan Parachute team in Bad
Toelz, Germany in the 1950’s. He spent a tour at Ft. Carson, CO. on the
Mountain Rescue Team and as a flight paramedic in the M.A.S.T Unit. While
with M.A.S.T, he and his crew flew over 100 search and rescue sorties
evacuating survivors of the Big Thompson Canyon flood that claimed 250
lives. They flew round the clock missions for 72 hours straight.
Before retiring, his final assignment was in Bad Toelz, Germany, running
the Special Forces Europe Parachute Center. He was the Area Safety Officer
and was responsible for organizing several international military free-fall
competitions. He and his wife Joyce turned the Parachute Center into a
“family” friendly center teaching dependents of the soldiers how to enjoy
the sport of parachuting. In the two and a half years he ran the center
there were no major injuries or fatalities because of his insistence on
After 20 plus years of service, Pat retired in 1979. Six months later he
was in Dallas, Texas for a job interview with H. Ross Perot. He eventually
was assigned as a bodyguard to the Perot family, but he finally decided the
80 to 90 hours a week was worth having a house and horses on one of Perot’s
During his military career he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal,
Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service
Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 7 stars, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with
palm, Bronze Star with “V” device, Air Medal, Joint Service Commendation
Medal with “v” device, He was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Master
Parachutist Wings, Royal Thai Army Jump Wings, Scuba Diver Badge, Free-fall
Jump Wings, Skyhook.
William Arlin Campbell
COL William A. Campbell, Army retired, of Destin, Florida, passed away 19
Sep 12 at the age of 82. COL Campbell was retired after having served 25
years in the US Army. He was the hospital administrator at Fitzsimmons Army
Medical Center in Denver, CO. He served in Vietnam as a medical evacuation
helicopter pilot. COL Campbell’s last assignment in the Army was at Tripler
Army Medical Center on the Island of Oahu, HA.
William "Bill" Briot
"Bill" Briot, resident of Tillamook, passed away at RiverBend Hospital in
Springfield on December 12, 2012 at the age of 82. Bill was born in Portland on
October 13, 1930 to William and Mabel (Steffen) Briot.
Bill attended schools in Vernonia and Portland, and graduated from Franklin High
School in 1948. He was graduated from the University of Oregon in 1953 with a
degree in Health & Physical Education and was in the ROTC.
Bill began his military career with the U.S. Army in 1953 as a member of the
Medical Service Corps. Within two years he had trained to be a helicopter pilot,
following which he became a flight instructor in several helicopter training
disciplines. Bill served one year in Vietnam as a Medevac Pilot. His dedication
to service and saving lives earned Bill a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the
Distinguished Flying Cross, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry, the Army Commendation Medal and 18 Air Medals.
Upon retirement from the Army in 1973, Bill worked as an Executive Officer for
the Lane County Home Builders' Association, until 1980.
In later years, Bill was a performer in stage shows at the Tillamook Association
for the Performing Arts. He was a lifetime member of the Dustoff Association, an
organization for those who served in the U.S. Army in Medevac.
William A. Willcox
William Arthur Willcox, US Army (Ret), passed away on Tuesday, December 18,
2012 at the age of 83.
For over 25 years, he proudly served his country in the US Army MSC as one
of the first Helicopter Ambulance Pioneer, known as the
Solopilot in Korea
and then as one of the first Dustoff pilots in Vietnam.
Bill’s life made a lasting impact on his family and on the people who knew
him. He will be remembered as an extremely intelligent, highly energetic
individual and devoted to his family.
He was an exceptional man who touched the lives of all who knew him.
Joseph I. Martin Jr.
LTC (Ret) Joseph I. Martin Jr., of Enterprise, AL passed away Saturday,
December 8, 2012 at Medical Center Enterprise. He was 85.
He was born February 24, 1927 in Des Moines, IA to the late Major General
Joseph I. Martin Sr. and Margaret Shander Martin. He was graduated from West
High School in Rockford, IL and earned a BS Degree from the University of
Illinois and a MA degree from Baylor University.
He entered the US Army in 1944 and served during WWII, Korean, and Vietnam
wars. He served for 24 years earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, received
many awards and medals, including the Purple Heart, and was a member of the
DUSTOFF Association. He served as Administrator of Army Lyster hospital at Ft.
Rucker. While at Ft. Rucker, he volunteered for 20 years teaching in the
Edward Michael Fisher
Michael Fisher, 71, of West Dundee, passed away at St. Alexius Hospital on Oct.
21 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was a decorated Army DUSTOFF
helicopter pilot who flew with the 498th Medical Company (AA) in Vietnam and was
awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star with V device, 15 Air
Medals, and the Combat Medic Badge.
Dean Petersen, 67, passed away 20 Sep 12 in a convalescent hospital in San
Andreas CA, after a long battle with cancer. Dean was born 13 Jan 45 in Hayward
CA and joined the Marine Corp Reserve after graduating High School and
eventually enlisted in the US Army WOC Aviation program graduating with class
67-1/67-3. Dean was assigned to the 45th Medical Co (AA) which was forming at Ft
Bragg NC and arrived in Vietnam in Jul 67. Dean flew with the 45th until the
571th Medical Det (RA) arrived in Vietnam in Dec 67. Dean was one of the more
accomplished pilots who was transferred to the 571st allowing it to become fully
operational on 2 Jan 68.
After Vietnam Dean became an instrument instructor at Ft Rucker until
his Honorable Discharge and then joined the CA NG and was an Instrument Examiner
until he left to pursue other aviation interests. Dean entered the Catholic
Church a few days before he died and the Priest later told me that Dean had left
a profound impact on his life. I believe Dean left a profound impact on everyone
that knew him well. “Dean Petersen may you rest in peace”.
Ronald Thomas Tweed
Warrant Officer II (RET) and Silver Star recipient Ronald Tweed passed away, 12
July 2012 in Winston, Oregon.
Eric Williams, 27, of Murrieta, CA, was in-transit from his duty station in
Ghazni Province, Afghanistan to re-deploy to the United States when he was
killed. He was assigned to Company C, 3-82 General Support Aviation Battalion,
82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division. He was killed 23 July 2012
when the Forward Operating Base he was on came under enemy fire in Logar
“Our deepest condolences go out to the entire Williams family during this time
of great sadness,” said COL T.J. Jamison, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade
commander, of Broken Arrow, OK. “Eric was a valued member of the Task Force
Pegasus family, and his memory as a great medic and Soldier who always put
others before himself will not be forgotten.”
Williams entered the U.S. Army in 2007, completing basic training at Fort
Benning, GA. He completed advance individual training at Fort Sam Houston, TX,
earning military occupational specialty 68W, Healthcare Specialist, later that
year. This was Williams’ second deployment. He previously served a 14-month
deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008-2009 as a combat medic.
“He was always on his game,” said SGT Cormac Chandler, a Medevac crewchief who
served with Williams, and native of Murfreesboro, TN. “Will always kept his
cool, which in turn helped me keep my cool, and he never quit. That was the
caliber of his personality. That is who he was.”
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the
Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Valor and one bronze oak leaf
cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Good
Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign
Medal with one Campaign Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars,
the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas
Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Medical Badge, and the Combat Action
is with great sadness to announce the passing of my uncle SP5 Kevin Dale of
Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kevin served with the 57th Medevac “Original Dustoff”
for 21 months in Vietnam. Like many of his crewmembers before him, Kevin succumb
to his long battle with cancer at age 60 and departed on his final mission at
16:30 30 JULY 2012, joining fellow members such as Kevin Donoghue, Mike Novosel
Jr., and many more.
Kevin trained as an aircraft crew chief on the UH-1 Huey helicopter at age
17, and was stationed in Savanna, GA until he turned 18, thus went on to Vietnam
where he joined the 57th MED which was co-located with the 82nd MED in 1970. He
extended to stay in Vietnam for a total of 21 months completing many missions
with the men he loved to serve with.
He returned to Minnesota and entered college in law enforcement and was hired
as a police officer by Spring Lake Park, MN Nov 01, 1973 at the age of 21. He
was an officer with Spring Lake Park Police, Blaine Police returned to Spring
Lake Park when he retired with 20 years of Police service. Kevin was the husband
of Melinda Dale, Father of Ryan Dale and Molly Dale Hakko, Grandfather of Robert
Dale and a friend to many.
Kevin made it to DUSTOFF reunions in the past few years but was too sick to
attend the last one, although he told me he really tried to make it. Later in my
life I ended up serving as a DUSTOFF pilot in Iraq and it only brought my uncle
Kevin and me closer; we talked and shared stories. I helped him get in touch
with old friends on Web sites such as the Dustoff.org where he could connect -
it meant the world to him in his later years. Kevin was suffering greatly in
these last few years with not only the cancer but with his thoughts. I’m
grateful to know the suffering is over and he is at peace. It pains me to write
this because I miss him so vey much, but I wanted to let the DUSTOFF community,
and maybe his old friends, that he is at peace now. I love you Kevin; I miss
Jason K Wright
CW4, US Army
Former Dustoff , 498th MED (AA) 2003 Iraq
Avery M. Rogers
(R) Avery M. Rogers of Hot Springs, departed this good life for a better one on
15 Feb 12. Avery was born in Manilla, AR, on 19 Sep 30.
He joined the U.S. Army in 1947 and was assigned to the Army Navy Hospital
(currently known as the Arkansas Rehabilitation Center) in Hot Springs, AR.
There, he met the love of his life, Betty Hicks, a student nurse at St. Joseph’s
Hospital. They married in 1950 and began their 61-year journey, which included
four children, three grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and assignments around
LTC Rogers served in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, where he served as a
Dustoff Helicopter Medevac pilot, rescuing hundreds of wounded from hostile
territory in Vietnam. He retired in 1970 and started his career in real estate
sales and development.
Roger R. Smith
(R) Roger R. Smith, 66, of San Antonio, TX died at his home on Jan 30, 12 after
a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was born September 22, 1945 in Shelbyville, Illinois to Lois M. and James E.
Smith, Sr. He is survived by his high school sweetheart of 48 years, Donna, who
resides in San Antonio, TX.
Roger was a retired Command Sergeant Major in the U. S. Army. He enlisted May
11, 1965 right after attending Riverside City College and served at Ft. Ord, CA;
Ft. Campbell, KY; Ft. Bragg, NC; Tripler AMC, HI; Ft. Sam Houston, TX; Sergeants
Major Academy, Ft. Bliss, TX; Ft. Polk, LA; Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia;
Heidelberg, Germany; Fitzsimmons AMC, Denver, CO; William Beaumont AMC, and Ft
Bliss, TX where he retired Feb 1, 98.
His earned the Master Parachutist Badge, the Expert Field Medical Badge, the
Expert Marksmanship Badge, the Expert Hand Grenade Badge and the Order of
Military Medical Merit.
Following his retirement, he dedicated his life to training, inspiring and
mentoring soldiers throughout the world. He was a life member of the 82nd and
101st Airborne Divisions, DUSTOFF Association, and the NCOA. He was a member of
the American Legion and the Ft. Sam Houston Golf Course Club and supported the
Veterans of Foreign Wars, USO and Fisher House.
Cephus Lee Roupe
Lee Roupe passed away on 2 Mar 12 of natural causes at his home in Salado, TX
(just outside Fort Hood, TX). According to reports, he had officially retired on
28 Feb 2012. Lee proudly served his country in the U.S. Army for 36 years and
had moved to Salado three years ago from Las Vegas, NV.
Lee was a product of the current generation of Medical Service Corps aviators.
He was a stellar performer, leader, and mentor to everyone he came in contact
with. He was a former Warrant Officer who received a direct appointment to the
Medical Service Corps and was qualified in the UH-1, AH-1, UH-60, T-42, U-21,
and C-12 aircraft. He was one of the most experienced MSC aviators. He was a
Master Army Aviator and a combat veteran of Operation Desert Storm, Bosnia, Iraq
(2 tours), and Afghanistan.
Gary W. Gaston
Gary W. Gaston, U.S. Army, Ret., age 67 of Biloxi, died Thursday, Feb 2, 12 in
He was born in Cuxhaven, Germany and came to the United States at a very early
age. He went to flight school in 1967 and went to Vietnam in 1968. Gary was
injured in a crash flying DUSTOFF in 1968 while flying with the 498th Medical
Company. He did not fly after the crash but stayed in the Medical Service Corps
specializing in NBC. He distinguished himself with military service to his
country in the U. S. Army and retired after completing 27 years of duty. He
earned both the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star as a medevac helicopter pilot in
He was the past president of the Biloxi Kiwanis Club, as well as a
commissioner for the Coast Transit Authority and Biloxi Taxi Cab board.
Jeffery F. Greene
Jeffery F. Greene, U.S. Army (Ret.), 65, passed away on Thursday, January 13,
2012, in San Antonio. He was born in Phoenix, AZ, on March 9, 1946. A Vietnam
War veteran and a world-class father, Jeffery was also an avid sportsman and
fisherman. He had many friends who loved him and will miss him dearly.
John W. Hammett Sr
John W. Hammett Sr.
John W. Hammett Sr., known by his family and friends as Bill, born in
Shreveport, Louisiana passed away at age 89 on Wednesday, Nov 30, 2011. Bill
will be remembered by all as a consummate southern gentleman. His courage,
natural mischievousness and legendary sense of adventure and daring defined his
demeanor and were readily captured in his childhood nickname "Wild Bill". Bill
Hammett lived large. Yet despite his larger than life escapades, Bill was a kind
and gentle man - generous with his affection and quick to extend a hand. He
walked through life with equal ease and confidence, finding lifelong friends in
every step. He was one of those rare men so comfortable in his own skin that his
very presence made everyone around him comfortable too.
At just 17 years old with a signed permission slip from his father in his
pocket, Bill traveled to Montreal, Canada to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air
Force prior to the U.S. entrance into World War II. Once he qualified to fly
Lockheed Hudson Bombers, Hurricanes and Spitfire fighters, Bill flew with the
British Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain over France and was shot down
and rescued in the English Channel during the Battle of Dunkirk. From 1940 to
1942, he was credited with shooting down 3 German planes.
After Pearl Harbor in 1942, Bill returned home to serve in the U.S. Army Air
Corps flying light aircraft in combat over Africa and Italy. As an artillery
spotter, Bill would fly over enemy lines deliberately drawing fire in order to
identify and direct return artillery fire on enemy positions.
At the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, his education was interrupted when
he was recalled to service attending Instrument Flight School in Kansas;
Helicopter School in Texas; and Advanced Helicopter School in Oklahoma. Bill
served 18 months in combat in Korea - first with the 25th Infantry Division;
then assigned to the MASH in Korea as their Air Officer; and ultimately as
Commanding Officer of Korea's first Helicopter Ambulance Detachment which hauled
over 6,000 critically wounded soldiers during the fighting. As a solo pilot,
Bill was a member of an elite group of military aviators who brought rotary wing
ambulances into a battlefield environment. Known for their courage, commitment
and innovation, Bill was among a handful of pioneer aviators who flew solitary
missions in primitive helicopters lacking navigational aids and limited to
external litter carrying capabilities. Being a solo pilot meant flying at low
altitudes over mountainous terrain to land at unlighted, unmarked sites within
range of enemy fire. Flying at night was particularly dangerous. Bill flew so
many night flights, he was nicknamed Captain Midnight by the MASH crew. It was
these repeated aerial missions to evacuate wounded soldiers and downed pilots
that earned Bill multiple medals for heroic action in Korea. More importantly,
the tactical importance of air ambulances in battlefield emergency medical care
would go on to save thousands of American lives over the next 50 years in places
like Lebanon, Vietnam, Bosnia Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan thanks to solo pilots
- brave, resourceful Army aviators like Bill Hammett.
At the end of the Korean War, Bill trained medical helicopter pilots at Fort
Sam Houston; served as a test pilot at Fort Rucker, Alabama; served three years
in the Surgeon General's Office in Washington, D.C.; attended Command General
Staff College; and spent three years in Germany as a Command and Staff Officer.
Six months after returning from Europe, Bill was sent to Vietnam in 1966. Flying
medical helicopter missions and serving as the Operations and Aviation Officer
of the only medical brigade in the country, Bill controlled 124 medical units in
Vietnam consisting of over 9000 medical troops from Surgical and Evacuation
Hospitals to Air and Ground Ambulance units. During this time, he flew more than
25 combat missions in direct support of tactical units under hostile fire.
During his long military career, Bill earned the Legion of Merit in Vietnam,
Distinguished Flying Cross in Korea, Bronze Stars in both Korea and Italy, as
well as numerous other air medals, campaign ribbons, and decorations.
Bill retired in 1973 after 30 years of military service and started another
career as Chief of Field Services for the State of Georgia's Emergency Medical
System. Over the next 20 years - using his extensive military medical evacuation
experience and knowledge - Bill was recognized for being instrumental in
organizing and improving the Georgia Emergency Medical System that exists today.
John W. Hill III
John Washburn Hill, III died on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 in Atlanta,
He was born in Norfolk, Virginia on January 8, 1943, the son of Virginia
Sakakini Hill and Ralph William Hill. He is survived by his wife of almost 46
years, Carol Ann Dunton Hill of Sandy Springs, Georgia, and his daughter Dr.
Jenna Catherine Hill of Conway, South Carolina.
Mr. Hill was a 1961 graduate of Granby High School and a 1965 graduate of
Virginia Military Institute. He also completed a masters degree from the
University of Southern California. He served in the U.S. Army for 4 years on
active duty as a DUSTOFF pilot and then a full career as an Army reservist,
reaching the rank of Colonel. He settled in Atlanta in 1971 where he worked for
the State of Georgia for almost 30 years, primarily as Chief Pilot for the
Department of Natural Resources.
Charles H. (Skip) Champion, Jr.
67, of Marietta, GA passed away Tuesday, November 1, 2011. A native of Tate, GA.
and a Vietnam veteran, Col. Champion retired from the US Army in 1996 after 30
years of service to our country.
James F. Walker
suffering a debilitating illness Col. James Walker died on October 10, 2011. He
last resided in Air Force Village II in San Antonio, Texas. James was born in El
Paso, Texas and attended California Military Academy (1944-1945), Boise High
School (1946-1949), and New Mexico Military Institute (1949-1953). James served
with the US Army Medical Corps from 1953-1986. He was a
solo helicopter pilot
during the Korean Conflict as well as a veteran of the Vietnam War. Col.
Walker was a highly decorated officer who devoted his life to serving his
country. James retired to Ephrata, Washington in 1985 where he enjoyed his
retirement hunting and fishing and being with his family and friends. He was a
very lovable, gentle, and kind-hearted person with a great sense of humor and
compassion for everyone around him.
Floyd Ray Burchett
Burchett, 65, of Battle Ground, died at his residence on Thursday, September 8,
2011, after a lengthy illness. He was born on May 13, 1946, in Tippecanoe
County, was graduated from Battle Ground High School in 1964, and Purdue
University in 1968. Ray was attending The Ohio State University School of
Physical Therapy when drafted into the Army in 1969. He later earned his
Master’s Degree from Webster University of St. Louis, MO and was an Honor
Graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS.
While assigned to the US Army Special Forces at Ft Bragg, NC, he was tendered
appointment into the Medical Service Corps to attend rotary wing flight school,
which he accepted. After graduating from flight school, he was assigned to
aeromedical evacuation pilot duties in Vietnam where he earned several awards,
including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal for Valor, and the
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. Ray was rated in both
helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, was awarded Master Aviator Wings from the
Army and earned his multi-engine (land), commercial instrument rating from the
In addition to his tour in Vietnam, Ray served in various command and staff
positions at many locations throughout the continental United States and Korea.
He retired from the Army in 1988. A short time later Ray accepted an
administrative position at Purdue University, from which he retired in 2003. Ray
was a lifetime member of the DUSTOFF Association for medical evacuation pilots
and crewmembers, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the American Legion,
and the Disabled American Veterans Association.
Robert 'Brian' Cowdrey
Sergeant Robert 'Brian' Cowdrey was killed on October 13 while serving with the
3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division in Kunar
Province, Afghanistan. According to his wife Jill, he was on a mission treating
patients when he came under enemy fire.
Brian was serving his fourth deployment in a combat zone. Prior deployments were
Operation Iraqi Freedom 2004/2005, Operation Enduring Freedom 2007/2008, and
Operation Enduring Freedom 2009/2010.
He loved his job, and he loved his family. To say he impacted the lives of
countless people is an understatement. To some, he swooped down from the sky to
rescue them on the worst day of their lives. To others, he provided inspiration
through his career of compassionate and courageous dedication. One of his three
sons has followed in his father's footsteps and is currently serving in Germany.
To all three of them, he has been a Dad - and a Hero. To his friends, his faith,
enthusiasm and caring nature were a joy. And to his wife, he was a loving
partner and best friend.
Thomas Daniel Casey, U.S. Army (ret.) passed away September 26, 2011 in
Floresville, TX at the age of 74. He was born in New York City, NY to Edward &
Vera Casey on December 27, 1936. Tom was graduated from Omaha University where
he married Barbara. He entered the service 1961, and retired in 1981.
Tom Casey was a combat medical evacuation helicopter pilot (Dustoff) serving our
nation in Vietnam. He recruited pilots into the Army Medical Department aviation
program. U.S. awards included the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal,
thirteen Air Medals, Meritorious Unit Commendation, combat Medical Badge and
Master Army Aviator Badge. His qualifications included both fixed wing (Mohawk)
and helicopter instrument. Tom flew crash-rescue helicopters (Flatiron) at the
Army Aviation Center. He served two tours in Korea. He was a graduate of the
Army's Command and General Staff College.
In the 1980's Tom was a pilot for the Texas Governor's Office.
Lee 'Tex" Westbrook
Lee 'Tex' Westbrook, CW2 (Ret), passed away Friday evening, July 22, 2011
after a long battle with cancer and other ailments. He was buried at the
Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery with full military honors.
Lee attended Flight Class 67-19 and flew two tours in Vietnam, the second with
the 57th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) in 1971-72. He was a
president of the Fort Wolters Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot's
Association (VHPA) and his military awards included the Meritorious Service
Medal, 24 Air Medals, 3 Bronze Stars, the Vietnamese Service Medal, and
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.
Robert Andrew Stroud
Andrew Stround, 67, of Burleson, Texas, went to be with the Lord on Saturday,
June 18, 2011. Robert proudly served his country as a Chief Warrant Officer
helicopter pilot in Vietnam with the 82nd Medical Detachment (Helicopter
Ambulance) in 1973-1975.
Richard Michael Levy
Michael Levy passed away on June 14, 2012, in Lutz, Florida. He was a Vietnam
veteran with over 22 years of service to the Army. He was awarded the Purple
Heart, Distinguished Flying Cross, Army commendation Medal for Valor, Master
Army Aviator Badge, 43 Air Medals, and three overseas bars. Richard was a proud
member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. He flew in Vietnam under
the call sign DUSTOFF 82 with the 82nd Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance)
in 1967-68 and the 247th Medical Detachment (Helicopter Ambulance) in 1969.
Michael R. Nice
a brief battle with cancer, Michael R. Nice, born on October 5, 1949 went to be
with the Lord on September 7, 2011. Mike was graduated from Wasson High School
in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970. He was a helicopter air
ambulance pilot in the Vietnam War and flew as Dustoff 11 in the 45th Medical
Company (Air Ambulance).
Emory "Sarge" Messersmith
On April 5, 2011 Emory (Sarge) Messersmith peacefully left this life to
continue his journey on the next plane of existence. He is a man that will be
missed by the many lives he has touched. Emory spent his life living the life
most people only dream about. He has been a real estate broker, a cowboy, a
reptile expert at Silver Springs, Florida, and most recently a student and
teacher at Smith's Tae Kwon Do. He most enjoyed teaching and watching each
student grow. During his last days, these memories were often on his mind.
He was a Vietnam veteran that flew with the 498th & 237th Meds and who was
very proud of his service and of his country. He was a generous man with an
infectious smile and a great sense of humor and will be missed by all who had
the pleasure of knowing him.
Tommy Ralph Jacks
Ralph Jacks, age 69, devoted husband, loving father and generous friend, left
his earthly body Wednesday, July 6, 2011 after a long battle with Parkinson's.
A distinguished Vietnam veteran and retired Army sergeant first class and civil
servant, Tom was very knowledgeable on the repair of DUSTOFF helicopters and
kept them in the air so we could do our jobs.
Tom was honored with the bronze star for meritorious service, the meritorious
service medal, air medal with 2nd oak leaf cluster, and the army commendation
ribbon with one oak leaf cluster. He received the Vietnam service medal with 11
Joseph M. Kralich
M. Kralich, 62, of Pueblo, passed away May 9, 2011. Joe honorably served in the
U.S. Army: 196th LIB, 101st Airborne. Joe was buried at Fort Sam Houston
National Cemetery on 19 May 2011.
He went by many different names - depending on the mood he was in on a given
day: Joe, Joseph Michael, Kra-litch, Jose', Bo Valdez, Crazy Joe, Gin Buddy, but
the one that he liked most of all that suited him best as Joe-Doc. While it's
not always true a Man is what he does, for Joe, it was. Joe was a Doc and a Doc
was who he was as well as what he did. He was in the Army for six years and a
medic for the entire time after basic and advanced training.
He know well the Combat Medic Prayer. "If I am called to the battlefield,
give me the courage to conserve our fighting forces by providing medical care to
all who are in need. If I am called to a mission of peace, give me the strength
to lead by caring for those who need my assistance."
He was capable of being any one of his aliases, personae, A.K.A.'s and with
his ever-changing affect and effect an mercurial mind-set, he never really knew
what or who to expect whenever we encountered him - but the one guaranteed
constant was never-changing was that he would always be Joe-Doc.
Robert Douglas McWilliam
passed into Heaven at the age of 79 years. Bob was born and raised in Woodland,
CA and was graduated from the University of California Pharmacy School in 1954.
He joined the Army and decided to become a helicopter ambulance pilot,
eventually rising to the rank of Colonel. Robert was a member of the
whose members routinely flew hazardous missions (1952-1959) in underpowered
helicopters lacking navigational aids and limited to external litter carrying
capability. These pioneer aviators performed, unaided, all ambulance duties;
pilot, copilot, medic, and crewchief. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam,
the last one as commander of the renowned 54th Medical Detachment in Chu Lai in
1967-1968. He had deep pride and appreciation for the men and their
Bob went on to become a hospital administrator with a Masters degree from
Baylor University. He served in Europe and many areas of the US during his
30-year Army career, including his favorite three year tour in Hawaii. After
retirement Bob studied art at UTSA and became a well-known kaleidoscope maker,
showcasing his talent with hardwood and stained glass.
Bob and his wife of 54 years, Patricia, enjoyed traveling around the US and
Canada, seeing new places and learning new things. Bob had a great fondness for
the western mountains and he spent many summers backpacking and fly fishing in
wilderness areas of Montana and whitewater rafting the rivers of the US and
Canada. This was done with family and friends from his childhood, giving him
much pleasure. Bob was a loving husband to his wife, Pat, and devoted father to
his two wonderful sons, Michael R. and John D. McWilliam and his wife Donna. He
loved spending time with his two grandchildren, Bailey and Michael, and had
started to show them the delights of camping and rafting.
Bob was beloved by his family, his friends and by the men who served with
him. He was always positive, caring and could find good in anyone. He readily
admitted he had enjoyed a wonderful and fulfilling life.
Tim Haven Bates III
Bates III, 60, died peacefully on 23 December, 2010 in Hiawatha after a long
battle with cancer. Tim was born 14 May 1950 in Omaha, Nebraska. He was
graduated from Flight School in Flight Class 71-7 and served his country with
distinction as a Medevac helicopter pilot in the Army from 1970 to 1990. He
obtained the grade of Chief Warrant Officer 3 during his military career and was
awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and 20 Air Medals for his heroism while
flying in Vietnam.
Jim Morasch's car was hit last month in north Franklin County, his family sat at
his bedside and hoped for "a perfect ending." But sadly, the longtime Tri-Cities
Airport director couldn't overcome the severity of his injuries and died Feb. 3.
Saturday, his son Adam Morasch told about 400 family, friends and colleagues
that his dad now "is in a better place." He described his father as
"compassionate, caring, kind, generous, a little ornery at times but, most
important, he was loving.
A celebration of life was held for Jim Morasch, 68, in a new hangar just up the
road from his office of 30 years. Outside the large building, several members of
ACES, or American Citizens Encouraging Support, stood in the parking lot with
American flags. Inside, government officials and business and community leaders
from across the Northwest gathered for the 45-minute service to recognize
Morasch's many successes. The stories spanned decades: Morasch's childhood in
Colfax and a failed attempt to fly off the garage roof with homemade wings; his
days as a Dustoff pilot flying rescue missions in Vietnam; his career as an
airport director helping Pasco's facility expand to meet the growing needs of
travelers; and his volunteer work on community boards and organizations.
Jim served in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps as a DUSTOFF pilot from
1967-1970. He flew DUSTOFF in Vietnam, June 1968-June 1969, with the 498th Air
Ambulance at Lane Army Heliport. He was discharged with the rank of Captain.
"We knew Jim as the master of the airport," said Port of Pasco Commissioner Bill
Clark. There wasn't a foot of wire, a screw, a bolt or a light that Morasch
didn't know about at the facility, he said. Morasch's amazing strength was his
ability to think clearly in all levels of his life, along with his temperament,
sense of decorum and nerves of steel, Clark said. Morasch got his pilot's
license before his driver's license. "I was envious of his flying career and
knowledge of aviation," he said.
Dave Parhalo was another Dustoff pilot who met Morasch in March 1967. He flew
out from Florida for Saturday's service. "Jim was a great person, a great friend
and a great pilot and I will miss him," Parhalo told the crowd before he was
overcome with emotion.
Berriochoa gave Launa Morasch a flag that his son, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dan
Berriochoa with the Army, recently flew for 12 hours in Afghanistan in tribute
to Jim Morasch. Before taps was played and Army personnel presented an American
flag to the family, Adam Morasch recalled his dad's favorite saying from the
movie Madagascar. "Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave," he quoted. "Dad,
we are all smiling and looking back at you, buddy."
Edward A. Haswell
A. Haswell was born January 6, 1935, in Mansfield, MO., to Harold A. and Mildred
I. Haswell who preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Marguerite, of
57 years and their four children, Edward A., Harold J., Corinne Haswell Fines
and her husband David, and Jeffery L. and his wife Veronica. He had 13
grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren.
He retired from the U. S. Army in 1986 after 30 years of meritorious service, as
a Dustoff Aviator in United States, Korea, Germany and Vietnam. His last
assignment was as the Medical Logistics and Projects Officer for the new Brook
Army Medical Center during the early design phase.
In lieu of flowers please donate to the
Program, the soldiers he dedicated his life to.
Frederick W. Ruckhaber
Frederick W. Ruckhaber born in Kenosha, WI, in 1949, was graduated from
Bradford High School in Kenosha and attended the College of Lake County in IL.
He was a highly decorated soldier in the U.S. Army from 1967-1970 where he
served in Vietnam and received the Silver Star, Bronze Star V, and Vietnamese
Cross of Gallantry.
He then served as a police officer for the City of Highland Park from 1970-2000,
and subsequently retired in Wautoma, WI, with his wife, Jeanette, and his
hunting dog, Millie. He was an avid hunter and fisherman, and wonderful husband
Kenneth Wayne Livengood Sr.
Mr. Kenneth Wayne Livengood Sr. went to be with his Lord and Savior on
Wednesday, December 1, 2010.
He was born on July 8, 1942 in High Point, NC to the late Howard Franklin
Livengood and Edith White Livengood. He was graduated from High Point High
School and ECPI. Mr. Livengood served his country during the Vietnam War as a
combat medic with DUSTOFF. He was the owner and President of Carved
Duplicator's, Ltd. until 1993, when it was sold.
Kenneth served as the coach of the first girl's soccer team at Trinity High
School. He also served on the Board of Christ for the Island World for many
years. Mr. Livengood was a faithful member of Mt. Olive Wesleyan Church, where
he served as Sunday School Superintendent and taught Bible Study.
After retirement Mr. Livengood loved to spend time with his family and
especially his grandchildren. He loved to play golf and tend to his fish pond.
Diggs CW4 (Ret.) of Ozark passed away Monday, October 4, 2010 at his home. He
was 65. Mr. Diggs was born July 27, 1945 in Beach Grove, Indiana and lived the
early years of his life in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mr. Diggs was a Medevac
chopper pilot with 54th DUSTOFF in Vietnam with over 8,000 hours of flying time.
Following his active duty he was a flight instructor at Ft. Rucker and served
with the 282nd "Black Cats" Reserve unit. He sponsored allied military flight
students while they were in flight school at Ft. Rucker. Mr. Diggs had a total
of 38 years of federal service when he retired on November 2, 2000. He owned and
operated the Village Inn of Newton for 22 years and was very active in the
community and held numerous Poker Runs for families with sick loved ones and for
community organizations. Mr. Diggs was a member of the American Legion and the
Keates, medic for the 571st out of Colorado and the 377th out of Seoul, has
passed from a heart attack in Alaska.
Jim remained in reserve status for many years moving to Alaska to work in their
Air Ambulance Program. Jim was also a Phys. Asst and a Nurse Practitioner in
He was a great medic, and a soldier who made his life so others may live.
Howard Huntsman, Jr.
a retired LTC from the Army's Medical Service Corps, Howard A. Huntsman, Jr.
died on August 22, 2010, at the age of 85. He entered the Army as a 2LT in July
of 1951 and became an Army aviator in July 1953. His overseas flight missions
were conducted in Korea, Germany, and Vietnam. As a rotary and fixed wing
qualified Senior Army Aviator, he retired on May 31, 1972. Prior to his Army
service he became a Marine Corps World War II combat veteran while serving in
the southwestern Pacific from August 1944 to November 1945.
Col Huntsman was a life member of VFW Post 8541; a charter and life member of
the DUSTOFF ASSN. and the AMEDD's
He was also a life member of America's premier fraternal organization of
military pilots - The Order of the Daedalions. Because of the fact that once you
are a Marine - you are always a Marine - he had requested military burial honors
include the United States Marine Corps.
Howard David Guthre
Howard David Guthre, U.S. Army (Ret), age 65 of Santa Rosa Beach, FL passed away
Thursday, July 7, 2010 at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast.
Mr. Guthre was a native of Hatfield, PA and was a resident of Santa Rosa
Beach, FL for the last 35 years. He was a proud veteran of the Vietnam War and
recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Dave proudly served his Country as
a DUSTOFF medic with the 82nd Medical Detachment in Vietnam and was 100%
disabled as a result of his service.
Brandon M. Silk
Brandon M. Silk, 25, died serving our country on June 21, 2010 in Afghanistan.
He was born on December 23, 1984, at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, the son of Mark A.
and Lynn M. (Ronan) Silk. From an early age, Brandon wanted to fly. His favorite
movie was "Top Gun." Brandon was a 2003 graduate of Orono High School having
transferred from Calais High School. At Orono, Brandon excelled in football and
track. His classmates gave him the nickname "Silky Smooth."
Following graduation, Brandon enlisted in the US Army. He
was a Black Hawk Crew Chief and a member of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort
Campbell, Kentucky. He was on his fourth tour of duty having served in Korea,
Iraq, and two tours in Afghanistan. Brandon loved hunting, fishing and the great
outdoors. His favorite colors were "Mossy Oak" and "Blaze Orange". He will be
remembered for his big personality, self-determination, self-confidence and
being so full of life. Brandon enjoyed music, playing the guitar, trivia,
following the Red Sox and Patriots, and riding motorcycles. Brandon loved Maine,
especially the family camp at Green Lake. Brandon especially appreciated Bob
Marley's interpretations of life in Maine. He loved being the "Crazy Mainer" in
his unit. Brandon loved his family, his friends, and fellow soldiers. He was
proud to serve with the men and women of the 101st Airborne Division.
Jon M. Belding
not cry for me, while my body has expired from pancreatic cancer, I live eternal
as my soul has gone to heaven. To all my friends and family, may you continue to
be blessed by the Lord and may you be a blessing unto others as you have been to
me. Thank you for making my life on earth a great experience. Please celebrate
my passing and know that I will be waiting to see you again when you arrive in
heaven. - Jon"
On May 24, 2010, Jon Michael Belding earned his wings after
65 years. His younger sister, Susan, was waiting for him when his soul entered
into heaven. He was not scared and he was happy to be reunited with his sister.
Jon was predeceased by his father, Jonethen Dean "J.D." Belding; his mother,
Edith Elaine Belding; and his sister, Susan Belding Saunders.
Jon was a graduate of Cradock High School, Class of 1962,
and attended the University of Richmond before he was drafted into the Army. He
was a Vietnam veteran who served from 1967-1968 with the 54th Med. Det. He was a
crewchief for UH-1H helicopters as well as an administrative assistant. He won
the Bronze Star with "V" for valor during his tour in Vietnam. He was a lifetime
member of the Dustoff Association.
Romines - also known as "Budgie" - died suddenly on Monday, March 29, 2010, at
the age of 67. Bob was born in Henderson, Texas, in 1942, and attended Carlisle
school his entire 12 years. He graduated in 1960, and attended Kilgore Junior
College and Stephen F. Austin University finally graduating from Stephen F.
Austin in 1970. Bob used to say he majored in "fraternity." Serving as President
of Delta Sigma Phi, Bob established lifelong friendships and enjoyed the annual
Bob joined the U.S. Army in May 1967. Upon graduation from flight training at
Fort Rucker, Alabama, in May of 1968, Budgie was assigned to the Republic of
Vietnam as a medical evacuation helicopter pilot. He spent a full year in
Vietnam where he flew over 1,000 hours, completed over 3600 combat missions and
evacuated almost 1,500 patients. Among his combat awards for heroism during his
Vietnam tour were the Distinguished Flying Cross and 30 awards of the Air Medal.
He was promoted to full Colonel in January 1992, and assigned to Fort Sam
Houston again later that year. Fort Sam Houston was Colonel Romines' last
assignment and he retired in January 1997, after a wonderful 29 years and 10
months serving our great United States in the U.S. Army.
Bob's military friendships were numerous and longstanding. A great patriot, an
unfailing friend, loving husband, devoted father and affectionate grandfather,
Bob will be greatly missed. Merle Snyder, Jere Foust, Nick Johnson, Lee Washburn
were some of Bob's closest friends. Merle and Bob served in Vietnam together and
made their dream of playing Ballybunion in Ireland a reality in 2006.
Quick-witted and quick-tempered, Bob was fondly known in the military as "Ragin'
Robert." He had the gift of gab and was a great storyteller.
Michael J. Novosel Jr.
by family, Michael "Mike" J. Novosel, Jr., Age 60, peacefully passed
away at his home in Shalimar on Thursday night, Dec. 10, 2009 after
being diagnosed with cancer a month earlier. Mike, Jr. was born on Nov.
19, 1949 to Michael and Ethel Novosel, who are both deceased.
Mike, Jr. is the only pilot to fly in the same helicopter unit with his
father in combat! He grew up around pilots and aircraft. As a teenager,
he took every opportunity to be down on the flight line. In 1968, at the
peak of the war in Southeast Asia, he was graduated from high school in
North Carolina and, at 19, enlisted in the Army. After basic training,
he reported to Fort Walters, Texas, for flight school and trained in the
same flight in which his father had served as a contract instructor
Mike, Jr. was graduated, received appointment to warrant officer one,
and earned his wings on Dec. 15, 1969. It was exactly 27 years after his
father had earned his wings! He volunteered for duty in Vietnam and,
when he arrived, requested assignment to the 82nd Medical Detachment.
With his father's approval, he joined the unit. His father gave him a
"dollar ride," an auto-rotation check, an "in-country" flight
evaluation, and then cleared Mike, Jr. to fly the Bell UH-1 "Huey." The
two Novosels suspended a normal father-son relationship for the next few
months, but, when Mike, Sr. completed his tour, his son flew him to the
departure processing base. In July 1970, Mike, Jr. became an aircraft
commander and inherited his father's call sign, "DUSTOFF 88."
In a year tour, he flew 1,736 missions, earned 37 air medals, and
rescued more than 2,500 allied airmen, sailors, and soldiers. He
returned to the States as a chief warrant officer (CWO-2), married
Margaret in 1971, and was assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C. After serving at
Pusan, Korea, he flew the "Huey" and the Bell OH-58 Kiowa with the 3rd
Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas. Posted to Fort Rucker,
Ala., Mike, Jr. earned an associate degree in Aviation Safety and then
went to the 377th Medical Detachment at Camp Walker, Korea. In 1981, he
returned to Fort Rucker as a flight instructor and earned a degree in
Professional Aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Next, he was Aviation Safety Officer for 2nd Infantry Division in Korea
and then became a classroom teacher and instructor pilot back at Fort
Rucker. After assignment to the 12th Aviation Brigade in Germany, Mike's
final duty was Installation Safety Officer at Fort Bragg; he retired as
a CWO-4 in 1991 with over 5,500 flying hours. In a varied second career,
he flew spotting missions for fishing fleets in the south Pacific, crop
dusted, and hauled timber. In 1991, Mike flew support for offshore oil
exploration and drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. With almost
11,000 hours, he piloted the Bell 407, a state-of-the-art machine, for
Air Logistics and later extended his wings to helping fellow veterans.
In 2008, Mike, Jr. started The Novosel Foundation to provide immediate
aid to Wounded Warriors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests
The Novosel Foundation in memory of the two Novosel men who
faithfully served their God and country.
James "Nick" Lynch
Nick died at age 72 on Monday, November 30, 2009. Nick was graduated
from Father Ryan High School, class of 1956, and M.T.S.U. in 1961; he
was a retired U. S. Army LTC, and served in the Army Medical Service
Corp as a Medevac pilot with two tours of duty in Vietnam. After his
retirement, he worked at the Metro Tax Assessor's office. Interment was
at Middle Tennessee Veterans Cemetery with Honorary Pallbearers members
of DUSTOFF Pilot's Association.
Army Staff Sgt. Shawn Henry McNabb of Terrell passed away while
protecting our nation’s freedom in Afghanistan on Oct. 26, 2009.
He was born May 14, 1985 in Dallas to David and Ann McNabb. Shawn
attended Terrell Public Schools and graduated from Terrell High School
in 2003. While in school he was active in sports, but his bravado,
talent and his love of both music and of the Terrell Tiger band was
demonstrated when he won many awards and was also selected to the All
Shawn had a thirst and passion for medicine and was preparing to attend
Physicians Assistant School. He was also a very proud Texan.
Stationed at Hunter Army Air Field in Savannah, Ga., McNabb was a
soldier in the 160th Special Operations Air Regiment (SOAR) serving in
the Third Battalion as an airborne combat flight medic. He received
numerous awards for his heroism, dedication, and meritorious service,
receiving the Bronze Star, the Air Medal x 1OLC, the Army Commendation
Medal with Valor posthumously. He was credited for saving the lives of
two other men while serving in Afghanistan.
Shawn can be seen as the flight medic in one of
Arrowhead's videos titled, "DUSTOFF
Huey Parker Lang
Lang (Ret), 77 of Meridian, died 21 Mar 09 at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical
Center, and will be greatly missed by his loving family.
Huey Lang was graduated from Meridian High School, the University of Southern
Mississippi with a Bachelor's Degree in History, and from the University of
Southern California with a Master's Degree in Systems Management. He served his
country well for 28 years as a member of the United States Army. LTC Lang served
two tours of duty in Vietnam as a DUSTOFF pilot and was credited with evacuating
approximately 6,000 wounded personnel. Upon retirement from the military, Mr.
Lang worked for the U S Postal Service for 13 years.
W. Wayne Welborn
Wayne Welborn, 66, of Raleigh, passed away Monday morning, April 27,
2009, as the result of a long-fought battle with diabetes. The son of
the late Margaret Talbert Welborn and Winfred Leroy Welborn, was born in
Greensboro and reared in Wake Forest, NC, where he lettered in three
sports and was active in ROTC.
Mr. Welborn will be remembered for his many accomplishments, as he
believed in setting big goals and achieving them with excellence. He was
an integral part of the Wake Forest University football team from
1960-64, and honorable season captain his senior year. He served in the
United States Army and Reserves (1965-70), and was a Captain and medevac
helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, where he received the Purple Heart
and the Distinguished Flying Cross, among other honors. His post-Army
career consisted of nearly 30 years in the pharmaceutical industry. He
served as a top-performing Sales Representative and District Manager for
Pfizer Inc., in the eastern U.S. region.
Robert A. Conley
21, 1947 - Sept. 18, 2008
Robert Conley was born on Jan. 21, 1947 at Cheverly, Maryland. His
parents were lly and Mary Eileen (Becker) Conley. Robert had been
employed with the railroad in Virginia and he worked as service officer
for the Government and traveled from state to state. He also made
guitars and violins for Gibson Guitars in Montana. Robert served two
tours of duty in the Army during the Vietnam War and he was a lobbyist
and ground breaker for the Vietnam War Memorial. He moved to Watkins in
1988 and was united in marriage to Janice (Walters) Kelly on March 18,
1989. Family was important to Robert and he especially enjoyed spending
time with his grandchildren.
Glen A. Melton
A. Melton (age 67) retired Major from the U.S. Army, passed away on
August 16 ,2008 at Select Specialty Hospital in Tallahassee, FL.
He was born in lsesburg, IL, was graduated from
Valley Senior High in Fairview, IL and received a B.S. from Illinois
State University and a master’s degree from BoHe was born in Galsesburg,
IL, was graduated from Valley Senior High in Fairview, IL and received a
B.S. from Illinois State University and a master’s degree from Boston
Major Melton had a warrior spirit but a humble and
compassionate heart. He honorably served a tour of duty as an
enlisted solider trained as a medical technician with the U.S. Army from
1962-64. In 1969 at the height of the Vietnam conflict, he volunteered
for the most dangerous of jobs; a medevac pilot in combat. From 1970-71
he served as a platoon leader with the 498th Medical Company,
flying the UH-1 “Huey” medevac helicopter.
In February of 1971 he was awarded the coveted
Distinguished Flying Cross for his courage after he volunteered for a
nighttime mission to rescue a badly wounded allied soldier. He
turned on his aircraft lights so he could see the treetops and then, as
he and his crew endured their enemies’ fire, hovered over the battle for
fifteen minutes as his crew lowered a forest penetrator through the
triple canopy jungle to retrieve the wounded soldier. During this
first tour he also earned the coveted Combat Medical Badge.
He volunteered for a second tour to Vietnam as a
medevac pilot and served again in 1972-73 as the executive officer and
then commanding officer of the 237th Medical Detachment.
During this tour he was awarded the Bronze Star. In addition to
the awards already listed he was also awarded 23 air medals for valor
and the Purple Heart.
After the Vietnam conflict ended he continued
serving our country on the front lines of the Cold War. Stationed
in West Germany, his luck with helicopters ended in June of 1976.
While landing at his base hospital after transporting an injured soldier
his medevac helicopter had an equipment malfunction which left it
uncontrollable and the aircraft plunged 150 feet into the ground.
He suffered a spine fracture and a permanent spinal cord injury which
left him partially paralyzed. In 1977 after months of hospitalization he
medically retired from the U.S. Army.
Refusing to let his horrific injuries restrict him
he bought a travel agency and continued traveling the world and spending
time with his family.
Glen was an active member of the DUSTOFF
Association, the Distinguished Flying Cross Association and the FSU
Boosters. He was a devoted fan of the FSU football and baseball teams.
He also was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, an avid model builder and loved
the theater and traveling.
On the evening of August 16, 2008, while sleeping
with his daughter at his side, Major Melton entered his final battle
with Death. The old soldier faded away. Those who knew him and his
boundless courage and fighting spirit believe that Death came for him in
his sleep, because it was afraid to try and call on him while he was
Otha Gayland Miles
Gayland passed away on August 10, 2008, at East Texas Medical Center
in Tyler. He was born on October 29, 1943, in Woodville, Texas, to the
late Otha and Leah Belle Miles. Gayland graduated from Kirby High School
in 1962, where he lettered four years for the Kirby High School Eagle
football team. In August of 1962, he entered Trinity University, where
he played football, joined ROTC, became a member of the Triniteers and
received both a B.S. in Mathematics and Masters in Hospital
Administration. During that time Gayland also played semi-pro football
for the San Antonio Toros.
In 1967, he entered the United States Army and began a distinguished
25-year career of military service. During that time, Gayland served in
numerous positions in the Medical Service Corps, which included DUSTOFF
aviator, hospital administrator, company and battalion commander, and
staff officer at the Army Surgeon General's Office. Gayland achieved
numerous awards and commendations during his service and retired at the
rank of Colonel in 1994.
After retiring, Gayland worked for American Medical Response,
Havenwood Caregivers and ETMC. At the time of his death Gayland was the
Director of Operations and Regional Manager at East Texas Medical
Center. He was a member of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler and a
former member of Walnut Ridge Baptist Church in Mansfield.
Gayland Miles is survived by a loving family including his wife of 33
years, Kathie Lawler Miles of Tyler; son, David Gayland Miles of Dallas;
daughter, Lindsey Nicole Miles of Euless; sister, Lavelle Bush of
Woodville; brother, Gary Miles of Tyler; two aunts, Eleanor Hurst of
Austin and Maudis Miles of Jasper; two uncles, Cotton Miles and wife Lue
of Wills Point, and David Wayne Miles and wife Ollie of New Mexico; and
nephew, Troy Miles of Woodville.
He will be remembered by his family and friends for his enthusiasm
for work, cheerful spirit with peers, accomplished leadership and
commitment to being the best dad to his children and an excellent
provider for his family who he loved so much. Memorials in honor of Otha
Gayland Miles may be made to Green Acres Baptist Church Benevolent Fund,
1607 Troup Highway, Tyler, 75701. Pallbearers were Gary Miles, Charles
Miles, Raymond Sheffield, Hank Blanks, Bob Gardner, Kyle Cooksy, Ron
Shwartz, Stan Teiken, and Mike Proctor.
Andre’ Gilberto Jacelon
Gilberto Jacelon, age 68, passed away in his home in Widefield, CO on
August 8, 2008. He was born June 26, 1940 in the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago of the West Indies.
Andre’ served in the
United States Army for 20 years before retiring in 1980. During
his military service with the
U.S. Army he
completed two tours of duty in
Vietnam with the
498th Air Ambulance “Dust Off” company and one
tour of duty in
Korea. Andre’ was a member of the Knights of Columbus in Security, the
VFW in Security, and the
American Legion in Fountain.
Andre’ is survived by his wife Karin, his son Tony Jacelon, daughter
Andrea Brumfield (both of Colorado Springs); two sisters Jacqueline and
Diane (both of Canada); a
brother Louie of
Texas; three grandchildren Ashley, Nicholas, and Zachary (all of
to report that COL John Temperilli departed on his final flight at
11:45, 26 Feb 08. John fought to the last, but it is a blessing that he
can now relax and enjoy life in his new surroundings in the company of
the Lord that he followed and supported throughout his life. A richly
deserved reward for a wonderful caring man who was a good loyal friend
to all. He will be missed, not only by his loving family, but by all
whose life he touched and upon whom he had such a positive influence --
and there were many.
John was a great DUSTOFFer -
Hall of Fame member - First commander to take a DUSTOFF unit to
Vietnam - great friend and a true Gentleman!
God Bless John.
Jerry Wayne Kinsey
Jerry Wayne Kinsey, 65, died Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008,
at the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford after a lengthy
illness. He was born May 13, 1942, in Mexia, Texas, to Marvin and Louise
Kinsey. He was a member of the Verona First Baptist Church. He received
his B.A. from Sam Houston State University. He was a captain in the U.S.
Army during the Vietnam War and served as a Medevac helicopter pilot. He
was awarded two Bronze Stars and two Air Medals with Valor. Upon
discharge from the Army, he continued his aviation career with the
Mississippi National Guard and was a pilot for Exxon-Mobil until his
retirement. He was well respected by his peers and his experience served
as building blocks for the younger pilots he served with.
Carletta S. Davis
Sgt. Carletta S. Davis, 34, was a health care specialist assigned to
10th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th
Mountain Division (LI).
Davis, who called Anchorage, Alaska home, enlisted in the Army in
October 1994 and completed basic training at Fort Jackson, S.C.,
before attending advanced individual training at Fort Sam Houston,
Her first assignment was with Company B, Area Support Medical
Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. In March 1999, she was reassigned to
54th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), Fort Lewis, Wash., where she
served as a flight medic.
Davis was assigned to 702nd Main Support Battalion at Camp Casey,
South Korea, in January 2002 until she returned to the 54th Medical
Company in February 2003. In April 2007 she arrived at Fort Drum and
was assigned to the 1st Brigade Combat Team.
Davis' deployment to Iraq with 1st BCT was her third, having served
there from April 2003 to March 2004 and again from December 2004 to
November 2005. She had also deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina from
October 1996 to April 1997.
She is survived by her husband, three sons and mother.
Leonard R. 'Len' Gann
Leonard R. 'Len' Gann passed away at his home in Lamar, Oklahoma on
Sunday morning, February 11, 2007, at the age of fifty-nine years. Len
was the son of W. L. Gann and Pearl (Slawson) Gann, born on July 29,
1947 in Wetumka, Oklahoma.
He was brought up in Lamar, and graduated Moss High School in 1965,
then attended Oklahoma State Tech at Okmulgee.
He joined the United States Army and was drafted at just about the same
time, serving in Vietnam. He was discharged from the Army in 1972, and
worked for thirty-five years all over the U.S. as a heavy equipment
mechanic for pipeline construction companies. Len met Rebecca 'Becky'
Shoulders while on a job in Illinois, and the two of them were married
on February 16, 2002, in Pensacola, Florida. Len retired in 2004 due to
failing health. He loved fixing up old cars.
We received the very sad news that one of our brethren senior 70H's, LTC
Phil Pemberton, died of a heart attack on Sunday, 29 Jul 07. LTC Phil
Pemberton served his country honorably and faithfully for over 26 years
of dedicated active federal service. I ask that you keep his family in
your thoughts and prayers as they endure the pain and suffering of
losing a loved one so unexpectedly.
Dennis L. Davis
L. Davis I, Vicki Vosburg, am writing this in love and memory of my
husband, Dennis L. Davis who passed away due to a helicopter accident in
Yreka, Calif. fighting wildfires on Monday, July 23, 2007. Dennis was
born Aug. 2, 1946 in Palm Springs, Calif. to Ben Davis, Sr. and Sally
Tissaw. He was born with a passion for humans and animals alike. He
would give the shirt off his back, or food from his hand to any person
or animal in need. He always tried to find a connection with people he
met. He received a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in 1978
and was awarded a Master of Science Degree becoming a Naturopathic
Physician in 2004. When he wasn't fighting fires, he specialized in
Nutrition and Iridology working with me at The Herb Pantry in Boise. He
was an experienced helicopter pilot flying for more than 35 years
including two and half tours in Vietnam, where he was awarded the
Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star Medal; piloting for the
police department in Pomona, Calif.; flying Life Flight for St. Al's and
finally fighting forest fires nationally. He chose to start fighting
forest fires because he was so concerned about the number of animals and
people losing their lives. He was very committed to this being his last
year of fighting forest fires, saying he was just tired. This time I
knew he was serious; he was ready to come home. We found each other and
married on June 25, 1994 in Sedona, Ariz. This began my love affair with
one of the most incredible men - he was perfect for me. He was the love
of my life; my very best friend. I can't imagine being without him. I
was a very lucky woman and feel blessed to have had these years with
him. I will miss him with all my heart. We had a ritual during our phone
calls to end our conversation every night. I would say, "be safe and I
love you." And, he would respond with "I love you, too. Dennis was a
person who left a mark everywhere he went; he always had a ready hand
and an open heart. He'll be missed by his entire family and friends and
every person who ever came in contact with him. No one knows when we
will leave this earth. Please make sure you tell your loved ones each
day "I love you" and don't forget the hug. That's important, too. Dennis
is survived by myself, his daughters from a previous marriage; Stacie
Wyatt and Tracie Brister, their spouses and children of Sedona, Ariz.
James H. Nichols
LTC James H. Nichols, USA [ret.], filed his final flight plan 22 June
2007 at 0510 hours. He flew immediately to be with his God. He was
surrounded by his wife of 57 years, Ann T. Nichols, his daughters Carole
Nichols shburn and Cheryl E. Nichols, son-in-law Chuck Mashburn, grand
son Michael Mashburn, and close family friends, Sara Jo Greer, Beth P.
Starling, Patsy Meek, and the Rev. Stanley Carter. Col. Nichols was at
home as per his wishes. He was interred at Ft. Mitchell National
Cemetery, Phenoix City, Alabama 25 June 2007 with full military honors.
He will be greatly missed by everyone.
David C. Danhouser
David C. Danhouser, age 69, of Mineral Point, passed away on Saturday,
May 26, 2007, after a long struggle with COPD. David was born in
Madison, July 6, 1937, a son of Carl W. and Grace (Robbins) Danhouser.
He attended Mount Horeb High School in 1955, where he lettered in
football and basketball. David graduated from the University of
Wisconsin in 1959, where he was a member of the TKE fraternity and the
UW marching band. He later received his M.B.A. from his beloved alma
mater and remained active in the alumni marching band, often playing
during halftime shows at Homecoming celebrations post graduation. David
joined the R.O.T.C. in 1956 and continued active duty service with the
U.S. Army until his honorable discharge in 1974. It was in the Army that
David developed his passion for flying helicopters. David was a member
of the Air Ambulance Corp and dutifully served in the Korean and Vietnam
conflicts, before ending his service in Europe. His family is most proud
of the bravery and self-sacrifice he displayed during this time. David
received numerous awards and medals for his heroic efforts including 12
air medals, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Gallantry Cross with
Silver Star. He ended his military career with the rank of Lieutenant
Colonel. He continued his service to those in need of medical attention
in his civilian life. David spent many years as the Director of
Materials Management for hospitals in Madison, Duluth, Minn., Freeport,
Ill. and Chicago, Ill. He was active in many organizations including the
American Legion Post No. 170, V.F.W. Post No. 8483, DUSTOFF Pilots
Association, Solo-pilots Association, Retired Officers Association and
the Wisconsin Vietnam Veterans Chapter No. 3.
He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church in Mineral
Point. He married Yvonne Dischler on June 28, 1958, at the Barneveld
Congregational United Church of Christ. David is survived by his devoted
wife, Yvonne Danhouser of Mineral Point; his children, Kim Horst of
Mineral Point, Kitty (Richard) Erdman of Middleton, Kirk (Barbara)
Danhouser of DeForest and Shawn (Lisa) Danhouser of Addison, Ill.; his
grandchildren, Kailyn, Grant, Gracie, Carly, Madeline, Braden and Jake;
his sister, Donna (Donald) Fieldhouse of Elkton, Md.; and his beloved
John W. Cook
Winston Cook, a wonderful husband, father and friend, died peacefully on April
15, 2007. He was born in Madison, WI Oct 24, 1921 to Maynard Albert and Chorale
Boyd Cook, and was raised in Winnetka, Ill. He graduated from New Trier High
School in 1939, then from Dartmouth College in 1943. Following graduation, John
attended flight school with the Royal Air Force. During World War II, he served
in the 348th Fighter Group, 342nd Squadron, flying P47 (Thunderbolt) and P51
(Mustang) fighters, attaining the rank of First Lieutenant. He was stationed in
the Pacific Theater, specifically the Dutch East Indies and the Philippines. The
camaraderie, dangers and excitement of World War II were favorite topics of
conversation for the rest of his life, and gained him the respect and admiration
of many. Following his military service, John moved to San Antonio where he
began his career in the life insurance and real estate businesses. He enjoyed
staying in touch with friends in the military through the years, and assisted
many of them in purchasing homes and insurance. Together with his wife Bette,
John co-brokered Cook Company Realty before joining Kuper Realty more than 20
years ago. He was a kind and gentle man who took a genuine interest in everyone
he met. His friends considered him a gentleman's gentleman. In 1985, he was made
an honorary member of the 82nd Medical Detachment Helicopter Ambulance Group
('DUSTOFF') for his longtime friendship and service to its members. He is
survived by his wife, Bette Ruth Williams Cook, daughters Marjorie Cook
Hutcheson and her husband Palmer, of Houston, and Nancy Winston Cook of San
David W. Wik
DAVID W.L. WIK (RET) Maj. David W.L. Wik took his final flight on April 7, 2007
in Corpus Christi with his family at his side. He was born on May 16, 1933 in
Cresbard, South Dakota. After college he enlisted in the U.S. Army where he
became a helicopter pilot. His assignments included a tour of duty in Korea and
two tours in Vietnam where he served as commanding officer of the DUSTOFF
helicopter unit. His career consisted of flying 1,174 combat hours and the
evacuation of 4,368 wounded soldiers and civilians to medical facilities. Maj.
Wik's many honors include 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses and 37 Air Medals. His
final command was at Ft. Sam Houston, where he used his medical evacuation
experience to develop and implement MAST, a program that aids in the evacuation
of civilians severely injured in highway accidents. Maj. Wik retired in 1973 and
was inducted into The South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005. Dave was known
for being a colorful, spirited man who never met a stranger. His retirement
years were spent fishing and traveling the world with friends and family, living
his life to the fullest each day. His zest for life was unyielding and he will
be lovingly missed and warmly remembered. DUSTOFF 6, you are cleared to hover to
the ramp... He is survived by his wife Valerie; his children and grandchildren
Colette, Jean-Marc (Butch) and wife Karen, Bruce and wife Lisa, Dale and wife
Renate, Peter, Mark and wife Kara, Andrea and husband Bryan, Rosalyn, Alex,
Randi, Nikolas, Nicole, Renee, Blake, Christel, Brett, and his loving dog Tasha.
John B. Boling
John B. Bolling, 61, of Enterprise, Ala., went to be with his Lord Monday,
March 12, 2007 at Southeast Alabama Medical Center from injuries sustained in a
Funeral services will be Friday, March 16, at 10 a.m. from Open Door Baptist
Church with the Rev. John McCrummen officiating. Burial will follow with full
military honors at Meadowlawn Cemetery with Patterson-Sorrell Funeral Home
directing. The family will receive friends at Open Door Baptist Church, Friday
beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continue until service time. The family will be at
the home of Sam Stone, 204 Allegheny Lane in Enterprise. The family requests in
lieu of flowers, contributions are made to the Gideon's International, P.O. Box
310173, Enterprise, AL 36331-0173.
John was born May 18, 1945 in Liberty, Texas to the late Henry R. and Eleanor
Hayes Bolling. After high school he entered the U.S. Army retiring in 1988 after
having served 20 years. He was presently serving as a civilian instructor pilot.
He was a veteran of the Vietnam war where he served as a medevac pilot. He was a
member of Open Door Baptist Church as well as the Gideon's International.
Survivors include his wife, Jody Bolling, Enterprise, Ala.; daughter, Betsy Lee
(John), Port Lavaca, Texas; son, Robert H. Bolling (Heather), Katy, Texas;
sister, Dianne Miller (Brooks), Liberty, Texas; seven grandchildren; and
numerous nieces and nephews.
Randall V. "Randy" Ashby
V. "Randy" Ashby, 55, of Beaver Dam died Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, at his home. He
was born in Madisonville and was retired from the U.S. Army, was a Master Mason
with the Masonic Lodge in Alabama, was a Kentucky Colonel and was of the Baptist
faith. Randy, the son of Charles V. Ashby of Hartford and Opal Herron of Beaver
Dam, retired as chief warrant officer four after serving 21 years of active
service with the U.S. Army.
During his tenure, he served this country at several stations in the United
States and in Vietnam, Korea, Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, Germany, Cyprus,
Turkey, Iraq and the Republic of the Bahamas. Randy retired as a UH-60 (Black
Hawk) instructor pilot and instrument flight examiner. His awards and
decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, two Meritorious Service Medals, five
Army Commendation Medals, four Army Achievement Medals, Good Conduct Medal,
three Humanitarian Service Medals, Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Overseas Service
Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Ribbon, Vietnam Service Ribbon, Vietnam Campaign
Ribbon, two National Defense Medals and the Master Army Aviator Badge.
Survivors include his father, Charles V. Ashby and his wife, Betty, of Hartford;
his mother, Opal Herron and her husband, Bob, of Beaver Dam; a son, Kris Ashby
of Elizabethtown; two daughters, Mariah Burns of Cecilia and
Melody Govig and her husband, Justin, of Chattanooga, Tenn.; two brothers, Doug
Ashby and his wife, Mindy, and Kevin Ashby and his wife, Shannon; two sisters,
Terri Helm and her husband, Reggie, of Owensboro and Amanda Ashby of Hartford;
five grandchildren, Kristopher Blake Ashby, Leighanna Grace Ashby, Stephen
Burns, Seth Burns and Christian Michael Govig; and many nieces and nephews.
Wagoner, 58, of Pierre, died Saturday, Nov. 18, 2006 at St. Mary's Hospital in
Pierre. Larry was born on Dec. 19, 1947 in Pierre to George and Myrtle
(Hauschild) Wagoner. He grew up in Canning until the second grade when his
family moved to Springfield, Ore. At the age of 13 he moved to Wellington, Kan.
Larry graduated from Wellington High School in 1966 and
went on to attend Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kan.
Larry served in Vietnam from October 1968 to May 1969 as crewchief on the
Medevac Helicopter in the 101st Airborne Division.
He was united in marriage to Penney Green on Dec. 2, 1972 at the First United
Methodist Church in Pierre.
Larry worked for the Department of Transportation for the State of South Dakota
until his retirement in September of 2006. He also worked as a
He was a member of the DUSTOFF Association, the 101st Airborne Division
Association, VEVA, American Legion and the VFW.
Larry enjoyed spending time with his grandson Carter and his dogs Dixie and
Harrison, collecting baseball cards, attending various military
reunions, fishing and hunting with his friends and family and his passion
Larry is survived by his wife Penney; one son Wayne Wagoner; one daughter Debbie
Wagoner; two brothers George Wagoner Jr. and Bob Wagoner
and grandson Carter James Wagoner. He is also survived by many close
aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, two sisters Virgina Gambo and Sherri
Lawrence, one uncle Les Hauschild and one nephew Caleb Hauschild.
A memorial has been established at BankWest.
Rebecca A. Jarabek
Rebecca Ann Jarabek passed away on Thursday, 14 September 2006. CPT Jarabek, 28,
was born in Youngstown, Ohio. She was graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School
in 1996 and attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She was graduated
from USMA in 2000 with a Bachelors of Science in Engineering Management was
commissioned a 2LT in the Medical Service Corps. CPT Jarabek attended training
at Fort Rucker, Alabama to become a Medevac Pilot and served in Korea, Germany,
Kosovo, Iraq and Kuwait.
Robert Lynn Mock, Sr.
MAJ. ROBERT LYNN MOCK, SR., Retired (U.S. Army), passed away suddenly at his
home on October 12, 2006 at 68 years of age. He was born to Gala M. (Peterson)
and Emmett J. "Red" Mock on January 18, 1938 in Houston, Texas. He was
predeceased by his daughter, Marjorie Potter (Feb., 2006) , his parents and his
brother, Gordon. Survivors include his loving wife, Marjorie Jo Mock and sons,
Robert, David, John and their respective families, as well as many other loving
family members and friends.
Kenyon Lee Forrest
Forrest died 22 Sep 06. Born on 10 Dec 31 to the late Leland and Mabel Forrest
in New London, WI, he enjoyed a childhood of paper routes, rabbit "ranching",
and fishing. Kenyon graduated from the School of Pharmacy at the University of
Wisconsin, Madison, where he was also a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity.
After passing his state boards in 1955, he entered military service with the
Medical Service Corps at Fort Sam Houston. In April 1955, he married his college
sweetheart and fellow Badger, Joan Shackelford. During his 20+ year career with
the Army, Ken served as a DUSTOFF Medevac helicopter pilot and administrator,
including one tour in Korea, two tours in Vietnam, two tours in Germany, and
numerous stateside posts. Upon retiring in 1975, he took up his training as a
pharmacist. His last position was with HEB where he enjoyed seventeen years of
helping the community.
Ted Jacoby passed away on Sunday, September 4, 2006, after a valiant battle
with cancer. Chief Jacoby served with distinction and honor during his career as
a Seattle Police Officer, as well as military service in the United States Army.
He received Air Medals and a Purple Heart for his heroic service as an Army
DUSTOFF pilot in Vietnam. He was a pilot with the 159th Med Det. who served at
Cu Chi in the 1968-69 time frame.
Assistant Chief Jacoby served in a variety of units in the Seattle Police
Department from the North and South Precincts, to the Bomb Squad and
Communications to finally serving as Assistant Chief in the Emergency
Preparedness Bureau. He will be deeply missed by his SPD family. Chief Jacoby's
family expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support shown their family by
SPD. He is survived by his wife, Pat, his mother Margaret, three brothers, five
sisters, as well as many nephews and nieces.
Donations are suggested to St. Vincent De Paul Society of St. Mark Catholic
Church, 18033 15th Place NE, Shoreline, WA 98155. Flowers may be sent to St.
Mark Catholic Church.
Jeffrey Scott Brown
1111 February 1981 - 08 August 2006
Jeffrey Scott Brown was born on the 11th of February, 1981, in Trinity Center,
California. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 19 April 2000; attended Basic
Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and Advanced Individual Training at
Fort Eustis, Virginia. SGT Brown was first assigned to C Co 1st Battalion 214th
Aviation in Heidelberg, Germany as a crewchief. He was then stationed with the
82nd Medical Company (Air Ambulance) at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Sergeant Brown span was in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed Aug.
8 into a lake in Rubtbah, Iraq, west of Baghdad, killing him and SGT Steven P.
Mennemeyer. The U.S. Department of Defense said the crash was not the result of
During his tenure as a crew chief, he participated in deployments in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom II and then redeployed with the unit in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service
Medal, Air Medal (Numeral 2), Army Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps
Achievement Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Army Good Conduct Medal, Iraq
Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on
Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon,
and the Aviation Badge.
SGT Brown is survived by father Edwin D. Brown and mother Diane L. Brown.
Steven P. Mennemeyer
Soldier killed in Iraq laid to rest
by Nick Lucchesi
ThThe Alton, Ill., Telegraph
CITY - Long before Sgt. Steven P. Mennemeyer was in Iraq aiding injured soldiers
aboard an Army Blackhawk helicopter, he would point to the helicopters in the
sky as a child.
Mennemeyer's calling was helping people, family and friends said Friday at
his funeral Mass at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Granite City. Whether it
was through civilian avenues, such as his five years at Abbott EMS Ambulance
Co., or his time in Iraq as an Army medic, Mennemeyer had a "servant's heart,"
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn said at the service.
Mennemeyer was in a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter when it crashed Aug. 8 into a
lake in Rubtbah, Iraq, west of Baghdad, killing him and Sgt. Jeffery S. Brown of
Trinity Center, CA. The U.S. Department of Defense said the crash was not the
result of hostile fire.
The funeral Mass drew hundreds of family, friends and co-workers, plus more
than 100 onlookers who lined Pontoon and Johnson roads in Granite City, many of
them displaying U.S. flags. Heidi Sellers of New Albany, Ind., a friend of the
Mennemeyer family, spoke about Steven Mennemeyer's early life. He moved to
Granite City from Indiana around age 8 and graduated from Granite City High
School in 1998.
"Though his life was short on earth, in 26 years he touched the lives and
hearts of hundreds of people," she said. "We all know that Steven was a
remarkable, awesome young man."
When Mennemeyer, son of Steven S. Mennemeyer of New Albany and Ramona L.
Phillips of Granite City, was about 2 years old, he would raise his hand to the
sky to point at what he called "hocker-dockers," Sellers recalled.
"Every time a 'hocker-docker' flies over, I thank God for the chance to have
known Sgt. Steven Paul Mennemeyer," Sellers said.
Mennemeyer got the chance to work on a helicopter as part of the 82nd Medical
Company (Air Ambulance) out of Fort Riley, Kan., after going from a Reserve
soldier to active duty. The events of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted Mennemeyer to
enlist as an active-duty soldier in 2002.
"His mother was more than a little surprised when he said he would go to
active duty after 9/11," Sellers said.
He first spent 15 months in Iraq, traveled to 15 countries and returned to
Iraq for a second tour of duty. Before his second tour, he spent a few weeks in
July on leave, visiting with family here and in Indiana.
"He was happier than his family had ever seen him," Sellers said. Mennemeyer
has a young son, Andrew Mennemeyer of Granite City, and a girlfriend, Staff Sgt.
Ginny Akins, who was at the funeral and has served in Iraq, also in the 82nd Air
Medical Company. Akins was given Mennemeyer's Bronze Star, one of 13 military
honors he earned.
The funeral procession included several ambulance companies, patrol cars from
Granite City, Madison County and the Illinois State Police, Army officials, 15
Knights of Columbus members and dozens of Patriot Guard motorcycle riders.
He was buried with full military honors at Jefferson Barracks National
Cemetery in St. Louis County.
MICHAEL W. TOENNIS, born April 12, 1955, in San Antonio, Texas, died July
23, 2006 in Houston, Texas at the age of 51. Mike earned a BBA in 1978 from the
University of Houston, where he was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity, and an
MBA in 1992 from Syracuse University. He proudly served his country as an Army
DUSTOFF aviator, medical logistician, and health services comptroller for the US
Army Medical Dept. Michael was medically retired as a Major after 14 years of
active duty, during which time he was a member of "The DUSTOFF" Association.
Later on he became a CPA after working as an auditor for the firm of BDO
Mike fought a thirteen year battle with ALS. During this time he remained active
in the DUSTOFF Association, rarely missing a reunion. He served as the Special
Assistant to the President of the Association for many of his last years
accomplishing tasks for the Association using his “eye-blink computer”. Mike and
Karen were always the light of the DUSTOFF Reunions and exhibited courage and
steadfast love for each other. Many a DUSTOFF Aviator faced possible death with
skill and even daring. Mike and Karen faced certain death with grace and courage
and even a bit of cheer standing as a true testimony that we all recognized as
coming from within and from outside of themselves. Visited by his friends and
comrades in the last days before his death, Mike left us all in awe of his
courage and fortitude. Karen and Joe remain in our prayers and thoughts as they
face life without Mike. We are all better for having known and loved Mike.
Heathe N. Craig
Combat medic remembered at emotional service at Wiesbaden
By Matt Millham, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Friday, June 30, 2006
prepare to fire a volley during a 21-gun salute to Staff Sgt. Heath N. Craig, a
member of the 159th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), who died June 21 in
Afghanistan during a mission to rescue two 10th Mountain Division soldiers who
had been injured in combat.
As a combat medic, Staff Sgt. Heathe N. Craig understood that, sometimes, saving
people means risking your own life.
Sometimes, the risk doesn’t pay off.
Craig, a member of the 159th Medical Company (Air Ambulance) based in Wiesbaden,
Germany, and another soldier died the night of June 21 during a rescue mission
near Naray, Afghanistan.
The night started off peacefully enough.
Craig had just gotten done chatting with his wife and playing peek-a-boo with
his 1-year-old daughter, Leona, over a Web camera when the call came. Three 10th
Mountain Division soldiers were critically wounded in a firefight near Naray.
“He always had missions that came up,” Craig’s wife, Judy Craig, said. “And
that’s what happened. A mission came up, and he was ready.” The couple also have
a 4-year-old son, Jonas.
Craig’s DUSTOFF crew had been called to rescue the wounded. By the time Craig
and his air ambulance arrived at the pickup point, one of the soldiers already
It was past dark at takeoff, and the terrain where they were headed made it
impossible for the Black Hawk rescue helicopter to land.
That meant Craig would have to be lowered into the combat zone by a hoist. It
was one of his least favorite things to do, said Capt. Angela Wagner, the rear
detachment commander for the 159th Medical Company.
The battlefield still wasn’t secure, but Craig plunged in anyway. He secured the
first soldier and got him safely into the hovering ambulance. That troop would
make it out of Afghanistan alive.
But as Craig and the second patient were being lifted in the helicopter, the
“On the second try, I lost him,” Sgt. James Ramey, the helicopter’s crew chief,
said in a letter that was read at Craig’s memorial ceremony Thursday.
Craig and the soldier he was rescuing, Pfc. Brian J. Bradbury, both died. Craig
grew up in Virginia. Bradbury was from Saint Joseph, Mo.
“He gave his life saving another,” Wagner said.
Sgt. Krendra Jackson, one of Craig’s close friends, couldn’t keep herself from
crying as she talked about her fallen comrade during the memorial service at
Wiesbaden Army Airfield’s chapel.
She told how Craig, even after back surgery, would work tirelessly, laboring
beyond his body’s limits, afraid that he might come off as a slacker. Jackson
remembers telling him to take it easy. “He would look at me with those blue eyes
and say, ‘My name’s not worthless.’”
Few in attendance could hold back their tears as Jackson recounted her
friendship with Craig. “Judy, you once told us we acted like brother and sister.
He was my brother,” she said. “He was our brother.”
Landon R. Casillas
Casillas Landon, 3rd FSMT Leader, 50th Medical Company (AA) is no longer with us
after a Class A accident that happened at Outlaw Field in Clarksville, TN at
approximately 10am Friday 9 June 2006.
1st Lieutenant Landon R. Casillas was born to Richard and MayLing Casillas on 17
May 1980 in the state of Hawaii. While located in Hawaii, Landon spent time at
both Schofield Barracks and Ft. Shafter. In 1987, the family moved to Ft. Bragg,
NC, where they resided until 1992. In 1992, the family moved again, this time to
Germany where they lived first in Nuremburg followed by Grafenwoher. It was at
this time that the family moved backed to the United States to reside in
Bedford, TX. 1LT Casillas was a 1998 graduate of Lawrence D. Bell High School in
Bedford. He attended and was a scholarship football player for Abilene Christian
University from 1998 to 1999. After one year he moved on to the University of
North Texas where he studied from 1999 to 2001. Following his time at North
Texas he relocated to Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth. It was here that
he was awarded entrance into the scholarship ROTC program. He was graduated from
TCU in 2004 with a BA in Criminal Justice and a Regular Army commission.
1st Lieutenant Casillas is survived by his wife Jessica A. Casillas and daughter
Arle E. Casillas. He is also survived by his father, SGT (ret) Richard Casillas,
mother, MayLing Casillas, and sister, Shannon Casillas
1st Lieutenant Casillas was the 3rd Forward Support MEDEVAC Team Leader for the
50th Medical Company (Air Ambulance), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Ft.
Campbell, KY. Previous assignments include: Ft. Rucker, AL Initial Entry Rotary
Wing Training 2005, and Ft. Sam Houston, TX for AMEDD Officer Basic Course 2004.
Jim Phelan, who was involved in the first helicopter combat rescue, died at his
home on 16 May 2006. He was also the husband of the late Jean Ross Howard
Phelan, founder of the Whirly-Girls.
Phelan, a crew chief, performed the first helicopter combat rescue, along with
pilot Carter Harman, on 25-26 April 1944. This crew flew their Sikorsky YR-4
behind Japanese lines in the China-Burma jungle and rescued American pilot Ed
'Murphy' Hladovcak and three British soldiers after their plane had crashed.
Del has been riding a roller coaster over the last several months in regards
to his health. Looking for a transplant one week, the next week being off the
list due to health complications and bureaucracy and then finally and infection
which complicated the other medical problems he was having.
Del crewed the Foxy Lady in 1969-70. I had the honor to have flown with him
numerous times. As with all of the Guys in The Back that we were blessed to have
served together, Del was among the best. After his military tour, he went onto a
very successful commercial aviation career--finally having to retire due to
Del was also the founder of the Vietnam Dustoff Association. It was his dream to
have an organization dedicated to Vietnam Dustoff crewmembers and where they
could come together for camaraderie, sharing of information, and assistance when
and if necessary.
September 3, 1922 and raised in Etna, Pa., Novosel became an aviation
cadet in the U.S. Army Air Forces when he was 19 years old. After
earning his commission and pilot wings on December 15, 1942, he
instructed in the North American AT-6 Texan at Laredo Army Air Field,
Texas. By December 1944, Novosel had logged more than 800 hours in the
Consolidated B-24 Liberator supporting aerial gunner training. Then, he
went to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, to qualify in the Boeing B-29
In July 1945, following crew training in New Mexico, Novosel left for Tinian
Island in the Pacific where he flew four combat missions with the 58th
Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy). After the end of World War II, he flew two
missions to drop food to Allied prisoners of war in Japan. During the Japanese
surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri, Novosel commanded a B-29 in a 462-ship
fly-over. He then took command of the 99th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) and
remained in the Pacific until the fall of 1947.
Following his service in World War II he was assigned to Eglin AFB, Florida,
where he was a B-29 test pilot. In 1949, Novosel left active duty and joined the
Air Force Reserve. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War, at the
grade of Major and attended the Air Command and Staff School.
Novosel was promoted to Lt. Col. with the Air Force Reserve in 1964 and
requested active duty for service during the Vietnam War. When informed that the
Air Force was over-strength in its senior grades, he vacated his position with
the Air Force Reserves and accepted an appointment as a Warrant Officer Aviator
with the U.S. Army.
Returning to combat as a "DUSTOFF" (Medevac) helicopter pilot, he served two
tours in South Vietnam, flying 2,543 missions in the Bell UH-1 Huey while
airlifting nearly 5,600 medical evacuees.
On October 2, 1969, Novosel received word of wounded South Vietnamese
soldiers pinned down by a large enemy force. Flying without air cover, he
encountered ground fire so intense it forced him away six times. Courageously,
he completed 15 hazardous extractions. On the last, just as a wounded soldier
was pulled into the aircraft, the enemy unleashed a hail of fire directly at
Novosel. Wounded, he momentarily lost control of the aircraft, but recovered and
flew to safety. In all, he saved 29 men. He was nominated for and later received
the Medal of Honor for these actions.
In March 1970, a UH-1 helicopter piloted by Novosel’s son was shot down. The
senior Novosel heard the "Mayday" call from 15 minutes away. With assurance from
the aircraft commander that his son's crew had survived the crash and found
shelter, Novosel completed his own mission before flying to their aid. The
younger Novosel returned the favor seven days later when his father was shot
down. Just 19 at the time, Mike Jr. flew to his father's rescue.
Following his heroic service in Vietnam, he served 3 years at Fort Bragg,
North Carolina, as chief pilot for the Army's Golden Knights parachute team. On
occasion, he jumped with the team to maintain proficiency.
Novosel’s next assignment was at Fort Rucker where he was an author and
lecturer at the Warrant Officer Career College until 1976. An assignment in
Korea as the Second Infantry Division’s Aviation Safety Officer followed. In May
1983, Novosel was assigned new duties as the Aviation Center Senior Training,
Advising and Counseling (TAC) Officer with the Warrant Officer Candidate
At the time of his retirement on February 28, 1985, Novosel was the last
active duty military aviator on flight status who had flown combat missions in
World War II. Known as the “Dean of the Dustoff Pilots” Novosel was an aviator
on flight status for more than 42 years. He accumulated 12,400 hours of military
flying time of which 2,038 were flown in combat.
Upon his retirement as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, he received a rare honor
for a living hero; the main street of Fort Rucker became Novosel Avenue.
In 1992, he marched with other World War II veterans across Red Square in
Russia's Victory-in-Europe Anniversary Parade. Novosel participated in the
documentary film project In the Shadow of the Blade in 2002, during which more
than 50 Vietnam aviators piloted a UH-1 “Huey” helicopter across the United
Mr. Novosel resided in Fort Walton Beach, Florida but was a longtime
Enterprise, Alabama resident. He actively lectured on his autobiography,
Dustoff, The Memoir of an Army Aviator and was featured in the recently
published book A History of Army Aviation, written by Dr. James Williams.
Pictures of Mike's final caisson journey provided graciously by Sterlene &
Hugh Thompson Jr.
BBC NEWS My Lai massacre hero dies at 62
Hugh Thompson Jr., a former US military helicopter pilot who helped stop one of
the most infamous massacres of the Vietnam War has died, aged 62.
Mr. Thompson and his crew came upon US troops killing civilians at the village
of My Lai on 16 March 1968. He put his helicopter down between the soldiers and
villagers, ordering his men to shoot their fellow Americans if they attacked the
civilians. "There was no way I could turn my back on them," he later said of the
Mr. Thompson, a warrant officer at the time, called in support from other US
helicopters, and together they airlifted at least nine Vietnamese civilians -
including a wounded boy - to safety. He returned to headquarters, angrily
telling his commanders what he had seen. They ordered soldiers in the area to
But Mr Thompson was shunned for years by fellow soldiers, received death
threats, and was once told by a congressman that he was the only American who
should be punished over My Lai. A platoon commander, Lt William Calley, was
later court-martialed and sentenced to life in prison for his role in the
killings. President Richard Nixon commuted his sentence to three years' house
Although the My Lai massacre became one of the best-known atrocities of the war
- with journalist Seymour Hersh winning a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on it -
little was known about Mr Thompson's actions for decades
In the 1980s, Clemson University Professor David Egan saw him interviewed in a
documentary and began to campaign on his behalf. He persuaded people including
Vietnam-era Secretary of State Dean Rusk to lobby the government to honor the
helicopter crew. Mr Thompson and his colleagues Lawrence Colburn and Glenn
Andreotta were awarded the Soldier's Medal, the highest US military award for
bravery when not confronting an enemy.
Mr Thompson was close to tears as he accepted the award in 1998 "for all the men
who served their country with honor on the battlefields of South-East Asia".
Mr Andreotta's award was posthumous. He was killed in Vietnam less than a month
after My Lai.
Mr Colburn was at Mr Thompson's bedside when he died, the Associated Press
Mr Thompson died of cancer. He had been ill for some time and was removed from
life support earlier in the week.
Story from BBC NEWS:
As graveside services ended, a bag piper played Amazing Grace – slowly
marching away down the hill allowing the sound to die down to next to
inaudible…. Then…. Quietly in the distance the wop wop wop sound – unmistakably
that of a Huey – approaching from directly in front of us it came to about the 2
o’clock position above the tall trees that surround the cemetery – then a slow
right hand turn allowing it to pass in front of us – A DUSTOFF Huey – not a
single aviators’ eyes were dry at that proud moment and it symbolically picked
Hugh up and took him on his last ride – closing out his final flight plan!
Hugh was buried with a DUSTOFF Association coin placed in his right hand – a
last tribute to a great friend, comrade and DUSTOFF Soldier!
saddens to inform you of the death of Jim Saler. Jim Saler was a retired U.S.
Army aviator who spent many of his years flying Medevac. After retiring from the
Army he flew an EMS helicopter for Tri State CareFlight based in Durango,
Colorado. Exactly one year to the day after leaving the Army, he along with a
Flight Nurse and a Flight Paramedic, were killed June 30th 2005 when their
Augusta A119 Koala crashed while trying to save the life of another.
Thomas Maloney added a section to his Web site to honor and recognize Jim Saler,
as well as Bill and Scott. All men left behind wives; Jim also left behind three
daughters and Scott left behind a newly adopted son. After their accident Tom
created an illustration entitled Angel of Mercy. The limited edition prints, as
well as shirts are being sold to raise money for the widows of this tragedy.
If you are interested, you can access the memorial page at
http://aircav.org/CareFlight.html If you click on Jim Saler's photo from
that page, it will take you to another section devoted just to Jim. There you
can learn about his background and military service to our country. I can tell
you that Jim loved our country, the Army and saving lives by flying helicopters.
Leonard A. Crosby
Retired Col. Leonard A. Crosby had a thirst for knowledge and a passion to
teach others what he knew. He died in May 2005.
"He was a real forward-thinking person," said Mary Crosby, his wife of 62
The forward-thinker was also a creator of one of the Army's most used
services, MEDEVAC, or using helicopters to remove wounded soldiers from combat.
Leonard Crosby, called "Andy" by most, was an Army medic and medical command
instructor for more than 30 years. The Elizabethtown resident died Tuesday at
The Crosby home is filled with certificates, medals and other honors from
Crosby's military career. There are silver stars, bronze stars, commendation
medals and medals from World War II and Korea.
There's also a well-worn book: "The history of the U.S. Army Medical Corps."
Crosby's name is on several pages, mainly for his role in the invention of
He was drafted into the Army in 1942, serving in World War II as part of an
ambulance company. Crosby's unit was the first ambulance company on the scene
after the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France, his wife said.
"He accomplished amazing things in his 83 years," said his son, Michael
One of the most amazing accomplishments started in 1950, in Korea. Leonard
Crosby was serving as the evacuation officer for the 8th Army. He noticed that
the military was having a difficult time evacuating wounded soldiers from combat
because of Korea's hilly roads, which were often blocked, preventing ambulances
from getting to the field.
Helicopters at that time were primarily used for artillery, Mary Crosby said.
Her husband wrote the rulebook on how to use them in a medical evacuation
Leonard Crosby was in charge of the first demonstration of medical
helicopters in the summer of 1950 at Taegu Teachers' College in Korea.
After his years in combat, Leonard Crosby became an instructor at several
military schools. He also served as chief of staff of medical command in Europe,
and executive officer of the medical command at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Bruce C. Zenk
Bruce C. Zenk, 65, passed away at his home in Young America, Minnesota on 17
May 2005 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Born in Sisseton, South Dakota on 18 December 1939, he graduated from South
Dakota State University with a degree in Pharmacy and received a commission as
an Infantry Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. After a one-year
pharmacy internship in Minneapolis, Bruce entered active duty service and
attended the Infantry Officers Basic Course. He was selected to attend the
Rotary Wing Aviator Course (Class 63-7).
In January 1964, Bruce was assigned to the 119th Aviation Company in Vietnam
where he flew both the slick and gunship version of the UH-1B. Because of
his prior pharmacy training, he received a branch transfer to the Medical
Service Corps in June 1964 and was transferred to the 57th Medical Detachment in
Soc Trang. When the 82nd Medical Detachment arrived in Vietnam in October
1964, Bruce, Ernie Sylvester, and Si Simmons were transferred from the 57th into
the 82nd to teach the new pilots the tactics and ethos instilled in them by
Major Kelly. Completing his one-year tour in January 1965, Bruce had
earned the Air Medal with Valor and 22 oak leaf clusters, had flown 747 hours of
combat flight time, and helped to save hundreds of lives.
Upon his return from Vietnam, Bruce was married to Betty Remund. The
couple made their home at Fort Riley, Kansas where he served as a pilot with the
159th Medical Detachment until a serious back injury forced him from the
cockpit. In May 1968, he completed his military service at DeWitt Army
Hospital where he served as a pharmacist.
Bruce and his family moved to Virginia, Minnesota where he worked at the
local medical clinic. In 1975, Bruce and Betty purchased the local
pharmacy in Lake Benton, Minnesota where he served on the school board and held
positions in both the VFW and American Legion. In 1984, they sold their
store and moved to Burnsville, Minnesota. He accepted a position with
Snyder Drug where he continued his work as a dedicated and professional
pharmacist until his retirement in 2002.
Bruce is survived by Betty Zenk, his loving wife of 40 years; his daughter
Debbie and husband SSG Michael Otte of Honolulu, Hawaii; his son CPT Patrick and
wife Alexa Zenk of Wiesbaden, Germany; grandchildren Kayla and Noah; sister
Paula Neiburg of Plymouth, Minnesota; and brother Rodney of Nemo, South Dakota.
He was preceded in death by his parents and older brother Perry.
Kevin Donoghue, a medic with the 57th Med Det RVN and a dear friend, passed
away today. Kevin and I flew many missions together and he was the one that
always kept my butt out of the sling. I talked to his wife Carol today and Kevin
faced his death with the same courage he displayed as a DUSTOFF medic. All of us
who were blessed to have Kevin touch our lives are better for that experience.
I will miss my friend, but I believe he is now with all of our fallen comrades
in a better place.
Ricky D. Williams
SFC Ricky D. Williams was a flight medic with 377th Medical Company and 54th
Medical Company. He was killed in a motorcycle accident on 14 April 2005 driving
home after an early morning Brigade Run on Fort Sam Houston. His career
culminated as a Senior Drill Sergeant with A Company, 232nd Medical Bn. at the
Academy Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, TX. He leaves a wife, Charmaine, (also a
drill sergeant) and two daughters. He will be buried in Seattle, WA. He was
truly a great NCO.
Fred Duncan, life member of DUSTOFF Association since 2003 died of
complications of a disease resembling ALS on February 8, 2005. Fred, as a
17-year-old merchant marine, served his country during WW II aboard Liberty
Ships with one of the Aviation Repair Units in the South Pacific. His work
in his later years brought to light the service of four brave pilots who
flew experimental Sikorsky R-4 and R-6 helicopters into the jungles of the
Philippines to rescue nearly 70 wounded soldiers. His work brought to light,
chronicled, and published some of the earliest efforts in aeromedical
evacuation involving helicopters - the very birth of DUSTOFF!
He is survived by his wife, Edna, children and grandchildren.
Almost two years ago, our beloved crewchief, Brent Towne, was in a terrible
car accident which left him with extensive brain damage. His family
has him brought home to Nevada from Hawaii, and yesterday (2-10-04) his
fight ended. He will be missed so. There are no words to express the
thankfulness I have towards you all through this whole battle. He will
be missed beyond belief. He cared about you all and thought highly of
you. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and love.
Big Sis- Chris Richcreek
NEVER FORGET HIM
Randy Gordon Radigan
24 Aug 46 - 31 Dec 98
was born in Vermillion, South Dakota on August 24, 1946, the second of eleven
children of William Joseph and Susie Albers Radigan. lie was a 1964 graduate of
Vermilion High School; he attended the University of South Dakota and several
colleges In 1966, he enlisted in the U. S. Army, completed helicopter flight
school, and began his first tour of duty as a medevac helicopter pilot in
Vietnam. lie volunteered for further tours of medevac duty in Vietnam, served 39
months there and was decorated extensively for valor in combat. He was awarded
twice the Distinguished Flying Cross, twice the Silver Star, five times the
Bronze Star, the Air Medal with oak cluster, the Air Commendation Medal, and the
Purple Heart. He flew 1,597 air-rescue missions in Vietnam and carried 4,191
From 1974 to 1983 Randy was employed by yeska Pipeline as a security
helicopter pilot. He was an entrepreneur with many local interests. He loved
Alaska. He was an avid big game hunter and enjoyed spending his time at their
cabin “in the woods.” He served on the Copper River School District School Board
since 1993 and was also a member of the Copper Basin Lions Club for many years.
Randy and Lorraine were married on December 31, 1983.
Among those that survive him and gratefully shared his life are his wife;
Lorraine, sons; Rocky and Colt, daughters; Tammy Custis, husband Jim, Brandie
Bancroft, husband Blake, Alison Jaidinger, his four grandchildren; his father;
William J. Radigan, his seven brothers; William, Jeffrey, Steven, Gregory,
Daniel, Kelly, and James, his sisters; Suzanne, Laurie, Carol, his many nieces
and nephews; and by his longtime friends Don, Joyce, Jim and Scott Horrell. He
was preceded in death by his mother, Susie, and two infant daughters.
Gorgon W Gaskin
Born 30 Jul 1948
Passed away 26 Sep 2002 in Lake Charles, LA
Cause of Death Hep C contracted from Vietnam
He, like all of his fellow crew members, was responsible for a lot of names
NOT being on the Wall. God bless our Medics.
What life to lead and where to go
After the War, after the War?
---- Robert Graves
finally came home from Viet-Nam last week.
We were buddies in junior high and in high school, thrown together by a love
of books and a contempt for all authority figures. We both lived to become
authority figures ourselves, and so in the end were punished for our
transgressions far more soundly than by any teacher's paddle.
Gordon was the smartest kid I ever knew; after reading a few books on theory
he constructed, from bits of wire and a battery and tiny light bulbs and some
other debris tacked to a board, a chess-playing computer. Unable to afford
switches, he operated his 1963 computer by disconnecting wires from nails and
reconnecting them to other nails. His chemistry experiments were rather less
successful, resulting in one or two dramatic explosions and a complete ban by
his father on the further pursuit of scientific knowledge inside the house.
While the more focused boys were chasing girls and those first kisses
(although I had quite a crush on his sister), Gordon and I were arguing the
contemporary possibilities of Thoreau's Walden and smoking cigarettes out back
behind the trash cans.
After a semester at Lamar University, Gordon joined the Army and, following
the few months of the rudimentary and wholly inadequate training of that time,
was posted to Viet-Nam. Rather like Sasha / Strelnikov in Doctor Zhivago, Gordon
found that he was good at war, or, rather, at picking up the pieces: he served
four tours as an Army medic, winning the Air Medal, Air Crewman Badge, Bronze
Star with Valor Device, the Silver Star, and the Distinguished Service Cross.
One can only imagine how many more medals officers in air-conditioned bunkers
awarded each other based on Gordon's courage and skill in saving lives.
But a man -- a kid, really, a skinny kid with thick eyeglasses -- can make
only a finite number of sliding, jinking, dodging helicopter landings into
hot-as-Hell LZs without leaving something of himself there. Every wounded kid
Gordon saved, every dead kid he sat beside while jinking back out among the
orange tracers and the ghastly noise and stench of machinery and violence, cost
him a little bit of himself.
Henry Kissinger received a Nobel Peace Prize for the mess he helped make in
Vietnam; 56,000 dead kids and the survivors like Gordon bought that carnival
prize for him.
Upon returning home Gordon apparently constructed an emotional defense
perimeter for many years, and yet those who knew him best say that this true war
hero was the kindest, gentlest man they ever knew. Never a father himself, he
was a father to his stepchildren and to others. He never went back to
university, but he encouraged others to accomplish the education he hadn't the
heart to return to. His stepson, now a successful engineer, said that when he
returned from the service he was aimless and drifting, but Gordon inspired him
to focus and succeed. A postal employee said she would never have kept her job,
much less built the career she has, without Gordon's patience and guidance.
Whatever Gordon felt he had left undone in his life, he saw completed in the
lives of others.
Another friend said that Gordon still carried a trunk full of tools and car
parts wherever he went, and could remedy almost any roadside crisis in almost
any vehicle -- something he could do at sixteen!
In the end, Mr. Kissinger has his Nobel Prize, but Gordon found God and love
and peace, and, having accomplished whatever missions God had set for him, died
with his wife Mary Ann holding his hand. He was not buried with state honors,
but in a modest Methodist liturgy by family and friends; his funeral was not
marked with a 21-gun salute, but with Kleenex clutched in the hands of those who
Yes, Gordon is home from Viet-Nam at last, Washed by the rivers, blest by suns
Colonel John McNeil Lankford ('Neil'), U.S. Army Retired, passed away on May 18,
2004 at the age of 58. Col. Lankford, a graduate of North Georgia Military
College, was a Vietnam Veteran, having served as a combat medic with the 3rd/187
of the 101st Airborne Division. As a medical Service Corps officer and
specialist in systems engineering, he made significant contributions to the Army
Medical Department during his 23 years of service. Following his military
retirement, Col. Lankford continued to work in the Information Technology field.
He was a proud member of the Dust-off Association and was active in numerous
professional organizations. Neil is survived by Cecilia Lankford, his wife of 35
years; daughters, Anne Marie and Jennifer Lankford; father, Paul McNeil
Lankford; brother, Wayne Eliot Lankford; nephew, Paul McEliot Lankford; aunt and
uncle, Charlotte and Frank Lankford; and sister-in-law, Cindy Kearns. Col.
Lankford was preceded in death by his mother, Anita Lankford. Col. Lankford gave
his family the kind of love that makes a difference and lasts a lifetime. His
unique humor and selflessness touched all who were privileged to know him.
You'll possibly remember Richard Hock who was the medic who stood in as
Godfather for little baby Kathleen in the 3rd Field Hospital and was a key part
of "In the Shadow of the Blade" and the reunion between Kathleen and those who
saved her life 34 years before. A DUSTOFF crew (the pilot was David Alderson and
he died one week before filming took place - COL (R) Bob Romines stood in for
his buddy and flew the mission in his honor - later giving a stirring speech
about heroes and helicopters to a packed auditorium full of basic and advance
course students at the AMEDD C&S).
You'll see in their tribute to Richard a part of that reunion mentioned. It is
when Richard gave Kathleen his Combat Medic Badge - his most prized possession
from his three tours in Vietnam. I'm sure there's a story in there somewhere
that will touch the hearts of many. While Richard was not a DUSTOFF medic - he
was / and is a "Soldier Medic" and DUSTOFF medics are Soldier Medics first.
Rest in Peace Doc!
Danny McFadden died 19 January 2004. He was a medic with eagle DUSTOFF 70-71.
If anyone wants to contact his family, his daughters, Janie & Katie, at
7305 Leadings Oaks; San Antonio, Texas 78233-3211 (210) 651-5259
He, like all of our crew members, was responsible for a lot of names NOT
being on the Wall.
God bless our Medics.
Michael A. Diraimondo, Christopher A. Golby, Philip A. Johnson, Jr., and Ian
The Department of Defense announced the deaths of four DUSTOFF soldiers who
were killed when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed Jan. 8 near Fallujah,
Iraq. The soldiers were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and members of the
571st Medical Company out of Fort Carson, CO. SPC Michael A. Diraimondo,
22, of Simi Valley, Calif.; SPC Christopher A. Golby, 26, of Johnstown, Pa.;
Chief Warrant Officer Philip A. Johnson, Jr., 31, of Alabama; and Chief Warrant
Officer Ian D. Manuel, 23, of Florida, were all assigned to the 571st Medical
Company, Fort Carson officials said. Their names will be added to the DUSTOFF
memorial located at Fort Sam Houston's Medical Department Museum along with the
names of three other 571st Medical Company crewmembers who died May 9th, 2003
when their UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in the Tigris River near Baghdad.
A dedication ceremony honoring these seven new names on the DUSTOFF memorial was
held on 21 February 2004 during the DUSTOFF Reunion. A total of 257 names now
are a part of that memorial.
Robert "Don" Upchurch (DUSTOFF 78) passed away 19 Dec 03 in Indianapolis IN.
Served as DUSTOFF pilot with 57th Med Det, Republic of Vietnam ,1970-1971. Call
sign DUSTOFF 78. Was employed by the Veterans Administration as a counselor to
fellow veterans. Survived by wife Janet, and 4 children.
Bob Cowgill, the sole remaining pilot who
flew 70 soldiers to safety during the WW II Ivory Soap rescues in the
Philippines died June 13, 2003. Ivory Soap was the project during World War II
that took Liberty Ships and outfitted them to conduct aviation repair. During
June of 1945, five aviators flew Sikorsky R-4's and R-6's into the combat zone
of the Philippines to bring injured soldiers out for medical treatment, often
under fire. While not the first helicopter rescue, they were the first flown
with external litters welded to the side of the airframe in an "unauthorized and
untested" manner. True aviation pioneers and part of our DUSTOFF roots.
Crew members representing the Army, Army Air Forces, Navy and Merchant Marines
pose on one of the repair ships. Helicopters ferried parts and personnel from
ship to shore. Lt. Cowgill (center, second row) and friends with R-4 on floating
aircraft repair unit (ARU) off the Philippines.