The following excerpts are from the Summer 1997 DUSTOFFer Newsletter. The complete newsletter, and all the stories, is mailed to each DUSTOFF Association member. If you are not a member, become a member now and read the complete, intriguing stories.
Last year was a great year for our DUSTOFF Association, in terms of membership, activity throughout the year, and a great reunion. The Kelly family made some moving and heartwarming presentations, adding a very special perspective - and touch - to our gathering. Your Executive Council met on 3 May, and hopes are high for this year to be another good one. We continue to search for those members who have not been seen at a reunion or heard from in many years. Help your board with that search - send us the names and address of our "wayward friends" and we will contact them. If you have comments, suggestions, or ideas which might enhance our Association and/or the annual reunion, please write me at my home address (301 Holly Hill Road, Enterprise, AL 36330) or
e-mail. I assure you your comments will be given consideration, that I will respond to you, and will discuss any issues at the next Executive Council meeting. I look forward to serving as your President, and to seeing you next February. DUSTOFF! Charlie Webb
HIGHLIGHTS FROM 1997 REUNION BANQUET
Colonel Dan Gower's statements: One of our goals this year was to make the Association more visible in the units, to generate new membership, and to return to the organization something in the manner of recognition. To that end, we instituted the first award of the DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year and the DUSTOFF Crewmember of the Year. Nominations were solicited from the Unit Commanders, and the Executive Council met in November to select the recipients.
||Our first award is sponsored by United Technologies/Sikorsky Aircraft. The DUSTOFF Rescue of the Year Award honors the crew or crews who displayed extraordinary skill, courage, and commitment to the DUSTOFF mission by the saving of a life or lives under extreme conditions. This year's winner is the 571st Medical Company from the 36th Evacuation Battalion stationed at For Carson, Colorado. |
The intriguing article tells the story of the two crews that participated in this mission. Crew one was made up of CW2 Mike Hangge, CW2 Bryan Judson, SGT Peter Carroll, and SPC Robert M. Toussaint. The second crew consisted of CW2 Stuart May, CW2 Scott Henry, SGT Victor Stickles, and SPC David Scott. The article also tells the story of this year's recipient of the Outstanding Crewmember of the Year Award, SFC Scott Spiva from the 421st Medical Evacuation Battalion.
The next speaker was Charles Kelly, Jr. who gave a very stirring talk about his memories of his father.
DUSTOFF EUROPE PERFORMS FIRST HOIST
|The story of Specialist Chad E. Blair, being lowered by hoist to extract wounded soldiers in a mine field, was told. Demonstrating heroic courage, Specialist Blair was repeatedly hoisted into the minefield to assess and treat critically injured tank crewmembers whose tank was destroyed by a land mine. For his actions, Specialist Blair received the Soldiers Medal. ||
FROM THE WIREGRASS
In this article Colonel Randy Sexton brings us up to speed with the efforts to modernize the air ambulance fleet. He explained Phase II (Integration and Qualification) for the UH-60Q program.
A new series was started with the biography of Colonel Charles L. Webb, the DUSTOFF Association's President. The riveting story follows him from the time he entered the Army in Dec 56 as a draftee, commissioning in the Infantry, branch transfer to Medical Service Corps, through his career-long achievements, to his retirement in Jul 90.
||In this continuing column, the extract of CW2 Merle Snyder's Silver Star was shows. He received the award for gallantry in action on 11 May 1969 in the Republic of Vietnam. CW2 Snyder received an urgent request for extraction of the crew of an observation helicopter downed by enemy fire near Long Binh. Arriving over the area, gunships strafing the jungle around the crashed helicopter were drawing heavy ground fire. |
It became apparent to CW2 Snyder that the hostile resistance would not be quickly suppressed and that further delaying an extraction attempt would endanger the lives of the crash victims. With gunships providing covering fire, he then made a high speed approach at low altitude, dipping the evacuation helicopter down into a cramped jungle clearing near the wreckage. Enemy fire ripped through the emergency landing zone as CW2 Snyder waited while the crew loaded the sole survivor. Upon liftoff, the hostile fire gained in intensity, hitting the evacuation helicopter, but he skillfully maneuvered the craft out of the fire-swept jungle clearing and delivered the wounded man to a medical facility.
|In addition, (then) WO1 Robert Romines' Distinguished Flying Cross citation was reproduced. He was awarded the DFC on 1 Feb 69 for exceptionally valorous actions while providing support for the 2d Battalion, 60th Infantry, elements of which were encircled by a North Vietnamese company. Enemy fire from a bunker at the edge of a wood line raked the area so heavily that casualties could not be moved back for evacuation. Twice WO1 Romines landed his helicopter within 75 meters of the hostile fortification. Despite several direct hits to his aircraft, he and his crew successfully evacuated the wounded personnel and flew them to the hospital for treatment. ||
If you are not a member, become a member now and read the whole newsletter and the other articles on locating DUSTOFF films in the National Archives, completion of a DUSTOFF documentary by Wingspan Network, and other exciting articles.