Our tribute is to all the Vietnam Era Veterans
Each person served their country and did their duty. Many Vietnam Era Veterans did not serve in Vietnam, but your service to your country was very important and is also greatly appreciated. We also want to honor the Hmong and Vietnamese Veterans.
This Tribute is not about the war itself for there is never any glory in war. Our emphasis is about the men who had done their duty at the time; and to honor them for what they are doing today both in the United States and in Vietnam. This is what we pay tribute to, this is what we honor.
This Tribute is also to put a face to who our Vietnam Era Veterans are, an educational platform, and a bridging of the gap between the veteran and non-veteran community.
Proud Daughter of an American Vietnam Veteran
Number one of #1 G.I.s- my father
They were married in Vietnam and have been together for 40 years.
Watch clip of my shout-out to him at this year's (2011) Annual Vietnam Veteran's day banquet.
2011 Annual Vietnam Veteran's Day Banquet
Shout- out for my father- Number One of #1 G.I.s
Gary L. Quaderer, SR
Specialist 4 Radio Operator with B Company - 63rd Signal Battalion,
1st Signal Brigade.
Gary is from the Ojibwe Tribe Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation. He was
drafted in the U.S. Army and served in Vietnam from 1968 to 1970.
I first met Gary back in 1988. He always came across as a humble and sincere person. He is highly involved with his Tribe's cultural and Veteran activities.
Gary also sat on the Veteran Minority Panel for TSIO's first annual Vietnam War Era Symposium in 2012.
U.S. Army service, August 3, 1965--August 2, 1969
Deployed by ship with 199th Light Infantry Brigade (LIB) to
Vietnam on November 23, 1966
Served with the Brigade's 856th Radio Research Detachment
(Army Security Agency)
“Freedom Bird” flight back to “The World” on June 30, 1968
Paul has written four full length stage plays, three of them produced; numerous articles, some published in local newspapers and company newsletters; presently doing volunteer work and working on historical novel of the 1953/54 French defeat at Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam, the battle that essentially pushed the U.S.A into the confrontation with Ho Chi Minh and North Vietnam.
Dr. Jesse L. Dixon
Technical Sergeant Dixon (retired) served on active duty at Cam Ranh Bay AFB
Vietnam from October 1968 to October 1969.
He served 21 years as an Inventory Management Specialist with the
Supply and Logistics field.
He also served at Naha Airforce Base Okinawa, Eglin AFB Florida, McConnel AFB Kansas, Eilsen AFB Alaska, Davis-Monthan AFB Arizona, Phil Sung Bomb Range South Korea, Hickam AFB Hawaii, and Gila Bend Bomb Range Arizona; with temporary duty assignments to Forbes Kansas, Ram Stein AFB Germany, and Yokota AFB Japan.
US Navy from 1969 to 1975, 5 years on active duty - as an enlisted man in
the Naval Security group, then as an officer - first as an advisor in VN then
as a teacher at the Naval Academy prep School.
I've known Alan for quite a few years and he has always spoken from the heart and articulates his thoughts and feelings quite well. He was a panelist for our very first Vietnam War Era Symposium in October 2012.
Learn more about the International Conference of War Veteran Ministers that Alan is involved with here
Read more about Alan's Story here
See PDF Files of Al's outline on: PTSD to Post Traumatic SPiritual Disorder and Shattered Faith below.
Army, Army Security Agency (ASA) 3rd RRU - (Cover name for ASA), 1962-1963
Support for MACV
James was stationed in Okinawa at 3rd U.S.A.S.A field station (Torrie Station). He volunteered to go to White Birch Operations or 3rd RRU (cover name for who & where they really were) in Saigon, Vietnam. In their early days they were assigned to MAAG-V / MACV Vietnam Operations. He landed there on January 2, 1962.
James: I met a wonderful girl at the bar around the corner from where we were staying. We were housed in a hotel downtown Saigon and later at Tan Son Nhut Saigon. She was French Vietnamese and her name was Nina. she could speak French, Vietnamese, and English. We lived together the whole time I was in Vietnam. We had a child named Tran Chi Mai who was born July 27, 1962.
We tried to get married, but I was shipped out early and released from the army early. We lived in a cubicle above a store most of time. I got along with the Chinese, Vietnamese, and French people in the area. We were good neighbors and friends. God knows they looked out for me while I was in Vietnam because I could have been a goner many times.....young and dumb. Too bad I could not get the company records. It has all the information I need for a successful search. Maybe someone will see the pictures and remember. I took for granted Nina's last name to be Tran.
In 1968 or 1969 somehow she wrote me in Phoenix, AZ. We sent tapes and letters back and forth. I sent money to a bank and Christmas cards to them also. My wife and I with my daughter traveled to another state for a visit, but had no money to get back to Phoenix and lost everything we had. I have tried for years to find Mai and Nina with no luck. I will keep trying as I don't feel whole. I feel I left a part of me in Vietnam as did alot of guys. We were young and dumb in the way of life. I hope and pray that others don't give up even as we get older, as you never know when God will bless you and reunite you with your son or daughter. My wife and children know about Mai and would love to meet their sister as would my grandchildren. I have posted pictures of myself and Nina on an organization's data search page in hopes someone will be looking.
*I had the honor to meet James in person with one of his daughters when they visited Wisconsin. He is a real down to earth guy and definitely a Number One G.I. I am so pleased he is still trying to find his daughter. See more pictures below.
Glen "Pete Johnson
Army, 25th Infantry Division, Radar Operator, Tay Ninh Province
December 1968- December 1969
I was honored to meet his daughters and interview them on my show. I was also able to meet his wife and another one of his daughters. Unfortunately they lost their father / husband to a tragic car accident in August 2011. It is very evident that his family is proud of his service and who he was as a person.
In memory of Glen "Pete" Johnson.
1. After his service in Vietnam, Glen was stationed in Colorado until 1971.
2. Glen working at the TPS-25, a ground surveillance unit used to detect personnel movement.
3. Jim Groslansyk (left) and Glen (right) trained together as tank operators. They arrived together in to Vietnam, but the tanks had not arrived. Jim would go to an infantry unit in Cu Chi while Glen went on to train in radar operations and then to Tay Ninh.
4. Glen and his wife, Sally, visited The Wall in 2007 on a trip with daughter Melissa and son-in-law Shawn.
5. Shawn told Glen, "We're sure glad your name isn't up on that wall." Indeed, four of their five children would never have been born had he not returned.
6. Glen sought out the name of his unit's Sargeant Major, William Clevenger. Clevenger was killed during a mortar attack on June 6, 1969. "He was so cut up from shrapnel that they had nothing they could do to save him," Glen remembered. "He was like a father to us."
7. Nui Ba Den, the Black Virgin Mountain, 10 miles from Tay Ninh. The 101st Airborn had a base at the top of the mountain, the rest of the mountain was occupied by the Viet Cong.
8. Glen owned and operated an excavating business in Colfax, WI.
9. Glen often donated his time, expertise, and equipment--here to make improvements to the shooting range in Colfax, a popular Boy Scout campsite.
10. Chinook moving the radar set.
11. Glen working at the radar set atop a 30-foot tower.
12. Glen sitting in front of the MPQ-4A radar. "The fan is blowing on me," he writes. "That's why my hair sticks up like that."
13. Glen's basic training photo. He was 18.
14. Glen was a loving, doting grandfather. Here with his wife, Sally, and their beloved grandchildren: Alex, Kaitlyn, Bailey, Bryce, and Brandon.
15. Christmas circa 1981. Shelley, Sally, Glen, Melissa, and Tracey.
16. The whole Johnson family in 1993. Melissa, Shelley, & Tracey; Sally & Glen; Scott & Eric.
17. Fort Knox, where Glen went through AIT for tank operating.
18. Sally and Glen at their daughter's wedding. Sally and Glen were married in 1968, two weeks before Glen left for basic training and then on to Vietnam.
19. & 20. (Nothing to add)
21. Glen was able to meet up with Sally while he was on R & R to Hawaii in July of 1969.
22. Meeting daughter Michelle for the first time while on R & R in Hawaii.
23. Glen writes: "That is the TPS-33. It picks up personnel movement as far out as 10,000 meters. The earphones I have on I listen to the movement to tell if it's a truck or cows or troops. The scope doesn't show up on the picture. The scope looks like [a line with pointed blips]. The pointed blips could be personnel or trees."
24. Being recognized at Granddaughter Bailey's school program honoring veterans in 2006. He said this was the first time he was publicly thanked for his service.
25. Glen's first glimpse of his newborn daughter, Michelle, was this photo.
Marine, Rifleman Infantry, Enlisted
Vietnam February 1969 to Mid-November 1969
Near former DMZ
David has returned to Vietnam twice since he served in Vietnam during the war.
Served in 18th Engineer Brigade, U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1967-68
Founding President, Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 5, Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (Fifth VVA chapter in the USA)
Founding Wisconsin State Chairman, Vietnam Veterans of America.
Twice National Delegate and former National Board Member, Vietnam Veterans of America.
Former Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Highground, the veterans memorial park located west of Neillsville, Wisconsin, on U.S. 10, during primary building phase, 1985-1990.
Principal organizer of “Support the Troops” rally at Federal Building in Eau Claire on 11 October 2001, one month after 9-11.
Coordinator of local veterans’ troop support group, which adopted a company of the 397th Engineer Battalion, deployed in Iraq in 2006-2007. The battalion is headquartered in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
SERVED IN DELTA, CANTHO,ETC
68-69, 2ND FIELD FORCE ARTILLEARY,
ATTACHED 9TH INFANTRY DIV.
Ken is a cool G.I. We had some good talks and he definitely has shown me that he hasn't forgotten the Vietnamese people. In the pictures below you will see how while he was in Vietnam, he was able to connect with some of them.
Ken is fun to joke around with, but we have serious talks too. Thanks G.I. for that!
15th TC Batallion, TDY- 1st of 9th, B CO., 1st CAV, (Camp Evans)
Phu Bai & Chu Lai- With 1st CAV. DIV.
Jim was on my TV Show. You can find that show here. Jim is easy to talk with and we've had a few good talks. He loves the Huey and at our 2012 Vietnam veteran's Day Banquet, he spent some time sitting in the Huey we had on display.
This picture is of Jim when he first arrived in Vietnam. See more of his pictures below. Also check out his blog here.
Thanks Jim for being a part our gatherings! I hope you come back. As I already warned you, I will stay on your case to make sure of it! All for good reason G.I.
Air force Jet Engine Mechanic
Served from December 1953- May 1974
In Vietnam from December 65-March 66
In the Philippines from 1965-1967
In Thailand from 1971-1972
Allen also served with the VFW in Merril from 1972-2003 and then joined the Altoona VFW in 2003.
We also want to pay tribute to the late Carolyn Olkives. Carolyn was very much and proudly involved with the VFW. She and her husband worked tirelessly together to help honor veterans and their families and their community. Carolyn and Allen both helped me load one of our medical containers to Vietnam. They also tried to help me bring some awareness to the Vietnamese Amerasians, and was a support of our other organization activities. Carolyn was involved in helping us with our Veteran gatherings and was one of the presenters for our very first official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for Wisconsin. In her presentation she highlighted the women who served during Vietnam.
Her daughter Sharon Leppert has carried on the family tradition and is currently serving with the same VFW post. I want to thank your family along with the Altoona VFW for supporting me, my organization, and allowing me to share a part of all of you.
199th Light Infantry Brigade, 1969-1970,R.T.O.
Jack was wounded on June 2, 1969 by a booby trap explosion and spent 3 weeks in 3rd Field Hospital in Saigon. He then returned to his unit to finish out his tour.
Jack is from the east coast. I can't remember how he said he discovered our website, but once he did, he sent me a CD of songs that he made about his reflections in Vietnam. I then asked him for his picture and service information so we can add him to this Tribute page.
Thanks so much G.I. for sharing with us your music. Thanks for coming on our page. It is an honor to make this connection with you all the way over to the east coast. Maybe some day you can come and be a part of our gatherings.
Air -force Captain
Former POW (1965-1973)
Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, then later to Colonel
25 years in the Air-force
Dan has seen more than most of us have in a lifetime. He is very humble, laid back, and pleasant to be around. With all that he has experienced, he credits his faith for helping him pull through. He says his wife never doubted his being alive. Amazing they both had felt the same way.
Dan has attended our Annual Vietnam Veteran gatherings with his wife. I was honored to have the opportunity to tell his story on our TV Show.
US army 1965-1966
184th Chemical Platoon
Anh Khe, 1st Cavalry Air Mobile Division
Al is another Veteran we selected to be a part of witnessing the signing of the bill. We love Al & his wife Doris! Al has also made some items he donated to one of our Annual Vietnam Veteran's Gatherings (2009). Al told me he would like to return to Vietnam with me some day.
My buddy from Brooklyn took these pictures, He was a wedding photographer. Below were the Vietnamese interpreters assigned to our unit. We became good friends and had some good times together. I even ate Christmas dinner at their house. It would be nice to have some contact with them again. Their names were Tung and Soul. The other pictures are from the Highground Memorial in Wisconsin.
Army, 5th of 7th Cav, 1st Cav. Div., B Company
Infantry Mortar man (May-July 1967)
Injured, hill was mined & shrapnel went into his side, Later injured lower back. After injured, was placed in 3rd brigade of 1st Cavalry Division, HHC (Aug.67- April 68)
Galen is the uncle of Larry Stork, Vietnam Veteran, who is the medic section. They are close to age and are more like brothers. After Larry returned from Vietnam, Galen went for his tour. When Galen returned home, him and Larry lived together for awhile.
I just talked with him today (January 14, 2011) for about a couple of hours. We had a very nice talk and he cracked up when I told him I call Larry Bac Si G.I. Galen had written several pieces on his experiences and reflections on Vietnam. You can find some those at link below. Galen says he decided to start writing, not only because it was therapeutic for him, but because he wanted others to know it was OK to say and express things. To be OK with self and that it is OK to talk.To voice things whether it is done verbally or through writing, for all generations to do this.
For Galen, writing was the best way to express himself. It was also a direct result of counseling for Post Traumatic Stress. It especially showed a purpose in most recent years in sharing with hope to opening others up and to help them better understand themselves.
See more of his writings (here)
Army ROTC UW- Milwaukee
Active Duty May 1969- May 1971
Military Schools: Infantry Officer Basic,
Vietnam November 1969 through November 1970
First Armored Division,
Fort Hood, TX- December 1970 through May 1971
Advisor Team 17, Son Tinh District, Quang Ngai Province, I Corp
My duty was to work with the local authorities to identify Vietcong infrastructure, coordinate the flow of information to Province HQ, act as a liaison between US forces operating within the district and Vietnamese district and provincial forces.
Chuck is a Veteran who went to Vietnam for his second trip back with me and another Veteran (his first trip back to Vietnam) in 2010. Chuck helped us load one of our medical containers and then on our trip in 2010 was able to tour the facility where the items were sent and being put to good use. Chuck served on my board for two years and was a part of the very first Official Vietnam Veteran's Day event for WI our organization hosted and organized. He also helped assist with putting other TSIO events together.
I really appreciate Chuck for all of his support with TSIO, me, and the people of Vietnam. He really understood the message and vision of TSIO- Healing for ALL who suffered from the war, not just the Veterans. Chuck was willing to roll up his sleeves and do whatever it took to get things done. If I asked him to speak, he would. However, if I needed him to just collect tickets for an event, he was just as happy doing that. He was a person who just wanted to serve selflessly in whatever capacity needed without any agenda of his own- with true humility. This is all of what I love about him. It was an honor to have him meet some of my family in Vietnam and be a part of TSIO.
Please read more of Chuck's thoughts on his experience and different reflections (here)
Army Infantry 9th Division
Vietnam: January 3, 69 – May 19, 1969
Wounded- May 19, 69 until discharged June 1970
George was part of our planning committee for the Annual Vietnam Veteran's day event. He is also involved in many Veteran organizations and activities. George attends the reunion for his Battalion as often as he can. He was one of a dozen Veterans we selected to bring to the Capital for the signing of the Vietnam Veteran's Day bill.
George is pretty funny. I should call him AKA Comedian G.I. At this year's banquet I was giving him a shout-out for his support & help with the banquet. While looking for him out in the crowd I noticed two hands being lifted above a person's head............It was George! He held up all 10 fingers claiming to be #10 G.I.!Thanks Funny G.I. We all had a great laugh with that one!
*George reunited with a nurse who took care of him in Vietnam when he had malaria and also when he was wounded. They reunited in October 2011 for the first time in Chicago after 40 some years.
Gary "Butch" Hedin
SP4 Gary "Butch" Hedin died January 10, 1968 in Vietnam
He was with C Troop, 3rd Sqdn, 5th Cav, 9th INF Div.
Gary's nephew David Till submitted this on behalf of his uncle. David looks just like his uncle. David plans to take a trip to Vietnam with his brother to see the place where his uncle lost his life.
Thanks David for honoring your uncle and giving us the opportunity to do as well.
Robert (Bob) Burgess
Marine, Chu Lai, 3rd Marine Air-wing, 2nd Lambs Headquarters Battalion, Radar Unit
I met Bob years ago. We didn't establish a true connection until about two years ago. Truthfully, I don't think Bob was quite sure what to make of me. It took him a little bit. I just continued to reach out and share with him from the heart, that eventually Bob came to know more about who I was, my intentions, and my story. We have done alot of work on communicating and understanding one another and have a good connection today. In fact, we are always harassing each other!
Bob has done alot for Veterans and their families especially the returning veterans today. He used to host a show that interviewed various Veterans called American Heroes.
He is quite the character and recently moved out of the area. He will be missed. Bob, I believe we were to meet for a reason and I'm glad we had the opportunity to do so before you left. Please watch my interview with Bob on my TV show about his experience with Vietnam and a very moving moment we had together on the show.
ARMY- M.O.S 67U20-CH-47 / Chinook Helicopter Mechanic,
Placed in Airmobile with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam with Company B,
159th Assault Support Helicopter Company
Full Service Feb. 1968- Feb. 1971 / Vietnam, Sept.1968- Sept. 1969
The 159th Assault Support Helicopter Company was in Camp Eagle, which was about one mile north of Phu Bai and about 20 miles south of Hue. He started as a Door Gunner, then became Crew Chief and Door Gunner then up to Flight Engineer- which ran the inside and swing hook under the helicopter while flying. Rod had 1,100 hours of flight time over there. Rod flew from Phu Bai up north to the DMZ, Khe Sanh, Vanderdrift, Ashau Valley, Quang Tri, Phong Dien, Quang Dien, Dong Ha, Cam Lo, Da Nang, & Chu Lai. He carried in flight food, water, ammo, body bags. He also transported our wounded soldiers who didn't make it, back to home base and then finally home.
Rod was a Spec.4 when he entered Vietnam and made Sp.5 (E-5) while serving in Vietnam.
Rod is very down to earth and easy to talk to. We had a few nice conversations about his time in Vietnam. We are honored he always joined us at our Annual Vietnam Veteran gatherings. Rod has participated in a commercial for the VFW Unmet Needs Program and has helped lay flags at cemeteries for our Veterans.
MACV CORDS operations Advisor, Binh Chanh District, 1970.
Briefing officer for DEPCORDS Ambassador Funkhouser to CG & staff, III Corps Vietnam, 1971. In addition to briefing the staff I briefed visiting officials such as the Secretary of the Army. I was in Vietnam for one tour.
Mike wrote a novel, counseled veterans for many years, and is a part of our organization. Read more about Mike and follow (his blogs).
I've known Mike for many years. My husband and I were invited to a group for Vets and their families that focused on spirituality years ago. The thing I love most about Mike is his heart, spirituality, and humility. He has a great balance with his views and is such an eloquent writer. Love ya Mike!
Ssgt, Outfit:1879 Communications Squadron
United States Air Force.
I served in the USAF from May, 1966 to April 1971, the last year of that in Vietnam. Time was also spent at Randolph AFB, TX and Torrejon AB, Spain.
Pic: August 1970, somewhere in or around Nha Trang AB.
Larry is a Vet that I've come to know for about a year now. He has followed my work and I truly appreciate his feedback while following my blogs when I'm on one of my mission trips to Vietnam. He also does alot on behalf of Veterans.
Larry rides with the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association and the Patriot Guard Riders. Photo below was taken on July 18th at the funeral of my best friend, Kenneth Ragan, Vietnam Vet and Iraq War Vet.
In Remembrance of a Number One GI,
June 1948- January 2010
Ed joined the U.S. Marine Corps on March 25, 1966. He was stationed for two years in Vietnam as a member of the 3rd Anti-Tank Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. Ed was honorably discharged on March 3, 1969.
Number One G.I.- Ed would know exactly this term I’m using. I know he would laugh! All in good fun, when the Vietnamese liked you in Vietnam, you were number one GI. When they were upset with you,then you were number 10.
Ed, I enjoyed our talks about Vietnam and the Ao Dai (VN traditional dress) you gave me that you brought back from when you were over in Vietnam. I also thank you for not forgetting the Vietnamese people, both here and in your acknowledgement in Vietnam. It’s Vietnam veterans like you that I love the best. You know all have suffered, and all need to heal.
We honored you at our very first Vietnam Veterans day celebration for WI on March 27, 2010. You were one of only two Vietnam vets that we specifically highlighted that Day. Congressman Kind was there too. You would have been proud.
Thank you Sharon (daughter) for naming us with his memorial. It is truly an honor.
Toi tung duong Ed nhieu lam.
Proud Daughter of a Vietnam Vet
SP4 CLINT W.HAINES C TROOP 7/17TH AIR CAV 1ST AVN BRIGADE
CREW CHIEF COBRA # 832 APRIL 3-19-70 TO 10-15-70
CAMP RADCLIFF AN-KHE RVN 10-16-70 TO 8-12-71
LANE ARMY ARMY HELIPORT ROK VALLEY ANSON RVN. C TROOP FLEW IN SUPPORT OF THE 173RD AIRBORNE OUT OF BONG-SONG BINH DINH -PROV. RVN.
WHEN CLINT RETIRED, HE CO-FOUNDED THE AMERASIAN CHILD FIND NETWORK. SINCE 2002 HE HAS TRAVELED TO VIETNAM 14 TIMES TO ASSIST IN THE UNIFICATION OF FAMILIES TORN APART BY THE END OF THE U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN VIETNAM.
Unfortunately Clint Passed away this year (2011). Both Clint and I worked together in trying to bring awareness to the Amerasian issues. We have had many talks including for hours at a time. I as a proud Amerasian (Daughter of a Vietnam Vet) especially appreciates Clint for his work on behalf of Amerasians.
Learn more about the Amerasians.
August 68-August 69
9th Infantry Division, Mobile Riverine Force,
3rd / 47th- Mekong Delta- Saigon Area
Jerry speaks to kids at the schools about his experience in Vietnam. Their daughters are truly two proud daughters of Vietnam Vets- you can tell!
Please read Jerry's blog about his experience in coming home, the support of his wife, talking at the schools, attending our gatherings, and his involvement with our organization.
I had been drafted in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam in November as a "combat engineer". I served with D company, 84th Engineers south of Qui Nhon, and for a while with the 35th Engineers by Mo Duc; both in the central highlands. On Jan. 2002, I returned to Vietnam to revisit these sites. It was something I always wanted to do. I traveled there with Thuy and another Veteran.For some strange reason, in some way I feel more at home there then I do back here.
To stand in these places I had been almost 40 years earlier was like affirming the reality. For me Vietnam had been like a surreal experience. I think it was because I was snatched away from being a west end street kid, put through 16 weeks of training then sent to a place that was different than anything I had ever experienced. after 15 months the opposite happened; you got on a plane and ended up back where you were originally snatched from. for those that never served life just went on as usual for them while you were gone. For those of us that did we had somehow been transformed and were never really able to resume our lives as they had been before.
A main point I made in an interview I did with a minister one time was how Vietnam changes a person. That the carefree easy going fun loving guy that went there came home a different person. A very somber serious person that seemed to have lost his carefree spirit and sense of humor; that never came back. I also talked about finding forgiveness and peace again.
Larry was part of a group of Vietnam Veterans who used to come from MN to WI to see my parents and I at my mother's Vietnamese Restaurant. He is what we call- one of the originals. This is where and who our gatherings started with initially until it turned into our formal banquets, events, etc.
Larry has stated that coming together at our gatherings and returning to Vietnam was a positive experience and brought about some of the healing. I was honored to have Larry meet some of my family in Vietnam.
B Co. 5th BN 60th Infantry
9th Infantry Division- Army
Only my brothers that were in country can understand just how close we became. We had each others backs. We knew in any given situation what each other would do. We became closer or as close as any family member. You had your buddies life in your hands. When our tours were over, we made promises we would keep in touch and to get together sometimes.
Most of us haven't done this. We just wanted to put this in the past and leave it there. At least in my life, nobody seemed to want to know what we went through- like we did something wrong. That was....until a sweet gal named Thuy Smith entered into my life. Thuy made me feel it was not all for nothing.
That year I was invited to a Vietnam Veteran's gathering at her mother and father's Vietnamese restaurant. I drove an hour into town and drove past the restaurant a couple of times and drove home. I just didn't feel I fit in. I thought my feelings on Vietnam were different than other guys so back in the closet they went. However, Thuy & her parents kept working on me and the next year very reluctantly I came. It was one of the best things I ever done for myself. A great time was had by all, especially me!
John and his wife Mary Ann have been regulars at my mother's Vietnamese restaurant. John has been a sponsor for projects of our organization. He also helped collect some medical equipment for our medical containers.
Bill served as a crew chief / door gunner on a Huey in Vietnam from Sept 68 thru Apr 70 (II Corps - Central Highlands). He spent 20 years in the Army and retired in 1988.
Bill is also a County Veteran Service Officer (CVSO) for Trempealeau County. Bill has attended our events before. Of course the one thing that really stood out to him was the Huey we had at our First Official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for WI. Bill and I have had a few talks, but my most memorable was when I first met him and he brought me to a beautiful Veteran's park for the day.
I never even knew the place existed until that day. Thanks G.I.!
Dennis O Leary
*More information coming.
I don't know Dennis very well, but we have had a couple of little chats and they
were very sincere and honest. Thank you Dennis!
Base Camp Phu Loi
First Craig was with the 4th Infantry, D Company, Pleiku Engineering Battalion, Explosive specialist, Gunner
Cu Chi, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment (took over after 25th Div. out of Hawaii left), 2nd regiment (better known as Blackhorse / E-Troop)
After Craig returned from Vietnam, he served out the rest of his military service in Fort Belvoir- MT. Vernon, outside WA D.C., from May 1972 to December 1974. Craig says ironically it is located off a HWY One. Craig also hosted a local TV Show called Vets Remember for three years.
Craig's motto comes from the movie Shawshank Redemption- Get busy living or get busy dying. This is why Craig decided to get involved with the Veteran TV Show. It kept busy doing something positive and helping other Veterans in the meantime.
Thanks Craig for all you've done for others and you have much more to share. We look forward to it.
I went to VN in 1967 with the 93rd ENGR Construction Battalion, landed at Bear Cat at Midnight- no tents, no shelters and raining like mad. After the mess tent was put up, we all stayed in it, standing up all night. It was so Hot and being wet, NO SHOWERS for TWO days. The best morning of my life was getting out of there for fresh air.
Next day we put up tents, filled sand bags and built bunkers. Ninety days later I was transferred to the 69th ENGR Construction Battalion and was promoted to E-6 SGT the next week. I was sent to Ve Tong and was there for 2 weeks, then sent to Can Tho. Setting up a S-4 yard for our Building Materials. Three months later I was a Platoon SGT. We built a new Camp 3 miles down the road from Can Tho. After that I took over the asphalt crew and the asphalt plant.
I went back to Ve Tong to repair the air field, but Tet hit and we all went back to Can Tho, this was in 1968. Then I worked on repairing bridges between Can Tho and Soc Trang, spending half of my time at one place or the other. The day after returning to Can Tho from Ve Tong , Tet hit there. On week latter I was at Soc Trang , Tet hit there. Between repairing the culverts and bridges, they were blown away as fast as the repair work was performed. Left to go back to USA in 1968.
In 1969 I returned to VN with the 517th. LE ENGR Co. attached to the 36 Combat ENGR I lived at the Camp I built in 1968. Was put on the asphalt repair crew on QR-4. I ran the asphalt plant and repaired roads and asphalted roads. I moved around a lot from Vinh Tong, Can Tho, Long Ben, Saigon, Soc Trang and Binh Thuy. Returned to USA in 1970.
SFC (ret) Eugene T. Rothbauer
Eugene was stationed in two areas in the Delta that my family in Vietnam reside. Eugene and his significant other are two of the coolest people. I've really enjoyed my talks with them and am so glad they have continued to return to our events since the first one we put on in this area.
Pic.1: 1970 Bearcat Compound- My first camp in County in 1967, I helped construct this water tank, which was next to our mess hall.
Pic.2: Binh Thuy Camp- This is the camp we built in 1968 - 1st tour. My second tour I lived in these tents
Pic.3: City of Cantho
Pic.4: South Vietnamese farm- mosty rice and vegetables
Pic.5: Long Binh Depot- The place where we got our replacement parts.
Pic.6: Maintenance truck for my platoon- We spent most of our time o the roads - repairing and putting down asphalt. We went from camp to camp and also provided day and night security for our job sites
Pic.7: Mess Hall at Soc Trang
Pic.8: POW Camp
Pic.9: Road in Cantho- Going to the River, there were some storage buildings there.
Pic.10: South Vietnamese farmers with water buffalo working his rice fields
Pic.11: V-Thong live-in bunker- Building a live in Bunker to cope with nightly in-coming Mortars.
Pic.12: Tent City- This is where we lived, see the coffee cans on the post next to the door. They were for cigarette butts. 1st SGT checked every day and he better not see any butts on the ground. Pallets were our walk way and also inside our tents for floors.
Army, December 70-72
Military Intelligence, Intelligence Analyst
Mekong Delta, USARV
I invited Bob to be a part of our group that went to Madison to witness the signing of the Vietnam Veteran's day bill we proposed and advocated for. This is how we first met. He served in the Delta area where my family and I are from.
Bob has returned to Vietnam 3 times since he served in Vietnam 40 some years ago. He really enjoys going the Vietnam and he says he especially appreciates the people. Bob told me if Vietnam wasn't so far, he actually would go back there every winter.
Bob has a Community Radio Show that plays music from the 60's and talks about the different events taking place during those times. I also interviewed Bob on my TV show. To watch that interview and also learn more about his show, go here.
See more pictures of Bob below.
Honoring our Medics- the #1 Bac SI G.I. s
A special shout-out to the Medics (Bac Sis) at the 2011 Annual Vietnam Veteran's Day Banquet. Bac Si is the Vietnamese word for Doctor.
We had this cake made in honor of all the #1 G.I.s, but a special symbol was placed on here for the tribute to the Medics (right hand side of cake)
HM3 -Aka “Doc” “bush doc” “mother doc”
Enlisted July 1967, Served with: 2nd Bn. 1st Mar Div.Echo Company, 1st Platoon. 1969 - Hon. Dis. July 1971
Larry asked me to return an item for him to Vietnam this year (2011) that belonged to a former North Vietnamese Soldier. The item is now archived in the Danang Museum.
Please watch video and read more about Larry and the item I returned for him here.
Our name for Larry- Buckle Larry I am really proud of Larry for this act of humanity.
Drafted October 1965, In Vietnam 66-67, Attached to 418th Medical Company Ambulance Service, 4th Army detachment, Worked Med Cap with the Vietnamese
AKA Huey Larry- Larry was the one who got us our Huey Helicopter for the first official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for WI (2010). This was one of the favorite things at our event.
Specialist-4 with the U.S. Army
Troop A, 11th Armored Calvary Regiment
He received the Army Commendation Medal while serving as a Medic with A Troop in Vietnam. He helped aid and rescue wounded soldiers from a firefight and carried them to safety to the evacuation site. With complete disregard for his own personal safety he carried out these duties during intense firefight.
(This information came from an article done on Larry)
The Commendation was signed by: R.E. Hufmann, JR.-Brigadier General, GS, Chief of Staff.
The thing I loved about Larry is that he tries to learn and practice a little Vietnamese with me. He seems very sincere and authentic about wanting to learn about my life and experiences too. Thank You # 1 G.I.!
U.S. Army- 1966
He volunteered for Special Forces and was trained as a Medic.
Served in Okinawa, Philippines, Taiwan, & Vietnam.He was recruited by the US Agency for International Development to serve as the public health advisor for Military Region II (MR-II) in Northern Laos where he worked with the Hmong and other Hill Tribes.
After returning to the states, he joined the Army Reserves where he was awarded a direct commission to second Lieutenant and retired in 1994 as a Major. He is active within the Special Forces Association and within the Hmong Community, especially the Hmong Veterans.
On Memorial Day 2010, I spoke at the Hmong, Laos, and American Veteran Memorial as did Steven. I acknowledged and thanked Steven for making it his mission to not let others forget about who the Hmong and their Veterans are. This is what I admire most about Steven. Thank you Steven- this definitely makes you a Number One G.I.
Read more of Chieu Dao's Story here
Note: Chieu Dao has returned to Vietnam as a tourist on several occasions. He is a Christian man that is all about forgiveness. Someday I will write a blog of our first encounter and friendship since. I have much respect for him.
(Pic. 2) The addition of a panel dedicated to the first Hmong political leader who achieved national recognition, Phagna Damrong Ritthikay Touby Lyfoung (1917-1979). Lyfoung played an integral role in 20th century Laos . He opened the doors to public education and knowledge for the Hmong people, and all his life he fought for the integration and civil rights of all ethnic minorities in Laos.
(Pic. 7-15) Memorial Day 2010 at Hmong, Laos, American Veteran Memorial (Sheboygan,WI) Watch my speech below)
(Pic. 16- 22) Laos and Hmong Veterans walking down Aisle of Honor at our very first Official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for Wisconsin (see video clip below) and the Hmong Veterans in the crowd with the next generation of Hmong (performers) also for our event.
Laos, Hmong, and American Veteran Memorial
My Speech- Memorial Day (2010)
First Official Vietnam Veteran's Day Celebration for Wisconsin
Hmong and Laos Veterans (SGU) Special Guerrilla Units- Aisle of Honor
*Thuy Smith International was given permission to play these memorial clips.
Credits at the end.
Hmong Veteran, Former POW
Thai is from Laos and he is Hmong. He was drafted to serve in the special
Commando force at Region II of Laos from November 1966-1975. Thai was a Prison Of War at the Re-education facility in the Northern part of Laos from April 28, 1977 to May 30, 1980. He escaped from the prison of May 1980 and crossed into Thailand in March 9, 1981. He came to the US in August 12, 1988.
Thai is now retired. Thai is very humble and respectable among the Hmong people. He also serve in many capacities as an advisor for the Hmong Community.
I was born in 1952. In 1969 I graduated from Dong Dok in Vientiane, Laos with a 4 year degree. During 1969 to 1970, I served as a payroll administrator in the finance office to the Army for the Special Guerilla Units.
It was in 1971 that I went to Huahin Thailand to learn to fly on the smaller private planes. Upon completion of that course, between 1972-73 I went on to learn to fly the Trojan T-28 in operation Water Pump. After graduation I went back to the airbase that was “non-existent”, but located in Long Tien. It was military region 2 under the command of General Vang Pao and the CIA.
My last mission was around October of 1973. The oil pressure of my plane dropped down to 0 PSI and I knew that the engine could blow up an anytime. Luckily for me, I was at the down wing with the altitude of 1000 feet. I made the decision to turn off the engine and proceed with an emergency landing. The run way in Long Tien was so short and with the incoming speed of the plane was still so fast that I over shot my landing. I ended up hitting the building at the end of the runway with injuries.
With the end of the Vietnam War, I ended up in Ban Vinai’s refugee camp until I came to the United States in 1976 .
Read his Proud Daughter's Blog about her father here
AIR FORCE TRAINING 08/68 -06/71 IN THAILAND.AIR FORCE SERVICE 06/71-07/75 WITH 2562 COMBAT MISSIONS.TYPE OF PLANES FLOWN: PIPER CUB,CESSNA 142 &180,PIPER AZTEC (TWIN ENGINES),BEECHRAFT BARON A55(TWIN ENGINES) AND T.28 FIGHTER BOMBER.FINAL RANK : CAPT.KOUA IS HMONG AND FROM LAOS. HE WAS SGU. T.28 PILOT DURING THE VIETNAM WAR.
HE CAME TO THE USA IN 09/76.HE WAS EMPLOYED BY THE STATE OF ILLINOIS FOR 23 YEARS AND RETIRED JANUARY 2003. HE IS MARRIED WITH THREE CHILDREN AND FOUR GRANDCHILDREN.
In 1971, Phong was recruited to the Hmong Special Air Force that was part of the United States’ secret air war in Laos known as “Barrel Roll”. With 3 years of post secondary education, he was well qualified to participate in the pilot training operated by the United States Air Force in Thailand. He went through the Cessna 150 and 175 trainings at the Civil Aviation Training Center and successfully completed the T-28 pilot training course on November 4, 1973 at the US airbase known as Project Water Pump. He was part of the 4th group being trained and a member of the Hmong fighter pilots known as “Chao Pha Khao”. He served until May 1975 when Laos fell into the hands of the new Communist Regime and the Hmong military base in Long Cheng was evacuated to Thailand.
Phong was a refugee in Thailand for one year after leaving Laos and then resettled in Minnesota. He came to Minnesota on June 1976 with his wife, a baby daughter and 4 of his younger siblings. He attended vocational school and became a machinist. He later worked as a mechanic for Northwest Airlines until 2005. Phong is the proud grandpa of 3 beautiful grandchildren.
In memory of Joe Chong Soua Xiong
Mr. Xiong was born in Xiengkhuang, Laos to Chia Koua Xiong and Xai Yang. He passed on February 21, 2013 at his home. He is survived by his wife and 12 children.
Joe took part in the conflict in Vietnam from 1964-1973. He was part of the Customer Services Department, riding with helicopter pilots delivering supplies to American forces on the front lines and rescuing and recovering American soldeirs.
I was honored to be able to stop by to share my condolences and pay my respects. My organization also presented his sons a certificate of appreciation for their father's service to the United States. It was one extra measure we wanted to take and also show the Hmong community we do want them to be a part of us and our Veteran event. Vietnam veteran's day is very much for the Hmong too. Rest in Peace Sir.
Chung Toi khong bao gio quen anh (We will never forget you)
“In our desire to express our frustrations with the conflict in Vietnam, we targeted our young
men who served there.
In a very real sense, we did not separate the war from those
who fought it".
“The least any of what these men did was their duty and for this they should be proud.”
Le Ly Hayslip