Monthly Archives: September 2009

1st Squadron 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division (Airmobile)


Camp Gorvad

The 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) was officially activated on July 1, 1965. It was made up of resources of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) and elements of the 2nd Infantry Division as a part of this reorganization, the 3/17th Cavalry Regiment was redesignated 1/9th.

The Squadron left with the Division for Vietnam in August, 65, wearing the Black Cavalry Stetsons to war for the first time since the Horse Soldier days. On 28 June 71, the 1/9th Cavalry (less B Troop) returned from Vietnam, the most decorated Unit of that war, and assumed the role of the Divisional Reconnaissance Squadron.

It is estimated that the 1/9th was responsible for fifty percent of all enemy soldiers killed by the 1st Cavalry Division during the war. It was for this reason the battalion earned its current nickname “The Headhunters.”

The 1/9th in Vietnam was made up of the following troops:
Headquarters Troop
Alpha Troop
Bravo Troop
Charlie Troop
Delta Troop
Echo Troop
Foxtrot Troop
LRRPs and Rangers
Dog Handlers

The 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry troopers earned three Medals of Honor in Vietnam.

1/9th headquarters, Phuoc Vinh (Camp Gorvad)

Richard Lamb (crew chief) C Troop early August until late October 1968.
Transferred then to HQ Troop as crew chief on the Squadron check-out LOH.
That aircraft was destroyed Christmas Day in a landing mishap and he was
transferred to B Troop Scouts. Shot down Feb 9, 1969 in LOH 16069

Photo courtesy of Richard Lamb

Captured by ‘FIRST TEAM’ in A Shau Valley
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Bob Hinote (radio dispatcher) HQ Troop 1/9th, 1969
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Presenting Awards

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

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1/9th Commanding Officers, 1970
Major Galen Rosher (Charlie Troop CO) front row far right

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1/9th Cavalry Regiment Parade Formation at Phuoc Vinh

Jim Delp (HQ Troop 1/9th, 1969) pointing at fresh shrapnel holes in a sign he had just painted.

Jim Delp (left) must have seen a ghost…

Phuoc Vinh Santa

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Combat Lift Platoon


Among the Best

Lift Pilots and crew of Charlie Troop 1/9th were some of the finest and bravest in the Vietnam War.

On down bird missions, they would steadily hover their chopper above the treetops while the Blues rappelled one at a time to the jungle below. They were easy targets for “Charlie” but that would never stop them from completing a mission.

In the event, we wanted out quickly we could usually count on them being a radio call away…

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UH-1 ‘Huey’

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‘Rock Steady’

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

CPT Rhett Lewis ‘Cavalier 43’ 1969-70

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WO David A. Farrell ‘Cavalier 42’ 1970-71
David was the A/C (Aircraft Commander) of our bird on May 6, 1970 down bird mission in Cambodia.
Photo by Dennis Junger

Nighthawk

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Blues Rappelling

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Peace

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McGuire Rig

Staff Sgt Dave Roger guiding chopper into LZ


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Richard Lamb, crew chief C Troop early August until late October 1968.
Transferred then to HQ Troop as crew chief on the Squadron check-out LOH.
That aircraft was destroyed Christmas Day in a landing mishap and he was
transferred to B Troop Scouts. Shot down Feb 9, 1969 in LOH 16069

Photo by Richard Lamb

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Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer (center on the ground) KIA January 22, 1971

Gods Own Lunatics

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Phuoc Vinh Airfield


Largely a Support Airstrip

Phuoc Vinh
Click on map to enlarge…

Phuoc Vinh Firebase

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Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Photo by Terry A. Moon
1st Cav Photographer 1968-1969

Photo by Terry A. Moon

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NW Approach

Photo courtesy of Richard Lamb, crew chief C Troop early August until late October 1968. Transferred then to HQ Troop as crew chief on the Squadron check-out LOH.

This is a Walker Jones aerial photo of Phuoc Vinh firebase provided to me by Frank McKinnon (HQ Troop 1/9th). Charlie Troop and HQ areas are top/center. Click on photo to enlarge…

Sunset over Phuoc Vinh
Photo courtesy of Peter Guthrie (1LT Blue Plt Ldr 1968-69 ‘Cavalier Blue’)

Photo courtesy of Stan Edington

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AH-1G Huey Cobra ‘Snake’

Cobra on the refuel pad
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Photo courtesy of Staff Sgt Dave Roger

Photo courtesy of Dave Roger

Photo by Mike Thompson (crew chief) 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, 1970-71
Courtesy of Jordan Green

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Control Tower

Looking down from the control tower (generator in the center)
Photo courtesy of Stan Edington

Some of our high tech communication systems in the tower

Stan Edington (air traffic controller from December 69-November 70)

Control tower in dubious weather conditions
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Photo courtesy of Stan Edington

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Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Each morning the Blues picked up ammo for their daily mission from a conex in this area.

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Photo taken as we departed from Phuoc Vinh heading to Fire Support Base Buttons early one morning.

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UH-1 ‘Huey’

Tom Stokesberry (Charlie Troop crew chief, 1969)
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Helicopter Maintenance Hanger

Spec 5 Dennis Junger

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green (Charlie Troop Maintenance, 1969-70)

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Light Observation Helicopter ‘Loach’

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Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

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C-130 Cargo Planes

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C-123 Caribou
Photo courtesy of Mike Logson (1969)

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

CH-47 Chinook

Photo by Mike Thompson (crew chief) 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, 1970-71
Courtesy of Jordan Green

Part of the HHC 31st Eng Bn company area taken from top of the radar tower.
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells, 31st HHC

Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Volleyball game in the rubber trees at Quan Loi
Photo courtesy of Chris Bushels

Captured VC flamethrower
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Radar unit on the wooden tower was used to pinpoint the origin of incoming rounds for retaliation purposes.
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

What a mortar round does to a sandbagged roof
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Howitzer near Phuoc Vinh perimeter
Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

31st HHC main street
Photo courtesy Chris Bussells

Sky Crane

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

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Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

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1st Lt Ralph Diaz
C company 31 Engr. Bn. 79 GP 20th Eng. Bde.

Ralph was the project engineer for the Phouc Vinh airfield up grade, ran the soil cement soil stabilization plant, and also did the asphalt cap on the runway.

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz

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Photo courtesy of Ken Piotter (31st Engineer Battalion HHC)
Ken was a construction surveyor on the main airfield from January to April 1969 putting down the pierced metal run way.

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Photo courtesy of Ken Piotter

Late 60’s aerial photo of Phuoc Vinh

Photo taken as we departed from Phuoc Vinh heading to Fire Support Base Buttons early one morning.

Photo courtesy of Bob Powers (HHC 31st from April 69 to March 70)

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Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

Photo courtesy of Bob Powers

Photo courtesy of Bob Powers

Photo courtesy of Bob Powers

Photo courtesy of Jordan Green

Photo courtesy of Bob Powers

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Puff the Magic Dragon was a WW2 Cargo plane (C-47) adapted with M-60 Gatling guns.
Photo courtesy of Mike Logson (1969)

Frank McKinnon (HQ Troop 1/9th) was Col Booth’s crew chief
Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

Ted Hall, unknown & Frank McKinnon
Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

James Herder
Photo courtesy of Frank McKinnon

Back side of maintenance hanger
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Mess hall in flames (1969)
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

New mess hall (right)
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Double Whammy
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

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Photo courtesy of Ralph Diaz
1st Lt, C company 31 Engr. Bn. 79 GP 20th Eng. Bde.

Enemy rocket lands on Phuoc Vinh Airfield
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Aftermath of rocket attack on Phuoc Vinh air strip
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Jim Delp (HQ Troop 1/9th, 1969)

Jim holding remnants of 122 mm rocket.

Hand signals were frequently used by the troops.

Jim Delp holding tiger brought in by the ‘Blues’

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

‘Charlie’ scores a couple direct hits on HQ hoochs.
Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Photo courtesy of Jim Delp

Photo by Richard Lamb (Crew chief) C Troop early August until late October 1968. Transferred then to HQ Troop as crew chief on the Squadron check-out LOH.

Photo courtesy of Richard Lamb

‘Asian Girls gone Wild’
Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

Working girl of Phuoc Vinh
Photo courtesy of Dennis Junger

Photo courtesy of Chris Bussells

Co. H (Ranger) 75th Infantry

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Photo courtesy Craig Stedman
595th Signal Co

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Photo courtesy Craig Stedman

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‘Hung’ our Cambodian Scout


Score to Settle

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Hung (front row) was one of a hand full of Kit Carson Scouts assigned to the Blues.
He had a score to settle with ‘Charlie’. Members of his family were killed by unfriendlies in Cambodia.

I recall a mission where the Blues were inserted to assess damage after an air strike. Hung placed a 1st Air Cav patch on a deceased NVA soldier to convey a message.

We usually trusted Hung’s instincts in the jungle. One day while walking point on a recon mission, he halted our forward movement. He sensed an ambush ahead and convinced us to turn around…

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M-60 Machine Gun


Tried it for a Change

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I traded my radio in for a M-60 on a few missions just to see what it was like carrying all that firepower.

As you can see in this picture I found out. It gave me quite a workout with those 100-round bandoleers draped over my shoulders. I think I was carrying extra ammo for our ‘Ace Gunner’ Mike Milton, who sometimes requested that of his fellow Blues.

On a typical recon mission, the Blues had two of their 12 men carry the M60 machine gun.

The M-60 7.62mm machine gun is a gas-operated, air-cooled, belt-fed, automatic machine gun that fires from the open-bolt position. It has a maximum rate of fire of 750 rounds per minute. Ammunition is fed into the weapon from a 100-round bandoleer containing a disintegrating metallic split-link belt. It can be fired from the shoulder, hip, or underarm position; from the bipod-steadied position; or from the tripod-mounted position. It has a removable barrel which could be easily changed to prevent overheating…

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Fire Support Base Buttons


Next to Song Be Village

Every morning in April 1970, about fifteen of us Blues would board our choppers and fly to LZ Buttons, which was about a half hour flight to the north of Phuoc Vinh.

When we arrived, we usually hung out in culvert looking shelters next to the runway. These shelters gave us some protection in the event of a mortar attack on the airstrip. There we waited for our next mission, whether it be recon or rescue a downed bird.

My radio was always tuned into the same frequency as our Scout birds buzzing around the jungle at tree top level looking for enemy activity. Whenever a door gunner zapped an unfriendly with his M-60 or other weapons of choice, we would let out a cheer almost like a sports event.

The measure of success the military developed for the war in Vietnam was the enemy body count

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Nui Ba Ra Mountain in background on right, LZ Buttons with airstrip in background on left

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Blues arriving at Buttons

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Song Be 1970

The Battle for Buttons

A view of Song Be City from FSB Buttons, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

The berm at FSB Buttons, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

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Photo by Mike Logson (1969)

The 2/12th Cavalry tent city and Nui Ba Ra in January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

LZ Thomas on top of Nui Ba Ra, January 1970
By Bert Schreibstein

For more photos of Fire Base Buttons: Armed Savage (Delta Troop 1/9th)

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Delta Troop 1/9th, 1st Cavalry Division

 

 

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Charlie Troop Blues


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New guy in country (FNG) gets the radio

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Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer KIA January 22, 1971

Relaxing – our squad leader Staff Sgt Dave Roger 

 Staff Sgt Dave Roger, Blues medic (right)

Dave Roger, Bob Quintana 

Dave Roger

Dave Roger (right)

Johnny Stiteler, Dave Roger, Eddie Smith, Tony Cruz, Jim Debolt, Tom Connell 

Dave Roger, Dave Parkhurst,  Larry Pruett

Jim Debolt, Dave Roger

SSgt. George D. Slye ‘Blue Mike’ KIA May 2, 1970 (with A Troop 1/9th) 

Blues in the bush

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Jeff Stone, Daffy Dawson

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Staff Sgt Dave Roger guiding chopper into LZ… 

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Dave Roger

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Just a Walk in the Park

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Blues Arriving at Song Be (Fire Support Base Buttons)

LZ Thomas on top of Nui Ba Ra Mountain

LZ Thomas

LZ Thomas

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smoke break

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Charlie Troop Blues at Rang Rang Airfield

Jeff Stone Photo

Blues in the bush

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What War?

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Blues communicating with Lift bird… 

Blues extraction

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One large combo with extra cheese and an order of breadsticks please… 

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Dave Roger (center) with combat engineers

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Blues in Saigon 

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Struck

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My M-60 

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Photo by Mike Thompson (crew chief) 228th Assault Support Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, 1970-71

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Blues in the air 

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Walter Maude with Veronica (Charlie Troop monkey)

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Rob Struck, Tony Mizzi 

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Struck

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‘Peace’ 

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Blues Rappelling 

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‘McGuire’ Rig 

Photo courtesy of Dave Roger

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Struck, ARVN’s

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Eddie Smith, Schumacher, Tom Connell 

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Daffy Dawson, Marv Lundervold, Dave Parkhurst

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 Eddie Smith

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Dave Roger, Rob Struck

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Rob Struck – search and destroy mission

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Home away from home…

PBR time – Dave Roger, Tom Connell, Rob Struck

Mike Melton, Jim Debolt, Bob Porter, George Burns, Dave Parkhurst, Dave Roger     

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Bob Quintana 

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Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer (center on the ground) KIA January 22, 1971  

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Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer

Photo courtesy of Ron Peffer

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Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer on right with unidentified Charlie Trooper

 

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‘Cavalier Blue’ Mike La Chance, Rob Struck ‘Blue India’

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Johnny Stiteler, Charlie Thatcher, ? 

Bob Porter, Gilbert Ortiz

Dave Roger

Dave Roger

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SFC Lionel DeLa Rosa 

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Marv Lundervold (Lucky Lundie), Charlie Thatcher (Thumper), Harvey Bolejack (Boe) 

Dave Roger, Richard Brasteter

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I got a break

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Bob Quintana 

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SFC Lionel DeLa Rosa ‘Blue Mike’, PFC Rob Struck ‘Blue India’ 

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Smith, Struck, Mizzi 

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Bryant

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Eugene Vanasse 

George Burns, Mike Cody 

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Charlie Thatcher (Thumper) 

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Frank (Amigo) Alameda, George Burns, Schumacher 

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Our medic (?), Cadenhead, Struck, Cody, Roger (Mike La Chance on ground)

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 ‘Cavalier Blue’ Mike La Chance (right)

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Rob Struck, Eddie Smith

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Schumacher 

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Struck

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M-60 by my side 

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Vanasse, Debolt, Struck, Johnson 

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Lift Off

Jeff Stone Photo

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Weaver

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Lawrence 

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Johnson, Ancrum (sp), Fingers (nickname), Struck, Robert (Dutch) Florez – Saigon

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Cadenhead

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Robert (Dutch) Florez, Frank (Amigo) Alameda

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Pat Cadenhead, “Cavalier Blue” Lt. John Mackel, Sgt. Tom Criser

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Struck

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Sgt. Larry Pruett, Frank Alameda, Robert (Dutch) Florez, Eugene Vanasse 

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Weaver, ?, Mike Melton, Pat Cadenhead, Frank Biesel

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?, Johnny Stiteler, Eddie Smith, Rob Struck

Johnny Stiteler, Dave Roger

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Bryant, Struck, Mizzi

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Dave Roger on the left knocking down a PBR

Tom Connell, Bob Quintana 

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Struck

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Schumacher, Lawrence, Porter, ?, Doc, Bryant

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‘Cavalier Blue’ Mike La Chance, Rob Struck ‘Blue India’

1966 Blues 

1968, 69 Blues – Patrick Bieneman (front left) 

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1970 Blues – Crouch, Greg Peffer (KIA January 22, 1971), Tom Connell, Johnny Stiteler, Schumacher, Knight, Ringo 

1971 Blues – Gary Pope (right) fourth squad leader

 

 

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