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


3477965339_353e796c15 3919268218_4dbe0848f7 New guy in country (FNG) gets the radio… securedownload-2 Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer KIA January 22, 1971

Relaxing… Our squad leader Staff Sgt Dave Roger (center), medic (right) Dave Roger, Bob Quintana Johnny Stiteler, Dave Roger, Eddie Smith, Tony Cruz, Jim Debolt, Tom Connell Dave Roger, Dave Parkhurst,  Larry Pruett SSgt. George D. Slye ‘Blue Mike’ KIA May 2, 1970 (with A Troop 1/9th) Blues in the bush 10382721_515488471913522_2709548238930144118_n

Jeff Stone, Daffy Dawson

Jeff Stone Photo 3918530943_5583644f8b Staff Sgt Dave Roger guiding chopper into LZ… 3919289498_8837ff3f74 3919317496_d0f810fba8 3918493457_aae4c8ae37 3915944340_61e7802092 ‘Just a Walk in the Park’ 3915879902_b72797a4ba Blues Arriving at Song Be (Fire Support Base Buttons) LZ Thomas on top of Nui Ba Ra Mountain

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 Photo courtesy of Jordan Green 3915888972_18bcbdb4ccTime for a smoke…
10447029_515440875251615_6733076291560441285_n C-1-9 Blues at Rang Rang Airfield

Jeff Stone Photo

3915864202_6171f714c5 What War? 3914952015_cb6ee262cc ‘Blues’ communicating with ‘Lift’ bird… 3915742012_56d0238205 One large combo with extra cheese and an order of breadsticks please… 3915746826_f4080d4e27 3915754086_db10f94328 Blues in Saigon 3956051883_bd8c1baf15_o 3799762694_7416053fdb My M-60 10487425_516071028521933_4195835191951499171_n 3846561311_c5f65ed88c Blues in the air 3854212594_88889d2f98 Walter Maude with Veronica, our Charlie Troop monkey. 3864808784_1eb9306480 Rob Struck, Tony Mizzi 3915696444_c5eff07f81 3915627092_d620283538 3915765326_5a7c4df60e ‘Peace’ 3914839923_79c9189aaa Blues Rappelling 3954946615_6077f275f8_o 3914937807_5e0ce619f5 ‘McGuire’ Rig Photo courtesy of Dave Roger (right) 3914855303_feb2664d55 3914859927_cd3dc6d506 Eddie Smith, Schumacher, Tom Connell 3915620072_80f476273d Daffy Dawson, Marv Lundervold, Dave Parkhurst 3915631758_c7881d795f Eddie Smith 3805311508_d41c4292db Staff Sgt Dave Roger, Spec 4 Rob Struck 3866858979_3cd1a69e71 Search and Destroy3958785897_a4396c1404_oHome away from home… PBR time in my AO… Dave Roger, Tom Connell,  Struck Mike Melton, Jim Debolt, Bob Porter, George Burns, Dave Parkhurst, Dave Roger 3914796347_539e021690 3914807717_9942d9f960 3915569356_ff952c0e08        Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer (center on the ground) KIA January 22, 1971 10341542_10203853811611884_2425407652652388312_n Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer securedownload-1 Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer on right with unidentified Charlie TrooperPhoto courtesy of Ron Peffer

Photo courtesy of Ron Peffer 3913770011_28652dba4a ‘Cavalier Blue’ Mike La Chance carrying basket with recovered items from an abandoned VC village… 3913775697_d0ac911e79 Johnny Stiteler, Charlie Thatcher, ? Bob Porter, Gilbert Ortiz 3479101288_f54f022219 SFC Lionel DeLa Rosa ‘Blue Mike’ 3913784877_755a55e813 3913795839_20c409ded2 Marv Lundervold (Lucky Lundie), Charlie Thatcher (Thumper) & Harvey Bolejack (Boe) 3914575716_c786bf6765 4022548684_c96a573dd1 Bob Quintana 3885327645_f7c13fa3bc SFC Lionel DeLa Rosa (Blue Mike) PFC Rob Struck (Blue India)3913668715_9c02b79035 Smith, Struck, Mizzi 3913671539_6a32830c29 3914437472_9918b23c19 Eugene Vanasse George Burns, Mike Cody 3914443176_ff5137f42f Charlie Thatcher (Thumper) 4014941851_cb149e2261_o 3912620633_de10827bb3 3912627789_34fe2f80e2 Our medic (?), Cadenhead, Struck, Cody, Roger 3913399160_aaf128fdc5 ? & ‘Cavalier Blue’ Mike La Chance 3913618257_f0e90e7cb3 Struck, Eddie Smith 3914408264_c30d7e2d5b Schumacher 3477987089_539ec12f2a 3911434760_33c1706b1f M-60 by my side 3911439768_9df6f77918 Vanasse, Debolt, Struck, Johnson 3911396934_fe02d197e1 Lift Off Jeff Stone Photo

Jeff Stone Photo 3791978941_4862cdde3e Weaver 3786684779_069c3ff5c7 Lawrence 3825806819_f5f2c9879b Johnson, Ancrum (sp), Fingers (nickname), Struck, Robert (Dutch) Florez  (Saigon Mission) 3477986543_92c53ac5e4 Spc4 Pat Cadenhead 3909651844_7cc83a9a44Robert (Dutch) Florez, ? 3909646700_9c0a352b2b Spc4 Pat Cadenhead, ‘Cavalier Blue’ Lt. John Mackel, Sgt. Tom Criser 3909641038_16ee818dee 3908862001_514f5296ef Sgt. Larry Pruett, Frank Alameda, Robert (Dutch) Florez, Eugene Vanasse 3909622790_16264b9957 Weaver, ?, Mike Melton, Pat Cadenhead, Frank Biesel 3908844379_561119734c ?, Johnny Stiteler, Eddie Smith, Rob Struck Johnny Stiteler, Dave Roger 3908809679_2f548bb95f Bryant, Struck, Mizzi 3909587636_e5bcb479df Dave Roger on the left knocking down a PBR Photo by Frank Biesel 3905027039_4785e503cfCould be Sgt. Gregory Lee Peffer (KIA January 22, 1971) not confirmed3887659051_e1e0a79e52 Struck 3784556355_4b65ff80e7Schumacher, Lawrence, Porter, ?, Doc, Bryant 3959435852_bd4ce28ed5_o(Cavalier Blue) Mike La Chance, Rob Struck (Blue India) 1970 March 1966 Blues 1968-69 Blues Patrick Bieneman (front left) 71636_171494692866622_5461402_n 1970 Blues Crouch, Greg Peffer (KIA January 22, 1971), Tom Connell, Johnny Stiteler, Schumacher, Knight, Ringo 1971 Blues 1971 Blues Gary Pope (right) Fourth Squad Leader

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