Memorial Day Weekend – Saturday 27, Volume 1 Broadcast

“Weekend to Remember, 25th Anniversary Vietnam Veterans Memorial.” BROADCAST ON CHANNEL 56 IN DENVER. Saturday, 8 PM, Denver Open Media assures me Volume 1 of the film will be broadcast! Thank You for your patience.

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Vietnam Veteran’s Day, 2017

Source: Vietnam Veteran’s Day, 2017

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Vietnam Veteran’s Day, 2017

Today is Vietnam Veterans Day is recognized in Colorado.

I think of how I ironic and naïve at 19 years old. That my life journey continued from Lowry AFB to Pleiku airbase. There was “Combat Training” at Lackland AFB, TX situated outside of San Antonio. The 30 day leave that was automatically given to all members of the Armed Forces. At least that was the accepted norm.

I think of how I ironic and naïve at 19 years old. That my life journey continued from Lowry AFB to Pleiku airbase. There was “Combat Training” at Lackland AFB, TX situated outside of San Antonio. The 30 day leave that was automatically given to all members of the Armed Forces. At least that was the accepted norm.

After arriving at Cam Ranh Bay airbase, RVN. I knew I was in a combat zone. Not until after the first rocket attack, sometime on November 14th,1969. Those first rounds landed about 100 yards or more away on the Air Force Hospital, helicopter pad. I knew something was up.

Not until sometime in early February 1970, at tower position that was about a quarter mile East of Dong Ba Thin, U.S. Army helicopter base. It was around 6 PM or so. I had been taught by other’s “If you see muzzle flashes, someone is trying to kill you.” Meant you were dead.

Or if you saw muzzle flashes some distance away from your position. Meant, rocket or mortar attack. I happen to look across, saw these some distance from “DBT” as some of us called it.
Panning the area with my binoculars, happen to look across to the interior of the camp. Saw a couple of explosions away from the alert Huey’s. Then saw aircrews scrambling to launch their bird’s. Then I saw two more explosions and they were nowhere to be found.

This was a major wake-up call, and shortly after that notice a local “VC” along the Eastern perimeter of “DBT.” I could see him firing and I called for permission to fire on him.

“Negative,” said the voice at the command post. Then a moment later, heard a buzzing sound pass my ear!

That afternoon was the rehearsal for Pleiku that I would experience after being reassigned in March, 1970. I would spend the next several months. Away from the ‘rear.”

What I have described is what still percolates to the surface, 47 years later. Some years it’s not so bad. Other time’s it was bad, depression and all the negative feelings.  Asking  why.
This year, there seems to be closure, yet it never is.

The organic growth of sharing today’s blog entry. Denver Open Media invited me to participate in broadcasting “Weekend to Remember, 25th Anniversary, Vietnam Veterans Memorial.” Channel 56 at 7 PM, Mountain Daylight Savings Time.
While at the same time, I want to post a link about Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, wrote a poem, 1 January 1970 at Dak To and Pleiku (Camp Holloway), serving with the U.S. Army, 52nd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, 170th Aviation Company.

http://voiceseducation.org/content/major-michael-davis-o%E2%80%99donnell-american

I didn’t know of his poem until I saw the 1987 movie about “Hamburger Hill” was at the end of the movie. I was with a couple of friends, there was almost no one at the movie. When I read it, I cried, just as the tears are filling my eyes. As I write this post.

If You are Able

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.

And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell,
1 January 1970, Dak To

 

 

 

 

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Documentary film – Denver Open Media, March 29th, 2017; Vietnam Veterans Day

All:

Please share with all your organization members, about the broadcast of the documentary film. Mark Arguello, Producer, and Air Force veteran and Denver Open Media. Who extended the opportunity to schedule the airing on Vietnam Veterans Day.

Volume 1, is the Highlights of that weekend, November 9 -11, 2007. Some of the keynote events include Paul Bucha speaking about the challenges and presidential administrations regarding the veterans who served.Before the Veterans Day parade, held in Washington D.C. Saturday, November 10, 2007. Sunday, recording of General Colin Powell’s speech at “The Wall,” – Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Veterans Day, November 11, 2007.

The film was produced, so that it may provide “Healing, Hope, and Love.” For those veterans whose names are inscribed, and for those of us who served. May know that we shall always remember them, their Honor, and Duty as well as our’s.

Please forward any comments to me regarding the film.

Thank You,

Mark Arguello, Producer
http://www.weekendtorememberfilm.com

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46 years later… Operation Tame the West

Jerry Adams, Sr. and I would be part of 7th Air Force headquarters (Saigon) consolidation. Sending available Security Policemen from airbases in South Vietnam.  We meet sometime after March 14th, 1970. Jerry had been assigned to the 3rd Security Police Squadron, Bien Hoa airbase. Little did he and I know our shared experiences “In-Country” would form a brother hood?

We share floor space in open bay barrack’s cordon off by metal lockers and plastic screen divider’s we would purchase from the Mama San’s.  Our commonality was our service, Motown music and with luck “DEROS” (out-of-country) back to the “World” (USA).

Little did we know of the North Vietnamese Army presence outside of the base perimeter or their capability with direct mortar, rocket, sniper fire and occasional small arms fire? They would direct friendly fire mission on the base in late June, 1970. Several weeks after the Cambodia Incursion had begun on May 1st, 1970.

Racial minorities compromised nearly 50% of our “Flight=platoon.”  This diversity helped cemented our mutual perspective about civil rights, minorities serving in the military and about the Vietnam War.

Without fanfare during the last days of April, 1970. Element’s of the U.S. Army arrived on base to bivouac (set up sleeping area’s). Prior to launching operations, Pleiku airbase became the staging area. Army troop’s numbered in the hundred’s with their support vehicles, gun truck’s, M-113 (personnel carrier) , etc.

Those of us who had the unpleasant exposure to small air fire or sniper fire. Realized the importance of what these Army personnel would be part; and of military history and would forever changed politics in modern times.

So we supported these grunts and others with girls, pot, and all the liquor/beer we could buy for them. This resulted in BBQ’s, partying like there was no tomorrow! They very much appreciated what we did for them and could only begin to fathom their journey into the unknown of Cambodia.

We would never see them or the likes of a military operation again in South Vietnam.  Pleiku airbase was a “forward operating base,” the 633rd Special Operation’s Wing had been reassigned to Thailand, Nankon Phanom airbase across from Lao’s. PACAF Headquarters and 7th Air Force activated the 6254th Air Base Squadron on March 15th, 1970. If you do a search on the internet, you can’t find very much information. It’s almost like Pleiku airbase didn’t exist ?

Though the mission of the base had changed, Air America would continue to fly in and out. They had their own helicopters (without identification) that would fly out at night. We still had Forward Air Controller operation’s supporting Army operation’s in the Central Highlands.

The U.S. Army left sometime on May 1st toward Cambodia; early in the morning, quietly as they had arrived!  That day… Jerry had the day off and I was on perimeter duty –that was my job.  The base received a couple of rocket’s into the very area the Army troop’s had bivouac. He told me where the rounds had landed not far from our barrack.

The day the Kent State student’s were shot and killed, while protesting President Nixon’s escalation of widening the war from South Vietnam into Cambodia and later during 1971 into Lao’s.  Tiger flight would forever change; those who supported the killing of students. And those of us who recognize their inalienable right to Freedom of Speech. This was the Beginning of entrenched skepticism, cynicism of American politics!

Some of us knew that politician’s in United States and the world; would sell their mother for personal gain.  They only serve themselves and leave the rest of society to fend for themselves (personal opinion).

Those of us who served as perimeter guards at Pleiku that year became more radicalize by the war. Early June, 1970; Jerry and I decided to go on R & R (rest and recuperation). We got our travel orders to depart from DaNang airbase to Sydney, Australia.  When we arrived we could not get a ride to the U.S. M.C., III Marines compound. An Air Force office gave us a ride and we checked into the transient barracks. Lot’s of the Marines were talking trash, and then a squad of RECON walked in.

You could hear a pin drop; all these men wore necklaces of ears they taken from the enemy in quiet ambushes somewhere along the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). Jerry and I looked at each other and the Marines slept quietly that night.

In the weeks and months that followed; Pleiku airbase enemy activity decreased, until North Vietnamese Army radio operator’s intercepted Artillery Hill FSB (fire support base) with coordinates for the base. The first incoming rounds started around 1:30am at first, this would be over quickly as we had scrambled into bunkers. After the first 15 minutes of artillery rounds landing around us. We realize how serious this was.   We could hear artillery rounds landing away from the compound to other parts of the base. This continued until almost 4:00am.

Some of the airmen in Tiger Flight, who had not experienced the small arms fire or sniper fire. Where shaken up and visibly scared! And could not understand while those of us who experienced the North Vietnamese trying to kill us. We said “Screw it!” If we’re going to die.  At least go out having a good time!

Here are pictures of the airmen of Tiger Flight we served with:

WhiteAshbyWahooAdams_May1970

More pictures of my fellow Air Force Security Policemen:

TaylorWilliams

All of us are witness to history and honor all those American soldiers who we knew and didn’t know.

Some special guy’s and the horror we experienced together on my 21st Birthday ! Love these guys and haven’t seen them since  September, 1970.

CitronHartfordPietroBeltonHolmes

Jerry Adams, Jr, May, 1970

Jerry_1970

Mark Arguello, May 1970

mark_1970

Jerry Adams, Jr. and Mark Arguello, February, 2016

 

JerryMark2016_2 - Copy

Who would have guessed … we are here to tell our stories. Of all the guy’s I served with in the Air Force over my seven years. That Jerry and I can only share our LOVE for Life. Grateful to GOD !

 

 

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Sacrifice unknown – Marine, Cmbt. Engineer 1968

ROBERT C. WEISS, USMC, VIETNAM
Robert C .Weiss, graduated from Tennyson High School, June 1967. He entered the U.S. Marines and not much is known about him after he completed Basic Training. He received orders for Vietnam and not much is known about him prior to his death in combat.
Here is picture of Robert C Weiss at the Senior Ball, and basic training, USMC, 1967.

Vietnam unknown

Senior Ball, after Basic Tng, USMC, 1967

Not only is his death a tragedy, I’ve started doing research about why his name is not inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. This must be correct and now asking all U.S. Marines who served in I Corp, from late 1967 to December, 1968 if they remember this Marines face. This will be the start of his sacrifice being properly noted with the other 58,258 men and women who died.

The next story and written account is from my cousin writes about the Ultimate Sacrifice.

588th Cmbt. Engineers, U.S. Army, Tay Ninh West, May 30, 1968
My cousin David Vigil, Brighton, CO was a SP4, and arrived in- country April, 1968. His second letter tells of Army SSgt who made the Ultimate Sacrifice to save his fellow soldiers. Here’s the letter written to me prior to my graduation from high school, June 1968.

May 30,1968,

May 30,1968,

Here’s page 1 and page 2

Ultimate Sacrifice

Army Staff Sergeant , saves others.

Conclusion of letter (Page 2)

Company Commander recommends Medal of Honor.

Company Commander recommends Medal of Honor.

These are some of the unknown sacrifices , most would never hear of . Let us all remember them and the Love and Joy they brought into our lives. Today and every day.
Thank You,

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MIKE WALKER C-130 Hercules, Crew Chief, Khe Sanh, January 1968

C-130 Hercules

Mike Walker, Crew Chief, C-130 Hercules.

Labor Day weekend , while on my way to my car. I noticed this man, wearing an Air Force, Vietnam Veteran hat. I introduced myself to an airman who I knew nothing about other than he wore a Security Police badge on his hat. Here is a picture of Mike Walker and myself.

We talked and I gave Mike Walker my business card with “A Weekend to Remember, 25th Anniversary; Vietnam Veterans Memorial.”
Then on Saturday, September 12th, we meet for coffee and he revealed something very unique… He is the crew chief on C-130 Hercules flying mission(s) into Khe Sanh,the U.S. Marine base under siege. Khe Sanh siege started in January, 1968 until April, 1968.

Their primary role is “beans and bullets’ for the Marines who hold their position while 40,000 North Vietnamese Army soldiers have surrounded their position with trenches, heavy artillery (dug into sides of the surround hills. The U.S. Marines, number 6,000. The 26th Marines are tasked with patrols outside their perimeter.

I have included a letter written by Karl McCrosky from Hayward, California. Here is his senior picture from Tennyson High School, June, 1967. Karl graduated from U.S. Marines, Camp Pendleton, Ca, Oct. 1967. A month later he was assigned to 26th Marines Regiment at Con Thein siege. The 26th reassigned him to Khe Sanh, January 1968.

26th Marines

Karl McCrosky, June 1967.


Here is the hand written letter from Karl, March 1968 at Khe Sanh, Vietnam.

Written account from Mortar man

March, 1968 from Con Thien to Khe Sanh.

December, 1968 while on leave to Lowry AFB, Karl and I talked about the war. He said “You don’t need to go to Vietnam !” Word has it he is alive and well in Texas. Karl, “Welcome Home Brother !”

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