[Written by Arch Arthur, Maj., USAF (Ret) at the webmaster's request.]
Arch Arthur is a member of a small group of people who have two birthdays each year - one natural and the other miraculous. His natural birthday was February 4th, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama. That life should have ended over North Vietnam at 0645, April 28th, 1972 when a Soviet SA-2 tore through the belly of his F4E. Here is what happened 35 years ago today.
In 1971-72, Captain Arthur was a weapon systems officer (WSO) in the 366 Tactical Fighter Wing assigned to a special unit called, “Stormy” whose job it was to locate targets and lead strike flights in heavily defended areas. Mission profile: single ship, fly to the assigned area, perform 20 minutes of armed visual reconnaissance, rendezvous with strikers, mark a target, control the strike, assess bomb damage, hit the tanker and do it over two or three times per sortie.
In April of 1972, the situation in South Vietnam was grave. North Vietnamese launched an offensive to coincide with the monsoon season. They attacked Quang Tri Province from Laos and across the DMZ. Other units followed up with attacks on Kontoum and Pleiku. Unlike Tet, these attacks used massed armor and long-range artillery. Weather precluded close air support. Outnumbered and outgunned, the South Vietnamese fought courageously but fell back. Each time they tried to mount a defense, NVA gunners smashed them.
On the 28th, Captain Arthur was scheduled for the dawn patrol in the back seat of Stormy 01. We’ll call the pilot, “John” (not his real name). The US Commander of I Corps called John and told him, “You have got to find and kill those 130 MM guns.” Everyone knew that Hue was under siege and DaNang would be next.
Weather forecast: 1000’ overcast, 3 miles with light rain. Arch called and had special low altitude munitions loaded on their assigned strike flights. As they suited up, John pointed to Arch’s “Stormy” patch and said, “I wouldn’t wear that today.” The clear implication was that this may be a one-way mission. Without speaking, they walked down the bravo ramp in a light rain to F4E 68 0308. At 0600, Stormy 01 lifted off Runway 36R into the clouds.
Things began to unravel early. Descending over Quang Tri City, they broke out at 15,000’. They were a relieved to be able to work in visual conditions but, their strike flights had the wrong munitions. What they saw below them was horrific. QL-1, the coastal highway, resembled a stream of ants. The road was jammed with people, vehicles, livestock, carts and bicycles. Occasionally, they could see explosions. Fires burned everywhere.
Stormy 01 flew out Route 9 toward the Laotian border, looking for artillery and armor. They flew an erratic path at 450 knots, 4 Gs and remained above 4,000’ to avoid small arms and light anti-aircraft fire. The roads were wet deeply rutted, but they could find neither 130 MM guns nor tanks. Working toward the DMZ, there was no trace of the enemy until they surveyed the DMZ road south of the old USMC firebase at Con Thien.
Parked within its perimeter were five tracked vehicles with twin 57 MM guns firing at them. They recognized the ZSU-57-2 by its muzzle flash – a 25’ long tongue of flame which looks more lethal than it is. With a low cyclic rate of fire, lack of radar and visible projectiles, 57 MM was easy to avoid. Arch marked the location on the inertial. John and Arch asked themselves same question, “What‘s up there that they don’t want us to see?”
Stormy 01 proceeded to the east and circled back for a second pass was at 50’ and 500 knots, several hundred yards south of the guns. In the center of the battery was a dozer trench containing a van. The third pass, right over the trench revealed a Surface to Air Missile (SAM) radar van. The NVA were trying to set up a SAM site in the DMZ. This new site extended coverage miles into South Vietnam. The ZSU-57-2s continued to fire.
John called the strike flight with rendezvous instructions and Arch prepared a target brief. They discussed the threat the guns might pose to strike aircraft, deciding to drop two cluster bombs (CBU-52s) on the guns. One problem in Stormy was task saturation. Both crewmembers were very busy that checklists were sometimes overlooked. One first CBU pass, John rolled into a 45° dive and tracked the target to 5,000’. When he released he said, “Shit!” He had forgotten to arm the weapon and the clamshell never opened, detonating low order beyond the target. It was Arch’s responsibility to read the checklist.
Pass number 5 was the last opportunity to suppress the defenses. John was slightly shallow and had to press to 4500’. Before the radar fuse armed, it was below fuse function altitude the last CBU did not open either, hitting the same hole. A pity, either pass would have killed the AAA. Fuel state was becoming a problem.
John called the strike flight and asked how far they were from the target. They
Strike lead expressed confusion and John told them bluntly to get to the DMZ without delay or Stormy would be out of gas. At that point, Stormy 01 had their first tracking indications from an SA-2 site in North Vietnam.
The fast FAC set up to mark from the south, pulling off to the east – toward the water. As they rolled in SA-2 site at Bat Lake lit them up. John marked the target and came off low. In response to classic indications of an SA-2 launch, Arch employed appropriate electronic countermeasures. At about 1500’ they descended below a temperature inversion that trapped smoke below it and severely restricted horizontal visibility. Passing a certain altitude, SA-2 indications disappeared as they expected. The strike flight was not yet in position to attack or even see Stormy 01’s mark.
On the 7th pass, John told the strike flight that this would be his, “Last pass,” since he was, “no shit bingo!” Stormy received the same SA-2 indications as they had on their 6th pass, John performed the same evasive maneuver and Arch employed the same countermeasures. Again the radar warning ceased at the expected altitude, but this time the NVA launched three SA-2s missiles passing well above and behind the FAC. Although the missile site was at their 4 o’clock, both Stormy crewmen were looking at 8 o’clock to see if their the strikers were the targets. It was a clever ruse and it worked. Those missiles were not being guided at all.
Arch knew something was wrong with the warning indications. There was a light on that should not have been. As he looked at the panel there was a sudden impact that lifted the aircraft’s tail. In his center mirror, he watched the rotating beacon disappear in the fireball. Looking north, he saw a second SA-2 a few hundred meters away pulling lead. The missile entered pitch oscillation and passed in front of and below the aircraft and detonated. The NVA weren’t using radar; it had to have been a visual shot.
Startled by the second missile, John asked, “What was that?”
“An SA-2,” Arch answered and noting some 12.7 MM rounds passing his canopy added, “take it down, we’re getting hosed!”
“We’re at 50 feet,” replied the pilot, “and I’ve got a fire light on the left engine.”
“Fuck it!” Arch replied, “We’re in North Vietnam!”
Stormy 01 crossed the beach at 50’ doing 600 knots with both engines in full afterburner. As they turned south toward DaNang, they began to deal with their emergency. John tried to retard the left throttle but it would not move. Fire in the left engine bay had moved forward to the fuel control about 5’ behind Arch’s ejection seat, wielding the flex cable.
John switched off the Left Master Switch closing the left engine fuel valve. Before the switch closed, the right engine fire light illuminated, followed by a “Check Hydraulic Gauges” light. PC1 and PC2 dropped to zero, leaving Stormy 01 traveling at 600 knots (150 knots above survivable ejection airspeed) with both engines stuck in full A/B and no flight controls. When power control systems fail, the leading edge of the stabilator drives down causing the nose to pitch up. John and Arch became cargo.
This instant is when life one was ended. One of two scenarios would occur:
The aircraft would disintegrate - fuselage breaking into tail section, engine compartment and cockpit and the wings separating as the aerodynamic forces tore them apart. John’s parents and Arch’s wife would have seen the three officers – a chaplin, a doctor and an aviator. Or,
The damaged airframe would withstand the G-forces and climb, slowing to a survivable ejection velocity and giving John and Arch a chance to jump and be rescued. At DaNang, the drinking lamp would be lit, and they would live to fight another day.
The F4 is a large, rugged piece of military machinery designed by some very smart engineers. It held together. At 600 knots, it climbs rapidly, slowing the aircraft and carrying the crew away from the planet.
While John was handling a rapid series of aircraft problems, Arch was in the rear cockpit working through his own emergencies. When the utility hydraulics failed, the radar antenna drive died. Arch, the consummate air-to-air radar operator, switched his radar off to avoid damage. Training is a wonderful thing.
Passing the vertical at 450 knots, John realized that ejection was survivable and they would never be farther from the enemy. “Eject!” he told his WSO.
“What?” replied the back seater.
“Eject, eject, eject!” John repeated.
Arch heard the first of the three confirmations, assumed the position, closed his eyes and pulled the lower handle. The rear canopy came off as the rear seat shoulder harness locked then the rocket motor fired. G onset in a rocket seat is smooth compared to the ballistic seats used in training. 1.4 seconds later, his main parachute opened. Arch recommends rolling up one’s collar to avoid rope burn from risers.
John saw the rear seat fire and reached for his lower D ring. When he pulled it, he expected his seat to fire instantly, but nothing happened. A 1.6 second delay on the front seat applies even if the rear seat is gone. John moved his head to look down. At that instant, his seat fired compressing his vertebrae and causing considerable pain. Unlike his WSO, John had completed airborne training. In his judgment, opening shock at 450 knots was severe.
Arch looked up and counted his 28 risers, released the 4 rear risers to enable steering then looked down. His toes were over the South China Sea, but heels were over the beach, a beach owned by the North Vietnamese. When he looked at John several hundred feet above, he saw that his raft and survival kit were deployed. He deployed his kit and inflated his life preservers. Their aircraft had continued to climb until it ran out of airspeed and started down, passing fairly close to its former crew. About 60’ of flames streamed from its belly, aux air doors and rear fuselage. It hit the water at 90° in the mouth of a river. Everything was quiet.
Below them a pair of search and rescue aircraft - A1Es callsign, “Sandy 21” had seen the F4E impact and began a climbing circle around the crash site. Arch prepared for his water landing, rechecking his gear and thinking through all the procedures he’d been taught and practiced. He worked clear of his canopy and slid onto his raft. As he cut himself loose from the risers, he heard the first shell explode. John and Arch were about 1000 meters off the beach. The NVA had them in sight and were trying to kill the two wounded survivors with mortars and artillery.
When the Jolly arrived 30 minutes later, the mortar fire increased in accuracy and intensity. They put a PJ in the water to help John on the penetrator, then he swam over to help Arch. Being hoisted aboard the HH53, they could hear the distinctive crack of 12.7 MM heavy machine gun fire. The SAR forces ignored the ground fire and did their job.
They also gave each survivor the traditional bottle of Champagne, which they drank immediately (at 0700 local). Back at DaNang, the flight surgeon came aboard to see if he could participate in the party that was building. To cut the “chill” of these wet aviators, he provided a bottle of cognac, which Arch and John split.
Intelligence debrief was a bit more contentious. The intelligence officer insisted, “Stormy 01 was hit by an unguided rocket”.
Arch knew better. “Unguided rockets” he noted, “do not pull lead.” These were SA-2 Guideline missiles that both men had seen many times before. Something was wrong.
Arch discovered the Intel problem on his way to Bangkok later that week. At the O-Club at Tan Son Nut AB, he met a 7th AF Intel Captain who told him that they had discovered the visual tracker at the SA-2 site at Bat Lake about a week earlier.
“Why didn’t you get the word out?” Arch asked him.
“Captain, you didn’t have a need to know,” the Captain replied.
Arch’s response was swift and non-verbal. Officers at a nearby table were able to take Arch’s crutches away from him before he killed the Intelligence puke.
Some pictures to accompany "Two Birthdays" Contributed by Bill Faith
I'm posting some pictures associated with the above post separately so those of you on dial-up have the option of reading the post without spending several seconds downloading the pics. (This post is predated to keep it below the other one. It's actually a little after 4:00 as I'm typing this.)
Arch sent this one separately in a mail titled "Real heroes pictured below":
Arch Arthur: Nancy P. appointed Ambassador to Solaria Contributed by Bill Faith
Nancy Pelosi to be Appointed US Ambassador to the Sun By Herron A Phyre (via Arch Arthur)
Friday April 6, 5:30 PM ET
Washington, DC. - Senior Bush administration sources confirm that Representative Nancy Pelosi (Dem - CA) is to be given a recess appointment as the first US Ambassador to "Solaria", a position critical to the new United Nations Universal War on Warming (UNUWW).
The San Francisco Congresswoman could not be reached for comment, but her attorney confirmed that her recent diplomatic tour Middle East made such an impact on the State Department that they consider her "uniquely qualified to be the first animal to land on the solar surface."
Apparently, the Bush administration has irrefutable evidence from NASA and the CIA that Solaria has developed enormously powerful thermonuclear weapons and is using them to warm all the planets, not just Earth.
Senator John Kerry (Dem- MA) vacationing in Davos, had this to say, "Shocked! I'm shocked and of course, the Bush administration has done nothing to reduce solar radiation. Nothing in six years! A Kerry administration would have mobilized the international community to solve this problem without delay in a thoughtful and meaningful manner that would enhance the stature of this country. Outrageous!"
Former Vice President Al Gore, exiting his black Escalade, confirmed this new discovery. "We noticed that the sun is a major factor in weather here on earth. Tipper told me yesterday that solar radiation accounts for most of the heat the tropics, where many poor, third world countries are located. It's criminal the way these people are being abused. And, it isn't just Earth. It's our entire solar system. We intend to demand that Congress reclassify solar radiation as a greenhouse gas."
NASA has confirmed that Pelosi refused the VIP space shuttle course.
"It's going to be an automated mission, similar to the Galileo Spacecraft," explained Mission Director Dash Riprock. "She'll be aboard as payload. Once the shuttle has achieved earth orbit, she will move into the 'Warmie One' spacecraft. Mission payload specialist will use the manipulator, correction, 'articulator' arm to erect, correction, 'verticalize' Warmie prior to main engine ignition. We have recently been given a new Congressionally mandated NASA lexicon and I'm still adapting to the nomenclature."
We asked about the compact size of Warmie.
"Shuttle volume is a premium. We plan to use kinetic energy and gravitational acceleration to propel Warmie so we don't need much fuel. We'll slingshot off Earth, use Venus gravitation to accelerate and turn the corner with plenty of energy to reach the Sun. As for consumables, the Speaker is not a very big person," Riprock noted, "and she doesn't eat much. We recycle solid and liquid human waste and reclaim oxygen. The one modification was for 12 gallons of eye drops. She blinks a lot. As for communication, she will not need a voice receiver, just a transmitter."
We asked Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Representative John Murtha (Dem PA) what we could do if diplomacy fails.
"We will back the Speaker up with military might," replied Murtha, "but we do not plan to put our troops in harm's way. We'll deploy them to a nearby location either Venus or Mercury, I forget which ever is closer."
We asked Chairman Murtha what weapons could be effective on the sun.
"All of them including nukes." He continued, "If only the Bush administration had faced up to this responsibility sooner, we would have had it over with by now."
Pointing out that the sun is a nuclear furnace with flares in trillions of megatons, we questioned the viability of nuclear weapons. To which the Congressman replied, "We did not start this fight and we will do everything we can to avoid violence, but it appears that Solaria is already heating the earth. We have no intention of turning the other cheek."
We called the Office of the Vice President and asked an unnamed senior official how State Department convinced Pelosi to accept this position.
Speaking on condition of anonymity he told us, "Our first choice was Rosie O'Donald, but she was too big for Warmie. Madeline Albright, Hillary and Barbara Boxer all turned it down. Schumer wanted five microphones and five transmitters.
"Pelosi worked it out as part of a plea bargain. We dropped the felony Logan Act violation and she took it. We had to do a recess appointment because we knew we could never get her confirmed by the Senate."
NASA plans to launch Warmie One on July 4th, 2007.
Arch Arthur: Re: Portland Iraq War Demonstration Contributed by Bill Faith
In response to the piece of crap below the fold Arch wrote:
At Gathering of Eagles in Washington DC, we had 30,000 pro-victory veterans and 10,000 anti-war demonstrators exercising their first amendment rights and no one saw fit to defecate on the American Flag or burn a US Soldier or in effigy. The act of burning an effigy is symbolic. It is meant to diminish the target's value and make it easier for followers to move from symbolic to actual harm. If someone burned an effigy of a drag queen or a black police officer, would you call it hate speech? Would you permit the KKK to burn a cross in front of city hall? Where does your administration draw the line?
If the young man pictured defiling the flag was arrested, his identity should be made available to the public. This "tiny band of anarchists" has succeeded in attracting attention. Are they associated with the Black Bloc, WWP, ANSWER, Code Pink, or some other identifiable group?
I assure you that the country is indeed focused on the real issues facing our country. The question is, "Is Portland?"
Office of Mayor Tom Potter
City of Portland
On Sunday, March 18th, as many as 20,000 people gathered in Portland to protest the continuing war in Iraq. Almost all were both peaceful and respectful of our young men and women in service, and concerned about the future of our country. I spoke to the crowd, as did a number of elected officials, and expressed our gratitude for the troops.
Unfortunately, a few media personalities have focused on the activity of a small handful whose actions at the end of the afternoon are protected as free speech under Oregon's Constitution, in much the same way that burning the flag is protected by the U.S. Supreme Court. Portland police have monitored the protests closely, and made arrests when appropriate.
It is also important to recognize that the intent of this tiny band of anarchists is to provoke a strong response and generate attention. I would hope most people will continue to focus on the real issues facing our country, and not the actions of a minority or the media circus that feeds off them. Though I do not support our military's presence in Iraq, I do support our troops and wish them all a safe return home.
"Every day is September 10th." -- Some questions from our newest Dog Contributed by Bill Faith
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Arch Arthur, Major, USAF (Ret.) is now an official member of the Old War Dogs pack. Your friendly neighborhood webmaster still has a lot of work to do on Arch's bio and Arch needs some time to play with TypePad before he starts posting his own work but in the mean time he's asked me to post this for him:
The Next Attack
We all know that islamic terrorists attacked the United States on September 11th 2001. The aim of these radical muslims was, and still is, to destroy our way of life and substitute theirs. They offer us three alternatives – submit to islam, become enslaved or die. Everyone wanted to know why no one connected the dots.
Al Qaeda has pledged to attack the US again. They have the resources, the desire and the ability. Most intelligence services publicly admit that it is a question of “when”, not “if”.
What should we do today to prevent future attacks?
Should we pursue terrorists into their base camps and sanctuaries? Kill them? Apply diplomatic, economic or military measures to dissuade their sponsors?
Should we capture and interrogate their leaders to prevent an attack? Without lawyers or Miranda rights? Cohesively? Use water boards? Sleep deprivation? Music? Women?
Should we listen to international telephone conversations to and from known terrorists or terrorist supporters? Monitor their electronic funds transfers?
Should we tighten our visa policies to require that students actually enroll and attend classes? Screen them for links to radical organizations? Enforce the duration of their stay?
Should we restrict border crossing? Arrest and deport or imprison illegal immigrants?
Should we identify for surveillance certain demographic groups such as muslim men between 19 and 45? Interview them in depth?
Should we treat illegal combatants and war criminals differently than we would legal combatants?
Should we free our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines from rules of engagement that threaten their lives? Rules that punish them for mistakes under fire?
Should we issue national identification cards to every citizen?
Should we hold our mainstream media to report only truth as truth?
Should we hold terrorist support groups accountable for their actions? CAIR? La Raza? What about the ACLU? Amnesty International? Human Rights Watch? Code Pink?
Should we hold our public officials who have sworn to “protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies – foreign and domestic” accountable to their oath? Rate their performance? Voting record?
Until the next attack comes, every day is September 10th, 2001. What should we do?
Another old dog responds to the Whitefield slam Contributed by Bill Faith
In "R J Del Vecchio: Zing those old vets; it's fun" I excerpted part of a recent LAT editorial "Apocalypse again -- call up the Vietnam vets" and posted a copy of R J Del Vecchio's response. Old War Dog-to-be (as soon as he finishes settling in to a new home) Arch Arthur saw my post and was kind enough to copy me on his letter to the LAT. Arch, btw, was the EWO in an F-4 that took a SAM over North Vietnam during the '72 Eastertide offensive. I'm still working on him for permission to post the email he sent me describing that experience.
I'm a veteran of Vietnam. Apparently you missed the fact that those soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen you chose to demean actually won the War. They never lost a single battle. No unit ever surrendered. They withstood two major enemy offensives, Tet and Eastertide, both of which were major defeats for the communists. Your OpEd piece maligns the people your freely-elected government sent to fight and die there. At least get your facts straight.
While the Tet Offensive frightened Walter Cronkite and the media, it destroyed the Viet Cong. Of the 84,000 VC, fewer than 10,000 escaped death or capture. None of their five major VC objectives were achieved. The North Vietnamese army (NVA) took the old imperial capital of Hué and held it for several weeks. To save this ancient site, our Marines retook the city without artillery or tactical air support but not before the NVA executed 5,800 civilians.
The Eastertide Offensive coincided with the monsoon in late March 1972. General Giap had 200,000 NVA regulars equipped with tanks and artillery. Only 40,000 US servicemen were in country. The weather broke the morning of April 28th. It was NVA's high water mark. The South Vietnamese army fought well, especially with US air and logistical support. The NVA lost half their tanks, half their artillery and 100,000 troops. General Giap got fired.
President Nixon, furious about Eastertide, ordered Operation Linebacker. We got to hit their capability to wage war. In the weeks that followed, we destroyed roads networks, rail yards and airfields. We hit their air defense system, electrical power grid, communication and their only steel mill. Until mid December, Henry Kissinger made steady progress at the Paris Peace Talks.
On December 18th 1972, the North Vietnamese negotiators walked out. Nixon ordered Linebacker II – waves B52s each loaded with 106 Mk82 500-pound bombs. They pounded Hanoi and Haiphong with 100 to 150 sorties per night. By Christmas, the North Vietnamese had run out of surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft ammunition. On December 28th, 1972, the North Vietnamese returned to the table agreeing to most of our terms in return for a halt in the bombing. By any standard, the Paris Peace Accords constituted a US military victory in Vietnam.
The Democrats, in control of Congress, refused to let the Republican administration achieve victory. First, the Senate Foreign Relation Committee reduced military aid appropriation to South Vietnam from $1.4B to $700M, ensuring that the South Vietnamese army would be unable to mount another successful defense. Second, to the FY75 Defense Appropriations Bill, the Senate attached the Case-Church Amendment. This rider prohibited US military operations in, over or in the waters of Vietnam, Laos or Cambodia. For some reason, President Ford signed it. The North Vietnamese did not believe that US forces would permit them to attack the South, so as a test, they took a provincial capital. We could do nothing.
On May Day 1975, a Soviet tank manned by a Cuban crew crashed through the gates at the Presidential Palace in Saigon. It was not yet over. 850,000 South Vietnamese were reeducated to death. Hundreds of thousands of boat people drowned. Hill tribes were ethnically cleansed and 2,000,000 Cambodians, slaughtered.
LA Times circulation is down 6% daily and 8% on Sundays. Anyone reading your piece can understand why. You may publish your opinion, make fun of men who shed their blood to protect your right to do so, but I would not suggest you do it in person.
By the way, I own guns but no Harley and I have all my teeth.
It all started with an email from Russ Vaughn, which I posted here. That set off a flurry of emails which led to the creation of this site. I'll let Russ explain more:
Through the magic of the blogosphere it is becoming increasingly evident that there are a lot of old dogs out there mastering the new tricks of this 21st Century phenomenon. While some are technically skilled enough to create their own sites, like your host Bill Faith, far more fall into my category: those who tenaciously hunt and peck out their opinions on war, society and life in general, and have only the basic computer skills requisite to sending those opinions into the ether of this wonderful thing called the Internet.
Old War Dogs is a site designed for these old dogs to practice their new tricks without having to compete with the fluid skills of younger, more technically savvy bloggers. While we may be too old to carry a gun in the ranks, we can still pound these keys. Mao’s dictum that political power flows from the barrel of a gun, while true, predates the blogosphere; and this old dog bets the Chairman would be truly stunned at the power that flows from the keyboard.
Ron is entitled to wear stars and numerals indicating multiple awards of several of the ribbons shown. The webmaster has so far been unable to obtain suitable artwork.
Sgt (E-5) Winter, Ronald United States Marine Corps 1966 - 1970
See all of Ron's Old War Dog posts in one place here.
Ronald Winter is an author, public relations executive, college professor and award winning journalist. He regularly writes and speaks on matters of public interest including the military, politics and the Vietnam War particularly as it relates to the ongoing War on Terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He grew up in the farming country of upstate New York near Albany where he gave up an academic scholarship at the State University there in 1966 to join the Marines and fight in Vietnam. Ron was a helicopter crewman and machine gunner, flying 300 combat missions.
After Vietnam he returned to his studies earning undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering and English Literature. In a two-decade journalism career that included stints as investigative reporter, supervising editor and columnist, Ron was the recipient of several awards and a Pulitzer nomination.
He owns Spectre Communications where he specializes in marketing, media relations and political communications. He also is the Eastern Representative for Michael J. London & Associates public relations firm. Ron is an adjunct professor of communication at the University of Hartford.
John is entitled to wear 3 Oak Leaf Clusters on his Air Medal and 5 stars on his Europe/Africa/Middle East Campaign Ribbon. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
1st LT Werntz, John D. 72nd TC Squadron, 434th Group 9th USAAF, EAME Theater 1943-1945
See all of John's Old War Dog posts in one place here.
The youngest of 4 sons, John Werntz turned 18 —choice draft-meat —11 weeks after Pearl Harbor. His eldest brother, Ted, a telephone technician in civilian life, was already in the Army, fated to find himself installing commo systems in Morocco in late 1942. Lest we forget, North Africa in’42 led to Palermo, then Messina, Salerno, Cassino, Anzio, Rome, Southern France, on up into Germany and all the way to Munich. But this is about John, not about Ted.
The middle brothers, Eugene and Howard, were already noncoms headed for action in the Pacific with the Fleet Marine Force. John’s dilemma: How to beat the draft without incurring the wrath and scorn of his dog-tagged and chevron-sleeved brethren. Just in time, the Army Air Corps lowered its standards to permit mere high-school grads to train as aircrew officers. After months of hard schooling relieved by PT and a modicum of Hup!Toop!Threep!Fawr, this gawky teenager found himself taking the President’s commission and with it a solemn vow of service to the nation. A soldier? Hardly. But a citizen in full.
That was early August of ‘43. Two months later John’s outfit, which was the first Troop Carrier Group to arrive in England, began to train for the assault on occupied Western Europe. Please note that John’s official MOS was Aerial Observer (Navigator). Prior to D-day he racked up well over 1000 hours of air time. Much of that was spent observing two sweating pilots wrestling with the controls, trying to stay on an even keel and keep proper distance in close formation while wallowing in rotten turbulent air exasperated by propwash and wingwash. A neat trick, formation flying in an aircraft that was designed to look serene while soaring over the Grand Tetons in lonely splendor.
The rest is history, and John had ample opportunity to observe some of it. The chaos that ensues when you release gliders, dozens of them in the air all at once, competing for a safe place to set down. The silent menace of that huge invasion fleet lurking in the pre-dawn mist off the coast of Normandy. The foreboding when the invasion seemed bogged down in the hedgerows six weeks after D-day. The euphoria after the breakout. Loud cheers in the Quonset hut when Patton’s tanks overrun the LZs and DZs of planned airborne ops. Why ramble on? We all know what happened. For John Werntz, it all comes down to a tale of 3 first weeks of August.
1943: Newly hatched shavetail, wet behind the ears.
1944: Breakout at St. Lô. Paris soon liberated. Rehearse French.
1945: Enola Gay does its thing. Tear up orders for Okinawa. Get smashed.
John has mentioned to me in the past that his unit flew C-47s and C-53s similar to the one in the above picture, which he told Small Town Veteran readers more about here, and that he himself flew one mission on that particular aircraft. STV readers first met John in this post.
The members of the Old War Dogs pack were saddened to learn that John Werntz passed away due to complications following a fall on 22 June 2008. Please see this post for more information.
SSGT (E-6) Vaughn, Russ U.S. Army 1959-1962, 1964-1967 2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment 101st Airborne Division Vietnam 65-66
See all of Russ's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
I was tempted to just write "Russ Vaughn is widely known as the Poet Laureate of the milblogosphere," but I guess I'll go ahead and post what he sent me as well:
Russ served in the 101st Airborne Division in varying assignments including combat MP, infantry RTO/driver, fire team leader, and battalion CBR NCO from 1959-1962/1964-1966. He served in Vietnam with the 2d Bn, 327th PIR of the 101st Airborne. Russ was serving as brigade staff CBR NCO of the 2d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division when he left the Army in 1969. He obtained his B.S. degree from Texas El Paso on the G.I. Bill in 1971 and then entered the health care marketing field, specializing in military medicine. Retiring in 2000, he now travels frequently as a consultant in military medical marketing.
Small Town Veteran has been privileged to post frequent examples of Russ's writings over the past several months. Click here to see the entire STV Russ Vaughn collection.
*** Update: The STV Russ Vaughn index has been updated and moved here.
Back in the day, the stage just barely shy of "heap highly pissed" was "torque-jawed." Jaw muscles tight, jaw sticking out just a shade, somewhere between "If you weren't wearing those freakin' stars I'd tell you what I think" and "Dead man walking."
TorqeJaw, A Proud Veteran-American
TorqueJaw don't say much about his past, sorta gives the impression it's safer not to ask. We're not sure if he was a Gray Beret or maybe just a Mafioso or some such thing. TorqueJaw gets his way a lot.
TorqueJaw was created by Mr. and Mrs. Gray Dog.
FTM2 "Ponsdorf, Zero" Blue Water Navy 1963-1969 Yankee Station, SAR, Operation Market Time support, Shore Bombardment
See all of Zero's Old War Dogs post in one place here.
"Zero Ponsdorf" was born and raised in West Virginia. He joined the Navy Reserves between his Junior and Senior year in high school (1963). Since his father was KIA in Korea he wouldn't have been drafted, but wanted to 'see the world' anyway.
Following high school he went to FT/A school at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center and then to the USS England DLG-22, the first of four ships on which he served. Others were the USS Parsons DDG-33, USS Worden DLG-18, and the USS Mahan DLG-11.
"Zero" made 4 visits to the Gulf of Tonkin, each about 6 months long. The duty while there was varied, from picking up downed aircrew to firing shore bombardment. During rescue missions it was not unusual to exchange fire with North Vietnamese shore batteries.
He was discharged in May, 1969 as an E-5.
After his discharge Zero held many jobs, from driving a cab in San Diego to working for NASA at the tracking station on Kauai. While with NASA he worked on the first nine Shuttle missions.
Now Zero has settled in on his piece of ridge in central West Virginia. He does a little consulting work with computers, and some minor web work for friends.
Zero has been Blogging since 2004, and recently migrated (mostly) from Live Journal to Blogspot [Click here -- BF.] He participated in the Kerry Lied rally in DC and is preparing to help Larry Bailey unseat Murtha this fall.
J.D. is entitled to wear stars and numerals indicating multiple awards of several of the ribbons shown. The webmaster has so far been unable to obtain suitable artwork.
CSM Pendry, J. D. U. S. Army 1971-1999
See all of J.D.'s Old War Dogs post in one place here.
At JD's request I'm replacing the bio information that was here with the following copy of the About post from his site:
I am a native West Virginian. I retired from the Army on September 30, 1999. I’m not a war hero. My views are conservative, pro-defense and pro Soldier.
My first line leadership book, The Three-Meter Zone: Common Sense Leadership for NCOs was released by Presidio Press in April, 1999. Random House purchased Presidio and now TMZ is under the Ballatine label. If you have a copy, thanks.
The Three Meter Zone provides a comprehensive yet easy to follow review of several fundamental leadership principles for non-commissioned officers (NCO). Not only is the book a work of art, but also it has functional value for today's NCO. The author addresses the principles of NCO leadership via personal and professional experiences, quotations from political and military leaders, historical military accounts, and extracts from US Army field manuals. Command Sergeant Major Pendry, USA, presents the material in such a way that NCOs in any military service can easily use it to take care of their people and accomplish the mission.
The book is essential reading for the junior, midlevel, and senior NCO, offering a practical prescription for tackling leadership issues in the twenty-first century. The author candidly discloses personal experiences--each striking anecdote lends clarity and realism to leadership concepts such as selfless service, integrity, trust, and confidence. In a sense, Pendry invites the reader into a very natural discussion about leadership philosophy, one that underlies the NCO's role as mentor, disciplinarian, motivator, and communicator. He declares that an NCO's influence is indispensable to the character and growth of the military organization, insisting that the NCO is the backbone of the US armed forces. ...
Sgt. Pahl, Anthony W., OAM Royal Australian Air Force, 1967-1988 Vietnam: 9 Squadron RAAF June 1969 to June 1970 - Helicopter Gunner Malaysia: August 1973 - July 1976 Current Status: Retired with 100% war disability pension
See all of Anthony's Old War Dogs post in one place here.
Anthony enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in December 1967 as an Airfield Defence Guard and was posted to Vietnam in June 1969, originally with No 1 Operational Support Unit at Vung Tau where he was mainly tasked with airfield security, perimeter patrols and perimeter maintenance. Included in this period was an attachment to No 1 Australian Reinforcement Unit with the Australian Army in Nui Dat. In August 1969 he applied for and was accepted as a helicopter gunner with No. 9 Squadron RAAF based out of Vung Tau and working out of Nui Dat. In the succeeding 10 months, until repatriation in June 1970, he few a total of 650 hours on "Slicks" and "Gunships".
During his 20 years service, Anthony was stationed on many Australian bases including Richmond, Edinburgh, Hobart, Laverton, Point Cook, Amberley, and Support Command in Melbourne. He also spent 3 years in Butterworth, Malaysia from 1973 to 1976. He remained in the RAAF until January 1988 but is now retired through ill health.
Since creating the IWVPA website in January 2001, its development and maintenance has been his means of remaining an active participant in society. On Australia Day, January 26, 2006, fellow Australians honoured Anthony with the Medal of the Order of Australia "for service to veterans through the International War Veterans Poetry Archives".
Anthony's blog post here contains additional background information many may find of interest.
SP/4 Page, William B. U.S. Army 1971-'73 Viet Nam 1971- '72 1st Air Cav Div (AM), 3rd Bde (Sep), B 2/5th Cav & D 1/12th Cav 1st ID 1972 - '73, CSC 1/2 Inf, Ft. Riley, KS. Inactive Reserves '73 - '77 (one activation - Ft. Drum, NY)
See all of William's Old War Dogs post in one place here.
William "1stCav" Page volunteered for the Army at 17 after high school. 11B/C Infantry. Assigned to 1st Cav, 3rd Bde (Separate), 2/5th Cav Rgt., Co. B. in Viet Nam, he served in that unit in MR III until it stood down. He was then reassigned to 1/12th Cav Rgt., Co D, in MR II (Central Highlands, the only Infantry line company in the region and directly OPCON to Mr. John Paul Vann, Second Regional Assistance Group (SRAG) from the 1st Air Cav.
Elements of D 1/12th Cav were assigned various task during the Easter Offensive of 1972. Some were assigned with American Advisors (Adv. Teams 21, 22, 23, 36, etc) to differing bases and locations. William was in the Tan Canh/Dak To AO when ARVN 22nd Div had to abandon those facilities due to tank assaults from elements of two NVA Divisions. He was later chosen for 'Task Force Salvo', a small unit of then new jeep mounted TOW Missiles, and was with the group (82nd Abn TOW gunners) that first killed NVA tanks with the then new ground TOW at Kontum AO 15/16 May 1972.
After fulfilling his Army obligation William graduated from Auburn University in 1978, BS Bus. He worked for Int. Paper as a plant scheduler and in sales for 3 years, then left for the oilfield and hired on with Schlumberger as a Measurements While Drilling (MWD) Systems Engineer, and was later promoted Health Safety and Environmental Manager in Houston. He worked in East Coast Arctic (Davis Strait), Venezuela, and delivered a paper at The Hague, Netherlands in 1991. Other authorship included articles for 'Oilfield Review'.
William started an oilfield service company in 1992 and sold it in 2003. He is currently researching Viet Nam War military history.
SP/4 Mellinger, George M. U. S. Army 1969-1970 Viet Nam October 1969-October 1970 39 Engineer Bn, 18 Engineer Brigade Texas Army National Guard 1971-1972
See all of George's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
George Mellinger received a BA in Psychology in 1968 and began graduate school, but enlisted in the Army in 1969 as the one acceptable way to avoid the draft. His primary MOS was 12B20 Combat Engineer, but in Vietnam he served as battalion Kit Carson Scout handler and then as a line squad member, before being REMFed back to the company motor pool. After ETS, he worked for the Veterans Administration for seven years before returning to school to study history. He also volunteered for a year in the Texas Army National Guard. As a history student he specialized in Russian History, in which he is ABD, and also studied Early Islamic History; all his degrees are from the University of Minnesota. He has taught at university level, and is the editor/author of two academic volumes on the Soviet armed forces and the author of four (and counting) commercial books on Soviet Aviation history. He continues to follow military matters, particularly Russian/ex-Soviet, and hopes to die “on duty” at his keyboard. He is also hated on the web under the screen name Rurik.
Rurik has been a frequent contributor to Small Town Veteran, where he introduced himself to STV readers with this post. Click here to see the entire STV Rurik collection.
SGT (E-5) Krupienski, Robert U.S Army 1961-1964, 1964-1967
See all of Bob's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Bob spent 6 years on active duty with the Army starting in February of 1961, taking his basic at Ft Leonard Wood, Missouri. They had wooden barracks and coal burning furnaces for heat and hot water back then. From there he went to a Nike Missile base northwest of Cincinnati (D Btry, 5th Msl Bn, 56th Arty, Oxford, Ohio). That was his duty station for his first enlistment, which ended in February of 1964.
After Bob was discharged he bummed around the country for a while with no real plans for the future, then re-enlisted in late 1964. Upon re-enlistment Bob was assigned to Brooke Medical Center for Med Records training. During his training he learned that his father was terminally ill so he requested a compassionate assignment to the Chicago area. The request was taking forever. Finally, his brother got hold of a powerful Chicago Alderman and within days Bob was at his duty assignment at the 5th Army HQ in Chicago, at 51st and Hyde Park near the Museum of Science and Industry. He was there about a year.
From there Bob went to Korat, Thailand and was assigned to the 31st Field Hospital which was part of the 9th Logistics Command. As the end of he assignment came near I requested and got a 6 month extension . That put him back in the states with less than 3 months to go so he got an early out.
Bob is currently working for a engineering firm in downtown Chicago. He has been with them for 30 years and spent 25 of those years at job sites during construction. They are in the power industry.
Bob tells me:
I am sure I am not the only one who, as we reach our twilight years, has found the need to re-connect with people from out military days. The need became stronger for me beginning March of 2007. I, and around 30,000 other vets and supporters went to DC to keep Hanoi Jane and her followers away from the Vietnam War Memorial. I met a lot of vets there but none from my old units. That was also the time I decided to join the Patriot Guard Riders. Yep, even at my age I ride a motorcycle.
SSGT King, Lloyd A. U.S Army 1967-1973, 1986-1992 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division Airmobile Republic of South Vietnam, 1968 - 1969
See all of Lloyd's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Lloyd A. King, Jr. was born in the rural town of Batavia in western New York State. Lloyd graduated high school in Sweetwater, Texas and attended college at Philadelphia College of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania majoring in Industrial Design with a minor in Fine Arts.
Lloyd's many aspirations were put on hold in 1967 during the Vietnam War when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. Lloyd served as a non-commissioned officer in the infantry with the 101st Airborne Division-Airmobile during 1968 and 1969, the two worst years of the war.
Following Vietnam, Lloyd worked in the Oil and Gas Industry for twenty-eight years retiring as a Director of Safety and Training. In conjunction with his notable career, he lived in nine states and traveled to numerous foreign countries. He and his wife live in Lafayette, Louisiana, which he refers to as his adoptive Cajun hometown.
Lloyd began delving into the world of creative writing as a combat infantry soldier in 1968. He penned his emotions, experiences, and the sights and sounds of war in the form of poetic vignettes while in the jungles of South Vietnam. He described the things he couldn’t tell his family back home.
Thirty years after surviving Vietnam, Lloyd decided to tell his family about his experiences, but he couldn’t verbalize events that still haunt him today like the rage of a fierce thunderstorm. On July 28, 1998, he began a literary mission to tell others what the war was like…hoping that his family and friends would understand the war and better understand Lloyd as well.
Lloyd considers himself very blessed to be alive. Wounded twice, he experienced many of life’s terrible adversities firsthand…and somehow survived. Through seeing death, fear, killing, and atrocity, he learned about his own mental and physical capabilities and limitations.
Lloyd has resigned from the Old War Dogs pack effective 2008.02.28
Gene is entitled to wear 2 Oak Leaf Clusters on his Presidential Unit Citation and two stars on his Europe/Africa/ Middle East Campaign Ribbon. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
Sgt. Harrison, Gene Hq 1st Bn 254 Inf 63 Div United States Army "Death before Defeat"
See all of Gene's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
"Gene Harrison" is the nom de guerre of a WW II veteran who served in Europe with Hq 1st Bn, 254th Inf, 63rd Infantry Division from Aug 1943 to June 1945, and then with SHAEF until April 1946. His regiment was attached to the First French Army for the Colmar campaign. He and his battalion were awarded the Croix de Guerre by General Charles de Gaulle.
The 63rd made the first break in the Siegfried Line near Ensheim Germany, where Sgt Harrison received a Bronze Star for gallantry in action on March 19, 1945. When the war in Europe ended, a chance meeting of an old friend resulted in his transfer to SHAEF Signal Corps, where he served with General George S. Patton, Jr., until Patton’s death in December 1945.
On his return to Com Z he used the GI bill to train up through the PhD. That degree opened various faculty appointments in several Ivy League universities. His CV boasts more than 100 publications, including original work in peer-reviewed journals and several widely quoted books. He is, without question, a blot on the “liberal,” academic landscape.
GMG3 Gardner, Steven M. U. S. Navy Feb. 1965 to Feb. 1971 Vietnam Service: 1966-1967 Cam Ranh Bay, 1968 – 1969 An Toi , Cat Lo, Vung Tau "Other than 3months in GMG A school and 4 months aboard the USS Nereus AS-17 the rest of my time was spent in the Republic of Vietnam aboard Three different divisions of Coastal Squadron 1."
See all of Steve's Old War Dog posts in one place here.
Steve Gardner, known in some circles as "the tenth brother," served in the U. S. Navy from 1965 to 1971, spending almost the entire time patrolling the rivers and canals of Viet Nam as a swift boat crewman, including 2.5 months as John Kerry's gunner on PCF 44. He came home to raise 3 loving children and 4 loving grandchildren, whom he visits as often as he can get to Cincinnati. He worked and ran boat dealerships in three different states prior to the Kerry wars, after which he spent two years out of work; the company he's now with hired him knowing all about his background and he now covers three states and loves what he's doing.
SSgt (E-5) Faith, Billy D. USAF 1970 - 1974, USAFR 1974-1975 Viet Nam, 1971-1972 (14th, 8th Aerial Port SQs, PACAF)
See all of Bill's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
In the spring of '70, with American troops in Cambodia, National Guardsmen at Kent State and hundreds of long haired smelly people running around with "If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem" signs Bill Faith decided college just didn't seem "relevant" any more and enlisted in the Air Force. After training and a few months at Kelly AFB to practice what he'd been taught, Bill arrived at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base in November of '71 for six months of shuffling papers around trying to look busy. When the air base was shut down as a result of Congressionally mandated troop cuts right in the middle of the NVA's spring offensive, Bill was reassigned to Ton Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon for 90 days Delay Enroute on the way home. Tired of shuffling papers, he volunteered at that point for the 8th Aerial Port Squadron's Mobility (Bare Base) Team and got an opportunity to do some site-seeing in such beautiful exotic places as Cam Ranh Bay (where the Mob team was the only Air Force presence; the base was shut down, remember?), Qui Nhon (likewise) and Kontum (where there'd never been a real air base to begin with). The highlight of Bill's Viet Nam experience was not dying at Kontum. After Viet Nam, Bill spent several boring months looking busy at Bergstrom AFB waiting for his ETS date.
When he returned to civilian life the GI Bill made it possible for Bill to spend two years at the University of Texas, earning a BSEE with Highest Honors degree in 1976, and later an MEEE degree from UT Arlington. After stints with Motorola in Fort Worth, Emerson Electric in St. Louis, and Rockwell International in Cedar Rapids, Bill was given an opportunity to "explore his interests in other areas" when Defense Secretary Cheney told Congress it would be OK to cut the defense budget a little and Congress overreacted. After a few months of odd jobs and freelance computer programming Bill settled into a technical support role, first spending 8 months answering a Microsoft telephone and later at an "outsourcing" contractor which provided technical support for several major PC and peripheral manufacturers. When Bill's health problems became worse about the same time someone realized Indians can answer email and some Canadians sound American enough to answer the phone, Bill entered early retirement. The VA considers Bill "Totally and Permanently Disabled" (non-Service Connected) and sends him just barely enough money to survive on every month. To the extent his health permits, between occasional trips to Ft. Worth to visit his daughter and grandson he spends the bulk of his time surfing the web and blogging. Prior to becoming webmaster for Old War Dogs, Bill blogged at Small Town Veteran, and before that at In Bill's World. *** Update: Bill is also now blogging at an OWD satellite site, Bill's Bites.
Sgt Dog, Gray USAF 1970 – 1974, USAFR 1974 – 1976 5008th Tactical Support Squadron, Elmendorf AFB, AK 3902nd Air Base Wing, SAC HQ, Offutt AFB, NE
See all of The Gray Dog's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
The Gray Dog was born in West Virginia but grew up in the Detroit area. After graduating high school in 1969 with a student deferment in hand, he entered Wayne State University as a Music Major. After a sudden illness in his second semester forced him to withdraw from classes, the Selective Service saw fit to reclassify him 1A. With a low lottery number and a new draft status, Mike decided to be proactive and enlist in the Air Force in July 1970. His hopes of becoming an Air Traffic Controller were dashed when he didn’t pass the vision test, thus the Air Force armed him computer training and shipped him off to Alaska.
At Elmendorf AFB all newly arrived airmen were assigned to a Security Police Augmentee Team. So when he wasn’t defending the country from behind a computer console, The Gray Dog was issued an M16 and walked guard duty during the long Alaskan nights. Two years later he was reassigned to SAC HQ at Offutt AFB, NE. There, he was an Operations Supervisor assigned to the 3902 Air Base Wing.
After leaving the Air Force, The Gray Dog remained in the computer industry as a mainframe software developer which he still does today, making him a dinosaur in the industry.
In 2004, with the maniacal rants Michael Moore and John Kerry proliferating through the air waves, The Gray Dog decided to add his voice to the conservative blogs that were springing up throughout the country by starting his web site and assisting and contributing to his son’s site, IHateJohnKerry.net. He also was a contributor at Reject Liberalism and it was also during this time that he began regular correspondence with Old War Dog Jim Bartimus. The Gray Dog and Jim became fast electronic pen-pals and contributed frequently at each others site. The Gray Dog has recently resurrected his own fine site, The Gray Dog
Del is entitled to wear a V for Valor device on his Navy Commendation Ribbon. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
Cpl. Del Vecchio, R. J. U.S. Marine Corps 1966 - 1968
See all of Del's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
When R. J. Del Vecchio entered the Marines in 1966 the Marine Corps decided to make use of his BS and MS in chemistry and assigned him to a Photography MOS. He spent from Dec '67 to Nov '68 in Viet Nam, working as a Combat Photographer for the 1st Marine Division, based in Da Nang, and traveled over most of I Corps, from An Hoa in the southern tip to Hue most of the way north. Many of his photographs are in the National Archives, College Park, MD.
After his service in Vietnam, Del continued working in the field of chemistry and became a pro-veteran activist using his experience and knowledge of the conflict in SE Asia. His book, Whitewash/Blackwash: Myths of the Viet Nam War, co-authored with Mr. Bill Laurie, explodes many of the major myths of the Vietnam War. Now active in veteran circles, also Director of a charity for disabled ARVN vets suffering still in Viet Nam, been back there twice in the last 15 months to find and help them. He is also a regular lecturer in high schools and colleges on the history of the war.
Learn more about Whitewash/Blackwash, including ordering information, here. Learn more about The Vietnam Healing Foundation, which Del directs, here. Click here and here while you're at it.
MSgt (E-7) Craig, Bobbie USANG 1973-1976, 1982-2004 Desert Shield, Desert Storm 1990-1991 Various periods of Active Duty 1973-2004
See all of Bobbie's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
("Bobbie Craig" is the nom de blog of a retired Air National Guard NCO who prefers to keep her real identity secret for reasons the webmaster knows and considers perfectly valid.)
As the daughter of a career Army man, it was a family joke that whatever "Bobbie" grew up to be, it would be in the Army. Years later, Bobbie was expecting to pursue a career in federal law enforcement and found that the competition usually included military police experience. In order to keep up, in spite of the fact that we were in the midst of a serious conflict in a little place called Viet Nam, Bobbie tried to enlist, but insisted that it would be for military police training. The Air National Guard finally called and said that they could guarantee her a slot in that career field. So, it was off to Lackland for basic and SP training in 1973. That was the beginning of a very satisfying career with the ANG, to include interesting trips to some fascinating places in a wide variety of assignments.
Special memories for Bobbie include being one of the first 4 women to graduate from USAF Law Enforcement technical training (back in the day when women were not issued combat boots. Ever done the low crawl in regular shoes, guys?); packing C-130's for deployment all over the world in support of every imaginable contingency; riding those hulking birds all over the world, wearing out 5 laptops doing load plans during Desert Storm, printing the final ones to get the units home with no screen; and getting to drive to DC on 9-12-01 to support operations there.
After retirement in the spring of 2004 it was Bobbie's honor to stand with other veterans who opposed the lunacy of Kerry running for the presidency. That group continues operations in opposition to the Idiots for Peace as they work to undermine all the sacrifices we have made.
CPT Briscoe, Shane U.S. Army, 1971-1976 2/34 Armor, Ft. Carson 4th Infantry Division Headquarters, Ft. Carson 1/77 Armor, Ft. Carson 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Nuremberg
See all of Shane's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Shane Briscoe is the pseudonym (for purely business reasons) for a West Point graduate (Class of ’71) and former Army Captain who, though he signed up at the height of Vietnam, ended up missing combat altogether.
The son of an Army officer (we call them “Brats”), Shane grew up on Army Posts around the world, from Germany to Hawaii and in between. He sought nomination to West Point with the goal in mind of a military career, but such was not to be.
“Vietnam changed the Army, and not for the better,” Shane says. “Fighting a war with one hand tied behind your back and no strategy for clear victory will do that to any army. Having said that, I thank my West Point classmates and everyone else who stayed in and fixed things so that we have the professional, dedicated, lethally effective force we have today.”
Commissioned an Armor officer, Shane served as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer in two Fort Carson tank units and later at 4th Infantry Division Headquarters as a Public Affairs and Information Officer (“I was setting myself up for civilian employment”) before being posted to Germany in 1974. “My Dad always told me volunteering was bad luck, but I wanted a short tour so I could be in the United States to find a civilian job when my commitment expired in 1976; I volunteered for Vietnam first, and then Korea. They told me, ‘Lieutenant, you’re on orders for Germany,’ and that was that.”
Shane was assigned to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, the oldest regiment on continuous active service in the U.S. Army. Its mission at the time: Patrol the southern sector of the East German Border, along with the Czech Border as the very frontline NATO force. "In other words, we were the tripwire tasked with delaying the Warsaw Pact until our heavy divisions could organize. Gen. Tommy Franks of Iraq War fame was a fellow regimental staff officer."
Leaving the military in June 1976, Shane went into corporate public affairs, serving first as speechwriter for the chairman of a major utility company before finding his true calling in the oil business in 1980. He now works as a senior executive with an international oil and gas company headquartered in Houston.
“There is nothing more important than fighting and winning the War on Terror,” Shane believes. “This is World War III and the stakes are every bit as high as in World War II, the American Civil War and our Revolution. The rest of the world is too decadent and too socialist (same thing) to recognize it, but this war is also a fundamental clash of civilizations—the modern, Judeo-Christian, human-justice forces of Western Civilization against barbarians, pseudo-religious zealots stuck in the Middle Ages with no morals and, more important, no restrictions on their behavior. Winning this war, and winning it decisively, is the only option. It is the challenge of our age and a life or death struggle for our way of life.”
Karl is entitled to wear an Oak Leaf Cluster on his Air Force Commendation Medal, 3 bronze stars (instead of the one shown) on his Vietnam Service Medal, and 4 Oak Leaf Clusters on his Air Force Service Longevity Medal. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
LTC (Ret.) Bossi, Karl R. Enlisted, U.S. Air Force Reserve 1959 – 1962 (94th Troop Carrier Wing - Hanscom AFB, Bedford, MA) Officer, U.S. Air Force 1962 – 1982 (Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Turkey, U.S.)
See all of Karl's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
The youngest of three brothers, Karl Bossi was born and raised in Boston in the predominantly Irish section of Dorchester, a few years prior to the start of World War II. His brothers served in the USAF but Bossi chose to make the military a career. He could never know that the C-119 flying boxcars he supported as an airman would one day fly combat missions as AC-119 Gunships from his base in Vietnam.
As a nuclear weapons/conventional weapons maintenance officer and later an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) officer, Bossi worked in various squadron-level and staff assignments. He managed nuclear and conventional weapons operations, performed operational testing of new weapons, led a munitions squadron in Spain, advised the Turkish Air Force, and directed nuclear weapons stockpile activities. In 1968 after graduating from the Navy EOD School in Indian Head, MD, Bossi volunteered for Vietnam and was assigned to the 14th Special Operations Wing at Nha Trang Air Base. As the officer in charge of the EOD Team he gained first-hand knowledge of Viet Cong bombs, bullets, and booby traps.
In 1982 Bossi retired at Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, New Mexico as the Chief, Maintenance and Quality Assurance Division, Field Command Defense Nuclear Agency. He landed a position there as an aerospace logistic engineer at Sperry Flight Systems, later Honeywell Defense Avionics Systems Division. Over the next 15 years Bossi contributed to many key defense avionics programs involving the B-1B bomber, OH-58D helicopter, F-117 stealth fighter and C-17 transport aircraft.
Bossi holds graduate degrees in counseling and guidance and procurement management and is a published writer and author of a 5-star memoir, entitled Just Call Me Moose. Bossi's articles with photos have appeared in the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque Tribune, Albuquerque Business Journal, New Mexico Magazine and the nationally syndicated Country Woman Magazine.
Learning conservative principles started early for him. Fifty years ago as the Editor of the Yearbook at Boston Technical High School, Bossi ended the prologue with these words: “May God grant us strength to surmount the obstacles which lie ahead in a world made difficult by conflicting philosophies and aggressive governments.” Today every American must fully grasp the consequences of failing to win the war on terrorism. The Old War Dogs who launched this website understand.
Karl has announced his resignation from the Old War Dogs site effective 2006.10.22.
SP/4 Bartimus, James R. U.S. Army 1970-1973 Vietnam June 71-March 72 102nd Engr Co. 815th Engr Bn Camp Dillard Co E, 1st Engr Bn, 1st Inf Div Ft. Riley, Ks.
See all of Jim's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Jim Bartimus was born and raised on a farm in the hills of Illinois. He enlisted in the Army during his junior year in high school. He was trained as a crawler tractor operator (62E20) with the combat engineers at Ft Leonard Wood. From there he went to NCO schooling for senior operators and was deployed to Viet Nam in 1971 as a SP/5 with the 102nd Engineers CS at Camp Dillard in the central highlands near Da Lat. The mission at hand was to build QL-20, a main corridor to the southern part of the country. This was a full circle operation with rock crushers, asphalt plant and an off compound rock quarry. The sergeant running the drilling and blast crew in the quarry rotated out and Jim replaced him after learning the tricks of the trade. He received his hard stripe E-5 ranking with an MOS for quarrymen (62G30) and also did the EOD work when required. Using time delay caps on 200 shot patterns with between 2000 and 3000 lb of TNT you can pretty much pile the rock anywhere you want it, and we were good at it. Those three steps are still in the side of that hill and will be forever. The 102nd was slated to stand down in 72 and some of the upper echelon changes didn’t seem to agree with those that were working off compound in the real war zone. (long story). JB got demoted to SP/4 and was replaced with an E-6 and continued with his work in the quarry. The day he held that badly wounded mans (Sgt Roher’s) head in his lap shielding his eyes from the sun will never be forgotten. He ran a track drill over a booby-trapped 81mm mortar round that was meant for me. We also lost the life of an old papasan that day that was very dear to me. I will never forget the Vietnamese friends that I had over there and the compassion we had for them. They weren't all the enemy.
Jim rotated back to Ft. Riley Kansas in March of 72 after the 102nd stood down and was assigned to Co E 1st Engr Bn 1st Inf Div, which was a floating bridge unit.
After leaving the military Jim returned to Illinois and married a nice Irish girl, and worked as a mechanic in the automotive and the trucking industry. He accepted a position in Texas doing engine (irrigation) rebuilds & machine work and spent 12 years working there and raising their son in a good environment.
JB is back in Illinois now and works for one of the largest independent oil field operators working the Illinois basin. His current job is process management and control stuff and taking care of the onsite 3 Megawatt power generation facilities and doing computer work and web authoring after hours for entertainment.
See all of Larry's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
A native of East Texas, where he graduated from Marshall High School and Stephen F. Austin State College, Larry Bailey was raised on a dairy farm, where he milked an estimated 300,000 Holsteins and Jerseys. Upon graduation from college, he went to Navy Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an ensign in 1962. After a less-than-stellar eight months as a destroyer sailor, he volunteered for Underwater Demolition Training at Little Creek, Virginia, and graduated therefrom in January 1964. After spending a year at UDT-22, he transferred to SEAL Team TWO, where he spent the next three years. Among his deployments at that command were combat tours to the Dominican Republic and Viet Nam.
Larry's 27-year Navy career saw him stationed in Panama, Bolivia, Scotland, the Philippines, and Viet Nam, in addition to various stateside postings, which included Little Creek, VA; Coronado, CA; and Ft. Bragg, NC. He commanded Naval Special Warfare Unit TWO in Machrihanish, Scotland, and Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado. He retired from the US Special Operations Command in 1990.
Since retirement, Larry has worked as a consultant, speechwriter, fundraiser, and general gad-about. His most notable activities included presiding over Vietnam Vets for the Truth, which campaigned against John Kerry in 2004, and over Vets for the Truth, which unsuccessfully tried to deny John Murtha a 17th term in Congress.
Larry and his wife Judy are the parents of two adult children: Tucker and Hallie.
Arch is entitled to wear an Oak Leaf Cluster on his Distinguished Flying Cross and 10 Oak Leaf Clusters on his Air Medal. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
Major Arthur, Arch U.S. Air Force 1967-1987
See all of Arch's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Arch Arthur was born in Birmingham, Alabama – the son of an infantry lieutenant who was wounded in Normandy, and again on the first day of the Battle of the Bulge, then gave his life for his country in April 1945. Two years later, Arch's mother married a career naval officer who spent WWII island-hopping the Pacific as a Seabee.
His family moved from Gulfport to Guam, Washington DC, Boston, New York and Norfolk. Arch attended public schools and two military academies, graduating from high school in Newport RI. He earned a BA in Asian Studies at the University of Oklahoma and married Judith Kennedy – the daughter of a retired artillery officer.
In 1967, 2LT Arthur graduated USAF officer training school. He attended undergraduate navigator training and the F4 aircrew training course before volunteering for South East Asia. He was assigned to Homestead AFB, FL.
In 1971 while TDY to Phu Cat, he got orders to the 366 Tactical Fighter Wing at DaNang AB, RVN. During his tour, he flew 164 ½ combat missions.
During the 1972 Eastertide Offensive Arch flew Linebacker and strike missions. As a Stormy Forward Air Controller, he and Cisco, his aircraft commander, made 7 passes on a SA-2 site the North Vietnamese set up just south of the DMZ. A site across the border fired five missiles; they saw three. The fourth detonated just below their aircraft. Both engines caught fire and stuck in full afterburner. Flight controls failed crossing the beach and the nose pitched up. As the aircraft slowed to 450 knots, they both ejected and parasailed about 1 Km feet wet. NVA artillery shot at their rafts for half an hour until HH-53s from the 33 ARRS rescued them. After recuperating for 10 days, he returned to Stormy.
After Vietnam, he was assigned to 58 TTW at Luke AFB, teaching aircrews to operate the F4C. In 1975, he moved to Clark AB, Philippines in an operational test and evaluation unit – the 1st Test Squadron. In 1978 he served in the 4th TFW at Seymour-Johnson AFB, NC.
After 13 years in the cockpit, he accepted an overseas assignment as a US military-political affairs officer in Central America. Returning to CONUS in 1981 with three overseas tours, he finished his career as a staff officer in Air Defense Weapons Center at Tyndall AFB, FL. From concept to operational status, Arthur was responsible for three major range improvement programs – formation drone control, vector scoring and telemetry relay.
Before retiring in 1987, Major Arthur had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and another for extraordinary achievement, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters and other citations. He held aeronautical rating of Master Navigator and a Top Secret SBI clearance.
After retiring from the Air Force, Mr. Arthur accepted an executive position with LTV Aerospace and Defense – Missiles and Electronics Group/Sierra Research Division in Buffalo, NY. At Sierra, he was program manager and product line manager of avionics with full profit-loss, orders, sales and performance responsibility for $100 M in active US DoD, foreign military and commercial contracts. In 1999, he was promoted to director of business development, marketing wideband time space position information technology.
In 2004, Arch accepted early retirement and founded his own defense electronics firm. In December 2006, he moved from Buffalo to a rural town south of Birmingham.
(Unit patches pending)
OST-6 "Antimedia" U.S. Navy 1968-1974
See all of Antimedia's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Antimedia served in SOSUS, which was secret but has now been declassified. His entire service was shore-based - one year and three months in training, two years and nine months in Cape Hatteras, NC and two years in Newfoundland, Canada.
Antimedia also has a great blog of his own, Media Lies.
Sgt. Andrew, Martin Royal Australian Air Force, 1977-2005
International Military Liaison Darwin October 1999 – July 2000
RMAF Base Butterworth July 1982 – November 1984
See all of Martin's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Martin Andrew is an Aussie ring in. Best known for his GI Zhou Newsletter and his contributions to the Jamestown Foundation's China Brief he spent 28 years in the Royal Australian Air force rising to the rank of Sergeant. A dedicated REMF or Pogue, postings during his career included Malaysia where he received an Australian Service Medal for liver abuse and getting married, and eleven and half years in the Northern Territory. The highlight of his career was being an International Military Liaison Officer from October 1999 to July 2000 in Darwin, during Australia's involvement in East Timor the first time. He worked as a liaison officer with elements from various forces including the Jordanian Special Forces, South Korean Rangers, Irish Rangers, Canadian Defence Force and the Fijian Defence Force.
Martin holds a Masters Degree in Asian Studies and has been to Harvard University as a Research Affiliate on North Asia. His contributions will be in the area of North Asia, modern weaponry notably infantry weapons ,and modern warfare. He was trained in many small arms during soujourns to Fabrique Nationale and Heckler and Koch in the 1980s and travelled extensivelly around East Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei from 1991 to 2003 collecting much information about the region for his university research.
He looks forward to contributing to the Old War Dogs but acknowledges he is a pup - he owns a half Staffordshire Terrier/half Australian Red Heeler who is his best friend and companion.
Martin Andrew has resigned from the Old War Dogs site effective 23 Nov 2006.
Gary is entitled to wear 3 Oak Leaf Clusters on his Air Medal, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze OLC on his Air Force Good Conduct Medal, 2 OLCs on his Army Good Conduct Medal, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze OLC on his Air Force Longevity Medal and 3 OLCs on his Outstanding Unit Award ribbon. The webmaster has so far been unable to locate suitable artwork.
SMSGT Adams, Gary ("Boomer") U.S. Air Force 1956-1986
See all of Boomer's Old War Dogs posts in one place here.
Gary was born and raised in Ashland, Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Superior (some call it Gitcheegumee). He enlisted on June 12, 1956 upon graduation from high school. Basic training was at Parks AFB, Pleasanton, CA and was one of the very last classes before the base was closed and all basic training moved to Lackland AFB, TX.
Gary's first assignment was to be Itazuke AB, Japan. He departed Oakland by ship (MSTS M.M. Patrick) and spent 17 days, three days in a typhoon, enroute to Yokohama, Japan. At Tachikawa his assignment was changed to Kadena AB, Okinawa where he spent the next four years (Dec 56 - Dec 60). While there he met his Miss Okinawa in 1958 in the Airman's Club. Gary comments: "It took three months of trying to get her attention before she finally spoke to me and three more to get her to go on a movie date". They were married on March 16, 1959 and have one son (48), one daughter (46), eight grandchildren and one great-granddaughter who lives with them.
Other assignments: Fairchild AFB, Spokane, WA (Dec 60 - Sep 64), Pease AFB, Portsmouth, NH (Sep 64 - May 66), Ching Chuan Kang AB, Taichung, Taiwan (May 66 - Jun 67), Travis AFB, Fairfield, CA (Jun 67 - Dec 70), Grissom AFB, Peru, IN 9 (Dec 70 - May 72), a second tour at Kadena AB, Okinawa (May 72 - May 80) and finally Andersen AFB, Guam in May 1980 where SMSGT Adams assumed the position of his career as Chief Boomer, Pacific Tanker Task Force. He retired on March 1, 1986.
Gary logged 212 combat support missions (800+ hours) in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam conflict. Notable historical events he participated in: Frequent Wind (the withdrawal from Vietnam) - flew 12 hour communication relay sorties on the last two days, 29 and 30 April 1975. He also participated in 8 of the 11 days in December 1972 during Linebacker II when the B-52's conducted an intensive 11 day bombing of North Vietnam. An unforgettable 11 days it was.
After Gary retired he was hired by Pacific Stars & Stripes as the Guam Area Manager. He held that position until he resigned in December 1989. Gary is now 100% retired and stays home to take care of his many canine friends and play with his great-granddaughter who will someday be a pilot and take him for a space ride (she already loves airplanes).
Webmaster's note: This post may change as time goes on without being re-dated. I'm still looking for better pictures of some of the ribbons and badges, and the post will grow as we recruit more Old War Dogs.