CATCOM DYNAMIC E–NEWSLETTER, 2017
Updated: 24 September 2017
LIST OF ARTICLES: (click to go direct)
Tom Adams finally checked in! He was the Assistant Maintenance Officer in 1968–69, with a call sign of Catkiller 09. I received an update from Tom for his roster line and post his response:
I retired from the Army in 1988, as a CW4 with 32 years service and then went to work for PETROLEUM HELICOPTERS Flying Bell 206s and Supper King Air 200’s till 1999 when I retired for real. I retired from US Army Special Operation Command, MacDill AFB, Florida, and stayed in Tampa. The family liked the area when we first arrived in 1980, and we bought a house near MacDill AFB in 1981 and stayed there after I retired. My work with PHI did not require a move since I was working on a l4 days on, 14 days off schedule for one year in the Gulf of Mexico and then a 28 on, 28 off when I started flying Supper King Air 200’s and Bell 206s in Angola, Africa.
This email from Gary (with roster updates) contained so much historical content that I could not just extract some of the data–type information and let the rest go:
My first assignment was to the 2nd Platoon (Catkiller 23 for 7 months) in Hue Citadel, since most of the pilots had been wounded at a downtown incident. All of our aircraft were burned during TET, and we were surrounded in our MACV compound for almost a week before evacuation to Phu Bai.
After an R&R in Hawaii to celebrate our first anniversary and very few missions due to aircraft shortages and monsoonal weather, I received the opportunity to join the 1st Platoon (10 for 3 months) in Dong Ha to replace a fallen Brother.
Finally, Millard Pedersen (RIP) appointed me 1st Platoon Leader (16 for 1 & 1/2 months) during John Mulvaney’s (RIP) extension leave.
Many peaks and valleys accompany the above, and I hope to finally submit my narrative on the above this year. Also, I’m once again “garage diving” for photos per Ray Caryl’s blanket request.
Excuse the verbosity; however, I now take every opportunity to speak proudly of this marvelous year, rather than enduring the pain of silence. Notice I left sufficient room for my obituary, and I doubt the necessity to comment on how that will be displayed sometime in the next 25 years.
Many thanks again!!!
Gary O’Shields, Catkiller 23/10/16
PS: You are hereby designated LOTCOTS, aka “last one to close out the site,” so plan on writing and posting your obituary just before everyone else has left the building. Just leave your end date open, and the National Archives can ink in your final date; and launch our Catkiller Site into heavenly, aviation posterity for all our Brothers to share. [In a later response to the (*) asterisk entry below]*[If I am still around when you need an obit service, I will certainly add yours to the roster. If you find that I checkout before you, please see that some competent person (who knows what to do with a web page) posts mine. That seems to be my greatest worry: being the last one to close out the site. Don Ricks]
This photograph came to us via iMessenger on my Apple computer from Larry’s son, Mark. Larry died of an apparent heart attack on 16 February 2013. Larry had not changed a lot from 1969 when we flew together in flight school and with the 220th Aviation Company and wore the Catkiller patch in 1969. Don Ricks, Editor:
Tucked away in secret places—like old footlockers, file drawers, show boxes, etc.—are photographs of you, you and you. And, you. Proof comes in the mail, via email and, once in a while, through my iMessages account. Even I discovered the other day–that my files include photos taken in 1969 with one of those spy cameras I wisely purchased at Clark Air Force Base Exchange in the Philippines, one with a little silver (and slippery) case. Tucked away in several miniature slide cases, essential the size of the camera itself, are photos from my unbelievably quickly–passing Jungle Survival School Course. These little gems on the tiny slides show the unpretentious members of the tribe of extremely talented native guides that took us up into the hills to show us just how little we knew about survival in a jungle environment.
Last year (not long ago), Jerry Spette, July 1968–Nov 1969, shared with us a photograph of Steve Grass, my platoon leader in late 1969, and I did not even recognize him. Several others did, and they were certain it was Steve. Now that I consider their overwhelming assertion, the image of Steve is more clear, and I recognize him. Just a week or so ago Jerry shared another photo from his secret place that provides a good frontal shot of himself, and a cockpit view of another person, initially identified as Bob Arrington. Bob’s response was negative, but his wife said, “Now, hold on there, Bob, [she must have been watching ESPN Sports Center where Lee Corso says it], that ‘is’ you! Now, he agrees that the young, serious looking fellow is indeed him, or as Charles Finch wrote in his most accurate response:
“That is Bobby Arrington in the cockpit in my opinion.
Bobby is probably looking at the pre–start checklist, as he always had trouble getting the airplane started. We needed pictures for Bobby. He has his M–16 with, him so he may be looking for operating instructions as well.
Death of CWO Michael (Mike) Kent Patterson, 14 January 2009:
Via an email from a Volunteer from the Admin Team, Vietnam War History Organization’s FaceBook page, we learned from a posted message from Mike’s son, Sean,that CWO Michael Patterson, Quang Ngai, 1966, died in 2009, a resident of Oklahoma. The photo posted by Sean is below:
The All Birddog Units Reunion 2017 hotel facility is the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel, Arlington, Virginia. The block availability period is from 14–21 August 2017, with our group rate available until 24 July 2017.
Bob J. Wooley is the designated lead planner for the 2017 All Birddog Units (All US Services & Allies) Reunion in Washington, DC, on 17–20 August 2017. The event is being shepherded, as in 2104 at Dothan, by AFRI and local area planners. The posted website has pertinent information for the event (registration, attendee list, schedule, hotel HQ, etc.).
“There are no restrictions for any attendee; a Birddog crew or support participant is welcome. As an IP in D–1 Phase In the Fixed Wing Dept at Ft Rucker, anyone that attended the OFFWAC/WOFWAC is a Birddog pilot. Even the RWAC or FW Trans Course are to be included. All Birddog support personnel are especially welcomed to participate in the 17–20 August 2017 Reunion in DC.
Bob Wooley ”
Start making your plans!
Update: 15 February—REGISTRATION FORM AVAILABLE:
Hotel Room Reservation Constraint (12 March)
The Reunion is Thursday, the 17th through Saturday, the 19th. Wednesday or Thursday are travel–in days, and Sunday or Monday are travel–out days, except for locals. Activities are scheduled for Thursday PM thru Saturday night.
The AFRI link verifies the above. The 17th–19th are set for activities; individuals will determine their stay dates based on their independent hotel registration. We must plan for a hotel rooms declaration by mid–April for a minimum of 160 rooms, after that, reservations will be dependent on room availability by the hotel for any above the 160 minimum, or the maximum of 250 if we do not reduce the number of blocked rooms in mid–April. Early sign–up for room reservations must be encouraged. Registration with AFRI will extend into mid–July.
Bob J. Wooley
Mid–April Update: (17 April)
Update Message (PDF), dated 17 April 2017:
AND THE FIRST PHOTOS (attributed to Doc Clement, beginning 18 August):
Friday Evening Dinner (18 August):
2017 REUNION PHOTOS, by Dick Clubb, 219th Aviation Company:
Besides the coming AFRI wrap–up of the August Reunion event, there might be other sources for photos taken during the reunion. Dick Clubb, who served with the 219th, recently posted a series of photographs you might enjoy cviewing:
2017 ALL BIRDDOG REUNION PHOTOS, by Edwin R. (Dick) Clubb
What a COINCIDENCE!! While attending the 2017 All Unit Birddog Reunion in Washington D.C., we were on a tour of Washington and I had just completed my first ever visit to The Vietnam Memorial Wall. We were at the Korean War Memorial when I saw a Korean War Veteran in a wheel chair being escorted by several Vietnam Memorial Volunteers. I went over to speak to the Veteran. One of the volunteers noticed my Catkillers t–shirt and asked If I had flown Birddogs in Vientam. We started a discussion and identified ourselves.
Now, excerpts from my Vietnam diary, Thursday 1/4/1968: “1500 hrs., flew south coast mail run mission with LTJG Arant. Started out to Cu Lao Re Island. Wind must have blown me off course, so after 30 minutes turned around flew back to land at Quang Ngai. Took up heading and this time landed at Cu Lao Re with mail etc., total flight time 3hrs 30 min.”
Now, while on Cu Lao Re, LTJG Arant took a picture of me checking the oil in my Birddog. I had the picture with me in D.C., in the original envelope, that showed date taken 4 January 68, by LTJG Arant. Now, back to our chance meeting at The Korean Memorial: After identifying ourselves and determining that we both flew out of Marble Mountain, I recognized his name and said, “You flew in my back seat and took a picture of me at Cu Lao Re, which I have in my hotel room.” Daniel said that he remembered and still had a copy of the picture. We talked for 10–15 minutes. He pinned me with a Vietnam War Veteran pin. With that, I had to cut our visit short to get back to tour group.
WHAT A COICIDENCE!! The CC recipients (Ray Caryl, Jim Wall, Gene Frey, and Don Pepe) were 220th Catkiller pilots that also flew the South Coast Mission with Naval Observers. On some occasions we would fire Naval Gunfire when ships were available and targets were identified. It was so nice to have this chance meeting with (then LTJG) Daniel R. Arant, and it made my trip to the reunion and to the Vietnam Memorial Wall even more special.
God Bless America and God Bless all you Veterans! Warmest Regards to all of you.
S/ Henry Milam Catkiller 39er
EDITOR: Send in that photo, Henry. Don
The gathering was well attended by the Catkillers. I counted 24 plus Jan Smith who suddenly appeared at the Udvar–Hazy Center and then just as suddenly disappeared.
Dave Ohare, Rick Johnson, Gary O’Shields, Henry Milam, Harold Vail, Doc Clement and I hung out together most of the time. The 219th Headhunters were represented by 23. A few AF guys were there and it was fun to talk to them as they had flown in Laos and Cambodia, some of it in Birddogs and the rest in O–2s and OV–10s.
The highlight for me occurred on Monday, August 21st when I met with the original commanding officer of the 220th, MG Jerry Curry, at his home in Virginia. I had written a note to him saying that I was going to be in DC and requested we meet for lunch and a brief conversation. What a surprise when he invited me to his home. He had made lunch for us and we sat at his kitchen table and chatted for an hour. We reminisced about how he formed the unit at Ft. Lewis and how the decisions that he made shaped the way the 220th ran for its entire 6 1/2 year existence.
What struck me is how humble he is. He told me that all the success the 220th realized was due to the officers, NCOs and enlisted men of the unit, all he did was provide the leadership. We know from reading the documented unit history that he was an excellent leader who took very good care of his people. He set the bar very high and I think that every Catkiller, whether he served in the sky or on the ground, can be very proud of what the 220th accomplished because of the standards he set.
His wife passed away some seven years ago and he now lives alone. He told me that he has a daughter who lives “20 minutes away’ so that is a good thing. I think that any Catkiller who would care to drop him a note with some words of appreciation would be warmly received.
I spoke with several Catkiller who voiced the opinion that our next gathering should be just Catkillers and probably Las Vegas or some other CENTRALLY located, easy to get to, AND NOT QUITE AS EXPENSIVE location. Several of us also agreed that Charles Finch should honor his commitment that he made at the Seattle reunion to honcho our next one. Let’s not wait too long ’cause ain*rsquo;t none of us gettin’ any younger.
Ray Caryl, Catkiller 32/42
Editor: I concur with Ray’s impressions of General Curry. Having read the general’s biography, and the equally excellent one written by his wife, what I gained from the biographies and from meeting with him and his family at the Seattle reunion solidly reinforced all I knew about him secondhand as webmaster. We were indeed fortunate to have had a great team of unit personnel to form and lead the 220th. It is my observation, from historical accounts and records and from personal operational service within the unit, that lives were saved by excellent leadership, sound operational practices and procedures and personal examples all along the way during the service life of the unit. General Curry brought humble beginnings, wisdom, intelligence and a will to serve to the highest standards to his entire career—and we have a proud heritage through his style, manner and leadership qualities that blossomed with the 220th Aviation Company.
I received an announcement from Ellie Wilson, with an obituary and memorial service scheduled for her late husband, Gene Wilson, as presented in the document provided:
Gene’s memorial is set for February 18th here in Lakewood. My entire family will be here over that weekend, so it will be a busy time. I am so grateful to have their strong love and support.
Memorial/Obituary Press Release
Memorial Service, Lakewood, Washington:
Catkillers Dick Tobiason, Larry Deibert and Al Paulsen attend Gene Wilson’s memorial service yesterday at Christ Lutheran Church, Lakewood, Washington. Navy ANGLICO Jeff Thompson also attended.
It was a grand ceremony complete with full military honors led by Colonel Robert Howe (Senior Army Aviator stationed at Ft. Lewis).
I made a short presentation on behalf of all Catkillers. Attached are photos
RIP Gene Wilson.
Dick Tobiason, Catkiller 26
Memorial Service Photos:
Rick Vosburgh, who is a close friend to Dennis Iaeger, sent a text message that stated Dennis had called last night. During their conversation Dennis revealed he has stage–4 lung cancer and doesn’t have a lot of time left (4 to 10 months, depending upon treatment options). He asked Rick to pass this along to the webmaster. Rick confirmed that it is bad news but that Dennis is a very positive person, as always.
This evening, I spoke with Dennis at length about his situation and was lifted by his positive, Christian attitude and outlook. He is open to communications, as you wish, but know that he might have limitation as to how long he might be able to speak with you. Dennis states that he has excellent medical care at the local VA clinic/hospital.
For any who served with Dennis during 1969 and 70, please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers and let him know your sentiments:
UPDATE: March 2017:Dennis Iaeger
“Dennis Iaeger, 67, died March 1, 2017 in Reno, Nevada. Arrangements are in the care of Capitol City Cremation & Burial 775-882-1766”
Source: Nevada Appeal, Obituary section, 3 March 2017
1700 Wendy Lane #3
Carson City, NV 89706 [south of Reno]
Webmaster, 220th Aviation Company
UPDATE: 3 March 2017
This is a note from Rick Vosburgh received today:
Don, just wanted let you know that Dennis passed away this morning, March 1, at 1:30 AM. Got a message from his son. The memorial service will be at 11:00 AM, 18 March:
Silver Hills Community Church
1066 Mallory Way
Carson City, Nevada 89701
EDITOR: I asked Rick to send any further information and a copy of an obituary when available and will post it upon receipt. Dennis apparently died unexpectedly after his second chemo therapy treatment. Don Ricks
A few pictures of the Catkiller tail rotor blade (from the reunion) and others in my hangar at Front Range airport. Brown Cabell:
Courtesy of 1LT Chris Monteleon, Jr., Senior Aerial Observer, 108th Artillery Group, Sundowner Sierra, 1969–1970, and the 8th Battalion, 4th Field Artillery Association, we have an excellent graphic presentation of the artillery battery support locations and coverage in the majority of the Catkiller Area of Operation, for the period 1967–1971:
Historical note — trivial: Senior Aerial Observer, which is the description I provided you, and which is displayed by one or more other AOs in the 220th website, is unofficial, merely indicating the AOs seniority/longevity. Chris
108th Artillery Group:
1st Bn, 40th Arty (105, SP)
8th Bn, 4th Arty (8-in/175)
2nd Bn, 94th Arty (175)
6th Bn, 33rd Arty (105, T)
1st Bn, 83rd Arty (8-in/175)
2nd Bn, 138th Arty (155, SP)
SPECIAL REQUEST FROM CHRIS MONTELEON: (17 March 2017)
“I am writing a book/electronic presence of the 108th Arty Gp, Sundowner Aerial Observer experience. We principally flew with our friends of the 220th. I seek Catkiller help in pairing pilots and observers by date and name. There is scarce data on something so important we accomplished, together.
Absent date and name, I would greatly appreciate anything a Catkiller could share, including just the names of AOs known, or the dates missions were flown. Also, any mission specific, or any funny, the bad, and the sad. Thoughts on personal and professional relationships with Army AOs. Differences between Army AO’s and USMC/ARVN/USN AOs. What made an effective AO, and other. Any related personal feelings you would care to share, pride, fear, shame, exhilaration, anger, joy, camaraderie, etc., would make a wonderful contribution to our shared experience (I experienced all, above.).
I could make arrangement to personally view any logs/documents too personally valuable for FedEx, etc. Thank you!”
Christopher J. Monteleon, Jr.
EDITOR: Considerable history and personal accounts of service life in South Vietnam resulted from discussions between Chris Monteleon and other aerial observers, Catkillers and Friends during the process of collecting input for the planned initiative mentioned above. As an example of amazing results when you engage others in meaningful dialogue, while seeking historical material for the record, here is a rare glimpse of an aerial observer for whom we did not have an in–country photograph from his service in 1970. I am grateful that Chris started the discussions that provided this image:
Your roster shows Steve Chapin as an Infantry officer. He was in fact Military Police Corps.
In our class photo, he is the right most in the back row, just in front of the T-41’s tail. As we were graduating during the period that USARV was in its biggest draw down, everyone in the class had a change in orders to somewhere in CONUS. We would stay there for 6 months or so, then proceed on to Viet Nam. Everyone, that is, except Steve. As we were all getting changes, he called MP Branch to ask if he was also being diverted. He was told, “As far as we’re concerned, you have your orders.” When I arrived at MMAAF to be Signal Officer of the 223rd, Steve had already assumed the position of Provost Marshall. He always regretted not continuing in the 220th.
William R. Riddle
Catkillers Charles Finch and Doc Clement continue to educate the general public and keep the beloved Birddog alive and to promote Jim Hooper’s renowned book, A Hundred Feet Over Hell at the EEA Oshkosh AirVenture Event, which was held this year from July 24–30. They were on hand July 26 with their presentation:
Oshkosh After Reports: (Charles and Doc are on number 6)LiveStream UFLYTV WIR 2017 Full Presentation Links:
- Spitfire - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- A-20 Havoc - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- BT-13 - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- P-51 Bud Anderson - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- B-25 Dick Cole - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- L-19 Finch, Clement, Reeder - WIR 2017 Presentation":
- Boeing B-17 - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- F8F-2 Bearcat - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- C-47/P-47 - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- T-33 Rutan - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- T-34/SNJ Apollo - WIR 2017 Presentation:
- P-63/T-38 - WIR 2017 Presentation:
Robert Jordan, CatkillerOriginal, sent this interesting statement and link to a great old film view!
1945 — Japanese surrender — a keeper:This film is believed to have never been seen before, only shots of the surrender were known. If you are a history buff you will enjoy this. General McArthur’s voice is a rarity in these old film clips Japanese Surrender- Amazing Footage September 2, 1945.
This is a 'must see' for the WWII history buff or anyone interested in history. Interesting the other signers to the document, from New Zealand/Australia to Europe/Russia. This is an actual film made of the surrender ceremony of the Japanese to McArthur in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. Actual voice of the General. Never been shown to the general public before. We always saw the “stills” but never the film itself.
Click here: Japanese Surrender
Jan Smith, Catkiller 41, shared the good news that could improve your shopping experiences:Military exchanges will now allow online shopping.
You can also go to the website and register. That’s what I did. Or call the number below.
Click here, or simply call the number below:
The Army, Air Force and Navy exchanges decided recently to allow honorably discharged veterans to shop online, (think Amazon, but only cheaper with no taxes.) The target start date is Veterans Day, November 11, 2017, but, you must register first(and be verified). Registration began June 1, 2017 . You can call 1–844–868–8672 to register.
Warbird Weekend Luau and Tiki BBQ Dinner Fundraiser
August 18th, 2017, 5PM to 8:30PMWarbird Weekend celebrating Americas Victory in Japan! We are kicking off the weekend with a lively evening of music, schmoozing, and fun with a tiki bbq dinner and drink bar. Come mingle with the staff and pilots while enjoying all the history the museum holds.
A short presentation on the incredible story of Cornelia Fort and her Interstate Cadet "The Pearl", the only remaining operable aricraft to be flown during the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7th, 1941, will be given. Weather permitting there will be a private sortie featuring "The Pearl".
This is a 21 and over event. Tickets will include dinner, music, and admission to Warbird Weekend Fly Day the following day.
Individual tickets $75 and couples tickets $125:
Tickets available at the Museum or on Eventbrite
(click here for link to tickets and additional information)
Event will be catered by Whitey’s BBQ & Catering from Granite Falls, Washington
Located in our hangars at:
HERITAGE FLIGHT MUSEUM-Skagit Regional Airport-15053 Crosswind Drive, Burlington, WA 98233
Proceeds benefit the Heritage Flight Museum which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
For any who have not seen the series to which Andy Anderson referred in the following message, PBS special, The Vietnam War, please visit the link below for further information at this PBS site:
I recently had a wonderful opportunity to represent us all. Have you been watching Ken Burns’ PBS special, “The Vietnam War”? The week prior to the beginning of the PBS series, my employer, Bank of America, invited me and my wife to NYC to attend the preview at Lincoln Center. I was one of about thirteen Vietnam vets in attendance from the bank. They flew us to New York City, picked us up at the airport in a limo and housed us in the Empire Hotel across the street from Lincoln Center. The first person I was introduced to was David Kennerly, a 1972 Pulitzer Prize winner for his photo journalism work in Vietnam. He asked me where I served and what I did and when I told him, he knew immediately what I was talking about. He has logged some back seat time with the Head Hunters.
On Thursday afternoon, I was taken to the bank’s recording studio where I was powered up and then interviewed on camera about my experience. I’m not sure what will become of the film. Later that afternoon, there was a private reception at the hotel for the vets where I met some nice people. Each of us was presented with the book, The Vietnam War autographed by Ken Burns. After that reception, they escorted us across the street to Lincoln Center where we met Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. They were gracious and made a point of speaking to all of us and shaking hands. I should be receiving a nice professional photo with Ken Burns. Shortly, we were seated on the second row of the center for the evening’s presentation.
Following the presentation, there was a private reception upstairs that included the stage guests. Again, all were gracious. I, along with others, was presented a Vietnam Veteran pin from the Secretary of Defense along with a “Thank you for your service” comment from Bank of America’s officer in charge of military relations. Incidentally, he is a former 82nd Airborne guy, much younger than any of us. I met Maya Lin, the young lady who designed the Vietnam memorial. It was a fantastic evening and one I won’t forget. I heard a lot of, “Welcome home” and “Thank you for your service.”
Lee and I stayed over a couple of days and then, to top off the whole affair, the bank flew us home in first class.
I felt that I had a responsibility to honor all those who couldn’t be there, so I made a list of the Catkillers and our friends that lost their lives and I carried the list with me the entire time. I included a few of my other friends on that list. I thought of you and all of our brothers and sisters throughout the long weekend.
Quinton “Andy” Anderson, Catkiller 10/3
EDITOR: Andy supplied these three photos from the private reception (labled with names and data the third photo shows Phan Quang Tue, who left Vietnam in 1975 to eventually become an immigration judge in California.