CATKILLER HISTORY, 1968:
Here is a photo of our unit patch, sent in by Jim Turnbow, October 1968—December 1969:
It never hurts to ask....
"Since the 3rd Brigade 82nd Airborne Division flew the back seat with the 220th, 2nd platoon out of Phu Bai from July-September 1968...could you add our logo to the web page banner?
82nd Airborne "Golden" Brigade
RVN June 68-June69"
This action completed April 15, 2010. Thanks to Peter for reminding us of part of our Catkiller history.
On 12 February 1968, the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, was alerted for deployment to the Republic of Vietnam in response to the Tet Offensive. After 13 months, the Brigade had helped secure the region south of the DMZ and redeployed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in March 1969, the only Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam conflict. As a supported unit, the crest of the 3rd Brigade (shown above) was added to the Catkillers' top web page units-supported banner.
"I was attached to the 518th Military Intelligence Detachment of the 3rd Brigade 82nd Airborne Division. The Division was deployed to I Corps Feb 12,1968. The Division moved south to III Corps in Oct. 1968 and fought in the Iron Triangle and the Delta. The Division was redeployed to Ft. Bragg on Dec. 12,1969.
I was assigned to the Division in July 1969, as an E-4, and rotated home in June 1969, as an E-5. During my service I flew with(1) the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company, 2nd Platoon (2) the 101st Airborne Division FAC's, Chu Chi and (3) the Air Force Gimpy FAC's at TanSon Nhut. My last call sign was "Gimpy Bravo."
Thank you for including our Vietnam history in your newsletter.
In late January 2017, Peter Henderson send a further explanation statement of his unique roll in providing aerial observer support via various supported units:
I am sending you my history from the back seat of an 0-1 Birddog, 220th Aviation CO. Catkillers, 2nd Platoon, Phu Bai, during 1968. You already have some photos in the History Index 1968–Phu Bai (mostly taken from testimony before the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA):
“By way of background this Board should be aware of my military history in Vietnam. Although I graduated from Fort Holabird in [Maryland] May of 1968, with an MOS of 96D (photo interpreter), I was never used in that capacity during my entire tour in Vietnam. As a result of the Tet offense the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was sent from Fort Bragg to Camp Eagle to support the 101st Airborne Division. What the commanders overlooked in this deployment was the fact that many of the men had only 60, or 90, days left in their enlistment. So when their enlistments were completed the Army sent them home. This left the 82nd badly depleted and in need of many replacements. When I arrived in-country I became one of those replacements. However, the 82nd had absolutely no photos to interpret. Instead my commander decided that since I could read a map and viewing the ground from the air was better then a photo I should become an aerial observer and gunner. I was then assigned to fly with the Catkillers out of Phu Bai in support of our troops.”From July 1968 through September 1968, I flew with the 220th Aviation Company, (the Catkillers) out of Phu Bai. When the 82nd Airborne Division moved to III Corps, I flew with the Air Force Gimpy FACs out of Tan Son Nhut. During my tour I flew with many good pilots, but I have to tell you the best, for me, was Captain John W. Herring, Catkiller 26.
As a side note, all the Catkiller pilots I flew with were of the rank of WO, LT, or CPT. When I flew with the Gimpy FACs all the pilots were Majors and above. When I getting short I asked a Colonel with whom I was flying why Air Force Captains and Lieutenant didn’t fly these missions. His answer to me was, “because they don't qualify.” Apparently in the Air Force, to qualify to fly a Cessna 0–1 Birddog at 90 knots, you have to have logged xxxxxxx number of hours in a jet...Just sayin....
3rd Brigade, 82nd ABN DIV 68-69
Editor: CPT John W. Herring was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal on two separate occassions during his tour with the 220th, which are available for viewing from his Catkiller roster line.
CPT ROBERT "BOB" LaFERRIERE, PHOTOS FROM 1968:
Bob LaFerriere, Catkiller 2, Assistant Operations Officer for the unit, provided photographs from his tour in 1968. All photos in this section are courtesy of Bob:
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING 1LT TERRANCE M. BOZARTH:
Tragic events envolving a comrade who becomes an MIA/KIA victim emotionally effects everyone involved, whether the individual was well known or not very well known—such as Terry Bozarth, who died very early in his tour. The following comments were not written for publication, and their presence here is an effort to preserve the very limited input regarding events that occurred the day Terry gave his life in honorable service of his country.
What follows are the results of Ted Wendeln's request to post a request for information within the Catkiller newspaper, to which Gene Frey replied. By courteous inclusion of e-mail exchange between Gene and one of Terry's very close friends, the request by Ted was answered. Following a request for publication permission , they graciously allowed my discretion in placing here those comments. To not include them would be a lost opportunity to let Terry's family and friends know that everyone of us honor each of our MIA/KIA brothers and their sacrifice:
TED: "Gene: Thanks to you guys, I now know what happened to Terry back in 1968. It was something I wondered about all these years. And whenever I'd stop by his grave, I often said to my self "you ought to look up the unit he was in.
My mother had sent me the clipping from the Dayton paper and all that I remember reading was that Terry had been award a Silver Star. His GI tombstone only contains a 'PH'. I've been told that the VA provides the tombstone and inscribe the awards shown on the DD214.
Terry and I met the morning we left for the induction station in Cincinnati. We were bunk-mates in Basic. The last time I saw him was at a party my girlfriend had in Dayton in May or June of '66. I know Terry was only in the 220 for a short time, but I'm sure that he is remembered by those who met and knew him. The events and people from our days in the service back then, seem always to be near the surface of our memory pool."
GENE: "...it was a truly sad day when I found the aircraft and learned what had happened. I will never forget the feeling (It was somewhat gratifying to learn from Ted that the "proposed narrative" I was ordered to write the very next day may have been helpful in his getting a posthumous award.)
I served in the 220th, 1967—68, and flew two missions/day during Tet. Your friend was a fellow pilot that I knew. But, he was in the unit such a short time I can't say I knew him "well." However, your letter caused me to revisit my 42 year old diary.
Notes and quotes from my entries on February 22, 1968:
- "Well, the worst has happened again. Lt. Terry Bozarth was shot down and killed w/a .50 caliber machine gun. He was over the S.E. outer wall of Hue. As CK 29 [Catkiller 29], he had just finished his checkout and was on only his second mission, having been in country about 3 wks."
- "I was returning from a mission over Hue when I got an emergency request from 'Plutocrat II (DASC)' for search and rescue in the s.e.quadrant."
- "The observer got out with just a few scratches. Morale is way down."
- "Weather at the time was 400' overcast, heavy rain, poor vis."
On Feb. 23, I was appointed the "Awards and Decorations Officer" by my CO. My first assignment was to write a proposed narrative for a possible DFC to be awarded to Terry. (To this day, I don't know if he ever got it). I commend you for remembering your friend on a regular basis. It is a testament to the value of your relationship with him. It is also the primary reason I have shared the little I have with you.
Gene Frey [Catkiller 22/31]"
Catkiller Crew Chief Danny Freitas (1968—69) sent two photos taken during his tour (see text on photos).