Thank you for your service as an UH-1 Helicopter Repairer - Door Gunner. Your 72nd birthday just passed, happy birthday. It has been too long, and it's about time for us all to acknowledge the sacrifices of those like you who answered our nation's call. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.
Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.
May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir
Final Mission U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16330
The crew, consisting of aircraft commander WO1 William W. Wieburg, pilot WO1 Stanley B. Smith, crew chief SP4 Dan L. Herdebu, and gunner SP4 Michael F. Green, was called out late one night for a flight to LZ Uplift. LZ Uplift was taking sniper fire from the mountain side and had requested a flare mission flight. The pilot reported the weather as a factor in declining the mission after arriving. He was then 'ordered' to make the flight, an order he could have but did not refuse, as it was his choice. The chopper was then loaded with 51 flares. On taking off the Huey hooked a skid on some concertina wire and rolled into the ground, exploded and burned. The additional heat from the 51 flares left little more than ashes of the aircraft. That morning, myself and several others were asked to sift through the ashes to try to locate any remains. While doing that I picked up a piece of charcoal about 18 inches long and maybe 12 inches wide that weighed about a pound. I could see a metallic piece embedded in the mass. Later it was determined to be the dog tags of the torso I had found. (From Ben Speed, former 61 AHC pilot, Vietnam 1968) [Taken from vhpa.org]
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle hero’s you left behind...."
Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.
We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heros lost to the War in Vietnam:
Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul ... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.
From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers