Tom's dad owned Lahner's Wheel Inn, a local slightly rural tavern, so getting a cold brew was always easy. I was at many beer parties with Tom and other friends during and after high school. I think Tom and Bill Champion signed up together in the Army. He was so much fun, you never knew what he would come up with next. Adventurous and more.
The memories we have when we were young.
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, Sir
Crash Information on U.S. Army helicopter CH-47A tail number 64-13157
On May 10, 1972 at 1023 hours pilots CPT Barry C. Tomlin and 1LT Samuel Harrell (KIA) with crew members SP4 Alvin R. Elenburg (KIA), SP4 Terry D. Neiss (KIA), and SP5 Larry S. Mustin (KIA) were aboard United 157 enroute from Bien Hoa to Vung Tau. United 157 was part of a flight of four Chinooks that picked up infantry troops from the 3d Bde, 1st Cav at the Sandy Pad at Bien Hoa Army Base. The troops were being taken to Vung Tau for a three day in-country R&R. They had called for a clearance through the Long Thanh North Army Airfield traffic control area and were at 2000' heading from north to south. As 157 neared Long Thanh North Army Airfield, other Chinooks in the flight described 157 as exploding like a lightbulb flash. Since there had been an increase in NVA activity at An Loc, the aircraft was thought to have been shot down by a 23 mm anti-aircraft gun or an SA-7 missile. The remaining CH-47's sped from the area. At 1025 hours, Long Thanh tower received a radio call from an aircraft in the vicinity that a CH-47 had crashed to the northeast of the airfield and had exploded on impact. Aircraft near the scene reported that they could see no survivors at the crash site. Rescue efforts began immediately upon receipt of the report of the accident. It was learned later that United 157 had a material failure of a blade retaining pin. The 5 crewmen and all 29 soldiers on board were lost in the crash. The crew members of United 157 were from the 362nd Aviation Company. The 29 soldiers included 21 who were members of Skull platoon, including 3 from CP: the skipper and both the company and battalion RTO's. Another 7 soldiers were from A Company, 112th Cavalry, and 1 trooper was from the 11th ARM Cavalry Regiment. The names of the passengers on United 157 included CPT Kenneth Rosenberg (KIA), SP4 Frank T. Henson (KIA), SP4 William F. Henaghan (KIA), SP4 Raymond J. Shiko (KIA), PFC David A. Lydic (KIA), SP4 Donald E. Howell (KIA), SP4 Freddie Jackson (KIA), SP4 David W. Sulser (KIA), PFC Dean A. Phillips (KIA), PFC Steven E. Bowersock (KIA), SP4 Richard Ridgeway (KIA), SP4 Clarence Saulsberry Jr. (KIA), PVT Jackie Ray (KIA), SP4 Thomas A. Lahner (KIA), PVT James D. Grooves (KIA), PFC Clint E. Carr (KIA), SGT Edward D. Burnett (KIA), SGT Dieter K. Freitag (KIA), SGT James C. Jensen (KIA), PFC Thomas E. Wood (KIA), SGT William A. Boatwright (KIA), SP4 Dennis G. Dunning (KIA), SP4 Oscar Aguilar (KIA), SP4 Gary R. Monteleone (KIA), SGT Mike J. Aguilar (KIA), PVT Efrain Rivera-Agosto (KIA), SP4 David C. Flores (KIA), PFC John T. Sablan (KIA), and PFC Dale L. Hayes (KIA). [Taken from vhpa.org]