STEPHEN CHESTER PONTY JR
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
December 28, 1968 - Crusaders Under Fire
On December 28, 1968, a Crusader 'Smokey' UH-1C smoke ship from 1th 187th AHC was shot down while on a run putting down a smoke screen so the Command and Control aircraft could land in and take off from the LZ safely. Two of the smoke ship's crew, SP4 Stephen C. Ponty Jr. and WO1 Gerald D. Markland were killed and Aircraft Commander WO Roger Howell, Crusader '25,' and SP5 Marshall were wounded. Another Rat Pack ship was shot down at the same time resulting in the pilot and aircraft commander receiving slight wounds. [Taken from 187ahc.net]
"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 heros 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