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CANOPY CHATTER

 

"It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do that others may live."

 

Vol-9704 November 1, 1997

 

SPECIAL EDITION

DEDICATED TO GREAT HEROES AND WARRIORS

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT &

EDITOR IN CHIEF

We were all saddened to hear of CMSgt. (Retired) Chuck Walther's passing away. Chuck was the consummate PJ and my friend for over 40 years. More on that in the rest of this edition. Also information on the return of the crew of "Jolly 67" is included. Jim Watson suggested that we get this newsletter out in timely manner to pass on the information to you.

The Association membership is growing and we have almost 900 names on our mailing list (not all have paid their dues). The gratifying aspect of all this is the number of young PJs that are joining the Association. For you older guys, you can be proud of those following in your footsteps. This organization will not survive without the interest of the current PJs.

The Association board of directors will be having a teleconference board meeting on November 29, 1997. If you have an item that you would like the Board to discuss, send it to the association address, call me, or send me an email. I am traveling quite a bit, so leave me a message and I'll get back to you. Again, I have to pass on my sincere thanks to Jim Watson for doing most of the Association work while I am on the road.

 

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A GREAT WARRIOR

PASSES ON

CMSgt Charles T. (Chuck) Walther passed away Friday night, September 26, 1997, at 10:30 PM. After several months of battle and much pain with cancer he went PCS to the team of decades. My last personal contact this week he asked me to tell all of the PJs that he appreciated their love and concern.. ~ K.O. Kelly ~

 

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JOLLY GREEN ASSOCIATION

I am writing on behalf of the Jolly Green Association to express to you and your members our sympathy on the occasion of Chuck Walther’s untimely death. To all of us who worked with him over the years, Chuck was a pillar of strength and a model of integrity. He was the consummate pararescueman and military professional, a good soldier and a good friend. He will be sorely missed. Please convey our sympathy to the Pararescue Association. Please also tell them that at our 1997 reunion we will award a special $2,000.00 scholarship in Chuck’s name.

Signed, John F. Guilmartin, Jr., President, Jolly Green Association.

 

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56 PEOPLE FOR THREE DAY RETREAT

AT HELEN, GA

Friday afternoon everyone met at The Lodge to pay special tribute to CMSGT (Ret) Chuck Walther. Per his request, there was no memorial service, so a celebration of his life and military career was planned by Joe Vigare and Joe Fernandez. It was a time of reflecting and sharing memories. We will always remember Chuck’s passion for his families (private and pararescue), his animals, his rum ‘n diet coke, the races and poker. A friendship bottle of wine was uncorked by John Beaty and everyone took a sip in a toast to our fallen warrior. Chuck’s various caps/hats surrounded his photo, obituary and the flag of his country, throughout the weekend. He has gone to the drop zone in the sky, but CMS (Ret) Charles T. Walther will never be forgotten. We shall always remember his contribution to Pararescue. So long, old friend.

(Editor’s note: The entire mini-reunion article will run in our next regular scheduled newsletter.)

 

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CMSGT Charles T. Walther

I will leave it to others to recount Chuck’s military achievements and heroic acts which there were many, after all " PARARESCUE" Chuck’s chosen career field is a unit where uncommon valor is common. Chuck was a man of considerable ability to care for himself and others, yet he found himself in a battle with cancer he could not win. While it is true he is gone from this life he remains in the hearts of those who loved him. I like to remember him as a husband, a father, a comrade in arms and my friend. Shortly before Chuck passed away I visited him in the hospital and the attending physician asked me, "Do you know Sgt Walther very well?" I replied, "We were joined at the shoulder for thirty years." I like to believe that Chuck and I were both comfortable with that.

~ Ted (Hawkeye) Hawkins ~

 

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DEDICATED PROFESSIONAL WARRIOR

CMSGT Chuck Walther took me on my first field trip back in Aug, 1964. Art Cormier, Harry Birtel, Jon Young, Leroy Kelsey, John Lacrosse and me (Jim Watson) went on our first field trip. Another PJ briefed us on what we should take, and I really loaded up with goodies. When we reported to the PJ section for the field trip, Chuck gave us a field pack inspection, and then informed us that his field trips were a little different from other PJs and he issued us sea ration candy bars. We unloaded our goody packs, then Chuck said this will probably be what you will have normally and we would have to live off the land. I thought I was going to turn into one of those sugar gum drop candies, as that’s all we had for 2 days. On the second night out Chuck and someone caught 1 opossum and if my memory is correct 2 rabbits. He showed us how to make a ground oven. He had been up all night hunting so we told him to go get some sleep, that we would take care of the cooking. We didn’t put enough leaves and dirt between the meat and the hot coals, so there wasn’t much left of the rabbits, as we really burnt the hell out of them and the opossum was a piece of leather. He was little ticked off as that was food for him too, but he said no problem you learned a good lesson. After hunting all day with no success and planning to hunt all night, SGT Earl Maple, NCOIC found us about 6 PM in the field. He told us that the PJs are on alert world wide because 2 ships were fired on and sunk in the Gulf of Tonkin. The next morning we were on our way TDY to S.E.A. with other PJs. Chuck taught me 2 things on that field trip; 1) How to cook meat properly in a ground oven and 2) Always be prepared and have adequate food in your mission field pack. I will always be grateful for the knowledge he passed on to me the short time I was with him at Eglin AFB. God bless you Chuck. ~ Jim Watson ~

 

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A REAL CLASS ACT

CMS Charles T. Walther, "Chuck" will be remembered for as long as there are PJ’s that ever knew him. However, he was well respected by many others that came into his life, both his military and civilian friends will miss him. On October 1st, I received an invitation for lunch from the Class Act volunteers office. Colonel George "Bud" Day, head of the Class Act Medical care lawsuit was hosting a memorial luncheon in honor of Chuck, who had been a Class Act Volunteer himself. He worked in the "Class Act" Office until his illness made him withdraw from his work with the "Group". Colonel Day toasted Chuck for his enthusiasm, tenacity and dedication that he displayed in all task that he undertook. These were the traits that Chuck displayed throughout his 32 years of Air Force service. Additional members of the "Volunteer Group" addressed other attributes that made Chuck the unique individual that we all will remember. I was afforded the opportunity to address the Group at which time I thanked all of them on behalf of Chuck’s military family. A most fitting closure to the luncheon was when a "Piper" complete with kilts, piped a farewell tune for Chuck, who himself was a "Class Act". He will be missed. ~ from Len (Joe) Vigare ~

 

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A FRIEND & BROTHER PJ LOST

We recently lost a friend and brother PJ, Chuck Walther. The first time I met Chuck was in 1966 when he was the poster boy for the then new Pararescue Maroon Beret. He and Doc Buckley were making the rounds of all the Pararescue Teams doing their medical thing. Chuck sported the new beret to show the troops what was soon to become an issued item. He explained the long fight Capt. Rundquest had in getting the beret approved for the PJs and that it was an Air Force first. Distinctive headgear for an elite few! The beret was met with mixed emotions by both PJs and others. Chuck was the right guy to get the word out, especially to the SPs who insisted it was an unauthorized "hat". In the years that followed, Chuck and I became good friends. Our paths continually crossed until 1976 when I had the good fortune to be assigned with him at ARRS Headquarters, Scott AFB. For the next five years we worked and played together. It was during this period that he and Howy Favor taught me the science of horse racing. Chuck always insisted he was going home a winner, of course, someone had to lend him car fare sometimes. At headquarters, Chuck’s primary job was to further the PJ cause. This he did with class and dignity in spite of the daily frustrations of dealing with a sometimes hostile staff. When he took a position on any matter, it usually prevailed. He was a visionary who fought to have the PJs used to their fullest capacity in both peacetime and wartime. Many of these visions have come to pass and are now SOP for the PJs. Chuck was also a PT nut. His claim to fame was racquetball where he won numerous titles. He even took time to give racquetball lessons to Stu Stanaland. When Chuck retired from the Air Force, he settled in the Fort Walton Beach area and became my next door neighbor. He made many new friends, especially at the USAF Enlisted Widows Home where he worked for several years. He also pursued an advanced degree in counseling and went on to become state certified and hung up his shingle for a number of years while working with a local group of psychiatrists (better known as shrinks). His specialty area was working with adolescents. It was only natural after working all those years with PJs. In late 1996, Chuck was diagnosed with lung cancer. The PJs in the FWB area spent what time they could with Chuck. It was heart breaking to watch him be overtaken by the disease. Although he put up a gallant fight, he succumbed in late September 1997. His desire was that their be no formal service. He was cremated and his ashes placed in a sentimental place in the local area. Chuck was the epitome of the Pararescue spirit and as long as there are PJs, his memory will be carried forward. ~ by Joe Fernandez ~

 

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ONE OF THE BEST IN THE MILITARY

Boy…This is one deal I should’a "Passed" on. But!! …. Met Chuck at Eglin in ’62 (just finished SCUBA and transferred out of C-124s back to ResQ) and for some reason I could never convince him I’d been here before. Remember we had four young TSgts there and every time the NCOIC left the room one of them jumped in the chair and yelled "I’M IT". This day Walt wound up in the seat – Red Wilkinson and I just strolled into the section – Walt immediately jumped my A__, yelling" Willis take a letter" (just my being in the same room with him seem Guess, "Shut him off!" I turn to Red, grinned and said "Got him again". To Walt I said "Gee! Sgt, you think I’ll fit on your lap." God! I use to love to see him light up and soar off!

For years he got even But at least I got to 27 years before I had to leave the "Best Damn Outfit with the best Damn MEN in the Military . I remember when I went to one re-union (6) six PJs wound up at my door say "Tony! Chuck is bar tending at the hospitality room What’s cha gonna do? So, I went down and ordered a drink Try as I did I couldn’t explain to the troops we didn’t tangle a___. Try as I might, I couldn’t explain that once you were out, all that crap went down the drain. You go to re-union to laugh at those times and people and even yourself.

We all have faults and some of us go overboard in our chase for what we want and who we want to impress. Things, Time and Places, and mostly people change with the help from the man up stairs. When I had my heart problem Joe Vigare told me when they work on your pump you get a whole new look on life Believe me you do! I couldn’t hold anything against Chuck or anyone else Fun and Games was the name , now on to bigger things. Chuck was a good PJ and a man, he did the job he was assigned to do. That’s what counts.

Hell! After Heart/Cancer and eye operations Chuck came to me at the ’96 re-union threw his arms around me tears rolling down his face and said "Damn it! Take Care Big Guy" Had a talk with the big guy upstairs later Thanked him for keeping me here, to go to PJ ’96 reunion, just for that one deal was enough for me! Good Bye Chuck – God Be With You.

~ Your Friend, Tony Willis ~

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TRUE HERO IN EVERYWAY

I knew CMSGT Chuck Walter for over 30 years. I worked directly with him in perfecting the Pararescue medical specialties. He made the best of everything and required the maximum effort from every one. Chuck struggled with cancer and never gave up even til the end. He lived hard and died the same way. A True Hero in Everyway. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him. ~ Doc Buckley ~

 

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MORE GREAT VIETNAM HEROS

RETURN HOME FINALLY

 

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The remains of seven American servicemen previously unaccounted for from Southeast Asia have been identified and were returned to their families for burial in the United States.

 

They are identified as Capt. Peter H. Chapman, Centerburg, Ohio; 1st Lt. John H. Call III, Potomac, Md.; Tech. Sgt. Roy D. Prater, Tiffin, Ohio; Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery (PJ), Auburn, Mass.; and Sgt. William R. Pearson (PJ), Webster, N.H., all Air Force personnel. The names of one airman and one Army aviator will not be released at the request of their families.

 

On April 6, 1972, Chapman, Call, Avery, Prater, and Pearson were flying an H-53C Super Jolly helicopter on a search-and-rescue mission over Quang Tri, South Vietnam. While trying to evade enemy ground fire, Chapman, the pilot, flew the helicopter to an altitude of 200 feet. The helicopter then crashed into the ground and burst into flames. Other aircraft in the area did not see anyone exit the aircraft before impact.

 

In 1989, 1992 and 1994, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams investigated and excavated a crash site in Quang Tri Province. During the 1992 investigation of this incident, a local villager reported finding remains and burying them in his garden. U.S. investigators excavated the garden and recovered possible human remains.

 

In 1994, a joint team found many bone fragments, personal effects and aircraft wreckage. The remains were repatriated to the United States. Mitochondria DNA testing was used to confirm the identifications.

With the identification of these seven servicemen, 2,109 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

The crew of Jolly Green 67 will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery on 19 Nov, 1997 at 1100. ~ John Cassidy ~

 

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From: Terminator

<terminat@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET>

Subject: Narrative of Jolly Green loss (fwd)

 

Here is a snap narrative of the loss of Jolly Green 67 in the Bat 21 rescue effort.

 

Jolly Green 67 was an HH-53 long range rescue helicopter assigned to the37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) at Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam. It was downed by enemy ground fire on 6 April, 1972, while attempting to rescue two American airmen who had been shot down and were hiding behind enemy lines. This was one of the key events in what would become the largest rescue operation of that war, the rescue of Bat 21. Bat 21 was an EB-66 electronic jamming and reconnaissance aircraft. On 2 April, it was hit and destroyed by a North Vietnamese surface to air missile as it and another EB-66, Bat 22, escorted three B-52s as they bombed advancing North Vietnamese units invading South Vietnam at the beginning of what has come to be known as the Easter Offensive.

Only one crewmember, Lt Col Iceal Gene Hambleton was able to eject from his stricken aircraft. His personal call sign for the rescue operation was Bat 21 Bravo. Immediately, US Army helicopters tried to rescue Lt Col Hambleton. The North Vietnamese guns drove them off and downed one - a UH1 Huey, call sign Blueghost 39. Three of its crewmembers were killed and one was captured. The captured soldier was released by the North Vietnamese a year later. The bodies of the other three were eventually recovered and buried in Arlington National cemetery in April, 1994.

The next day, Jolly Greens from the 37th ARRS made two attempts to pick up Bat 21 Bravo. Both times, they were driven off with heavy damage to their aircraft. Additionally, an OV-10, call sign Nail 38, was hit and downed by an enemy missile. Its pilot Capt Bill Henderson, was captured. Its navigator, 1Lt Mark Clark, call sign Nail 38 Bravo, was able to hide and await rescue like Lt Col Hambleton.

For two more days, rescue forces fought the weather and the enemy forces to try to rescue the two airmen. They could not get in. Instead, hundreds of airstrikes were put in to beat down the enemy gunners.

The 6th of April, dawned bright and clear. After 42 more air strikes were put in, a rescue force of four HH-53s and six escorting A-1 Sandy aircraft launched to make another attempt to recover the two evading Americans. They were assisted by several forward air controllers in O-2s and OV-10s and numerous other support aircraft. Jolly Green 67 was designated to make the rescue attempt. As it came to a hover over Bat 21 Bravo, it was raked by heavy enemy fire. The escorting Sandy A-1s tried to engage the enemy guns. They could not get them all. They could see what the ground fire was doing to the helicopter. Several shouted for the crew to fly out of the area. The crew of Jolly Green 67 aborted the rescue attempt and tried to maneuver their stricken aircraft to safety. The enemy fire continued and so damaged the craft that it crashed in a huge fireball a few kilometers south of the survivors. The fire was intense and lasted several days. There were never any indications of survivors.

The Sandy pilots were shocked by the turn of events. The other helicopters were ready to move into the area and make another attempt. But Sandy 01, the leader of the task force was not willing to risk another aircraft. He aborted the mission. It was just too dangerous. The next day, another OV-10 supporting the rescue, call sign Covey 282, was shot down in the same area. The pilot, 1Lt Bruce Walker, call sign Covey 282 Alpha, was on the ground and evading like the two earlier airmen. His crewman, US Marine 1Lt Larry Potts, was never heard from.. With this news, General Abrams, the overall US commander in Saigon directed that there would be no more helicopter rescue efforts for the now three downed flyers. Instead, a ground team was formed to attempt to infiltrate through enemy lines and pick them up. It was planned and directed by US Marine Lt Col Andy Anderson, and lead by US Navy SEAL LT Tom Norris. From 10 through 12 April, the team operated through enemy lines and rescued 1Lt Clark and Lt Col Hambleton. They also intended to rescue 1Lt Walker. But on the 18th, he was discovered by Viet Cong troops and killed. The rescues were over. Later, Lt. Tom Norris would get the Medal of Honor for the mission.

This was the largest sustained rescue operation of the war. Over 800 airstrikes, to include B-52s, were put in direct support. Numerous helicopters, A-1s and forward air controller aircraft were shot down or damaged. A total of eleven men were killed. But it was all done in the best traditions of the rescue forces. Their motto was: "That Others May Live"

During the war, they rescued 3,883 downed American or allied airmen, sailors, marines and soldiers and made it possible for them to return home. And finally, we welcome you home, Jolly Green 67, and salute you proudly for a job well done. Darrel Whitcomb, Author - The Rescue of Bat 21,To be published, Spring, 1998 by the Naval Institute Press.

 

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If anyone is interested: Udo Fischer has a tape copy of the Jolly 67 mission recorded by a Sandy driver, who gave it to me while at Elmendorf. What makes the tape so interesting, is that one can hear Jolly's miniguns blasting away until the last moment - Sandy One, who was trying to talk with Jolly, passing an urgent directive to divert from the present heading, only could hear the miniguns blasting away, while the copilot's mike-button remained "open" - he probably having been hit by ground fire....numerous copies of this tape have been made and passed on over the years to other PJs....

 

Address: Udo Fischer, 1502 Wilson, Alamogordo, NM 88310. Phone: 505-434-1485

E-Mail: <ufischer@earth.wazoo.com>

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MY SPECIAL DAD,

ALLEN AVERY

A special Hello to all those I am e-mailing. I have received your addresses from David Young. It is hard to know where to begin. Let me start by introducing myself. I am Debbie O'Mara, Allen Avery’s daughter. I don't know what all you have heard recently in regards to my father. I am also not quite sure which one of you knew my dad or who may have just known of him. David thought I should get in touch with each of you and let you know what is going on. My dad’s case is being closed. There were six crew members on my dad’s helicopter. Three of those men have been identified for individual burials. They are Peter Chapman, John Call, and Billy Pearson.

Both John and Billy were identified by DNA testing and Peter was identified by dental remains. My father along with James Alley and Roy Prater have not been identified and will be part of a group burial for all six members on November 19 at 11:00 am at Arlington National Cemetery. If any of you are interested any additional information, please feel free to e-mail me or contact me. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I would love to hear from any of you . I am learning so much about my dad through the people who knew him. I do work for the airlines and my schedule is a little different and I also have three children who keep me on the go. If you don't hear from me right away, I will be in touch with you as soon as possible. I thank each of you for taking the time out to read this letter. Debbie, Phone: (505) 897-8325 -- E-Mail: NMPERKY@aol.com

 

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TSgt Allen J Avery and

Sgt William R Pearson

MADE THE SUPREME SACRIFICE

It is my belief that every man has the instinct to protect someone who is dear to them. Most of us would without hesitation throw ourself in front of the spear to protect our mother, wife, or our children. The act in these instances are easily rationalized. It is quite another matter to perform the act of self sacrifice in an effort to protect someone who is a total stranger except for the ties that bind the military fraternity. Living by the motto "THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE" Al and Billy went on a mission 6 Apr 1972 that took them to the Judgment Seat of God. I believe HE looked favorably upon them. I believe this world is a much better place because of men like Al and Billy. I miss them both and hope to see them soon. ~ Ted ( Hawkeye) Hawkins ~

<thawkins@cew.wwia.net>

 

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From: "Cole E. Panning"

Someone ought to say something about Al’s High Dive at the Metro Hotel in Bangkok. I'm sure you heard but this is how I found out. Mr. Ham and Mr. Lilly were kind of PR guys for the hotel. I stopped there on my way to see Paul Jenkins and then on to Utapau. Mr. Lilly was showing me the fine hotel pool when I looked up and noticed a ledge outside all the second story windows. I said "I'll bet you could climb out there and dive into the pool". Mr. Lilly Responded " No do, no do, Mr. Avery try and only make it half way. This was in 69-early 70 and I had not met Al yet and did not know who Mr. Lilly was talking about. It wasn't until that night that I met Casbeer there and he told me how Al had gotten lit, climbed out on the ledge, dove in (or on depending on how you look at it), and broke his pelvis when he only made it half way into the pool.

 

It was a shame about Chuck Walther.

~ Cole Panning ~

 

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A GREAT HERO AND WARRIOR

I went through pararescue training with Allen Avery, and several years later, we were stationed together at the 37th ARRSq at Danang AB in VietNam. I remember when we were going through training together, many of us picked up some nicknames. Avery's was "Grandma Gruntnick" How he got that name, I have no idea, but once he got it, it stuck. We had a mixed class of brand new recruits, which I was one, and prior service which Grandma belonged to. They kind of helped shepherd us through training. Mike Dean, and Berry were also in my class. Stephen White, PJ 65-69

E-Mail: euryalus@rocketmail.com

 

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From: "Tormey, Capt Anthony

TORMEYA@bldg215.awacs.af.mil>

Thanks for sending the updates. Next week I'm going to be speaking to 600 - 800 students on the pride of being an American and a member of the US Air Force . I'll be using the chorus of Lee Greenwood's song, "God bless the USA" as the outline for the speech. I plan to use many of my own experiences as a PJ, but more importantly, stories from our great PJ History book to emphasize what pride is, in being an American and a member of the most professional military organization in the world. How when I read stories of the heroes before me, even though I had absolutely nothing to do with their heroics, I am filled with a sense of pride so great all I want to do is share that passion with them. The repatriation of the Jolly crew is also a perfect example of men who fought and died in the building of this great nation and the ideals we stand for. Thanks for sharing,

 

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From: Nail25@AOL.COM

Subject: Jolly Green 67 Arlington Funeral

Folks, here is an update:

 

Nov 19, 1997, meet at the administration center just inside the main gate for escort to site NLT 1030. There will be a flyby of a Jolly Green - don't know aircraft type at this point. The families will be staying at the Quality Hotel/Courthouse Plaza, 800-228-5151/703-524-4000. It is about a mile north of Arlington Cemetery. Rooms are about $100. Ask for Michael for a discount. Right down the street is the Quality Inn/Iwo Jima - 800-229-5151/703-524-5000. Rooms are about $75.

 

Flowers can be ordered through Hillside Florist - 703-671-3330 or Twin Tower Florist - 703-527-7110. They will deliver graveside. Tell them it is for the group burial on 19 Nov at 1100. We will have room for speakers - about 20 minutes.

 

Whom do we want to speak?

Should we ask the Jolly to trail colored smoke?

 

If you are going to be here for this, please check in with Chris and me. We want to meet you all. Jollys, Sandys, PJs, and all others, please pass this thru your nets. I will get back with the Chaplain and let him know who will speak. He is really working with us on this. Darrel

 

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A REAL HERO RETURNS

Just received the packages (3) of books and cups. Thanks so much, for taking the time in your very busy schedule for sending them. The Pearson Family is greatly anticipating them. I meet with them tonight.

As you have been in contact with Dan Manion (Bill Pearson's teammate at DaNang and Mike McKendry (Bill's PJ classmate), you are undoubtedly up-to-date far beyond what I could do here. It's gratifying to see, just as it was on Jolly 54 with Paul and Mike, that the return of Jolly 67 is rallying the guys to the cause. While I haven't visited the Pearsons since my initial contact, I have spoken several times with Bill's sister, Nancy White, and she sounds so gratified, so much stronger, and looking so forward to the services on 19 November 1997. She stated her mother is, likewise, doing so much better. Whether the men in the family will eventually/ever rally is unknown to her. Perhaps by the time of or at the service.

Received a call from the OIC of the honor guard detail at Hanscom AB in Boston. Sounds like a class act coming up. I've arranged for Dan Manion to say a few words at grave site and accept the flag from the Guard to present to the family.

That's about it, Chief; enclosed is a check for the goodies. If I don't talk to you again before the services, I'll arrange the wreath, take pictures, and send a story to you for the Newsletter.

 

Until the next time take good care of yourself, Bill; please say hello to those I might know. Warmest regards,

~ Wayne ~

 

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TRULY GREAT WARRIORS

Chuck Walther and the men of Jolly 67 were all truly great warriors. But among them was one man who truly impacted my life. That man was Al Avery. I first met Al in 1969 while going through PJ School at Eglin. My initial impressions of him were mixed. He limped around the school with a cane. As students, we only knew he was injured in VietNam. After graduation, I learned that his broken leg was the result of leaping from a hotel balcony or roof into a swimming pool located below. Only, he missed the swimming pool. Allegedly, this occurred in Thailand while on R&R and a local beverage called "Mekong" may have been involved. As young PJ's who were soon to be in VietNam we were in awe of this man who had not only already been there and returned, but who had already volunteered to return as soon as his leg healed.

My mixed feelings were a result of his being our class proctor. He would watch us do PT each morning. No matter how fast I ran, or how many pull-ups I did it was not good enough for Al. He seemed to have an almost devilish delight in forcing more out of me than I thought I had in me. It did not help that I was also from Mass-achusetts (that alone was good for several thousand pushups), but I was also the smallest person (5'6") in my class. His inclination to make my life miserable carried on into survival training, the rifle range and anything else I did at PJ school. He was always looking over my shoulder making sure that I not only met minimum standards but exceeded them. At the time I thought he had it out for me. At the time I was a foolish, young PJ. I did not realize that he knew what was in store for me in VietNam. Al wanted me to have the best training, and hence the best opportunity to survive in a place where many died. He took a personal interest in me and forced me to become the best I could. After graduation, he took me to a bar called the "Red Carpet" for a beer or three. You had to be 21 to drink at that time, but Al must have decided if I was old enough to fight, I was old enough to drink. Over the beer I heard tales of heroism about those PJ's that preceded me to VietNam. I learned why he wanted to go back to a war where he had already more than his share. He believed that the cause was just. That as Americans we had an obligation to help those who did not wish to be communists. He emphatically believed in the mission of Air Rescue. That we needed to be there when a downed pilot called for help. He also wanted me to know about the risks involved, before I volunteered to go. Al recognized that death was a possibility. Besides being a patriot, he also wanted to return for the excitement and challenge that one faced in SEA.

Soon we were both at Danang, VietNam. In country he watched over all us young PJ's. We trained hard, flew dangerous and difficult missions and partied when we succeeded. We partied a lot! There were also many bad times, like when we lost the Jolly in the river down by Bien Hoe. He was there for us and helped us deal with these losses. I don't know where he got his internal strength from. He was an incredible man.

During the Bat 21 mission, we lost Al and the other brave men of Jolly 67. I was on the high bird when Al went down. There wasn't anything we could do. The shoot down was witnessed by the Sandies and the H-53 hit the ground and exploded. No one survived, no one got out before it hit. All three mini-guns were firing until impact. Before the mission, our squadron commander gathered all us crewmembers in the briefing room and told us that this was going to be very dangerous, and that it would be a volunteer only mission. The mission went on for days. Jolly after Jolly attempted the rescue but all were shot off. All of our assigned aircraft had battle damage of some sort and we were relegated to flying aircraft that were only partially mission capable. One after another we continued the attempt to rescue Bat 21 Bravo. Finally, the enemy got lucky and downed Jolly 67. Many friends died, Al among them.

The days following his loss were very hard. Missions still had to be flown. The war did not end because a Jolly was lost. I continued because Al had taught me that we must. I took solacy from the fact that he had died doing what he loved. That it was a quick and painless death. But mostly, knowing that he would be upset with me if I did not carry on with the mission.

VietNam resulted in a contradiction of my personal feelings. In retrospect, Charles Dicken's may have said it best "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us......" I miss Al, but he is not forgotten. No one lives forever. While alive, he lived life to its fullest. He is still honored by those of us that he trained and carried on after him. Those of us who took his values and offered them to the future generations of PJ's that followed. There is truly a little bit of Al in many of us. ~ Bob LaPointe ~

<72730.1631@CompuServe.com>

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THE LAST TIME I SAW "AL"

 

The last time I saw Al was in ’67 at the Metro in Bangkok. Just before his famous Jumpmastering deal Jumping off the balcony trying for the swimming pool So as we say "Chuck and Al"! I’ll see you soon! Sit aside a shovel for me. ~ Tony Willis ~

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SICK CALL AND OBITUARY

 

Howard (Howie) Favour is recovering from lung surgery and is at home. I (Jim Watson) spoke with him and he is doing fine at home and can’t wait to get back to the race track. Howie, all PJ prayers are with you and good luck at the track. Address: 741 Robin Ln., Villa Hills, KY 41017. Phone: (606) 344-1924

(Editor’s note: Thanks to Ted (Hawkeye) Hawkins for informing us about Howie’s illness.)

 

Ray Tart’s wife notified the Association that Ray passed away last year and request we take him off our mailing list.

 

Ira Chichester, notified the Association that "Ruby S. Murphy, wife of CMSgt (Ret) William "Bill" Murphy passed away October 9, 1997. Bill preceded her in death by about eight years. Bill and Ruby were members of the PJ family for many years and Ruby was always thought of as a gracious host, to be remembered by many of our senior PJs and wives." Thanks to K.O. Kelly for this information.

 

From: MSGT Jeff Nash

Sent: Sunday, October 19, 1997 10:52 AM

To: Pararescue Association

Subject: Info Request SGT Larry W. Maysey

Sir, I would appreciate if you could post this request on the PJ Association home page and any newsletter you may publish.

To all Pararescue Association Members, My name is MSgt Jeff Nash and I'm currently on active duty stationed in Washington, DC. I'm hoping that the membership can help me with some research I'm conducting on a PJ killed during the Vietnam War, Sgt Larry W. Maysey. Sgt Maysey was killed on 9 November 1967 while attempting a night rescue of a Special Forces team in Laos. He was assigned to the 37 ARRS, Da Nang. To the best of my knowledge, his remains were never recovered.

I've "adopted" Larry Maysey, along with two other KIAs, remains never recovered, from Vietnam. I want to help preserve the memory of heroes like Larry by telling his story to the younger troops in today's Air Force through mentoring programs and PME instruction. From what I've been able to find out about Larry so far, I think he's a shining example of leadership and courage in combat, as were all the PJs during that war.

I'm a strong believer in mentorship and the nurturing of character and honor in junior enlisted people. Especially in this day where many of the youngsters tend to be in the service more for the steady paycheck and some benefits versus the fact that they might be called upon to make a sacrifice like Larry Maysey did. I also want to do what I can to help gain a final accounting for Larry and to bring him home to his country. I've really scratched the surface as far as learning Larry's story. The POW/MIA Network has posted a brief synopsis of the mission resulting in his loss at: www.asde.com/~pownet/ bios/m/m376.htm I invite you to take a look at that account and tell me what you think of it. Plus there are about 90 official documents in the Library of Congress POW/MIA data base I've just begun requesting copies of. I'd be interested in hearing anybody's memories of Larry Maysey the person and anything you can share about that mission.

My thanks to MSgt (Retired) Doug McGill for sending me the account from the Association's book "Pararescue, 50 Years" I want all to know that I completely understand that these events happened a long time ago and some of the emotions that come with the memories still run high. I greatly appreciate any help you can give me and will use it for a good purpose with the appropriate credits. Respectfully,

 

MSGT Jeff Nash, 3593A Kelly Circle,

Bolling AFB, DC 20336, Phone: (202) 561-4420

E-mail: JeffANash@aol.com

 

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USAF PARARESCUE SCHOOL

GRADUATION CLASS

Class 97-06, September 17, 1997

 

These young warriors will perpetuate those Pararescue who came before them.

 

TSGT WENDELL R. WITT

SSGT SCOTT P. LAMBIE

SSGT WILLIAM A. O’BRIEN

A1C MATTHEW M. BURY

A1C DUANE C. HAYES

 

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NOTE FROM THE PUBLICATIONS MANAGER

I want to thank and apologize to those for the rush on responding to my request for this newsletter information, but we wanted to get it to the members before November 19, 1997. Please notify us with any address and E-Mail changes and just a reminder for those who haven’t sent their E-Mail address, please send it as we are working on a E-Mail address log. While I’m on that subject, give John Cassidy a big HOO YA and thanks for his effort of passing on to the Association his E-Mail addresses. If you are a member and your not getting a newsletter, please let us know. We don’t get newsletters back when there is a wrong address because the Post Office doesn’t return bulk mail. This newsletter will be small, so we are sending it first class mail so we will get wrong address mail returned. We will take those addresses off our database. Also thanks to those PJ units who has sent in their mission report. They will be in our next regular newsletter planned for early Dec 97.

 

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Association Dues - How much are they? When are they due? Will I be sent a bill? Can I pay for a Life Membership? -- These are questions that seem to be asked quite frequently by Association members or those that want to join. The dues are $15.00 per year and are good for a calendar year. You will not get a bill, but if you have a check mark after your name on the mailing label, you are delinquent for that year. We do not have a life membership program but you can pay for as many years in advance as you wish @ $15.00 per year. (As approved by the membership at the 1994 general membership meeting, PJ widows are considered lifetime members and not required to pay dues).

 

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PARARESCUE WEB SITES:

http://www.pararescue.com/overview.htm

http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/6707/

http://www.pjassn.org

 

Pararescue Association, E-Mail Addresses

webmaster@pjassn.org

bvargas@pjassn.org

jwatson@pjassn.org