Walker Jones' Saber Article
July/August 2001


Hello again Real Cav! This will be a shortened article due to the Cav reunion. I’ll briefly report on 2 recent events - the 1/9th OH-6A restoration party at March Field Air Museum, Riverside, CA, and the 1st Cav Div Assn. reunion.

Out at March Field near Riverside, CA, Chief Aircraft Restorer, USAF MSGT (Ret.) Shayne MEDAR, and her great crew hosted former 1/9th Troopers - celebrating their first Army aircraft restoration (in progress). From C Trp came Bill MOELLER, Rockville, MD <moeller18212@earthlink.net>, Mark “Babysan” HILTON, Fairfax, VA <markhilton@juno.com>, Kent TUTTLE, Irvine, CA <SCOUTPLT@aol.com>, and your’s truly. From B Trp came Californians James HNIZDIL, Jim DAVIDSON, Lou NILES, Dave “D.J.” PELKEY, as well Loretta STAGER <loretta@pe.net>, architect of the B Trp and Bullwhip Sqn (BWS) websites. Shayne and Co. spent their whole Saturday with us, providing a private tour of the museum, their planes, a BBQ, and flyovers for us. A local reporter and photographer came out, and articles and photos appeared in several local newspapers the next day. That night, Shayne, her fiancée, joined us for a special dinner in Orange, where former A Trp Scout pilot (’67) and C Trp Cobra pilot (’70-71), John CRAIG, Anaheim, CA, and daughter met us (and he PAID the tab!). Look for a more detailed report in the BWS News. Lou “Rocket” ROCHAT <APACHE16@aol.com> corrected me in Killeen that the Loach was flown by E Trp - not A Trp - before C Trp got the bird in ’70.

At the 1st CAV reunion last month, focal point for 9th Cav families was the “President’s Suite” at Killeen’s Plaza Hotel which Bert CHOLE always reserves for 9th Cav attendees to hang out. Al DEFLERON, as always, maintained and entertained everyone who came and went; super job, “D”! The highlight event was the 9th Cav luncheon, hosted by Pete BOOTH, Honorary Commander of the Regiment. On Saturday, the 9th Cav – mostly Vietnam era - had our own luncheon. As usual, current 9th Cav Troopers from Ft. Hood attended and shared our meal. Pete BOOTH, Honorary Squadron CO, presided and introduced the current 9th Cavalry CO, LT COL Roger MCDONALD III, who provided an update on 9th Cav activities. Current XO is MAJ “Howie” BREWINGTON, who later spent a lot of time with us in the hospitality suite. Guest speaker was LtG (Ret.) Charles W. “Chuck” BAGNAL, a former C Trp CO in Vietnam. He was quite entertaining. During the luncheon, 5 former men were honored as “Distinguished Members of the 9th Cavalry Regiment”, one of whom was Jim GOLDSBERRY, who was present to accept. Jim flew for the first 3 Squadron COs. Pete BOOTH then called upon another former C Trp CO, Bob TREDWAY, who presented our “Little Sister” Julie KINK a framed certificate as “Honorary Member of the 9th Cavalry Regiment”. Bob was CO when Julie lost her only brother, WO David KINK, in a Loach crash in ’69, and now is devoted to putting Vietnam KIA helicopter crews’ families in touch with those who knew them. Afterward, all present received a specially prepared CD containing a video history of the 9th Cav, complete with music, entitled Welcome to the 9th Cavalry Regiment 2001 Reunion – We Can, We Will. Beginning with a clip of the old horse soldiers, it’s followed by the helicopter assault scenes from Apocalypse Now and interspersed with still photos of 1/9 folks during Vietnam. Then it depicts today’s 1/9th while training in a wide variety of missions and weapons, their work with the Special Olympics, and finishing with Your Legacy Lives On – We Can, We Will!.

Great time. Later, back at the hospitality suite, a couple dozen former LRRPs dropped by after Pete BOOTH asked them. Wasn’t enough – we’ll have more contact later. Current 9th Cav Ft. Hood troopers also dropped by the hospitality suite later to meet former 9th Cav folks.

The huge Saturday night 1st Cav Assn. dinner showed how great the 1st Cav still is, and how much they are aware of, and appreciate their legacy. I was unable to track down our DMZ Police brothers, despite roaming among the 100 or so tables.

John BARTLETT, “Apache 21”, informed me that he had a long lunch with retired LtC J. D. COLEMAN, author of Pleiku and Incursion. “I really enjoyed our visit and of course I learned a lot of history that doesn't appear in his books. Some of that was as good as what does appear! If you remember the big hard-back book about the1st Cav that you were suppose to have when you went home, J.D. was the one who put it together. I still have mine. For you A troopers in ‘69, you will find J.D. a major source of information.” J.D.’s e-mail address is <jcoleman@digisys.net>.” J. D. replied to my own message: “I was the assistant information officer for the Cav in1965 and early 1966. My claim to fame then was that I wrote the after action report for the Pleiku Campaign in the Ia Drang, and then the recommendation for the Presidential Unit Citation which the Division eventually was awarded. I used those documents as the primary sources for my book Pleiku. The airborne rifle company I commanded was B Co. 2nd Bn, (Abn) 8th Cavalry. He just published WONJU, The Gettysburg of the Korean War, which is about the battles in Feb ’51 when the U.S. Army stopped running, turned and fought and sent the Chinese fleeing north. Speaking of books, a couple of new ones are out that refer to the 1/9th and may be of general interest. While browsing the mall bookstore I spotted Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul; Stories to Stir the Pride and Honor the Courage of Our Veterans. Intending to buy it at Amazon.com later, I didn’t have to. Our “Little Sister” July KINK handed me my own copy in Killeen, complete with a beautiful personal note. Julie’s You’re Never Alone on a Mission takes its title from her brother’s letter home, just before he was killed after his C Trp Loach crashed in ‘69.

From an e-mail: “My name is Andy GERRIER <android@ctel.net>, 207-897-6597. Served with Co A 2nd Bn 8th Cav. On Aug. 9th ’67, we and the pilots from the 9th Cav went thru 4 hours of hell on earth in the Song-Re Valley [LZ Pat ]. I recently made contact with one of the pilots who was shot down that day, Chuck IANNUZZI” <ciannuzzi@truserv.com>. Anybody know anything about this mission?

In a move that also honors us all, Pete BOOTH has informed me that Hal KUSHNER and George O'GRADY have been inducted into Army Aviation Hall of Fame. Their citations are worth printing, and I’ll add them in the next column.

Former C Trp doorgunner Bob FAIR <barbwire53@yahoo.com> wrote: “going into hospital for open heart surgery, pray for me, will return end of May.” He did. Dave DeSLOOVER <doveent@foxberry.net>, C Trp CE, ‘65-66 and original keeper of the C Trp membership list wrote that “after removal of his right kidney and surrounding tissue, it appears they got all the cancer”. We wish you well, Dave!

Lots of new input from 9th Cav guys who served in Korea, particularly after the July 23, 1953 “agreement”.

Thanks from Dave McGEE <damcghee@earthlink.net>, and George M. SHRIVER <gmshriver@azalea.net>. Both the House and Senate have sponsored the “Korea Defense Service Medal”, initiative. Call your Congressmen about “HR.1935” and Senators about Bill “S.999” being considered. See John McLEAN’s website at http://www.cavalrycountry.org/ and connect to “Links”. For all those who sent stuff, I promise to include your info in the next column. Thanks.

“We Can – We Will!”