Scout Mini-Reunion

Powell, WY 1997


After Action Report


A great thing happened last weekend. I was talked into trekking to Wyoming from deep south Texas to meet with four other former Charlie Troop 1/9th Scout pilots - all contemporaries during 1970-71. It was my "first contact" in over 26 years; practically same-same for three of the others. All of us were short-timer Warrants. I couldn't put a face to one of them, and flat didn't remember the name and face of another. That would be rectified.

Having fairly recently revisited the Vietnam experience via this vhfcn-Network, I was apprehensive about how I would react to meeting real guys with whom I shared experiences. Thus far, the anonymous nightglow of the computer screen had been the only witness to the streams of tears that some of your posts had engendered in me through your sharing of emotions. I was a bit apprehensive that I had not yet become "experienced" enough to handle the reunion. Or them either, as three of the others have just come out from under their own hidey-holes as well.

I was the first that Kent Tuttle met at his Salt Lake City airport Thursday night. Also arriving in short order were Mel "Red Cloud" Sheldon from Washington state, then Barry Sipple from Louisville, KY. Hugs all around, no tears. No awkwardness. Just happy to be actually doing this!

The next morning, a long, reacquainting drive together through snowy mountains to Powell, Wyoming for two whole days as guests of Jody and Chuck Frazier. Chuck, the most decorated guy in the troop (and perhaps the Squadron), is crippled a bit with MS. Can't determine yet if there were more TINS stories or dirty jokes told. Old photos elicited exclamations of recognition thought long lost in dead brain cells. An occasional "do you remember when" would set off wildly animated versions shared from five different memory lenses. Lots of "I never knew that!", and "that was YOU?!"

And the excitement upon learning that four of us were linked through the competition for "The Skull" (I had won); Red Cloud's great story of the "Dink Tree" , etc. Was great! I have 6 dictaphone tapes.

We'll be forever bonded now from this, our second significant experience together. The drive back to SLC was the 26th anniverary of my DEROS date. Despite becoming businessmen, pilots, Ph.D.s, fishermen, it was very curious to discover how much our personal habits and inclinations were so similar following Vietnam.

But there was something less tangible, and yet more important, that was teasing at me on the plane trip back, and during these intervening days; aside from the warm-all-over feeling of having just experienced something that was very right and satifying. I think what partly drew us there, and perhaps what had kept some of us at a distance, has been a need to feel validated by what we were and what we did. I found that each of us certainly had things to be proud of, yet also harbored things we think we are less proud of. Or maybe feelings that we didn't measure up to what someone else did, or what we thought we could have been.

I was an insignificant short timer WO who maybe had 3 or 4 days of glory, a few good memories, repressed many of the bad ones, and forgot the rest. This Network has peeled away some of the veneer, the crust, that has built up over the 26 intervening years, exposing repressed emotions I never knew had lurked within. It has given me a greater perspective on my role in Vietnam and has helped me feel good about myself in ways I had not known available. That, I suppose, is part of the Brotherhood, and at least part of the reason for our defining "Welcome Home".

Walker Jones
Cavalier 22



At Chuck & Jody's place:1970 Scout Pilots
meet in Powell, WY
(Front:) Walker Jones, Chuck Frazier, Barry Sipple
(Back:) Mel "Red Cloud" Sheldon, Kent Tuttle
Chuck's War Room
Dude be ready!
First bar (or was this the 2nd?)
Kent Tuttle (Utah) Barry Sipple (Kentucky) Walker Jones (Texas)
Mel Sheldon (Washington)
No, this is the first bar
Chuck Frazier
Chuck in the Nam
(thanx Nate)

Kent Tuttle RIP
Terrorizing the truck stop
Mess Hall cook?