220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company
Catkiller plaque
and Family,
and all Friends and Brothers in Arms
in memory of those who have served
Regarding the content of CATCOM E-News Letter: Apparently, the name of this newsletter will remain "CATCOM E-Newsletter." Thanks for those who submitted name recommendations.
Those of you who have something of interest to all and would like it sent to the list (will be included on the web site, if in the newsletter), just send your input to CATCOM EdPub at any time before the 10th of the next month. E-Newsletters will be sent each month, not later than that date.
Let me know if you cannot receive HTML format e-mail, and I will adjust your address to receive text only.
Catkillers e-list members new to the list and who have not reviewed past newsletters and alerts, please visit the Catkiller Photo page link below.
"International Bird Dog Association (IBDA) Members: Minard Thompson sends the following to all:

Alan Ross Vincient Michael O'Hollaren died on January 9, 2003.  Alan was one of Army Aviation's biggest supporters and promoters.  He was a Birddog
pilot in Vietnam and after the war he continued his Army career through the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) flying at numerous bases around the country. In recent years he worked for the Army's Aviation Safety Center.

I was notified by his wife [redacted] on December 29, 2002 that Alan's cancer tumor was not in remission as they had hoped and that Alan had used up all of the chemotherapy that he could handle.  When [redacted] wrote she said that Alan was trying to keep his spirit up, but he was loosing weight quickly and she could see that it was difficult for him to maintain his positive attitude.

I met Alan during one of my tours with the Army Reserves at Ft. Bliss, TX where we flew the C-12 aircraft together.  He always had a smile on his face and he consistently had that "can do" attitude that made him easy to like and a pleasure to work with.

His request was that each of you who knew him hold fast to your fondest memory and cherish it in your hearts.

He did not like visiting funeral homes and wished that no one would remember him in that way. He did not want a memorial service or the sadness which seems to follow. His wish was to be cremated.  He asked those of you who wish to honor his memory in some tangible way to make a donation to those
who need It most - children who have a crippling disability.  Donations may be made in his name to:  Shriners Hospital, 2425 Stockton Blvd, Sacramento, CA  95817, Phone:  (916) 453-2000.

[redacted]wanted him to be buried at Arlington Memorial Cemetery, and he will be on February 5, 2003 at 1100 hours.  It is only fitting that he be buried
with his comrades in arms that he served with for so long.

The next time you go out flying in your Birddog remember Alan and his love of Army Aviation.  If you look upwards through the skylights you will probably see him smiling back at you from above.

Rest in peace Alan,

Minard Thompson"
I include this message again, because it will also be included at the newsletter web site:
The above testimony provides additional background information about our deceased brother-in-arms, Alan. The International Bird Dog Association (IBDA) member who sent this is not personally know to me, but I know of his excellent reputation. From his words I perceive that Alan was not only a highly trained aviator, but also a major influence in the lives of many in the military and civilian community.To be placed in the hallowed ground of Arlington is an honor and another fitting testimony of sacrifice, character of service, and commitment to one's country. I hope to stand silent, in prayer, with you on Wednesday, February 5, at 1100 am, as America honors Alan. DMR
She refers to the above letter for Minard Thompson:
"Mr. Bird Dog (a.k.a Minard Thompson) is as eloquent as ever in his kind words about Alan. Alan lived and breathed Aviation and safety.  He could hear a "round motor" from miles away, and usually could tell you what was flying before anyone else could guess. Although he didn't often tell anyone, he was also qualified as an aviation maintenance officer, but no one ever held that against him!  He did NOT, however work at the Army's Aviation Safety Center. He was an Aviation Safety Inspector at FORSCOM (aka Pentagon South - Paul Brennan can tell you about this), and traveled worldwide promoting aviation
safety in the military community. Thank-you for passing this on to the rest of the Cat Killers and myself, and thank-you for your kindness, too.  It is a
wonderful tribute."
Now, for some history:

"While it is on my mind, on the back side of Alan's Cat Killer plaque, there are a few signatures.  One is Brown Cabell (CK'97) with whom you are in contact; Will Nunn (CK 42), whom Alan said is the son of Senator Sam Nunn and should be relatively easy to locate here in Georgia; Ted Novetzke (CK 19); and what looks like Bob Foster (CK-30).  The company commander was Cpt. David C. Sapp, XO; CPT Charles L. Goodrum, Jr., 1st Platoon Flight Commander; CPT RAndy F. Jones, and OPNS Officer- CPT Thomas J. Shaver.  Others of the Fly Boy persuasion who signed his book were Lt. Richard Behrens, Lt. Kirk M. Knight (nickname - Seal); Lt. Jim L. Lewis; Lt. Douglas H. Scherer; WO2 Jim Becroff (CK-39) (nickname - Big Otis); WO1 Thomas Hohmann (CK-37); CPT Robert Holt (CK-69); CPT Larry Van Horn (supply officer); CPT David A Diedrich (nickname - Hero); CPT Norwood S. Sothoron; CPT Stanley L. Cherrix (Section Leader); CPT Richard P. Almond, Motor officer; LT Thomas H. Aldrich; Ray Mizell (CK-40); Steve Nelson (CK-64); WO2 "The Baron" Baronowski (CK-41); and someone who listed himself as "Bayou B---- Watson (CK'33).  The unit First Sergeant was Pedro F. Toves.  This was in 1971.  I hope that you are either in contact with some of these guys or maybe someone will know them and can get the word out about your reunion."
Thank you for the valuable history input, [redacted]! She said it all.
Welcome to Robert Freihoff-Lewin (CatkillerCC), of Rangeley, Maine, '68-'69 Headquarters Crew Chief, Catkiller 672 (the Beaver); W. W. Nunn (Catkiller 42) 1970-71, from Oslo Norway; Charles "Larry" Deibert (Catkiller4/6), of Corbett, Oregon; and George Samaras of Texas (MarineAO). 
 The e-list used to send this list is the latest. Looking for Steve Grass, Bob Arrington, any other Catkillers in the above plaque list, and those not yet located (there aren't that many of us, you know!).

Regarding personal information, like addresses, phone numbers, etc., I will retain this information in my files but will not reveal such information without your permission. If you have a need for such information, please contact me or the specific person on the list.

The latest e-mail listing, Catkiller Group Mailing List, is available in text format, if needed. E-mail CATCOM EdPub or Bob McComiskie for a copy.


To restate the specifics: 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company REUNION

                         October 19, 20, 21, 2003
                        Palace Station Hotel & Casino
                        2411 West Sahara Ave
                        Las Vegas, NV 89102
                        (Reservations) 800-634-3101

Reunion 6 - Paul V. Brennan

Reunion 5 - John Hillman  (Executive in Charge)

Reunion 4 - Jerry Bonning (Logistics) Rooms, hotel, meeting rooms, banquet

Reunion 3 - Jerry DeGrezio (Operations; notifications, etc.)

Keeper of the E-List - Bob McComiskie (send your changes and updates to Bob)

Newsletter- Don Ricks

Golf One-Joe "Beans" Brett (Sundowner Yankee)


GUEST SPEAKER: We hope to have an announcement soon.

We have reserved a block of rooms under: "220th RECONNAISSANCE AIRPLANE COMPANY" (CATKILLERS). Please state this when you make your reservations. Cost of rooms: $69 per night. Paul has his room reserved, and you, too, can make reservations now! Contact Paul V. Brennan (Reunion 6) with questions, suggestions, and recommendations.

"Brothers, Hail the Ties that bind us"


"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times"




The former quote above is the first line of my fraternity song and the latter is the first line in Dickins' book, A Tale of Two Cities.


I never had a brother but since 1970 I have had many spiritual brothers.  Men who in the spirit of the second quote went away to a foreign land and did what our country asked us to do.  A time when although we laid our lives on the line on a daily basis we never shirked our duties.  A time devoid of wives, lovers, parents and children.  But a time we would not trade for love nor money.  We were warriors then.   Young and imbued with the belief that only the young believe.  That we were immortal!  The "Golden B-B" was not invented that would get us!  So now is the opportunity to share some time with those men who constitute one of the, if not the most important year of our lives.


I know that it is difficult for us to believe but we are mid 50's pushing 60's!  This may be one of the very last opportunities to once again enjoy the companionship of the men who you entrusted your life to and who in turn entrusted their life to you.  A time to hoist a toast to absent comrades.  And a time to just have a good time.


So, if you are undecided about attending the reunion look at the list [contact Jerry for the latest list].  Wouldn't it be nice to see some of those guys?


Best wishes my brothers,


Jerry DiGrezio

Catkiller 25/3

Reunion 3

Jerry states that as of this date there are about 69 on his growing list who have indicated they will attend. These encouraging figures means a great turnout for a memorable event in our lives. You are needed, you are wanted, you are called, so please make plans to attend.
Joe Brett needs to establish some preliminary planning figures for golf events in Las Vegas. Here is a summary of what he needs: "It would help to get a real number count for the person who is helping set up T times. How many want to play all three days, and how many would just want to play one day for grins...."
Those of you who plan to participate in this sport-of-sports, Joe is in contact with someone who will assist the group in their playing activities, so please email Joe with your questions and intentions.
Heather Hillman wants everyone to bring their best old pictures from Vietnam you wish to share. She is bringing a computer, scanner and CD burner and will make CD's for all the attendees. Thanks, Heather!
John Hillman, Jerry DiGrezio and Jerry Bonning are schedule to visit Las Vegas for a June 6-8 recon of the hotel and area.  Anyone else? This is a difficult job, and these men have sacrificed some of their prime vacation time to personally go to Las Vegas and check out the area for our reunion. Yadah, Yadah, Yadah. Donations to help with expenses are welcome but not specifically solicited. To date there is $100 in the cookie jar. Contact Jerry DiGrezio.
Thanks to Scott Cummings for maintaining this site at: 
Don Ricks has a photo page that has a link to Scott's Catkiller Home Page: (contains a link to previously published newsletters and alerts)
See [redacted]'s entry above. Anyone esle with plaques, letters, etc., are encouraged to share these items, or at least the information they contain.
This was probably disseminated in an earlier communication, but in case the newest members on our list did not see this information I repeat the posting:
Johnny Moore inquired about the name of a Marine Corps artillery observer who apparently lost his life, when he took a round through his leg, while riding back seat with Leonard Bumgardner. The circumstances were heartbreaking, and Leonard made an heroic but unsuccessful effort to get the Bird Dog back to a suitable landing area before the AO lost his life blood
Quick response from Jack: "Regarding the AO killed in mid '69:  His name was Michael S. Lafromboise, a Marine AO killed June 6, 1969.  He had only 19 days left in country..  Len Bumgardner was the pilot and made a valiant and desperate effort to get the aircraft into Quang Tri (the most sophisticated medical treatment facility in the area).  They took a 12.7 round through the bottom of the aircraft, which hit Mike in the right leg and wrist.  The tail number of the aircraft was 742.  My first mission on the DMZ with troops in contact, was with Mike in my back seat.  I remember being in awe of his cool/calm demeanor and professionalism.  Whenever you drew a mission with Mike, you knew it was going to be a good one....Jack Bentley [Catkiller 16]. Quinton Anderson also confirms the name of the AO and period of the incident.
This update and informative note from Johnny Moore:
"Just want to inform you of the latest info I have on Marine AO, Mike LaFromboise. He was backseat with Lynn Bumgardner. I have been corresponding with George Samaras in Texas. Mike replaced George on that fateful mission when George and (I think he said he was flying with) Finch ran low on fuel and had to return to Dong Ha. George will be at the reunion for sure. I talked to Mike's mother here in the Seattle area today after having found phone numbers for several LaFromboises' in the area. Luckily, she was the first one I called. She has kidney disease and gets dialysis every other day and has some hearing loss. She said she is the last of Mike's clan left. But, was very surprised that someone called about Mike and is eager to meet. I will try to get up there for a visit soon. She was very cordial and open to discussions regarding her son. She is eager to talk to George also. I just got off the phone with him and I will email him her phone number and address. Sure makes the day brighter to do this!!
Johnny Moore
This letter from Jim Hooper shows some progress in the goal of locating this former AO, or at least finding out his identify. If you have any information, orders, or citations that mention a NORTON, please let us know. Previous newsletters provide additional information:
"Jack [Bentley]
Good to hear from you after all this time. Your diary entries are the first mention I've heard of Norton being wounded, or subsequently medevacked for a broken arm. It could just open another door in the search for him, especially if he received a Purple Heart. So far, the search that has taken me in a number of different directions, all ending in a brick wall or fading to nothing. At the moment I'm waiting to hear back from NARA on the possibility of obtaining an officer roster of the Sundowners for that period. This would at least provide a service number or SSN which I could follow up.

Gary Huber, who by the greatest coincidence is married to our cousin, has been an enormous help and font of advice - not to mention taking it upon himself to follow his own trails. The same for Don Ricks and two or three webmasters who have seen this as a challenge. Sadly - and most curiously - all have led to dead ends. Our Norton seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth. Of course, he could have been killed in a car accident 30 years ago for all we know. (Pepe reckons he's in the witness protection program.)

Have you spoken to Keith Klett? Perhaps he might remember where Norton was from, if he had graduated from a particular college - anything that might help, no matter how vague.

My purpose, of course, is to flesh out the day Bill Hooper was hit and to balance their recollections (and Bill's have been faulty in more than one instance) of what must have been a chaotic few minutes.

Poor ol' William A. Norton at Boeing - I first contacted him a couple of months ago, then Don Ricks had comms, and now you. It looked good, until he said he was a CH-47 driver and had never been an AO.

In any case, for your interest I have shoved together a few leads that have so far
proved fruitless.

Best regards,
Jim Hooper
Bob McComiskie (Catkiller 35) is now developing the MIA/KIA database and will work toward a tribute presentation on behalf  of out MIA/KIA brothers at the reunion. Any input should be directed to Bob. Thank you volunteering to take on that project, brother!
Seeking to establish those who were members of the unit, for historical purposes, from official sources, if possible. Anyone with orders, lists, etc., from official documents, please scan them or send them to me. I'll provide my address upon request.

For a startling history lesson, click on the link below and enter your date of birth:
Remember to make your hotel reservations, soon!
Paul V. Brennan                                                                               Donald M. Ricks
Reunion 6                                                                                         CATCOM EdPub
Atlanta, Georgia                                                                               Pleasant View, Tennessee

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