220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company
March 2004 CATCOM E-Newsletter
and all Friends
and Brothers in Arms,
in memory of those who have served
I thought about using this letter, and didn't for a while, but it is such a rewarding experience to read a man's heart and his conscience. Since I received a courtesy copy of this e-mail, it must be that Ed wanted me to share this with all of you; so, here is a man speaking from the heart (sorry, but I don't have the October 9th e-mail that prompted this reply):
"Dear Charlie, First let me say that I am not quite sure how to respond to your email, subject as above, of October 9th. Which is why I have taken so long to answer it. I am a sentimental old fool, and your letter moved me a great deal. Indeed, it was I who was honored and privileged to have served as your CO for those six months! I know that I did some things and took some actions that weren't popular with all of you; like having you build the walls filled with sand around your quarters rather than having the enlisted men do it, putting ammonia ampoules in all of the O-1s (I don't think Bill Hooper was unhappy with that decision), ordering that the contraband hidden away in the warehouse in the 131st area be disposed of (I damn near had a stroke when Blanchard showed me that stuff - mostly stolen from the ARVN at the PX area), and other instances which allude me at the moment. I wasn't too kind to a few of you at OER time, and I regret that so very much. In retrospect, I should have given all of you maximum reports simply for being there and doing your best in a professional manner in the face of hostile fire. However, one does what he must do at the time based on the best information he has at that time. Although there are things that I might do differently now, every action that I took then was, in my opinion, in the best interest of the officers and men of the 220th RAC. Overall, I think that we as a unit, and you as individuals, did one hell of a job in RVN for our country. Last month I received a kind note from Carl Drechsel, to which I replied in part as follows. "Once in a while in a man's career he will have an experience that stays with him, and very dear to his heart, forever. Such was my six months with all of you wonderful and somewhat crazy men of the 220th RAC, the finest aviation company in the Army. Serving with you proud Catkillers was, and still is, a highlight in my life." I may have trouble with names, but I will never forget any of you for the things that you did. Bounds and the tree branches, Finch, et al, and the M-16 shell casings, Hooper safely flying the bird home with shrapnel in his arm, and the nights at our club. And the strong one who flew the airplane home at full bore with a dying AO in the back seat. I think it was Lyn Bumgardner, but memory fails me from time to time. Although I can't be with you in person, I will certainly be there in spirit. Please say a few words on my behalf to all my fellow Catkillers and convey to them how much I appreciate the opportunity to have served with them for that brief time so many years ago. I am so proud of all of you! I am very pleased to see that Jim Wisby will be attending the reunion after all. It was fun trying to track him down. Please give him my best. Give me a call sometime after you get back to tell me about the event. My number is 843-875-2682.
With much respect,
Jerry Bonning sent an e-mail on March 3 syaying that the final talley was in for the reunion, and that he had dispersed all remaining funds. Jerry also said that Scott Cummings received an appropriate financial contribution for his web site. We all agree that this is an effective action to let Scott know how very much we appreciate his Catkiller communications platform. Many of our Catkiller contacts have come to us from the unknown through Scott's web site.
Paul Brennan sent the following message in response:
[Jerry] "Thanks again for a fine job, well done. You were the cornerstone of the reunion and made things happen. CK 3/36
Paul V. Brennan"
We all applaude that remark, Jerry. Thanks for the hard work.
"I hope you and Pepe had a pleasant and uneventful ride home. I enjoyed meeting you and Len, and I regret getting away without a proper goodbye. Thanks again for giving me a lift from the bike rental to the hotel. Wasn't the reunion an incredible experience? I rank it as one of the most enjoyable 3 days of my life. I feel fortunate to have been associated with such a fine bunch of men. You and the rest of the reunion team should be proud of organizing a first-rate event. I wouldn't change a thing. All the best to you and Len, and I look forward to riding together someday.
A birddog flys. A Huey just beats the air into submission..
A note of interest for those of you who purchased and liked the Catkiller T-shirts: Leon still produces those Catkiller T-shirts, and he can put on them almost any graphic or design you want, not just Catkillr ones. If you want a special t-shirt, just e-mail Leon, and he will tell you all about it (no financial interest or business relationship between Leon and me).
Lynn Bumgardner is at home recovering from prostrate surgery. If you don't have but want his e-mail address, check with either Bob McComiskie or me (or read last month's newsletter).
Update on Lynn Bumgardner (Letter from Lynn to Charles Finch):
Charlie, Just an update, did get a lot of notes from the guys, which I am replying , but to bring you up to date: On 6 Mar I had a Pulmonary Embolism in the left lung, and I was back in the hospital for 6 more days. I just now feel like doing anything. So I am behind, but I am improving, thanks to Virginia and friends and family. Thanks Charlie, Bum
Update on Chuck Goodrum: Although he is not back to 100% status, I am happy to report that Chuck Goodrum is back at work in Atlanta, after suffering his motorcycle accident (on the way out to the reunion, which he did not attend), and his spirits and attitude seem remarkable. Those of you who do not know Catkiller05 will be interested to know that Chuck was a unit IP/Check Pilot for the 220th while in Vietnam. He is also an instructor in ultralight aircraft at Calhoun County airport in Georgia. When he is ready, I am going down to the Atlanta area and get a check-out from him!
Scott Cummings has the NEW! Catkiller Home Page on-line, so click on the link below and check it out:
Both the old and new URLs work, for a while at least. I shall soon update the links to the Catkiller Home Page within all my files. Thanks for the fine work, Scott.
Jack Bentley (Catkiller 16) has a new e-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Randy Jones' new e-mail address is: email@example.com.
Recent e-mail messages undelivered (e-mail bounced) to these Catkillers:
Joe Klutts (Catkiller 14): NOKEY@compuserve.com
James L Coryell (Catkiller) firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a message from Johhn Moore:
Glad to hear you're back in the saddle. And, that Lynn Bumgardner is getting back up to cruise speed and altitude.
I have been remiss in telling all you guys how thankful I am for the effort you all put in on the reunion. Excellent job. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'll be back in Vegas this Oct for a reunion for the 28th Infantry Regiment (Black Lions) of the Big Red One. I was a Rifleman/RTO in the regiment before coming up to the fair city of Phu Bai and the 220th RAC.
A special thanks to the Catkiller Bikers who let me ride along. I have sent a copy of the group photo taken in Valley of Fire State Park to several friend and relatives. Some have asked, "Are you the old fart" in the middle?" I say, "I'm surrounded by old farts, but yes, I'm the one in the middle."
The "Little Woman" and I will be attending the 50 Indendence Day Rally in Hollister, CA this July 4th. We're going with some riding buds from Beaverton, OR. If any of you guys are attending let me know. I'll give you contact info on my CP and we'll tip a cold one or two.
Everybody stay safe out there.
Johnny and Karen Moore"
Alan O'Hollaren's 212th CAB photo annual for 1971, page 8:
This e-mail came in from Wayne K. Woytowich, another Catkiller aboard and on our list. Welcome, Wayne!
I served with the 220th RAC (May 69 – October 70) as an aircraft mechanic on both the O1 and U6. I’ve enclosed a picture of myself with the “Bear” when I worked at the Line Shack for awhile. Sad to say this is the only picture I have from my tour:
I am interested in making contact with former Catkillers.
Wayne K. Woytowich
First Platoon Patch:
I received the 1st Platoon patch from Dale Stith (see February CATCOM Newsletter), and I shall keep it until someone from that platoon wants to take possession of it. Just let me know. Here is a note from Dale:
"Don: To all of the 220th RAC folk- Thanks for safe hops in-country. It was the ONLY way to get around!
Here is a request from our Marine friends, and if you have any input please contact Bob Marshall
Sender: Bob Marshall
Jerry Jackson encouraged me to post this request at your web site. I am collecting information for a history of Marine ATC in Vietnam. The history has no profit motive and will be the property of MATCA when it is finished. If anyone has a story or comment (good or bad) that they would care to share about any of their encounters with Marine ATC at Dong Ha, Khe Sanh, Quang Tri, LZ Stud, An Hoa, MMAF, LZ Baldy, Phu Bai, Ky Ha, or Chu Lai please contact me by email. Thank You.
Date: May 21-23
Place: Dallas-Fort Worth, TX
For further information, contact the following organizers:
- General (ret) George S. Walker: e-mail: email@example.com, 3620 Poagville Rd. Coldwater, MS 68618 (662) 233-4126
- Mr. Kurt Olney: e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or YO-3A.com
- Mr. Dale Ross Stith: e-mail: email@example.com, 1001 Portofino Dr. Arlington, TX 76012 (817) 274-7331
Folks, I just couldn't pass this one up (hope you Democrats have a sense of humor):
Thanks to Leon Skeen for the photo.
This is an update from Scott Cummings:
"I don't know how to express my thanks for the money sent by the Catkillers [Jerry Bonning send $300]. I really appreciate it a lot and it will be put to good use with the new site. I have had a lot of techie problems with the registration of the new site, but I hope it will be on line before the weeks end. What I was told and what really happened were two different things. Anyway I hope to get all the pictures I have been sent on line and the reunion picts also.
I want to expand the site for everyone and am open to suggestions.
I am still buzzing over the reunion and hope more of us can be at the next one.
If you have something to contribute, please send it in. History, stories, praises, memories, or just share your wisdom. The CATCOM CENTER is still active! During the newsletter month, as I receive newsworthy information, I will continue to post input from Catkillers and Friends. So, you might want to check back before the end of the month.