Third Quarterly 2012
September 14, 2012
Newsletter Articles: (click to go direct)
Thanks to a great reunion committee, we all had a memorable three dayu reunion.
The reunion committee is now back at their homes and taking a well-deserved rest.
Many of our active members know about the International Bird Dog Association (IBDA), and a few are also members of that long–standing (and up–standing!) organization. This version, courtesy of Charles Finch and Doc Clement, is the handiwork of "Jose C. Cano, Jr."
While this editor did not see publication data within the file, it is a copyrighted message from IBDA to its members, but we share the June Edition of Bark Magazine, a publication of theInternational Birddog Association, so that you can see for yourself their excellent work, and whose president I believe is Dan Kelly. They don't advertise their Board of Directors, but the membership director is Suzanne Cobb.
In this IBDA magazine is a small paragraph about the L-19 at Oshkosh, which involves the two Catkillers mentioned above. The IBDA web site also displaysthe Catkiller Reunion dates on theirJuly calendar.
It has been a long time since the 1968–69 era men have seen John Herring, Catkiller 26, so this photo sent in from Charles Finch will make you smile, as you see old friends rekindle friendship and catch up on all the years since. This is all that Charles said, “First time we have seen each other since 1969. Got a video of him talking for reunion.”
When you get more than one sentence out of him, you have a winner:
Jerry DiGrezio and Bob McComiskie recently got together and produced an old photo of their roommate time in Vietnam. They also took another photo to show the personal advances in features and maturity since that time. Oh, but to anchor time and stay in some agreeable form....
I thought you might like to see this picture of Vietnam roommates Bob McComiskie and me, taken at Bob's new home in Salem, New Hampshire. It took me 42 years, but I finally was able to convert him and his wife Nancy into New Hampshirites!
Some things improve with age—like these two Catkillers.back to top
Marine Aerial Observer, Captain John R. Cunero, surfaced today and is now on the web roster. We hope to soon have a photograph of another of our marine friends in arms. Welcome, John!back to top
This is our current list of attendee as of the reunion closing date:
|Al Paulsen + 1
Albert Slater + 1
Andy Anderson +1
Bill Everett +1
Bob Arrington +1
Bob Copland +1
Charles Finch +1
Charles Goode +1
Charles Richardson +1
Charles Welsh + 1
Darl McAllister +1
Dave Ohare +1
Dave Troha +3
Dick Bielot + 1
Dick Tobiason + 1
Don Ricks + 1
Gary Miller +1
Gene Wilson + 1
Bob Rowland +1
Henry Milan +1
J. D. Richards
Jerry Curry +6
Jerry Jackson + 1
Jim Carlin +1
Jim Morris + 1
Keith Klett + 1
Kennedy Kohibrand + 1
Leonard Bumgardner +1
Larry Deibert + 1
Leroy Burkemper + 1
Lloyd Oake + 1
Mal Mixon + 1
Nelson Kunitake + 1
Norm MacPhee + 1
Paul Brennan +1
Paul Garin +3
Paul Smith + 1
Roger Bounds +3
Pete Blevins +1
Phil Caverhill + 1
Ray Alexander +1
Raymond Caryl +1
Rod Stewart + 1
Roger Putnam + 1
Sarge Means + 1
Scott Cummings + 1
Toby Decker + 1
Walter "Chico" Fernandez
Don Pepe + 1
Francis Alexander + 1
Jack Bentley + 1
Roger Bradley +1
Otha Dent + 1
Count: 134back to top
Just a few days before the beginning of our 2012 reunion in Seattle, we had on our memorial list only twenty-four known killed in action (KIA) or missing in action (MIA), who either served with the 220th or were in a major way associated with our mission. That number changed on July 8, as Staff Sergeant Floyd Dean Caldwell assumed his rightful place in his unit's history.
Was such discovery simply made by a stroke of luck, something good that happens to you by chance; divine guidance, as in providence, that we were able to securely anchor Sergeant Floyd to the unit and bring an immeasurable amount of closure to his family? Speculate if you want, but it all began with an attempt to discover something about a person of a surname similar to the very one who was not known to be missing. As the internet search engine began to display persons of the tendered surname, similar to Caldwell, one bit of lost information was attached in text to that unintended but similar surname—the 220th Aviation Company (Reconnaissance). What's more, the document to which the displayed information referred was well known to the searcher; he had posted that very same document to another web site's memorial page. The missing soldier was known, by name, but not the unit to which he was assigned. There was never a reason to check the known soldier's associated unit of assignment.
Armed with this excitement of new information, another internet search took minutes to discover a short but powerful story written by the missing man's daughter, years ago, and published in a well–known book. Lora Ann Caldwell had written a heart-wrenching story of her mother and four other young siblings making the most of a difficult situation and demanding circumstance of a missing husband and father. From the family information contained therein, it was a matter of a few hours, and patience in the face of dead-end paths, before nothing short of providence allowed Mrs. Catalina Caldwell to answer the phone in her home town and to faithfully engage in a conversation with a stranger, who surely stirred a major mound of emotions for Catalina and her family. In a matter of minutes after that phone conversation, she began to dial each of her children and to spread the news of our contact. Catalina had managed her affairs well, attended to her children, and capped the title of mother with faith, determination, and endurance to finish the race to which she and her husband had committed as they married.
By permission, the inspiring Caldwell family story follows:
Mrs. Catalina Caldwell and her son, Major (Retired) Glenn Caldwell, made quick arrangements to attend the 2012 Catkiller Reunion in Seattle, July 12–July 14. This memorial service was special to the Caldwells and moved those gathered when Glenn came forward to light the memorial table candle in honor of our unit's fallen brothers and his own father.
Further information, including photographs, will accompany the reunion report, once all photos and attendee input arrives. A link to the reunion report will soon be on this page.
Donald M. Ricks,
The above article concerning Staff Sergeant Caldwell, and a subsequent viewing of the investigation concerning his former MIA status, brought another clue to a sergeant documented in that report. Sergeant First Class Emil Amian Saizon, also of the 220th Aviation Company, lived in the same barracks and across the hall from Floyd Caldwell. He made this statement for the investigation board:
SWORN STATEMENT: Da Nang, 25 January 1972, SFC, 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company, APO SF 96308
“I, Emil Siazon, want to make this the following statement under oath: I lived in the same building that SSG Caldwell lived in. His room was across from mine. The day that he left, he said that he was going to catch the courier and pick up his records at personnel and report to Freedom Hill [a place near the airstrip at Da Nang. DMR]. I saw him later in the day standing in the rain, about 1130, I think. He was standing next to the line shack where U-21’s come in. I asked him why he didn't get out of the rain and he said, “That’s all right.” He was wearing jungle fatigues and had a poncho on. I don't know if he got on a U–21 or not. I’m not sure if it was on the 14th or not. I think it was because we moved the whole unit, the 220th RAC, down on the 15th. He didn't say anything in particular, we just talked GI talk and I bade him farewell. We were good friends. He didn't drink or smoke and was sort of on the religious side.
Question: Do you know of he had a set of greens with him? [This would be a dress green uniform. DMR]
Answer: Yes, he had a set but he wasn't wearing them when I saw him.”
END OF STATEMENT
Based on the clues contained in the above statement, a search of the internet revealed the following obituary with the same photograph of SFC Siazon that appears on the 212th Annual for 1971, page 17:
SFC Siazon will be added to our memorial service list for acknowledgement at the next reunion. SFC Siazon's information is now on the web roster.
Editorback to top
A small contingent of representatives from the 220th Aviation Company will visit the Fort Rucker Museum in October. We plan to carry the following list of items for consideration by the curator. If you have items of historical significance and wish to donate same to the museum, contact the editor:
back to top
Fort Rucker Army Aviation Museum
Items Donated by the 220th Catkillers—October, 2012
- Wall Rubbing Memorial of Fallen——Al Paulsen
- Original “We Observe” Patch—Gene Wilson
- Helmet worn by Marine AO (backseater)—Walt Strain, USMC
- Junk Fleet Navy Wings—Norm MacPhee
- Pilot Survival Maps —Norm MacPhee
- Pilot Blood Chit—Norm MacPhee
- Vietnamese and MPC Currency—Norm MacPhee
- Leaflets dropped by 220th, 1966—Norm MacPhee
- Maps from the PX—Norm MacPhee
- Cards issued to soldiers in VN/business cards—Norm MacPhee
- Inscribed cigarette lighter “Bob Ferguson”—(name withheld)
- Catkiller “going home” plaque, 1LT Dean L. Liken, Catkiller 19, 12/79-12/70—Ed Miler
- Original set of DVD’s for the 220th Web Site—Don Ricks
Would like to thank the 220th Birddogs for a wonderful time! It was good to meet Paul Garin and Scott Cummings face to face. Paul Garin took the best black and white photos of the YO–3A at the 220th that our YO group has. And if it wasn’t for Scott moving the two guard shacks into the 220th compound, half the enlisted men would have had to sleep in tents.
Also, David Ellison and I had a good turnout for our YO-3A presentation in the media room on Thursday. And I had a chance to talk to a lot of the late comers about the airplane.
The honors table ceremony was profound!
If any Catkillers want to join the YO–3A / Quiet Aircraft Association at our reunion in the Washington D.C.in October go to the YO-3A website for dates and location etc..
Our group is working on the book on the YO-3As and we get it out, I will let you know. Several Catkillers want to purchase a copy and I told them I could probably talk the webmaster into posting that information on the Catkiller site.
Best to all,
Quiet Aircraft Association
YO-3A crew chief Phu Bai Catkillers 1970-71
Thank you so very much for the countless hours that you spent updating information for us. I’m truly enjoying reading the Catkillers web site, and I have learned more about Floyd’s last military assignment than I have for the past 40 years!back to top
Donald, I can’t say enough about how the Caldwell Family has been blessed because you made the time to contact us. I will be for ever thankful for what you have done, and continue to do for us.
The reunion committee chairman released the final financial report today, showing a net gain of $4,398.98. There were 119 paid registrations, and when we divide the net gain by that number we have approximately $36.63 per person added to the next reunion purse and to maintain the web site and cover minor incidentals. These funds will rest in an accountant-managed trustee account under the direction of the elected chairman of the next reunion. Many thanks to Norman MacPhee for his detailed oriented accounting skills and committee's exemplary efforts to restrain costs:
While at the hospitality room on Friday, I received a package containing large photographs (actually dropped off by the carrier). There were enough of the photos in the package for each attending male Catkiller or Friend to have one. This excellent gift came from a man who has provided numerous excellent graphics for use on the Catkiller web site. The photo was first available for pickup at the hospitality room, then those remaining were moved to a prominent table at the Saturday night banquet, where an announcement was made to those gathered. If you did not receive a copy, let the editor know and we can send via email a digital file for you to have printed. Thank you, Patrick, this was a SUPER great gift to hang on our walls, and they went very fast! Don Ricks
So, you are there. Nobody else knows what to do. You look around for a leader. Finally, you realize it is up to you. What do you do?
Take a close look at this video, and you will be armed with decisive action that might save a life, if you act with confidence:
Thanks to Larry Oltjenbruns for sending this.back to top
This is a special story of history, focus and a call for help. Nik Dunbar stood and spoke to those gathered at the reunion who visited the Museum of Flight on Friday for brunch. Nik asked for assistance from anyone who remembers and took part in the action his unit experienced. He also thanked those involved from our unit. For further details, visit his web site or call:
“In speaking with Larry Deibert yesterday, he passed me the name of a Marine who was on the ground in “Ambush Valley” near Con Thien, on 10 September 1967, when Larry earned his Distinguished Service Cross. Nik Dunbar, who was a member of the 3/26th Marines that day, lives near Puyallup, WA, and after talking with him at some length...[Dunbar joined us at the reunion].back to top
Nik has a web site at 3rd Battalion 26th Marines in Vietnam and is working on a story about that battle from the experience of Marines on the ground and would like to share it...I have already informed him that to the best of my knowledge, in June 1967 Catkiller 26 should have been Dick Tobiason. From our phone conversation Nik also recalls working on other days with Catkillers who probably would have been from the 1st, 2nd and 4th Platoons [Larry Deibert was one]. He is excited, and this could develop into quite a story to be added to our history.
Nik's email address is Nik Dunbar: firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is (253) 952-6649.
Over the past several days, several 108th Artillery Group AO's and SGT Will Nichols, who worked in HHC's Fire Direction Center, exchanged emails—with courtesy copies to the editor of this site . Her is a snipit from one email, as indicated below:
“I was in–country from 14 Aug 69 to 23 Aug 70. Promoted to E–5 on 19 Aug 70. Worked in the FDC with Lt. Brett, Capt Almarez, (Fire Direction Officer), NCO's Kevin McCann [now deceased], Ron Gumz, Bill Clinton, Peter Vlodica and Fred Wilcox. Col. Cartwright was our CO. I saw the post for Lt. Hollifield [KIA with the Catkillers on July 30, 1970] on the 2/94th Arty KIAs listed on the Wall in DC... Will Nichols.”
Also from those interesting emails came word that there will be a 108th Field Artillery Group Reunion on October 5–8, at St. Louis, Missouri. Click on the link to view their reunion plan. While viewing the site, there were many interesting photos and writings, especially the journal of Chaplain Don Neely entitled, My Thoughts and Others. Here is the link to the 108th's home page.back to top
During the period 23—29 July, Doc Clement and Charles Finch manned a Warbirds In Review area in tribute to Vietnam Veterans. They gave a one hour presentation about the Catkillers, followed by questions from a very engaged audience. An L–19 provided by owner Randy Meiville gave the audiance something to remember. Doc and Charles later signed copies of Jim Hooper's book, A Hundred Feet Over Hell, at the Warbird Store: