220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company

May 2004 CATCOM E-Newsletter (updated June 4, 2004)

Catkiller plaque
and Family,
and all Friends
and Brothers in Arms,
in memory of those who have served


It is my sad task to inform you of the death of Johnny Moore. Below is an e-mail message received from Ron Lamonds telling the circumstances:

"Don; I gave this info to Scott to post in the web page but I'm sending it to you for inclusion in the newsletter. Johnny and his wife were riding their 2003 ultra classic back from the Oregon coast enroute to Tacoma when Johnny apparently suffered a massive heart attack [this has been corrected; see update below] and died. His wife Karen was riding on the back and as a result of the crash, sustained major injuries herself and is still in Emmanuel Hospital in Portland, OR. She will have a lengthy recovery after she is discharged. The arrangements for Johnny's funeral are as yet incomplete, but we do know he will be interred at Tahoma National Cemetery with full military honors. When I get the times and dates I will pass that along as well. Sorry for the bad news, but I wanted to let you all know. Best regards, Ron Lamonds

Ronald W. Lamonds
62 Lake Louise DR. S.W.
Lakewood, WA. 98498
(253) 582-5179; cell (253) 312-7954 "

Karen and Johnny Moore
Johnny Moore and Ron Lamonds

As I receive additional information, I will post it here. Please pray for Karen.


Since the 2003 reunion, we have experienced three deaths for Catkillers or their family members. Each event brought to our attention that flowers appropriately honor the life and service of our brothers and their wives. Johnny Moore and his wife, Karen, will receive flowers, or an alternative requested by the family, and with your help we will have funds to seamlessly continue this tradition in the future. Right now, our focus is on the Moore family and their grief which we share.

Charles Finch volunteered to be the point of contact and manage our flower fund, as did others, so that is not firmly settled. While that matter is under discussion, Charles will take on the task. To be a part of this collective tribute opportunity, you can send the recommended initial amount of at least $10, until we have an account set up and have enough to respond to the death or serious injury of a Catkiller or his spouse. Any of our friends are also welcome to join the fund. Charles will manage the fund but will not disclose the names and specifics of those contributing.

Send your donation to:

Charles Finch
1331 Parrott Trace
Greensboro, Georgia 30642

Phone 706-467-9389
Cell 706-338-8756

This e-mail message received from Charles on May 7 further briefs us on the status of Karen and the arrangements for Johnny:

"Talk to Ron [Lamonds] again this evening. He told me that Johnny died of trauma and not from a heart attack. He did say that Johnny had blacked out a couple of weeks before, and they think that is what happened when he strayed across a centerline and hit the guardrail on the other side. He was not going more than 35 MPH the witnesses said. There will not be a service until Johnny's wife Karen recovers. It could be a week or two. Ron will keep me updated.

Ron is working with Crystal, Johnny's daughter, in getting things arranged. Thank goodness for Catkiller brotherhood.

Johnny's body is in Olympia and will be moved to Tacoma soon. He will be cremated.

I am sending $100 to the Memorial Fund and I will also order some flowers when we get the final arrangements.

One thought for you is this. I spent an hour with Johnny Moore, Karen, his daughter Crystal, and son Chuck at the reunion in the second hospitality room, trying to explain why the enlisted personnel were never adequately recognized. The Moore family was very close and it was nice that they could hear about Johnny and all the others that supported one another in the 220th. Johnny was extremely proud of his family, and of his service with the 220th. Bringing his family to the reunion spoke volumes about Johnny Moore.

That night with his family, with his daughter and son asking all of these questions, and me having the privilege to brag on their daddy and all that served in VietNam, was as good as it got for me in Las Vegas. It would not be the same if we had to explain NOW to that family what Johnny did in Phu Bai without him there to hear what I tried to explain. Crystal and I had some conversations in Vegas and really cleared up some things about VietNam. I will wait to call her when things begin to calm down. She is overwhelmed with this loss and Karen not being able to actively get this service planned, as well as the many unknowns.

We continue to honor those who die everyday in the service for their country, but what we as veterans need to do is make sure we still talk about those that are living that served and inform their families and their friends of their noble service to this great land of ours. I am so grateful that I got to do that to the Moore family in Vegas. Sometimes they need to hear from someone besides their daddy or the veteran himself. Tell the story, Catkillers, to those like the family of Johnny Moore.

I will keep all of you updated. I would like to fly out for the service, but with no date set I may not be able to do it.

Say a prayer for the Moore family, and here is a toast to Johnny!!!! I am glad that he was a Catkiller and that we served together.

Charles Finch
Catkiller 19"

Other Memorial Statements For Johnny Moore

Over the several months before the reunion, Johnny Moore became invloved in and excited about the details of the reunion. I received many e-mail messages from him, and each one held the enthusiasm for meeting everyone in Las Vegas. He had a smile and a pleasant disposition throughout the reunion, and on the motorcycle ride he seemed proud to be exactly where he was.

Johnny showed compassion for others and he had a big heart and attitude to match. I remember him telling about visiting the mother of one of our lost brothers, and he felt bad that he couldn't do more. This man was 1LT Michael S. Lafromboise, a Marine AO killed June 6, 1969. He had only 19 days left in country. Johnny was so compassionate that he searched for this man's mother, visited her, and gave her comfort. This tells you something about Johnny. I have retained a copy of all his correspondence. Johnny's closing comment at the end of the e-mail telling about the experience was: "Sure makes the day brighter to do this!!"

You could tell when he shook your hand that he was content and happy to be Las Vegas, and I know he thought about his friends. He once asked me to send a copy of the newsletters to a friend with whom that had joined the army, Jim Turnbow, who also served in the 220th as a supply tech under SGT Ken Miller in 1968-69.

Johnny also search for and sum bitted new names on the list of Catkillers during the days building up to the reunion. Some of those were Chuck Davis, Robert Lewin, Mike Donnick, William Fenstemaker, and Bill Synder, among others. I recall when he introduced his good friend, Ron Lammonds, by this e-mail:

Johnny Moore made a difference, and I send my condolences to his family and friends, and I count myself among those, and pray that Karen and the family will know that God loves them and that we will miss this compassionate man very much.

Don Ricks


This note came in today, May 8, from Larry Deibert on his visit to see Karen Moore. Thanks for the concern and information, Larry:

"Greetings Don,
I visited Karen Moore Fri. afternoon in the ICU unit of Emanuel hospital. Her daughter and sister were with her. She received a broken shoulder , both legs are in casts , and many bruises and cuts. She is quite doped up from all the medications she is receiving. According to her daughter she will be there for about a week longer , then transferred to a care facility in the Tacoma-Seattle area. I will visit her again this week.

Regards, Larry Deibert, Catkiller 4-6, South Vietnam 1967-68"

This is a note from Don Ricks' aunt, Harriet Fowler, 5-13-04, who lives in Newburg, Oregon:

"Hello Dear One:
Thinking that Karen Moore might be feeling like a stranger in a strange "Portland"- I referred her story to my niece Peggy, who works at Emanuel hospital. She visited her in what is called an after-care unit, where she can receive therapy and the leg support that she needs with two broken legs and a pin in her shoulder. She will be going thru some bad times before she gets all better. She has family standing by in a near-by motel til she can function on her own.

Karen expressed appretiation for your friendship--- and Peggy said that she found that a new friend in need is a true friend indeed. My prayers continue for her and her family.

After reading your news letter and the responses from CatKillers, I too have broadened my horizons. You do write well!"


This latest update came from Ron Lamonds, dated May 17, 2004. Gentlemen, you can sense the honor and comradarie that flows within this group by his words, and it pleases me to be able to share his note via this form of communications technology:

Don; I received a check from Charlie Finch for the Moore family, and what a heartwarming gesture. Makes me so proud to have been a part of such a great group of men. Please pass along my thanks to all concerned. Karen was just transfered to a skilled nursing facility in Tacoma, where she will be getting physical therapy and slowly healing. She has her cell phone with her (253) 376-4125. Again, my thanks for all you wonderful people have done.
Ron Lamonds


This note came from Crystal on May 18, 2004.

Hi Don,

This is Crystal, Johnny's daughter. I want to thank you, Charles and all the Catkillers for all the kind words you have said about Dad and have sent our way. I know you all meant so much to him and he had a great time at the reunion getting to know you all. He also had a great time introducing his family to all of you and to his past experiences. I am greatful for that weekend in Vegas, I got to glimpse into his past and met some wonderful people.

The week before the reunion in Vegas Dad drove all the way to Los Angeles, packed up his little girl and drove me and my cat home. I got to spend the last 6 months living here with him and Karen. Although it was trying at times, I am so thankful for those 6 months and I miss him so much as many people do but I know he will always be with us.

At this point we are still unsure of the memorial date but are looking at the end of June or beginning of July. As soon as a date is set we will let you know.

Chuck and I went and visited with Karen tonight and she is doing much better. She has started some physical therapy and gets up into a wheelchair each day to be rolled around the center and outside a little. Luckily she has her daughter Jenny with her during the day to wheel her around because with her bum shoulder she could only go in circles. The Dr.'s are actually surprised with her progress so that is a good sign.

Again I thank you all for your kind words and prayers.



Unfortunately, Terry died and was buried before any of us knew of his passing. Following the initial information e-mailed to me from Cliff Hughes (thank you Cliff), II called the funeral home the day I learned of his death, May 8, and was told the family was at the grave site. I also called his home and was greeted by an answering machine. I next informed Charles Finch and others, and Charles began to gather information. Those who knew Terry well might want to call, write, or see the note below by Charles. The home address and phone number is:

3812 SE Camden Way
Lawton, OK 73501
Terry L. Scruggs at the 2003 reunion

Terry L. Scruggs

Funeral for Terry L. Scruggs, 61, Lawton, will be at 2 p.m. today at First Baptist Church with Dr. Gary W. Cook, pastor, officiating.

Mr. Scruggs died Thursday, May 6, 2004, at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens under direction of Becker Funeral Home.

He was born April 26, 1943, in Lawton to Howard and Alma Smith Scruggs. He graduated from Temple High School in Temple in 1961. He married Jimmie Whiteley on May 20, 1966, at Lake Murray Chapel, near Ardmore. He graduated from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater in 1966 where he was in ROTC. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1966 as a second lieutenant. He served three years and was a veteran of the Vietnam Conflict. After his discharge, he went into the banking business, and at the time of his death he was an auditor with Liberty National Bank. He was a member of First Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon. He was co-director of the Adult 2 Sunday School Department at First Baptist Church and a member of several Bible study groups.

Survivors include his wife of the home; a son, Kevin Scruggs and wife Kate; Tulsa; a daughter, Kelly Scruggs; Lawton; his mother, Alma Sherman; Lawton; a sister, Debbie Nauman; Lawton; two brothers: Ronnie Scruggs, Wichita Falls, Texas; and David Scruggs; Lawton; and a grandson, William Glen Scruggs; Tulsa.

Memorial contributions may be made to Southwest Education Ministry Association, No. 2 Crusader Drive, Lawton 73505.

Sympathy cards may be sent to the family at www.beckerfuneral.com.

Source: Obituaries Section, The Lawton Constitution, May 8, 2004

This afternoon, May 8, Charles Finch learned of the earlier death of Terry L. Scruggs and began to gather information regarding the circumstances surrounding the reported death. Here is his initial report:


Just got off of the phone with the family of Terry Scruggs. Terry was buried today at 2PM, in Lawton, OK. He died Thursday, and the reason was probably kidney failure.

I talked to his daughter Kelly who is 27 and his wife Jimmie. Jimmie said Terry was so excited when he came back from the Catkiller Reunion in Las Vegas that he told her that she had to go to the next one. His daughter also expressed how much fun Terry had in Las Vegas. Terry was sick when he went to Vegas, but he told me he had to go.

The daughter told me that Terry went in for heart surgery two weeks ago as he had some fluid around his heart. Pericardial Window. He was taken out of ICU and then it appears his kidneys then started shutting down.

I am sending a donation to the Southeastern Educational Ministries Association in name of the Catkillers, as the family has established. I will send some photos of Terry on Monday when all of this sorts out. Andy and Garrison were very close to Terry, so I would hope they would write something for the Catlike letter. I am sending some photos and slides to Mrs. Scruggs. This was all short notice, and I just had to call the Scruggs' residence to get the information as the funeral home would not release anything. I think it would be nice to forward some of your memories of Terry to me or Don RIcks and we will forward them to Mrs. Scruggs. She told me that you can still email her as TSCRUGGS@aol.com.

Terry was very special to us that flew with him in the 220th. He had such a level personality, had no enemies, never canceled a mission, regardless of the weather or danger. He was a terrific pilot, exceptional warrior, and as dependable aviator as there was in Northern I Corps. He had no shortcomings as an officer or human being. I cannot of a more loyal soldier at Phu Bai. He epitomized the combat officer.

Terry never ducked the tough missions up in North Vietnam. He took low ship as much as he did high ship. We all wanted Terry on our wing as he was so good as spotting the bad guys, finding the antiaircraft positions and destroying the enemy. His back seats loved him because he did not take stupid chances like some others. Terry scolded me and others for our recklessness but after a long day at war would still be supporting us.

Terry was 61 years old and on May 20th would have been married to Jimmy for 38 years.

I am so happy he came to Las Vegas so we could see him one more time. Terry was a hero to all of us and this is a sad day for all Catkillers.

Thanks for your service Terry. You did good, and it was an honor to serve with you.

Charles Finch
Catkiller 19"

Other Memorial Statements For Terry:

[Message sent to Charles from Grayson] "Thanks for the info. I emailed his wife. Terry had been in country several months before I arrived. We were in the second platoon together for a few months. HIs death really touched me.

The email I sent was as follows:

I was saddened to hear the news about Terry. He had been in Vietnam several months before I arrived. He was very helpful to a new guy that was still trying to figure out what he had gotten himself into. What I best remember about him was how calm and quiet he was. He was very helpful in telling the new guy how and where to fly or not to fly. It was a delight to see him in Las Vegas. He had not changed. Still the calm, quiet person he was 35 years ago. I am glad I got to see him one more time.
Grayson Davis
Catkiller 45"
This e-mail was sent by Quinton Anderson, 5-13-04:
"I just learned of the loss of two of our own. I did not know Johnny Moore that well but Terry Scruggs and I were friends. Terry was the first guy I met upon arriving in Viet Nam in early '68. We served in the Da Nang platoon until about July of '68 when the platoon was moved to Phu Bai. I always appreciated Terry's quick smile and sense of humor. Terry was good company and I never heard an unkind word about him.

I located Terry and invited him to the reunion because he is one of the guys I really wanted to see. Now, I'm especially glad that came to pass. I know that he really enjoyed the reunion because he told me so several times. When I saw Terry in Las Vegas, he was the same smiling, cheery guy that I remembered. We all will miss Terry.

Quinton Anderson (Andy), CK 10/3


This note came to my attention this morning (May 8) from Jo Wisby. I spoke with later, and he is at home recovering and can be contacted at: 270-885-4564:

Jim and I have read each newsletter w/great interest. It doesn't take much to bring back all those memories, does it?! Thought I would tell you that Jim had emergency surgery last week at the hospital on [Fort Campbell, KY, where they removed about 8-12 inches of his colon]. He had a ruptured abscess on his colon. He is doing his usual wonderful self and won't sit still. Thanks for all you do.
Peace and blessings o : )

Jo Wisby


May 17, 2004: Thanks for the report, Sarge. Jim, we are happy to hear the good report and that Sarge was able to see you in person. Please let us know when you go for the other surgery.

Riga is certainly in my prayers, as well as Jim, and we share your sense of friendship and concern for her. Riga, if you read this, thanks for letting us know how you are doing. If anyone has Riga's e-mail address, please pass it to the editor:


Last week was Catkiller week: On Friday I flew into Ft Campbell, called Jim Wisby to see how he was doing, and was flattered that he took the time to drive out to visit with me. He looks GREAT! He told me about his major surgery, but it certainly didn't show. I think he looks better than in Vegas. He told me that he had 12" of colon removed and that his inners were so murky that he'll have to go back in to have a supplemental operation. He has the colostomy and that amazed me because there was no outward indication. His spirits are true Gee Wisby, upbeat and laughing. I know the follow-on operation can be nothing but successful

Saturday I called Riga Hillman. As I mentioned to you earlier, she and I had re-uned in Texarkana, AR last month when I had a three hour layover there and she had been kind enough to come out to the airfield. She looks terrific. As I told you, she has breast cancer, had completed chemo, and was coming from radiation treatment when I saw her. She was, and is, in good spirits and made jokes about having her wig on straight. I tell you, she looks wonderful. In her latest check-up the doctor was not ready to give her a totally clean bill of health but she is optimistic. I asked her if she would mind if I shared her story with the Catkiller family, and she said not only could I share it but that if there are any women, or men, out there who may be going through the same, or similar, circumstances, to be sure and tell them to call her.

She also wants to be included on the Catkiller mailing list but for the life of her couldn't remember her e-dress. I am sure Heather or John can get it for us.

An uplifting week for me. Always good to see old friends, old comrades, and to see them in good spirits. Now you and I need to meet in Nashville sometime.

Thanks for all your good work.



I spoke with Warren Taylor this morning, May 8, and he has had some problem with his e-mail service. Moultrie is deep in the piney woods of South Georgia, but Warren says he will work on getting better service, soon. Until he informs us of his new service, you can reach him at:

4 Cherokee Road Moultrie, GA 31768 (229) 985-4334

One additional and serious report is that Warren's wife, Gidge, was recently diagnosed with colon cancer, so they are in the process of obtaining medical treatment. I know you join me in a prayer and well wishes for Gidge.


I was, at one time, caught between a rock and a hard place concerning this topic, but I now want to present it in light of the concern raised by several of our well-known Catkillers (smarter than I), and with probable cause. I'll take any heat for the various disclosures, regardless. In the collective opinion, this information might benefit someone on our list or who might read this section.

In context, here are several e-mail messages sent regarding the subject, and I suspect we will have other message traffic placed into this paragraph before the month is over (so check back through the month):

Charles Finch to Don Ricks, 17 March 2004:


Is this something that we should address in a newsletter? To me it makes sense to do so in case there are others who may have more information.

Charles Finch"
[ Attachment message from Scott Cummings:

Phil Lowentritt called me last night and told me that there were about 7 Catkillers who have had cancer, mostly prostrate, and I was wondering if you have heard of any ties to some of the stuff you guys few through? Two that I know of have died, Jay Fenwick and Alan O'Halaran. Others I have heard about are John Hillman, Lyn Bumbardner, Ned Wilson, & Pete Blevins. Do you know of any more?
That is a lot of guys from the 68-69 group. I know several have also had a lot of heart problems, Phil lowentritt, Larry Huston, Ed Miler, and Sammy Cooper. I am forwarding concerns by Phil and now myself as that maybe we were exposed to something such as Agent Orange. I know I have had no problems, except jungle rot for all these years. Do you have any information on others that may be in this category? It just seemed strange that there were so many during that period of time.


Don Ricks to Charles Finch, 17 March 2004:

"Thanks for the interesting e-mail, Charles.

As I read the attachment, it came to me that if anyone wanted to gather information several things should be in place:

1. Who would gather information (point of contact).
2. For what purpose (objective).
3. A medical authority to review the information.
4. A decision point to carry the matter forward, should there be a need and desire to pursue it.

The newsletter is appropriate for most anything connected with our members, but my opinion is that the point at which we introduce a discussion on this topic is after the above questions are answered. Medical stuff is personal and sensitive, most of the time, so I haven't been too specific. Those involved in the cancer should be consulted, first, before we post a discussion on the internet.

I hope this makes sense and doesn't appear to be too restrictive or standoffish. You have here the benefit of my gut reaction.


Charles Finch to Don Ricks, 23 March 2004:

"Here is the latest from Lynn Bumgardner [specifics omitted]. I would like the rest of the Catkillers to know about this if you can fit it in.

We have a DJ in Atlanta who has been on the airwaves discussing prostate cancer with regard to those who served in Vietnam with regard to agent orange. Kimmer (the DJ) was discussing how difficult the paperwork is to fill out for the government in its survey or analysis. I have not looked this up on the web site of VA or agent orange, but from this radio program there is a lot of momentum on veterans demanding some answers about the high rate of prostate cancer.

I say this because I believe those who suffer from prostate cancer should probably do their own work with their local VA office. From the radio callers, it appears that the evidence of agent orange may be linked to the high rate of prostate cancer in our veterans from Vietnam.

Charles Finch"

Phil Lowentritt: to Charles Finch, 24 March 2004 (CC to Don Ricks [following message traffic to which I do not have]):

"As per our phone conversion,

I became interested in Agent Orange diseases when I saw Ned Wilson on the 14th of this month and we talked about how many 220th pilots were sick with one thing or another. As for myself I have had a few minor maladies and started to wonder how many others had similar things. So I called Scott Cummings who in turn contacted you.

In the early 70's I became lactose intolerant, which has to do with the "Pancreas" then I found that Diabetes is automatic disability with the VA and also has to do with the "Pancreas". Although the former is not under Agent Orange, how many have the problem? I just found out last night that Jay Fenwick was also Lactose Intolerant as well as Diabetic and he also had Testicular Cancer and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Last night when I talked to Cheryl Fenwick, I told her she should call the VA to see if she could get any help even though Jay had died almost two years ago. She called me tonight and said there was DIC benefit that she could get. They never contacted the VA while Jay was alive because (1) they didn't know about it and (2) Jay like me, didn't know that we were around Agent Orange.

In 93' I had Triple By-Pass and wonder how many others have had similar. In 99' I started having hives.


Don Ricks to Charles Finch and Phil Lowentritt, 26 March 2004:

"I feel there is an obligation to inform concerning this information, but the method and timing to do so is not clear to me. What I would like to suggest, Phil and Charles, is that one of you organize a briefing and plan regarding the gathering of additional input from those who might be affected. When you have the contacts and vision of how you want to inform the others, send it to me for publication. We can make a separate html file and post it at the newsletter page.

Phil, I had no idea you were having these problems, but I'm glad you know about these things and can get proper medical attention. If nothing else, letting everyone know the problem and what is being done to combat it will help others recognize their situation for quicker attention to it.

Donald M. Ricks"

Following this letter, there was a long period between messages. On 3 May I received this message from Phil Lowentritt. The map speaks for itself::


The map I sent you is a copy of a fax Cheryl Fenwick got from the VA Office that she went to. I checked with the local VA Office Rep., and he said they took that map out of their book about 10 years ago, when the VA changed the policy to "if you were in country then you were eligible for all of the things on the list" I sent you earlier. The man at the VA here is trying to get me the colored map from another office.

The VA is not going to look for anything else that could be wrong, unless it is brought to their attention. That's like Diabetes was not on the [original] list until a lot of cases showed up, and now it is automatic. I know of one case that a man went to the VA with Diabetes and was turned away, but he made them put it in his record. Later, when it was added to their list, he was put on disability from that first visit.

I hope this helped,


Editor's Note: As you know from this message traffic, Phil Lowentritt and others have done a lot of leg work gathering information, and they are a valuable source of information on the process. If you have a specific question or just want to speak with Phil , call him at: 318-435-5609. Any of those mentioned also have useful experiences and would be excellent sources for getting you started, in case you need to do so. Thanks to Phil, Charles, and Scott for their concern for others and their perseverance in getting this discussion on-line. One of the main points those in this discussion have made is that YOU must be the one to bring a concern to the attention of the Veterans Administration.

Agent Orange Map, South Vietnam

NOTE: To view a list of related medical conditions, click on the following PDF (you need Abode Reader) file, titled: Link removed. The list will be displayed at a ninety degree angle, so to straighten it up for viewing locate the icon that will allow rotation of the document view, and "Rotate counterclockwise." The first list displays conditions that are recognized by the VA, at any time after the Vietnam period, and there are other lists that display related condition if they occurred thirty years after Vietnam. If you do not have Adobe Reader, your local or state VA office could send you a copy of this list.

Here is a note from Dick Tobiason regarding a more thorough VA pamphlet:

Fellow Catkillers, AOs, and friends:

Check page 20 of the 2004 edition of the VA "Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents" for the 11 diseases attributed to Agent Orange.

Click here to view the PDF version for 2004

Type 2 diabetes and prostate cancer are included in the list.

Dick Tobiason
CK 26 '66-'67
Hue Citadel

John Hillman viewed this newsletter in the draft form and sent these comments, which I believe are helpful as guidance:

"Don; The newsletter looks great as usual. The info on Agent Orange is very important and should be discussed. My particular problem is Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and is on of the diseases automatically accepted by the VA as a direct result of exposure. Yes, we were exposed. I can't believe we have people that didn't know that. I also believe we have an extraordinary rate of cancer for a group our size but am unaware of anything that can be done other than apply to the VA for appropriate compensation. I've done all that and am receiving 100% disability. The diseases which are VA approved are rapidly processed, about 5 months, with very little questioning. I addressed my concern with the number of cancer patients among the Catkillers at the reunion and urged several to get physicals and have things checked out, this is still sound advice I feel. If I can help anyone in any way, let me know.


Society of the Fifth Division, National Webmaster [On Agent Orange]:

"Good morning Don,

I've spent much of this morning reading the newsletters from the 220th RAC site. In the last issue, Agent Orange and Prostate Cancer comments made me want to drop you this email.

Prostate Cancer is one of the "presumptive" diseases of Agent Orange under the current VA rules. Just one day in Vietnam qualifies you. There is a significant incidence of AO presumptive disease symptoms in the veterans of the units of the 1st Brigade, Fifth Infantry Division. Drinking water sourced from surface water (even though run through Water Purification Plants) is now considered to have been contaminated with dioxins. I know you guys drank the same water we did and your food (and Coffee) was prepared with the stuff.

Personal experience; Blood tests for PSA and "digital exam" every six months - Urologist watching rate of increase in PSA over past five years. Preliminary Sonogram and needle biopsies to establish absence of active tumor. Active, early detection is the best defense against loss of prostate and associated peripheral damage from surgery in younger veterans.

In addition to numerous guys with prostate cancer, we have lots of arthritis, bursitis, and nerve damage type problems. One suspect is the Dapsone (daily) anti-malarial pill in combination with AO dioxins.

Best regards,

Society of the Fifth Division, National Webmaster
Fifth Infantry Division Web Site
Society of the Fifth Infantry Division

220th RAC Lam Son 719 Vets:

"As I was surfing through the 220th's Newsletters and photos, I saw a picture of CPT Richard Wright's shot up airplane (Op Lam Son 719). It occurred to me that perhaps your group would have a number of LS 719 veterans interested in the Lam Son 719 pages of the Society of the Fifth Division website.

The opening page is; for Opn Lam Son 719.

This link provides helicopter radio traffic audio and additional links related to air operations during LS 719.

While there doesn't appear to be any later "connections" like that of 25 OCT 68 between the 220th and the "Fifth Mech" units, I'm sure there could be and Lam Son 719 would have provided many opportunities.

I know that Keith Short and a number of C/1-11th Inf vets of Lam Son 719 are also planning to reunite; here is the link

This is for any of the Catkillers or ground support teams interested in attending our reunion. Anyone who worked with the Fifth Infantry Division or has any favorable interest is always welcome.



John C. Doherty (CatkillerAO): JDoherty@town.andover.ma.us, checked in with this information and request. Like all of us, John is automatically a member of the Catkiller group, and we welcome his contact:

I just became aware of your web site and organization. From July 67-Feb 68 I was the G-2 Air advisor to the 1st Arvn Inf Div at Hue and flew frequently as an AO with the CATKILLERS from the Citadel Airfield. I got WIA four times in TET (three in Hue), was med-evaced out in late February and went back to the world. I lost all contact with CATKILLERS until a chance email hookup with Herb Johnson with whom I served in Hue. I would love to join your organization if you can send me the particulars on doing so. My snail mail is:

John C. Doherty
Andover, MA 01810
(978) 623-8218

Gary Tragesser has a new e-mail address: gtrag@adelphia.net

Recent e-mail bounces were from: Bob Kilduff (bkilduff@bellsouth.net); James L Coryell (Catkiller) ( marya@jobe.net); Nelson Kunitake (Catkiller) ( Nkunitake@aol.com); Warren B. Taylor (Catkiller30) (uplands@surfsouth.com); and William C. Hooper (Catkiller12) (w.c.hooper@att.net). If you have an update, please send to me or to Bob McComiskie, Keeper-of-the-List. I phoned Bob Kilduff (paint brush in his hand), and he has retired from his job at the National Weather Service office (forecaster!). He is at home checking off tasks on his "honey-do" list. His new e-mail address is: bobkil@bellsouth.net.

I spoke with Steve Grass on June 3, and he is doing fine. He had no knowledge of the reunion but promised to get caught up through the newsletters. Steve retired after twenty years in the army. I'll pass along additional information as it comes in. Don Ricks.

Paul Brennan has a new home e-mail address. Contact him at: pvbbrennan@bellsouth.net Please delete his netzero e-mail address.


I wish our unit had kept in touch. Do you know if anyone has a 203rd RAC Patch? [203rd Reconnaissance Airplane Company "Wildcats"]

Corky Smith
203rd RAC
Hawkeye 27


This was sent to Scott Cummings, Don Ricks, and Paul Garin, 30 March 2004. Scott also linked to their site from the Catkiller Home Page


Thanks to all of the RACs, and especially you, Don Ricks, and Paul Garin. We've now got a pretty good start and now have momentum for a Quiet Aircraft organization. Thanks for linking to us and posting our reunion message. Super job!

Here's a YO-3A patch that I have on file, We are cleaning our "best one" up with modern software and will have it ready for our reunion in the OV-10 Bronco Ready Room < ov-10bronco.net >in the Vintage Flying Museum < vintageflyingmuseum.org> on Meacham Field in Ft. Worth on May 21-23. I've seen your [Scott's] link to us and "we owe you". Let us know how we can help you - whenever.

I have another lesser known "CHEM MEOW" patch to do that represents our earlier effort with the QT-2PCII Aircraft. Chem Meow represents a small Viet Namese Owl. The local superstition was that if the owl landed on your hooch roof, it was a #10 sign for bad things to happen and your hooch was "history". I can imagine why they would think that, as they and we lost lots of roofs.

Note: the museum has a Bird Dog prominently displayed in their museum. The OV-10 folks include FO/FACs in their target membership and audience and they've done a super job of putting their Ready Room together. We have a common experience with the OV-10s> folks. Our guys "hooked up" with them to sink the largest ship of the Viet Nam War: the 168' NVA SL-8 Trawler. You can read about it in Kit Lavell's "Flying Black Ponies (USN VAL-4).

Thanks Again
Dale Ross Stith"

YO-3A Patch (Dave Stith)

This came in on May 31, following the reunion held by Dale's organization:

"We've agreed on "Quiet Aircraft Association" as our Non-Profit-Organization (NPO)name.

See our YO-3A web site for our 2004 reunion pictures and links. .

We'll now add the QT-2-PC, QT-2PCII, Q-Star, and X-26 Aircraft material to our site.

Dale Ross Stith"


My father CWO Wayne E. Jones was a classmate of yours [WORWAC 65-9W]. You may remember him because he was older and had four children.

We went to Karlsruhe Germany for one year and then he got orders for Vietnam, arriving there Jan 67. Flying Otters with the 18th Avn. Co. Pleiku, he did not return to base as scheduled, 17Aug 1967. On September 6, 1967 his arcraft (tail # 81702) was found on Dragon Mtn. (AR 7765 3675). All on board were lost. WO Don R. Harger, Spc5 Joseph Benson, and PFC Ronald Johnson, and my dad.

Some other names from flight school are: Beinke, Capt V.R.; Jackson, David ( kia 25 Sep 69); Legg, John (kia 01 May 67); Perry, Stanley J. ; Sherille, Frank A.??; Tatem, Richard??; Westsmith, John ??; Crull, Dale (kia 26 Apr 68).

Other names from Vietnam: Boland, Ray; Hardeman, ??; Fisk, Ed; Glasscok, Stowe; Elrod, Tim; Schelenberger, Erin; Toler, Norm; Bloomsma, Bill; Jones, Richard; Yonkers, John; and Higdon, Tommy.

According to the Army Aviation Museum website "flightlines," Ed Fisk was a member of WORWAC 65-9FW. I am trying to find him because my father had pictures of him in Vietnam.

Anyone that remebers my father would be of great help to me as I continue to piece together the story of his military service. He left 5 children (his youngest son born while we were in Germany- he gave out candy bars instead of cigars) and I would like to be able to share his life with my younger siblings.

Feel free to give my contact info to those that you know can help. Thank you all for your help and for your military service.
Sincerely, Wayne A. Jones, Jr.
1932 Foxtail Pl.
The Woodlands, Texas 77380
281 362 - 1349

Anyone with information or a story about Wayne, please contact his son at the above e-mail address.

Here is a response fron John Holihan:

God bless you, John. You're a good man! Thanks for responding to the son looking for his dad.
Bill Upton

On Wed, 2 Jun 2004 21:57:15 EDT Jholihansr@aol.com writes:
Good Luck with your search. I am happy to say that I remember your dad. Our group was Warrant Officer Fixed Wing Avaitor Class (WOFWAC 65-9). WORWAC 65-9 was our Rotary Wing conterpart. There was always a good natured rivalry between airplane pilots and helicopter drivers. Your dad was a pilot! He was also our class leader during the last months of training. We were friendly but not close. He was older, reserved, quiet, soft spoken and a serious family man. He had a big boyish grin but I suspect he was laughing at us and not with us. He was well liked by all and we enjoyed his company but he was not the hell raiser the rest of us were.

I was also assigned to the 18th Aviation Co in RVN. I am very familiar with the exact location of your fathers wreck and even have a distant picture of the site. It is a crescent shaped ridge about a quarter mile long. The half bowl formed by the curve faces south and is filled with a small patch of woods. The woods seperate the two ends and when viewed from the south they look like a pair of breasts. The mtn rises out of a level plain area and is known to the veterans of pleiku as "Titty Mountain". Your dad was approaching Pleiku from the South. He was flying in very poor weather that was common during the monsoon season. He was flying low and following the highway north from Ban Me Thou. The terrain rises slowly and the fog/clouds kept getting lower. He apparantly lost sight of the road and flew straight into that little patch of woods. Several aircraft were lost in that same spot over the years and it was a known hazard. Your dads "Otter" was found by an instructor pilot who was showing the area to a new replacement. He was recounting the number of wrecks when he realized there was one more then before. The aircraft was unrecognizable and was only identified by a ground party sent in to check.

Many of your Dad's friends are members of the Army Otter Caribou Association to witch I also belong. They are planning their annual reunion for September in El Paso and would welcome you and your family if any of you could attend. We have other sons and relatives of members who are welcomed and honored by the association. www.otter-caribou.org/ The guy who would publish your story is our newsletter editor and keeper of the roster. If you contact him I am sure he can put you in touch with many who knew your dad. He is Bill Upton of Corvallis, OR. corvrental@juno.com One other classmate with whom I am currently in contact is Bob Cordua of Visalia California. He was closer to Wayne than I and can be reached at rwctic@aol.com

Many of our classmates went to Viet Nam as "Bird Dog" pilots and ended up in the 220th Recon Airplane Co, The "Catkillers". They have a web sight and a lengthy member roster. If you contact them I suspect they can help also. The man to contact is Don Ricks and he lives in Spring Hill, TN. donrix@catkillers.org

Wayne, your dad was an honorable man who loved his family and his country. I hope the information I've given you will help you in your search. Good Luck and God Bless.

"John" [ Maj John M Holihan USAR Ret]


This is from Daryl Wesley. If you have a copy, Daryl's email address is: jbdvw@juno.com

"Don, just a request. Does anyone have a digital version of the Phu Bai song? I was there by myself and did not have video capabilities. It sure would be nice to get a copy of the video/audio of the ol' song. There were a lot of people in the audience taking pics and I am sure video, what do you think? I'd pay/send a floppy to get a copy.

The best to all!!

Daryl Wesley"


This is a note from jack Bemntley, one of many looking for an AO names Bill Norton:


I have spent a great deal of time, energy and effort looking for Norton. In January of last year I wrote to the National Personal Records Center, in St Louis, requesting information. On June 23rd of last year they sent me a morning report that showed him being transferred to the 95th evac hospital on 4 July of 1969.

As I recall it was due to a non combat injury, when he and Mike Briscoe got into an argument and Briscoe hit him with a guitar, breaking Bill's arm. I was in Phu Bai at the time but I have some of that in my diary. I was just glad as hell he got out alive as he had been wounded in Kieth Klett's back seat a month or two earlier. I remember that Bill was awarded the Purple Heart for that wound, which he more or less accepted reluctantly. He called it a band aid wound.

As luck would have it, there are two on that morning report, and I can read the other guy's SSAN, but not Norton's! He is listed as William W Norton. I talked to another William W Norton who is a test pilot for Boeing (former hook pilot), but not our guy. In the interim, I have called at least 100 other William W Nortons from various web searches, but no joy.

There used to be a web site that listed those who had received the DFC, but you had to pay 10 bucks to register, I thought that was kind of vain, but there was no Norton listed. I was too cheap to pay the 10 bucks (laughing my ass off), and he probably was too! I have left many messages for him on Vietvet web sites. He is either dead, working for the CIA, or totally computer illiterate. Seems to me that we should have enough resources within this group to find this guy, and I'm willing to do my part any time.

Sincerely, Jack Bentley"

Do you recognize this man? Do you have a set of orders or a citation that shows any information we might use to locate Norton?

William W. 'Bill' Norton, Phu Bai, South Vietnam, 1969


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.

Don Ricks will be in France for most of June, so there will not be a newsletter.

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