Currahee!! __Welcome to Charlie Company! A Brotherhood of Vietnam Vets
This website is dedicated to a veterans group of "Combat Field Grunts" that served together in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War with Company C, 2nd Bn, 506th Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division (C/2nd/506th) during the years of 1970 and 1971. After many years of looking, we have been fortunate enough to find each other again. And our little "Band of Brothers" is still growing at 136 men found. We continue to seach for and reachout to many of our "unfound" brothers that we served together with, and their families, that may be looking for us. To that end, we hope this website may help. We want to invite all of the members of Charlie Company to participate in the development of this website. We need your help in collecting all of the missing information needed to fill in the blanks on these pages. Names of Officers, NCO's, and men from the platoon's that you served in. Think of this website as a "on-going work in progress" and we are always looking to you, our brothers, for information, comments, and suggestions on the content of this website...."your website". Let us know what would be helpful to you? What would you like to see here? And how can we reach more of the men that we served with? Add this website to your favorite's list and check back offen, we are constantly adding new members to the group, posting new material of interest, and adding new photo albums into our Photo Gallery pages (now over 1500 Vietnam War photos).
View our site along with some great music of that period on each page. So be sure to turn on your sound system, and you may need to accept the active X controls for the player if you get a notice pop-up at the top of the viewing window... The audio piece that your are now hearing on this page is how Infantrymen feel about the Chopper Pilots that supported us in the field. "God's Own Lunatics" is narrated by Joe Gallaway (The only civillian to earn a Bronze Star) who also co-wrote the book "We were Soldiers Once and Young" with Gen. Hal Moore which became the movie "We were Soldiers" with Mel Gibson. This audio is a very powerful and healing piece. It is our hope and desire, that here on our website, you will find a sense of veteran brotherhood, joy in the days of ole, and healing.... A place where you can be proud of the job that you performed for your Country. And re-connect with your old buddies and come full circle to find peace of mind!!
!! Our Newly Found Charlie Company Vets !! Give a big "Currahee Shout-out" to: Dan Rogers 3rd Platoon, Charles Jones 1st Platoon, Dennis Figley 3rd Platoon, Bruce Smith , Dan Akins 2nd Platoon, Chet Lucas 3rd Platoon, Bob "RT" Tarbuck 2nd Platoon, Andy Giles 2nd Platoon, Randy "Satch" Garver 2nd Platoon, Bob Smith 2nd Platoon, Rick Walsh 1st Platoon, Dale Cooper 1st Platoon, ..... Welcome back men, to the old Company C group! You can now find these guys listed on our "Roster" page.
To all Vietnam Veterans, many who have emailed us with praise for our website, the men of Charlie Company wish to say "Thank You" to all veterans that have served our country then and now. And we would also like to add a very special "Welcome Home" to each of you!!!
Send your comments and info to email@example.com
Vietnam Duty out of Camp Evans (I-Corp) __ During our deployment in RVN, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division was stationed up near the DMZ at Camp Evans, located between the cities of Hue and Quang Tri in the I Corp sector of South Vietnam. We worked in the steep mountainous area, covered with dense jungle canopy. This area was located to the west of Camp Evans from the lowlands into the "A Shau Valley" where the Ho Chi Minh trail was a re-supply highway for the NVA. We patrolled this area from the Song Bo River on the south, to Quang Tri on the north. This mountain area was designated as a "free kill zone" with no civilians to deal with (all friendly's had been removed from this area). We didn't need to have permission to engage our enemy. It was just "Us" and the "NVA" to slug it out. If there was some "unaccounted for" movement around us, we fired it up. Most of our many fire-fights were quick and intense encounters. When fighting stopped and the smoke cleared, the enemy would have faded away back into the jungle. Many of us prefered it this way, easy and quick to pull back and disappear into the dense jungle. But it was very tough moving and living in this steep and heavily covered terrain. We did, however, have several on-going sustained battles. The "Siege of Firebase Ripcord" and "LamSon 719" were a few to mention. These were real hard times. But during our time in Nam, the deepest bonds of friendship that you could ever imagine developed. You see, we didn't need to worry about guys around us when trouble struck....Why?....Because we were then, and still are today....Currhee Brothers!!! _We had each other's backs covered and we knew that we could count on the men that we served with! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This was an incredible group of men (Officers, NCO's & Enlisted Men) that pulled together with one common goal; "Get as many of our guys home in one piece as we could." The Enemy Forces in this area had us outnumbered by 12 to 1 at times. Our longest period in the bush without a rear-break was 102 days. When the small arms and mortar fire of the NVA weren't raining down us. The US Military's "Agent Orange" rained down on us while we humped through the mountains cutting our way through the thick jungle, and much of it ended up in the water that we drank and bathed in daily. Who knows?? Maybe in the end, the Agent Orange will take a far larger toll on us than the NVA could never accomplish!!! We have already lost many good friends to the various effects of Agent Orange. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Another big problem for many of us Vietnam Combat Veterans was the untreated PTSD. Due to the fact that we were deployed into the Vietnam War Zone as individuals. Then thrust into an unimaginable reality of hostility and brutal survival where we quickly learned to only rely on each other for protection. Over the course of the next year we endured things that we couldn't have never imaged. _We witnessed and participated in some very unreal actions. _Afterwards, when our tour in "Hell" was over, we were returned home and processed out of the Army, again as individuals. _This happened very quickly without any time for the proper decompression from the trama's and horrors what we had experienced for a year. We were released back into a US civilian population which was at that time very hostile to Vietnam Veterans. _Many of the misinterpreted PTSD issues among us combat vet's were simply mocked or ridiculed by society and never treated properly. This forced us to suppress and deeply bury our re-occuring visions and bad feelings about our experiences in the war. -We just tried to fit back into society the best way we could. Our families and friends couldn't understand us, or help us in dealing with these feelings._And many of us only pushed the people who loved us further away. _These suppressed issues within us never really went away and would surface from time to time only to get us into trouble or send us deeper into the pit of isolation. -Even forty years after the war, our minds are still trying to make some kind of rational sense of what we experienced. -Here is one of the best explainations that I have come across, written by a Militray Chaplian, Richard Davis. . . . AFTER THE WAR - AN INSIDERS LOOK ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
These are a couple of reasons why we are reaching out to support each other today, and why it is so important for us to locate our unfound friends and brothers. Nobody can understand how a combat veteran feels like another combat veteran!!!
THE AVERAGE WW II COMBAT SOLDIER HAD 40 DAYS OF COMBAT IN FOUR YEARS - THAT'S THE AVERAGE..., AND THE AVERAGE COMBAT SOLDIER IN VIETNAM HAD 204 DAYS OF COMBAT IN JUST ONE YEAR. . . YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE WHAT THAT DID TO THE MINDS OF THE YOUNG MEN THAT SERVED!!
_____________________A Piece of History - Charlie Co. Roster as of about the 3rd of July 1970_________________________ __I picked this gem up from SSG John Fowler, Plt Sgt 1st Platoon during the just concluded Ripcord Reunion at Myrtle Beach. It was typed by Sgt Billingsly, Co Clerk, on or about 3 July. Jeff Wilcox is the CO, and all the guys KIA on 902 are off the roster. The date on this is a mistake. Pete Meloro, the just departed Co Clerk said that "Billingsly probably used mimeograph paper with pre-typed date". A total of 4 pages. Please feel free to disperse as you see fit. A great little snapshot in time. Part of our company’s history. Bob Leibecke
"Why We Can't Forget Vietnam". . . https://vimeo.com/145907780 _ See if you can watch it all the way through without tearing up. __ They were barely old enough to vote, but they faced death at an age when their adult lives were just beginning, and the experience changed them all. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the decision to send U.S. combat troops to Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands served. More than 58,000 didn’t come home, 3,415 of them from Texas, whose losses were third only to New York and California. The rest, some haunted by memories of dying buddies and bloody battles, came home to angry protests, a silent majority that refused to speak up, and the broken promises of a country that seemed determined to forget the divisive war. Veteran KWTX-TV producers, photojournalists and editors Jim Peeler and Don Smith, have spent months gathering their stories for a two-part documentary, “We Can’t Forget: Vietnam,” which airs at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 and Nov. 12 on KWTX. From a distance of five decades, the veterans they interviewed speak candidly and frankly, some for the first time, about their experiences both during and after the conflict. Their raw, unvarnished memories reveal just how deeply the experience affected them. They say that while they may not have been members of the Greatest Generation, they are the greatest members of their generation. But they say their sacrifices have gone unacknowledged, the good deeds of most tainted by the bad deeds of a few. (Special Thanks to KWTX 10 News & VIMEO)
The Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord in July of 1970 marked the last major confrontation of U.S. military ground forces against the North Vietnamese Army. This prolonged fight, which lasted 23 days, was a destructive, deadly event that cost many American causalities. There were many battle confronation events which happened during this period in the area around and below FSB Ripcord. Hill 805, Hill 902, & Hill 1000 battles were all part of this major NVA attack. Hear some of the actual Veterans recount the Battle of Fire Support Base Ripcord.... http://video.wpt2.org/video/150047097
Video #1 on "FSB RIPCORD"....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYLm18PFcwM
Video #2 on "FSB RIPCORD" ......http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w67-YKbVOog
The 101st Airborne in the A Shau Valley 1969-1971....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWUphwnDvHs
A Pictorial History of the 101st in action....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J94JKYMGVCk
The Animals - "We Got-a Get Out of this Place".....https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJVpihgwE18
Here is a great link to a very large in-depth resource of the Vietnam War with History, Stories, Maps, and info. All cataloged in a easy format. Thanks to, Bob Seitz for the addition...Vietnam Resources...http://www.cc.gatech.edu/fac/Thomas.Pilsch/Vietnam.html
OUR BELATED "WELCOME HOME" . . .
A short video article of the (2009 WOE) three day weekend honoring Vietnam Veterans with a long overdue "Welcome Home Celebration" held at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky by the 101st Airborne Division.....Not a dry eye in the building, young and old alike.... http://www.army.mil/media/amp/?bcpid=6981683001&bclid=0&bctid=40921056001
"The Eagle Cried", Written and recorded by US Army Major J Billington. This song was written in honor of the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans, who did not receive the hero's welcome that they deserved when they came home from the fight. This song was written for and performed at the 13th Combat Aviation Battalion Reunion at Fort Rucker, Alabama, held on May 15, 2010. To the Vietnam veterans that may find and watch this video, please accept my humble "Thank you for your service, and welcome home!" J Billington ....... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehbc1zU1BwQ
VIETNAM WAR VETERAN TRIBUTE, NARRATED BY SAM ELLIOT ....... https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=share&v=aVeBtnfAxP8&app=desktop
TRIBUTE TO A VIETNAM WAR VETERANS ....... http://www.v-prod.com/trailer_vietnam.html
A TRIBUTE AND THANK YOU TO OUR AGING VETERANS AND
DEDICATED TO VETERANS WHO HELPED TO PRESERVE OUR FREEDOM.
“FINALLY, A LONG OVERDUE THANK-YOU TO VETERANS OF THE VIETNAM WAR”....http://www.beforeyougo.us/play_byg_vn
Vietnam Vets Welcome Home #2..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P2JSzjMpWI&feature=player_embedded
Vietnam Vets Welcome Home #3..... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy7a83WGstA&feature=player_embedded
Vietnam Tribute #1...... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMOmF7lBrDE&feature=player_embedded
OTHER GREAT VIDEO's OF INTEREST. . .
101st Airborne Tribute (All Generations) - Blood Upon the Risers . . . . . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6UXcUgRa60
The Man In The Doorway – Very Powerful . . . . . .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qH2vbYs6ebc
Manison's of the Lord– WOW! Very Powerful . . . . . . http://worriersanonymous.org/Share/Mansions.htm
And while we were all off keeping freedom safe....http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBdeCxJmcAo
50,000 Names Craved Into the Wall (George Jones). . . .http://home.comcast.net/~singingman7/TNOTW.htm
Good Ole Boy, Toby Keith. . . .THIS ONE WILL GET YOUR BLOOD PUMPIN'!!!
Support of today's 101st young troops at Ft. Campbell KY_ Our group continues to have a close relationship with the young men and women of today's Currahee Regiment. We attend many of their functions at Fort Campbell to show our support for them in the job that they are doing and to demonstrate the rich history of our unit to them. Charlie Company will always hold a special place in our hearts, but we call all the regiments currahee's our brother's... If you haven't made it out one of the events yet, you really need to. You will come away with a chest full of unit pride and feeling absolutely great!!! That' a promise! Seeing old friends and making new young friends. It doesn't get any better then that folks ....once you go, you will be back again & again. And I will see you there at the next event....
See the latest News here on our "Charlie Company Today" webpage....Charlie Today
Keep checking back here for the lastest info on coming events. We will try to give you the earliest news of what is coming up so you can make plans to join us...See you there! ...Our next planned event is......
2017 Rendezvous at Ft. Campbell, June 12th - 16th
"Come out and join us in welcoming home our Currahees"
Rendezvous at Ft Campbell June 2017
Last year the 2/506th active duty Currahees were at Ft Polk when we had our reunion and we were not able to connect. They 2/506th was deployed to Afghanistan last year and will return in May. They will have block leave and most will be in Ft Campbell for the Rendezvous in June. We hope you can join with us to welcome our brothers home.
When: June 12th - 16th
Where: We have 30 rooms reserved at Sleep Inn Oak Grove KY
Sleep Inn Oak Grove
220 Auburn St,
Oak Grove, KY 42262
Phone: (270) 640-7170
Rate of $65 for any 506th veteran / active duty / DMoR-HMoR guests
Ask for 506th Association Rate
We have a wonderful opportunity to meet, enjoy time with our brothers and I would encourage you to join us if possible. We are hoping to hear that more of our Charlie Company brothers are to be awarded the DMoR (Distinguished Member of Regiment award) and hope you will come and support the recipients.
Agenda for Rendezvous
Notification of D/HMoR recipients in March
Dates of Rendezvous June 12th through 16th
12th Mon - Travel and set up day
13th Tues - No host dinner
14th Wed - Tour / weapons firing by veterans
15th Thursday - Rehearsal Open day Flag football tourney Events
16th Friday - DMoR/HMoR Formal Dinner LTC Ferris speaker
Charlie Company 2017 Reunion: October 5th - 8th
"Back to the Beginnings at Toccoa, Georgia"
Come out and join us for the "Currahee Military Weekend".
Please begin to plan for this reunion now, and we will see you there.
"PAST EVENTS"..... OUR WRITE-UP's AND REFLECTIONS
To help our homepage download speed. The lastest event will be displayed here on the homepage for a period of time, then moved over to the Reflections Page as they are replaced with newer articles. Thanks for your understanding...RP
Charlie Company 2016 Reunion & 506th Assoc., May 12th - May 15th
Company C 1970 - 1971 at our Charlie Company Dinner
Our Special Guests, CSM Kerry Bassett and the young Currahee Veterans
Gary's After Action Report:
Charlie Company held their annual reunion at the Riverview Inn Clarksville, TN near Ft Campbell KY on May 12th through 15th. The hotel was almost completely filled with men and their wives from the 506th Infantry Association and Charlie Company who had set up a block of 90 rooms for the reunion. There were 39 C/2/506 70-71 veterans who attended along with 31 wives and friends.
We had six 70-71 veterans join us for the first time this year Jerone (Buffy) Buffington, Randy (Satch) Garver, Bill Orsak, Philip (Holmes) Pereira, Stuart Trotter, and Bruce Smith. Pereira came all the way from his home in Australia and had been trying to get to a reunion for years. We were very excited to have six OIF/OEF 2004-2011 veterans Kerry Bassett, Jimmy Summer, Chad Williamson, Chase Hamley, Tom Vanier, Eddie Maciulski and their wives join us for the first time. We were also joined by Recon E/2/506 Len Long, Wayne Gordon and their wives.
Everyone begin to show up on Wednesday evening and had dinner with several young active duty troops of 1/506th. We were disappointed that the 2nd Battalion 506th were unable to join us this year as in the past. They were in Ft Polk, Louisiana preparing for their next mission, doing JRCT training. We enjoyed the meal and returned to the hotel 506th hospitality room and kicked off the reunion.
Thursday morning several headed to the post to see the static weapon displays have lunch at the mess hall (DEFAC) which has drastically changed for the better. Afterwards they got to go the firing range to rip off a few rounds, as well as, go to the hangers to view the helicopters used in today’s missions. Others stayed at the hotel and visited as others continued to arrive.
Thursday evening we enjoyed a very nice dinner at Liberty Park Grill with about 65 in attendance. We had planned for approximately 56 but were excited when we filled the room to capacity. After the amazing meal; some of the best BBQ Ribs I have ever eaten, we returned to the hotel and again enjoyed the comradery of our Currahee brothers.
Some of the men; Dave Simonds, Bob Lister and Frank Matsko had recently attended a benefit for Paul Burkey (Charlie Company 70-71 Ripcord era) who is in another battle, this time cancer. Many had donated on Go Fund Me, but Duane "Slim" Sickert wanted to do more and provided 15 mini Currahee Baseball bats. Those bats were sold and we raised $500 for Paul Burkey, to help in his needs while fighting cancer. A big "CURRAHEE" to Slim and all that purchased these bats as well as many who just donated.
On Friday we all went to the ceremonies on post. At 10:00 AM we went to the DMOR ceremony where seven; two of which were C/2/506th Infantry Bob Liebecke and Kerry Bassett, were awarded the Distinguished Member of the Regiment. We then went to the DEFAC Mess Hall and enjoyed excellent meals some were special prepared upon ordering. Following lunch we made our way down to the Recreation Center where Pee Wee Martin; one of the characters played in Band of Brothers, gave a description of the newly formed battalion in 1942 and the campaigns which followed including D Day, Bastogne, Battle of the Bulge and others in WWII. Later we attended the dedication ceremony at the Robert Sink library where the daughter of LTG Sink; Robin Sink McClellan, donated the famous generals desk to the library and enjoyed the reception following.
Later in the evening we held our Charlie Company Memorial dinner with 70 in attendance. The program was started with a welcome by COL Bob Seitz, Kerry Bassett and his men were recognized give a plaque by Bob Lister from Charlie Company. the Missing Man Table done by Tom Weides, followed by the calling of those of 1970-71 who did not return and the names of those who have passed since returning by Dallas Wetzler. Kerry Bassett then called the names of those of Charlie Company 2004-2011 who did not return and have passed since returning. A moment of silence was observed for our missing brothers. Cal Kato gave each man a canteen cup and provided the toast to all our men who are missing from Charlie Company. The dinner arranged by our committee was again amazing. Ken Pitetti provided a power point showing the 506th WWII history of the 506th PIR as we enjoyed our meal.
Saturday morning Bob and Shirley Lister began their annual raffle to raise funds for the 2nd 506th FRG. The unit is to deploy to Afghanistan this fall and these funds will help the families while the troops are away. Every year we bring unique gifts to raffle. Randy Parmley brought a B1A1 can of C rations this year, gift cards, bird bath, books, Army surplus flashlight, handmade crafts from Shirley Lister and Denise Shuman, Cathy and Frank even had a new drill and drill bits, many other fun gifts. We are thankful for all the gifts and hard work by Shirley and the ladies; as well as, to those who donated to raise $535.00 sent to the 2nd 506th FRG.
Later in the evening we enjoyed the 506th Infantry Association Memorial dinner. They started with a color guard of young Currahee's presenting the colors and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley sent a recorded greeting, LTC Ferris of 1st 506th BN welcomed us to the dinner, followed by Retired LTC Dar Place as our speaker for the evening. The dinner was elegant and tasty and enjoyed by all. Afterward everyone when to the hospitality room for our last opportunity to visit before departing on Sunday morning. It is always a sad time saying good bye.
Our "THANKS" to out to the planning committee; Ken Pitetti, Tom Weides, Dallas Wetzler, Dave Simonds, Bob Seitz and Cal Kato for all the great effort to plan the largest reunion to date. Most of you don’t know the hours and effort that goes into planning these reunions, it's a lot of work. Again Thank You!
Until next year: Planning for Toccoa GA. Going back to where it all began.
_______________1st Platoon, 2016 _____________________________________2nd Platoon, 2016
___________________3rd Platoon, 2016 ________________________The 506th Association Dinner for 2016
Charlie Company 2015 Reunion, April 9th - April 12th in Washington DC.
Charlie Company in a Monment of Silence at "The Wall"
Our 2015 Reunion in Washington DC to visit the Vietnam War Memorial was quite extrordinary for all that attended. It was right at the peak of the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Washington DC Mall and Title Base Area along with the many DC Memorials were absolutely beautiful. The DC weather turned out to be very nice for our event. We spent Friday at Arlington Cemetery, where we laid a wreath at the 101st Div Monument. After we took a Trolley Tour of the grounds at Arlington and it was only topped by our visit to the "Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers". Here we watched the "Changing of the Guard", it was quite moving for all. Saturday was our big event, we had a bus that took us directly from the Hotel to the sight of the Vietnam War Memorial, "THE WALL". As we gathered on the lawn in a Company Formation the emotion was building in each of us. A Chaplian from the "Old Guard" delivered an Invocation Prayer and Ret. Col. Bob Seitz made a very heart-felt speech. Our group of Vets then "Called Out the Names" of each of our 27 lost Currahee Brothers. Bob Seitz then called us to Arms for a Salute to or Lost Brothers while an "Old Guard Buglar" played a beautifully moving rendition of Taps. It was quite overwhelming for for everyone, even the viewing public visitors that gathered to watch our ceremony were quite moved. See the videos here and get the full impact on what this day meant to us all. (Sorry for the wind in the audio portion)
Charlie Company at the Wall 1 Video . . . . http://youtu.be/8aELXqfki2U
Charlie Company at the Wall 2 Video . . . http://youtu.be/URwjrWC4oFE
Charlie Company at the Wall 3 Video . . . http://youtu.be/N2KlBMVV2GU
Our Missing Man Table Ceremony, Friday Night . . . http://youtu.be/7pDawgLPpUo
"See the 2015 Reunion Photo Album in our Photo Gallery area for many more great pictures of this event"
Gary's "After-Action Report" of our 2015 Reunion April 9th-11th to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington DC.
The reunion started with some calls of disappointment by those who were planning to attend. Lt Chris Koos, Lt Rick Lombard, Doug Stephen, John Beebe, Mick Aldas, and Jeff Wilcox all had to cancel due to emergencies and illness that made them unable to attend. Several admitted to the hospital the day they were leaving to attend the reunion. I know that Micky Aldas and Doug Stephen were very disappointed, they had been looking forward to being with Charlie Company for the first time.
We spent Thursday greeting everyone as they arrived and at 6:00 PM we gathered in the Sky View room for a very delicious and elegant dinner. Chaplain Col. Ed Brandt provided our Invocation and Blessing opening our Reunion. Everyone enjoyed the great dinner buffets which was planned thanks to the work of Captain Bob Seitz, Lt Ken Pitetti and Sgt Steve Bago. Captain Seitz was the host for the welcome dinner and introduced Col Johnny Davis the Regimental Commander of the Old Guard; the oldest military unit dating back to 1784, who was our guest speaker. He showed a video of the many roles of the Old Guard. They do much more than providing burial services honoring our veterans in Arlington National Cemetery and maybe best known for guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers.
He acknowledged his past role with the 506th, then spoke of the history and the many attributes of those who had contributed to the legacy of the Currahee Unit. He also spoke of the many heroes of FSB Ripcord and how it shaped this unit's future. We gave Col Davis a Company C Guidon award showing our gratitude for giving of his time and addressing us that evening.
On Friday morning we had a group of 50 that jumped onto the Metro to Arlington National Cemetery and had a wreath laying ceremony at the 101st Airborne Memorial along the entrance into Arlington. Here we had 21 Charlie Company Veterans participating with Cal Kato, Dave Simonds and Glenn Shuman presenting and laying the wreath in memory of our lost brothers. The ceremony was followed by a trolley tour of Arlington National Cemetery with a stop to watch the very solemn and moving changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The afternoon was free to explore Washington DC and sightsee.
Friday evening we had Dinner in the Mezz Room with Lt Ken Pitetti hosting the evening events. We had another superb meal followed by the Missing Man Table Ceremony designated by platoons to remember those Brothers who we have lost since are return from Vietnam. SGT Steve Bago read the dialog with a very moving and emotional presentation. A candle was lit for each platoon, Lt Bob Leibecke represented the 1st Platoon, Sgt Randy Parmley the 2nd Platoon, Lt Ken Pitetti the 3rd Platoon. Recognizing by platoon Sgt Bob von Almen of the 1st Platoon, Sgt Gary Gilliam of the 2nd Platoon, and Sgt Dave Simonds of the 3rd Platoon called each platoons to attention and a salute to remember their missing men. The company recognized Mrs. Beverly Anders Crase and presented a Guidon plaque in remembrance of her brother Cpl John Anders KIA on 4-1-1971. Lt Ken Pitetti then made a in-depth and wonderful power point presentation regarding the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial that we would visit the following day.
Saturday Morning we loaded the bus that took us to the Viet Nam War Memorial "The Wall". Here on the lawn next to the Wall we gathered by platoons in a Company Formation and Chaplain Col Ed Brandt provided an invocation prayer. The company then called out the 27 names of our fallen men of Charlie Company 1970-71. Captain (COL) Bob Seitz then called Charlie Company to attention, and we presented arms, as a Bugler sounded Taps to a very emotional gathering. Even the public visitors that were watching were moved by our ceremony. A wreath was then carried by Frank Matsko, Glenn Green and Bob Lister which was placed in front of the Wall Panels bearing the names of our fallen brothers.
Even with the hundreds of people at "The Wall" that day, there was not a sound as we observed a moment of silence. Yes it was hard, yes it was emotional, but it was a moment needed in our lives as we reunited with our Brothers of Charlie Company, 2nd 506th 70-71. We stayed a couple hours and visited our brothers etched in black granite gathering rubbings of their names to remember our reunion with them. It was quite a moving day for all.
Later at Dinner we had another amazingly delicious meal, followed by an stimulating and pleasant address from a familiar name; LTG James Mc Conville, who was deputy commander in 2007-2009 and Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division 2011-2014. He and his wife Maria joined us for our farewell dinner.
He was very complimentary to us as a Unit for supporting the young Currahee troops, also recalled our notable and valiant volley ball efforts. I do believe we have another legacy to preserve.
We enjoyed two guest that joined us on Saturday at the Wall and at Dinner. Cpt Jack Hopke who was Communications Officer on FSB Ripcord and Paul Baffico who also took part in FSB Ripcord. Paul was gracious to us and helped us at the Wall with locating and rubbings. He has volunteered his time for many years to helping those visiting the Wall. It was so good to have them with us at dinner and hope more Charlie Company Ripcord Brothers will join us at our reunions in the future.
Our reunion committee for the next year is Tom Weides, Steve Bago, Dallas Wetzler, Randy Parmley and Ken Pitetti. We will be looking at going to Ft Campbell in 2016 possibly coordinating with 506th Association Reunion. They will also be looking for another city for the 2017 reunion.
We are planning a trip to Ft Campbell for a preliminary visit to build new relationships with Charlie Company 2/506th sometime this summer. We hope to have 10 or more join us when we make the trip and lay the groundwork for a great 2016 Reunion.
Our "Photo Gallery of Albums" now has over 1600 Nam photos, have a look! You can find a menu-bar button on this page, and each of the platoon pages. During our reunion in late May at the "Rendezvous 2009" we had our 1st chance to pass around our individual photo albums for all to see. We found that everyone is in everyone else's pictures. It was really neat to see photos of yourself (from 40 years ago) that you have never seen before. We all agreed that there should be a central place for all of us to place a copy of our pictures for all to enjoy. This web based PHOTO GALLERY is the perfect solution. Heck, you can even get photo printouts sent to your home in the mail. We can easily setup a photo album for each person that submits their photos. So get yours sent in soon! If you need any assistance in scanning and converting your old film photos, I will be happy to help you..... Just send me an email with your questions. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org