Reflections, Reunions, Articles, and other Items of Interest's........

Here below, is a listing of events that we attended, related articles and other memrollbia from the group on the subject of our tour in RVN. In the process of looking back, this period of time in our lives means many different things to all of us. Scroll down and take a look. And please let us know if you have, or know of, any other articles, photos, or information that our brothers may find interesting or healing in nature.

Send your comments, write-ups, and info for posting to ... rparmley@verizon.net

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Week of the Eagles 2014, Vietnam Veteran Tribrute... http://www.army.mil/article/126149

An "Email Reply" from Capt. Randy House who retired as "General R.W. House" on his feelings about Charlie Company.

A poem from Gary Gilliam to his brothers..."A Soldier's Reflection"  (you may need to rotate this PDF once opened)

Here is a great article on the "Rescue From FSB Ripcord" by Tom Marshall (June, 1998) is from a Huey Pilot's point of view. This is an absolutely chilling account of the evacuation that occurred on July, 23rd 1970.

A gripping story by Charles "Chuck" Hawkins on what a Jungle Ambush was like to experience.

A beautiful writeup here with the Week of the Eagles 2009 "After Action Report" from Gary Gilliam. (See Below)

An old hometown Newspaper Article from Frank Matsko on the Large Bunker Complex that we found and destroyed.

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Operation LAM SON 719 Article in the The Currahee Free Press pages 5 & 6, published late April 1971

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The 3rd Brigade Daily Bulletin from December 5th, 1971 with a history overview from 12/1967 to 12/1971 when the Brigade left Vietam. There seems to a number of details missing from this article, Operation Texas Star with the Firebase Ripcord Battle and Operation Jefferson Glenn to name a few.

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__________THE FINAL INSPECTION _____(Submitted by Capt. Isabelino Vazquez)

The Soldier stood and faced his God, which for all of us this day will come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining, just as brightly as his brass.

"Step Forward Now" you Soldier", said God, just how shall I deal with you"?
Have you always turned the other cheek?  And to My Church, have you always been true"?

The soldier squared his shoulders and said, "No Lord, I guess I surely Ain't".
Because those of us who have to carry guns, we can't always be a Saint.

I've had to work many on Sundays, and at times my talk was very tough.
And sometimes, Lord, I've been violent, because this world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny, that wasn't mine to keep.
And I worked a lot of overtime, when my bills just got too steep.

I never passed a "cry for help", and there has been times when I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me, I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place, among your many righteous people here.
They never really wanted me around, except to calm their many fears.

If you have a place for me here, Lord, it needn't be so grand.
I never expected, or had too much. But, if you don't Lord, I will surely understand.

Then fell a silence all around the Mighty Throne, where His Saints had often trod.
As this Soldier waited quietly, for the Judgment of his God.

"Step Forward Now, you Soldier", "For I have seen that you've borne your burdens well".
"Walk peacefully on Heaven's Streets", "I see you've done your time in Hell".

 ________~Author Unknown~

It's the Soldier, not the Reporter who has given us the freedom of the press.

It's the Soldier, not the Poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.

It's the Soldier, not the Politicians that ensures our right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

It's the Soldier who salutes our flag, who proudly serves beneath our flag, and whose coffin is draped by our flag.

May God bless all of our soldiers who day after day put their lives in harm way to keep our country safe.

__CURRAHEE.!!!!

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The Wall:   A little history that most people don't know about. Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 36 years since the last casualties.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth , Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.
 
12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam ..

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam ..

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall. Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall. Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci - They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths. _______________________________________________
The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

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Charlie Company 2016 Reunion & 506th Assoc., May 12th - May 15th

 

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Company C 1970 - 1971 at our Charlie Company Dinner

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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.

Gary Gilliam

1st Platoon__ 2nd Platoon

_______________1st Platoon, 2016 _____________________________________2nd Platoon, 2016

3rd Platoon __ 506th Memorial Dinner

___________________3rd Platoon, 2016 ________________________The 506th Association Dinner for 2016

 

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VM-2 __VM 1 __VM-3

Charlie Co. 2015 Reunion, April in Washington DC at "The Wall"

 

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

DC1 _ DC2

DC3 _ DC4

DC5 _ DC6

"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.

Gary Gilliam

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Rendezvous 2014 Reunion, March 12th - March 16th at Ft. Campbell KY was fantastic time for all.

What a Great Reunion!  We enjoyed so many wonderful memories together this year.  

Wednesday evening we enjoyed wonderful dinner at the Harper House with the 2nd 506th Inf. Battalion Commander LTC Kirkpatrick along with 82 veterans, wives and family.  Charlie company 1970-71 had 60 of those in attendance.  I was so proud to introduce Charlie Company to the commander.  Charlie Company had prepared a presentation at the end of the dinner. Vic Roubidoux (Charlie Company 2nd Platoon) and Gary Pratt the Chief of the Iowa Nation presented LTC Kirkpatrick with a native American Grateful blanket that contained all the battle ribbons of WWII, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan with his call sign "WHITE CURRAHEE 6" embroidered into the blanket.  What a once in a lifetime event and well received by the Battalion Commander, who offered a word of appreciation afterward.

On Thursday morning we attended the awards ceremony at Currahee Memorial at the Brigade headquarters.  There COL Val Keaveny awarded Vic Roubidoux a Bronze Star w/V device and Doug Kolm the Purple heart earned 43 years ago.  Doug was unable to make the trip to receive his Purple Heart so Tom Weides, Bob Lister and Gary Gilliam were there to accept this award for him.
We had 7 Charlie Company 70-71 DMORs Steve Bago, Doc Jerry Cafferty, Glynn Hale, Bob Lister, Jeff Wilcox, Mike Womack, and Domenic Smigliani (posthumously awarded and accepted by his nephew Marco Polo Smigliani).

We enjoyed a great lunch at the dining hall; which was an eye opening opportunity of how the Army has changed. 

After lunch Charlie Company asked for an opportunity to meet with the Brigade Commander Col.  Keaveny to make a presentation.  Again Vic Roubidoux and Gary Pratt made a presentation of a Grateful Nation blanket with the battle ribbons and embroidered CURRAHEE 6.  COL Val Keaveny was pleased and spoke of his appreciation of the gift and the nature of the presentation.  He was very proud of Charlie Company and those who support the Currahee nation.

Several of the men who had attended the 2012 reunion played volley ball with the young Currahee's.  Earning their respect, as the old men gave a pretty good challenge for men 3 times their age.  So they came up with the plan to have a rematch while at Ft Campbell. With the help of LTC Kirkpatrick and CPT Oglesby we were able to secure a recreation hall for the rematch of the century.  The first game was a warm up for the old Currahee's losing 21 to 14.  The second game the old men showed their tenacity and won 21 to 17.  The third game we made sure we did not injure their confidence in battle and gave them the game 21 to 13.  Sometimes you have to just do the right thing.   CURRAHEE!

Thursday evening we had our Memorial Dinner recognizing our 7 DMORs and some first time attendees.  Bob Seitz awarded Charlie Company Coins out to the 1st time attendees.  We remembered our men who did not return, John Fowler read the men lost in 1970, Bob Lister read the names of the men lost in 1971, and Randy Parmley read the names of those who have passed since we came home.  Cal Kato tolled the Bell after each name was read.  Frank Matsko then offered a toast to remember our lost brothers then, now, and always.

After dinner we hosted many of the young Charlie Company Currahee troops at the hospitality room located in the American Legion hall. CPT Jon Oglesby, Charlie/Fox company commander spoke to the gathering of young and old Currahee's and discussed the bond of brotherhood that has been built.  We recognized the officers; who were attending for the first time, with Guidon Awards for their service to Charlie Company 1970-71.  Dave Simonds presented a Guidon award to 1LT Ken Pitetti, who was his platoon leader in 3rd Platoon, Gary Gilliam presented CPT Glynn Hale, 1LT Jim Campbell, 1LT Charlie Lieb and CPT Jeff Wilcox with their Guidon awards.  Afterward we had a raffle where we gave away some fun items such as pith helmet, knives, ditty box, ammo belt with vintage canteen, Charlie Company one of a kind magnets and stickers.  The young Currahee's made out like bandits and had a great time!  We are so proud of them. 

We took time to get close to these young men and many of us adopted and sponsored them as our Currahee brothers, providing a year’s subscription to 506th Infantry association and made a commitment to stay in touch with each other.

Friday we met and discussed the next reunion which will be held in Washington DC April 2015 as well as another visit to Ft Campbell this year.  Steve Bago and LT Ken Pitetti will be coordinating and planning both reunions.

We also took time to discuss VA issues and needs for addressing some of the health challenges that many of us are experiencing.  Marco Smigliani a veteran advocate explained the processes and answered questions.  This was very interesting to those attending. 

Friday several went down to the Gaylord Hotel and attended the Regimental Ball in Nashville, enjoying a lovely evening.  The others took time to hang out together, continuing to tour the post, visited the museum/gift shop, and dined together.  Followed by another fun evening at the American Legion and some young troops, having a wonderful time of bonding.

We began to disband on Saturday morning with a few holding on to our goodbyes until Sunday.

OK everyone I am ready for the next one, SEE YOU IN WASHINGTON DC!

Currahee!! __Gary

2014 Co C

Charile Company Attendees at the Vietnam Memorial Stone

2014 DMOR's

2014 DMOR Awardee's

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2013 Charlie Company Reunion, Branson MO

2013 Reunion

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2012 Charlie Company Reunion, Ft. Campbell KY

2012 Reunion

2012 Reunion, After Action Report:

Wednesday: We had an unbelievable reunion; as everyone began to arrive into Ft Campbell, we had a nonstop evening with the Charlie Company 70-71 guys and their wives getting to visit.  Early evening many of the young men from Charlie Company 2012 began to filter in with us. I believe they were a little apprehensive at first; many meeting with the older Charlie Company for the first time, but as the night went on the numbers continued to grow.  We started out with ordering 12 large pizzas and it appeared this would be enough for the evening but the second wave of young Currahees must have received messages from those with us and we had to order 5 more pizzas.  We were very excited to see Captain Oglesby Charlie Company commander attended with his cadre.  We had an amazing time; the bonding with these fine men of Charlie Company 2012, began on the very first evening.

Thursday: We began our day with pouring rain but just as we prepared to leave for the Wreath Laying Ceremony which had been changed to 9:30 AM the rain stopped and skies cleared. We met at the Currahee Memorial located next to regimental headquarters.  Charlie 2012 formed as a company unit on one side and Charlie 1970-71 formed opposite and the wreath was presented with Charlie Company old and new ordered to attention by Charlie 2012 by FSG Donovant and our Charlie 1970-71 by LT Bob Leibecke.  LT Leibecke did a wonderful job speaking to the companies assembled about the reason we had come and those remembered by the wreath. LT Leibecke ordered Charlie 70-71 to present arms as FSG Donovant ordered Charlie 2012 as an echo.  We all took time to look at the Granite Stone inscribed VIET NAM with all the names of 506th Inf KIA in RVN engraved on the reverse side of the stone.

We then went to the Sink library where the staff had coffee and snacks awaiting us.  We went to the Pratt Museum just a few blocks away and many purchased shirts, hats and other items of remembrance at the gift shop. At noon we made our way to the organizational area where Charlie Company 2012 along with their families had prepared a wonderful cook-out and family time together.  We had some of the old Currahees challenge the young Currahees to a game of volleyball; as others thought them to be delusional, Bob Lister, Glenn Green, and Frank Matsko put the hammer on those young troops that started out taking it easy on the old men but soon were in a fight for their pride as the score as at 17-18.  Fun was had by all that attended.  Later back at the hospitality room we had a great time together and as wives rubbed Ben Gay on the old athletes the young men again began to show-up,  again, led by CPT Oglesby and his Cadre.  That is a miss-statement; actually the young men were never instructed to come but invited to the hospitality room by the old grunts at the cookout.  We went through $150 worth of sub sandwiches and 10 cases of beer as well as other high-proof provisions by our famous 1st platoon Cuban.  Bob Lister danced on the table but no one was impressed by his moves but noticed him only by the distinct aroma of Ben Gay! The men stayed until close to Mid-night even knowing they had 0500 formation. 

Friday: Heavy rains greeted us as we awoke.  But as clock work as we prepared to make our way to gate 7 the rains stopped, someone had some good connections… We headed to Charlie Company CP to board buses headed to the firing range at 8:30.  We had some great time on the firing range and many proved they could be great warriors again if ever called but also noted that we would have to be called the wheel chair brigade.  We can’t walk far but we can still shoot!  We stayed on the range and slung brass until 1200 noon.  COL Seitz then did a reenlistment ceremony for SGT Josh Bennett.  We had an amazing time with these young Currahee’s at the range.  This was followed by our breakout sessions with each of the three platoons back at Battalion HQ.

That evening we attended the Memorial Dinner, Captain Seitz spoke to his Charlie Company 70-71 as we remembered those who died along side us in Viet Nam a lifetime ago; as well as, those dear brothers we have lost since returning home.  There was a notable absence of a special man: LT Joe Ficarra  

As the names were called, the bell tolled reminding us to always remember. Currahee!!  It is our hope that if you were unable to join us this year you will join us to remember our brothers next year.

LTC Jack Rich spoke to us of how the men of the 506th Infantry continues to look up to us as those whose footsteps that has provided a rich legacy beginning with the Band of Brothers in World War 2 continuing through Viet Nam as they continue extend the Currahee legacy.  CPT Oglesby addressed those attending telling of the pride that his men have in those who they have bonded with throughout the week. We also were blessed to have SSG Starks Charlie company 2nd platoon 2/506th who was presented the Silver Star by U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus for valorous service in the last deployment; he was also named and awarded Soldier of the Year with us at the memorial dinner.

Following dinner we returned to the hotel to find most of Charlie Company 2012 awaiting our arrival. This night many of them got a room and didn’t stop until the next morning.  Bonding of the old & new was now complete!  These men are a part of our lives and we will be here for them as they deploy next spring and will be here for them when they return home.
I must say the 2012 Charlie Company 70-71 Reunion was amazing, but it was all of those young men that embraced us that was the real highlight of the week!

Many left out the next day (Saturday) for home but a few of us die hard brothers continued to visit until Sunday morning when reality set in and we had to return to our homes.

We will be sending out information on the next reunion soon.  The reunion next year is being planned for Branson MO.
Since the Battalion will be deployed next year we are planning a trip to Branson where Veterans are celebrated.
We are looking at Mid June 2013.  Bob Lister & Mike Womack are working on setting up the hotel and packages for this trip. 

We are looking for a great reunion next year so begin to plan now.

Currahee Brothers!

We send our love out to all, Gary and Debbie Gilliam

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Currahee Rendezvous 2011 at Ft. Campbell in November 2011....The "Charlie Company" Group.

2011 Reunion Attendee's - Men

2011 Reunion, The Ladies

See the full photo album in the Gallery....Currahee Rendezvous 2011

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Ripcord Reunion 2010

Ripcord Reunion 2010 at Ft Worth TX - The Charlie Co. Boys

Seated Left to Right:  Lt. Bob Leibeck, Howie Colbert, Cpt. Vasquez, Bill Tipton, Dale Cooper, Chief Pioche.
Second Row Left to Right:  Lt. Bob Wallace, Lt. Jim Campbell, Cpt. Jeff Wilcox, Mike Womack, Cpt. Chuck Hawkins
Back Row Left to Right:  Frank Bort, Pete Meloro (he was C Company Clerk), John Kuennen, Bob Tarbuck

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506th Currahee Reunion in Harrisburg PA late July 2010....The "Charlie Company" Group.

Charlie Men at Harrisburg

See the full photo album in the Gallery....Harrisburg Reunion 2010

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Can one old "Vietnam Veteran" make a difference in today's world? A "Currahee Veteran" can and does!! Give a hearty "Job Well Done" shout out to our old battle buddy "Bob Lister"!

A Veterans Story of Support

PROUD OF OUR STUDENTS

Just finished yesterday mailing off the last packages to our young CURRAHEE BROTHERS in Afghanistan.  The kids did a total of 55 boxes.  I hope this makes their Christmas a little better.  I'm going to sit down and write a letter, to tell all the Kids, Parents and Community, how thankful I am of all the support they gave me to accomplish this for the deployed troops.


I just finished reading the book “RIPCORD”, Screaming Eagles Under Siege VIETNAM 1970, by Keith W Nolan.  I came in country just about 8 weeks after that.  I can still remember just getting to our company area as a cherry, with Cal Kato and Phifer.  I don't know who it was, but there was a couple of old timer grunts in the rear and one started telling just what had happened at RIPCORD.  He scared the crap out of me.  Read this if you get a chance (for all those who weren't there).  Hope all your Holidays are fantastic!   

Currahee Brothers! . . . . . . Bob Lister 

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A Christmas Story, ....Remembering Christmas 1970?....Christmas_1970_1   Christmas_1970_2

I know that the men of the 2nd Platoon do..... 

(12/15/09) Our old buddy, Sgt. Steve Bago reminded of this little event, so let me put it out to you all and test your memories.....

DEC. 25th, 1970  With a early morning radio call from HQ telling us to prepare an LZ for the extraction of six old-timers who where going to the "Bob Hope USO Christmas Show" at Camp Evans for the day.  And that the bird was to arrive at 10:00 Hours to pick them up.  The men of the 2nd platoon shifted into scramble mode....  The morning fog was thick and dense as we pulled together and inventoried our explosives on hand to do the job.  We seemed short, but if we creatively applied the C4 blasts to clear the trees and brush we could pull it off.  Besides, we had several axes and a bunch of machetes to finish up with.  The men wolfed down their C-Ration breakfast and jumped into the work with Sgt. Chris Christensen giving directions and Sgt. Bago, Sgt. Hudson, and Sgt. Parmley pushing the work along we accomplished a small "Christmas Miracle" and produced a beautiful LZ by 9:30AM.  During the morning the fog kept rolling in and out as we toilled away, but it usually burned-off about 9:00 or so.  But today, the fog was much heavier than normal..... 

As 10:00 was approching the waves of dense fog was still blowing in, and out, and over us.  Sgt. Chris Christensen was on the radio with the in-bound Bird.  We could hear the Chopper coming closer as the sounds from the Bird bounced off the hillsides around us.  Chris yelled out "Pop Smoke" just as another wave of fog rolled over us.  We started to get worried that the Bird wouldn't be able to see our smoke and and locate our new LZ.  Sure enough...the pilot of the Chopper radio'ed back, saying all that he could see was a heavy blanket of dense fog.  He would make one more pass over and then he would abort the extraction mission.  Again, we could hear him fly over with the same results.  I think that you could of heard the yells of the men of the 2nd Platoon a "click" away as the sound of the chopper faded away.  I think that it was Thurman (Frogtown) Logston that even picked up his M60 machinegun and fired several brusts in frustration.  Everyone was bitching and moaning after putting in all the work building an LZ.

As the fog finally lifted and burned-off.  It left the men of the 2nd Platoon sitting-there on a pretty little LZ frustrated and pissed-off.  "Now What???" said the guys....I think that it was Sgt. Jeff Hudson that said "Screw it"..."It don't mean a thing"..."We did'nt want to go to that dammed show anyway".  The looks upon the faces of the men were devastated as we sit there.  After all,...here it is..."Christmas Day", in the middle of a "Christmas Truce", and we are sitting on the top of a lousey hill in the middle of the dammed jungle, a million miles away from Home.  "Yeah, You are Right, It don't mean a dammed thing....."

Has we sit there in dis-belief of what just happened.  I think it was "Doc Warren" (Rick Warren) that said..."Well this is pathetic",... "You guys need to get crap your together",... "I don't care where I am at, but I going to celebrate this Christmas with a cheer",....."Get off your butts, and help me put together a Christmas Tree".  With that, he jumped up and grabbed a scragglely little branch that we had just chopped down for the LZ and stuck it into the ground.  He started to place empty C-Ration cans and colorfull scraps of trash paper on it.  The guys all slowly got up and started to join in upon hanging things on the "Tree".   Yes, this is our dammed "Christmas Tree"  in the middle of nowhere, and we are going to do it right....Before long, everyone's spirits were lifted and there was a smile on everybodies face.  Doc Warren even grabbed Mike Schmidt's Black Berret...Smearred some shaving cream on his face, and then he pulled a "Red Mail Bag" over his shoulder and yelled out "HO", "HO", "HO"....."Merry Christmas Charlie Company" as the men all chuckled.  I swear that I even heard several of them humming Christmas Carol's under their breath as things started returning back to normal.  Oh well, it was just "Another day in Paradise" as Sgt. Chris Christensen yells out ..."Ruck-Up"..."We got a mission"....

I hope you are all enjoying this "Christmas" much more than the "Christmas of 1970" with your family and loved one's near.   From me and my family....To you and all of your families...."Merry Christmas Charlie Company"

Randy Parmley, Webmaster

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The new "CURRAHEE KIA MEMORIAL" dedication Nov. 12, 2009                       The 506th Regiment has formally dedicated the new Currahee KIA Memorial at Fort Campbell KY. In attendance at the ceremony from our group was Bob Seitz, Gary Gillian, and Jim Roesch.   More information on this can be found at www.506infantry.org

After Action Report: Here is a summary of our visit  from Col. Ret. Bob Seitz….

Gary Gilliam, Jim Roesch, and I (Bob Seitz) travelled to Fort Campbell for the 12 November 2009 dedication of the new 506th Infantry KIA Memorial.  Which is located directly adjacent to the 506th Infantry Headquarters, the new memorial area has a large black spade with a profile of the Currahee Mountain in Georgia.  This serves as the memorial center point for the six large stone tablets, each one with an engraved parachute.  Three of these stone tablets are engraved, one for World War II, one for Vietnam, and one for Iraq and Afghanistan.  The stone tablet for Iraq and Afghanistan is furthered engraved with the names of all the fallen Currahees.  The stone tablets for World War II and Vietnam will be engraved with their KIA losses in the near future.

 The dedication ceremony was well attended by other 506th Infantry veterans, some from World War II, many from Vietnam and of course, many active duty soldiers who have endured multiple deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Also in attendance were the commanders from all the other 101st Airborne Division units.  Of special note, were the parents and family members of many of the Currahee soldiers who have fallen in the recent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Later in the day, Gary, Jim, and I (Bob) joined Charlie Company 2-506 during their squad and fire team live fire training. Each of us was provided with a flak jacket and helmet and followed a fire team as it walked a training lane, engaging targets with live fire from their weapons.

Charlie Company genuinely enjoys its relationship with us “Vietnam” veterans and earnestly looks forward to our next visit…

Col (Ret) Bob Seitz
Retired Colonel of the Regiment

Currahee KIA Memorial at Fort Campbell KY

A Group Photo at the Currahee KIA Memorial Site near the Battalion HQ at Ft. Campbell KY. More photos can be found on the "Photo Gallery Page" in a album setup for this event. Use this link here to get there:  PHOTO GALLERY

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The "Week of the Eagles" for 2009                                                                        The 101st Airborne Division did an absolutely fantastic job with the "WEEK OF THE EAGLES" presentation this year. The "Welcome Home" tribute to the "Vietnam Era Veterans" was very emotional and moving for everyone in attendence, young and old alike. The whole weekend will be a special memory for all.  You can read  Gary Gilliam's "After Action Report" or go and see the pictures on the photo gallery page       There also a short Army Video that you can find at http://www.army.mil/media/amp/?bcpid=6981683001&bclid=0&bctid=40921056001

WOE 2009

Photo just after the Vietnam Vet's Welcome Home. L to R: Gary Gilliam, Col. Ret. Bob Seitz, Jim Roesch, Frank Matsko, Big Dave Weindorf, Cal Kato, Glenn Green, Randy Parmley, Lt. Col. Don Hill the 2nd/506th Battalion Commander

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The "Currahee Rendezvous 2009" Homecoming & Reunion

In the last week of May, 2009 we pulled together a group of us at Fort Campbell TN to welcome the current 2nd Battalion home from their latest deployment in Afganistan. It was a real joy meeting the great young men of the current Charlie Company and joining them and their families for the offical welcome home celebration. For me, this was my first reunion, and I had mixed feelings about going. But seeing the men that I proudly served with 38 years ago filled me with emotion. It is hard to explain just how deep that the bonds between us were developed during that year in hell. I was glad that I went. I now feel that there was some healing that occured within areas of me that I didn't even realize needed it.  Yes, I am truly glad that I went.....

During our visit, the Regiment held their  DMOR Ceremony (Distinguished Men of the Regiment) where six members from the Vietnam Era received honors, all six were from Charlie Company. Our congrats go out to Col. Ret. Bob Seitz, Gary Gilliam, Frank Matsko, Jim Roesch, Bob Von Almen, and Roy Skeggs. These guys have hearts of gold, and their on-going support of the current regiment was rewarded. Also during the ceremony Col. Ret. Bob Seitz was also appointed as the new "Retired Colonel of the Regiment" a very special honor. We are all very proud of you guys. _If you didn't make it to Ft. Campbell. You missed an incrediable time. _ See the pictures on the photo gallery page

DMOR Ceremony

A group photo following the DMOR Cememony. L to R: Tom Weides, Glenn Green, Steve Bago, Jim Roesch, John Beebe, Frank Matsko, Col. Ret. Bob Seitz, Gary Gilliam, Cal Kato, Roy Skeggs, Randy Parmley, Bob von Almen.

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RVN Ribbon__          _______Air Medal Ribbon_____          ____Bronze Star Ribbon

 

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