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Remember Our Fallen
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of our fallen Brothers
45 years ago, on August 9,1969, WO1 Steve Young (Apache White 12), SP5 James Dine and SP4 Michael Seibert were killed in action fighting againt a large enemy North Vietemese force near the Cambodian border.
On the morning of 9 August 1969 an Apache Troop, 1st Squadron 9th Air Cavalry Pink Team comprised of an OH-6A Scout helicopter (call sign Apache 12) and an AH-1G Cobra gunship (call sign Apache 27) departed the Apache Troop strip on west Tay Ninh for an armed visual reconnaissance and air strike BDA (bomb damage assessment) mission near the Cambodian border. The Apache 12 aircrew was comprised of WO1 Steven Young (Pilot), SP4 Michael Seibert (Gunner) and SP5 James Dine (Crew Chief and normally Gunner but serving as Observer). The Apache 27 aircrew was comprised of 1LT Joseph Bowen (Aircraft Commander and Air Mission Commander for the mission) and copilot WO1 Gene Olson. Apache 12 was enroute from a preplanned airstrike that was late and he radioed to his high bird, Apache 27 that he wanted to head back to the west for a few minutes to an area we had flown over a few minutes before because he thought he had seen something "not quite right". The Cobra was flying in the same direction and approximately 1,000 feet above and behind Apache 12 so that if the “Little Bird” took fire the Cobra could put down immediate suppressive fire from the turreted 7.62mm minigun around the low flying Scout. Steve was flying to the west just above the 50-90 feet tall trees and underbrush that not fully defoliated by Agent Orange.
Apache 12 was flying around 70 knots back to the area he wanted to get another look at when the entire tree line he was flying over exploded in a massive enfilade of enemy automatic weapons fire. It appeared that well over two hundred NVA soldiers all fired at once on command as the muzzle flashes were strung out all along approximately 400-500 meters of the tree line. Steve’s OH-6A was in approximately the middle of the weapons fire when he radioed “taking fire!...taking fire!”. The aircraft then exploded and crashed into the trees among the westernmost elements of the enemy unit which was later identified as part of the 272d Regiment, 9th People’s Liberation Army Front (PLAF) Division.
Apache 27 immediately dove down firing the gunship’s 2.75 inch flechette and white phosphorous rockets as the enemy troops were now moving out into the open to shift their fires to try and shoot down the Cobra. WO1 Olson began engaging the enemy with his turreted 7.62mm minigun around where Apache 12 had crashed while 1LT Bowen got off a brief May Day radio call to the Troop Operations Center. Apache 27 continued diving towards the crash site while continuously firing back at the enemy troops with 17 pounder 2.75 inch rockets, 7.62mm minigun and 40mm grenade launcher.
The Apache 27 aircrew was focused on trying to survive the enemy fires and kill as many enemies as possible while rapidly getting to the crash site. The Cobra flew down to tree top level still shooting at enemy troops and quickly decelerated to slowly fly over and around the crash site in the hopes to see any survivors. Unfortunately the OH-6A was on fire and two crewmembers had not survived. The third crewmember could not be seen and there was a possibility that he may have been thrown out of the aircraft when it exploded and began crashing into the trees. The Cobra continued to hover around the crash site looking for the missing gunner while WO1 Olson continued to engage any enemy trying to get to the crash site. Quite unexpectedly, as 1LT Bowen flew his Cobra around the crash site the fourth time several small groups of well camouflaged NVA troops stopped shooting back at the Cobra and began moving rapidly to the east, towards An Loc. The mission for Apache Troop was now to try and find and rescue the missing gunner, SP4 Michael Seibert, then recover the remains of the other two Apache aircrew, WO1 Steve Young and SP5 James Dine.
Pictures were taken earlier in 1969 just a few kilometers from where Apache 12 was shot down – illustrates the type of underbrush and partially defoliated trees that 12 was flying over when he was shot down
The Apache 12 crew was not recovered until several weeks after they were shot down due to extremely strong enemy forces. The NVA regiment forced the withdrawal of the aerorifle platoon and ready reaction company that was inserted at the nearest LZ some distance from the crash site later that day. Steve, Michael and James are buried together in the Fort Bliss National Cemetary, Fort Bliss, Texas.
As the years go by our fellow Brothers lifted out our lives and their own PZ and flown to the Fiddler's Green LZ.
Another Sad Passing on Friday, May 16, 2014
CW5 (Retired) Mike Adkinson, Apache 34, Blue Lift,
ApacheTroop 1969 - 1970
Mike passed on May 16, 2014. His wife Susan reported that during his last period of semi-awareness Mike asked, “is the runway clear?”. Susan told him the runway is clear.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Friday, May 23, 2014, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, Marysville.
Father David Poliafico officiated, and Military Rites were conducted in an Outstanding manner by the Ohio Army National Guard.
Burial will take place on September 16, 2014 at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington DC.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Union County Humane Society.
Apache 34, Paul and Dennis. Ohio, Alaska, Alabama ARNG in the Middle East 06 -07
Apache 38 John Williams, Apache 34 Mike Adkinson and Apache 32 (Tuna) John Allan Visiting in Decembetr 2013
Apache 34 Veterans Day 2013
As the years go by our fellow Brothers lifted out our lives and their own PZ and flown to the
Fiddler's Green LZ.
If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.
CPT Michael Davis O'Donnell
1 January 1970
Dak To, Vietnam
Major O'Donnell was listed as MIA while piloting a
helicopter on a mission in Cambodia on 24 March 1970.
His remains were recovered in 1995 and interned at
Arlington National Cemetery on 16 August 2001.
Taps for another one of our Brothers
September 17, 1946 to December 9, 2013
Larry Wright and SGT Mullen trying tohave chow with interruptions Jan 1966
The Kid is Gone
Matthew Brennan wrote three books about the First of the Ninth Cav. The first was “Brennan’s War” but the next two were about other men’s wars—compilations of the memories of other squadron veterans, edited and introduced by Brennan.
Tom King wrote about his war in “Headhunters.” Tom was already a high-time pilot when he reported to the squadron at Fort Benning in July 1965. He was assigned to A Troop’s gun platoon, and sailed to Vietnam on the USS Boxer. What follows is from Tom King’s account:
I was originally assigned to fly copilot to the section leader, but I had spent too many years as an aircraft commander and I wanted my own aircraft. Captain Allen gave me one. [Dave Allen, the gun platoon commander, would go on to be a general.] We had an outstanding crew chief, nineteen-year-old Larry Wright, who later won the Distinguished Service Cross. The door-gunner was a paratrooper, SSG Jim Grady.
Our first real operation was called Shining Bayonet. We took in early morning dark, in the rain and clouds. I lost sight of my lead ship after the first turn to the east and spent the next hour and a half unsuccessfully looking for any ship from our platoon. Finally, we landed at the Special Forces camp in Binh Dinh province, from where we operated for the next few days.
Stockton [Colonel John B. Stockton, the squadron commander] took all three 1/9th gun platoons during Shining Bayonet into an area called Happy Valley. He put C Troop gunships in there first, then B Troop, and by the time we got there, “Charlie” was pretty well stirred up. I could see flashes on the ground and fired a couple of pairs of rockets at them. Simultaneously, my chin bubble was shattered and Jim Grady said over the intercom, “The kid/s hit!” Larry Wright was down and wounded.
We didn’t have doors on the gunships, the windows were open, and there was quite a bit of air flowing through the helicopter. Grady pulled off the kid’s flight helmet and blood flew everywhere. It covered so much of the instrument panel with small particles of blood that you couldn’t read the instruments. Wright had a scalp wound. I flew him to the aid station, and his only complaint was that his head hurt. There were two bullet holes in his helmet. One of the rounds had hit at an angle above his right ear, gone around inside the helmet, scalped him on the back of the head, exited the helmet above his right ear, and gone into the bulkhead above my head.
Larry Wright – “the kid” – died on 9 December 2013 at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, after a long illness. He is survived by his two daughters, Rebecca Ann Wright (Shai Goldenberg) and Elizabeth Jade S. Dresel (John); his brother, Harry E. Wright, Jr. (Georgia); the mother of his children, Melba Rogers (Gaines) and seven grandchildren, Justin Hamby, Rebecca, Johnathan and J.D. Sykes, Sarah, Emma and Kaiden Dresel. He also leaves behind a large number of fellow Vietnam veterans who came to know him through his tireless work on behalf of the Bullwhip Squadron Association.
As new leadership stepped in, a couple of the old guys from the “First Team, First Shift” stepped up. Al DeFleron and Walt Titchenell were among the stalwarts who worked hard to keep the association going. So was Larry Wright.
Larry served on the Board as Membership Chairman for seven years and was an ever-present fixture at squadron reunions. From Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama to Columbus, Georgia and Killeen, Texas, you could count on seeing Larry – handing out registration packets in the hospitality room, hauling equipment for the color guard, taking charge of the silent auction, recognizing everyone, and making first-time attendees feel the special bond that exists between veterans not only of the Vietnam War, but of the finest fighting unit to serve there.
We all noticed Larry’s declining health over the past several years and at the 2012 Fort Hood Reunion Apache Red asked Larry he would Honor the Squadron by giving the commands to Post and retrieve the Colors. Larry did not hesitate one second and said as he always did, “ANYTHING for THE SQUADON sir”.
Now, suddenly, Larry Wright, “the kid,” is gone. He’s going to be missed.
Larry’s family is planning a celebration of his life, to be held in his home town of Greensburg, Indiana, in the Spring of 2014. Announcements will be sent to friends, family and his Bullwhip buddies.
Additional details of Larry’s post-Vietnam life are at this link: http://www.thompsonsfuneral.com/obituaries/Larry-Wright-2/#!/Obituary There is also an on-line guest book where you can leave you memories of this wonderful man for his family to see.
Obituary for Larry Wright
Larry Dale Wright, 67, of Elgin entered into rest Sunday, December 9, 2013 at The WJB Dorn VA Medical Center. Born September 17, 1946 in Madison, IN, he was a son of the late Harry E. Wright, Sr., and Mary Edith (Davidson) Wright. Mr. Wright had dutifully served his country during the Vietnam War. He was with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) where he served as the Crew Chief of a Huey Helicopter. He received numerous medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart. Prior to his illness, he enjoyed taking road trips out west, especially Four Corners and Arizona. Mr. Wright also particularly enjoyed spending time with his former military unit, the 9th Cavalry Division. Following his military service Mr. Wright graduated from Purdue University. He was subsequently hired to work as a Special Agent with the Department of Justice. After eight years he went to work for the Department of Treasury as a Customs Agent, where he worked until he retired.
Mr. Wright is survived by two daughters, Rebecca Ann Wright (Shai Goldenberg) and Elizabeth Jade S. Dresel (John); his brother, Harry E. Wright, Jr. (Georgia); the mother of his children, Melba Rogers (Gaines) and seven grandchildren, Justin Hamby, Rebecca, Johnathan and J.D. Sykes, Sarah, Emma and Kaiden Dresel.
A memorial service was held on Friday, December 20, 2013 at Fort Jackson National Cemetery, Columbia, SC. The family
The family is planning a celebration of Mr. Wright’s life, to be held in his home town of Greensburg, Indiana, in the Spring of 2014. Announcements will be sent to friends, family and all of his military buddies.
Bullwhip August 2012 Newsletter
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The HEADHNUNTER's Buffalo in the Squadron HQs
If you have questions regarding this site or the association please contact:
Joe Bowen, President, Apache Red
Larry Wright, Membership Chairman
Passed to Fiddler's Green on 9 Dec 2013
LTC John Cushing, HEADHUNTER 6 (2009-2011) VP,
HEADHUNTER Veteran Memberships
Bob Monette, Sabre 20, VP, Military and Public Relations
Walt "Titch" Titchenell, Secretary
Chuck Ridenour, Saber 13, Treasurer