Alpha Troop
2nd Squadron / 17th Cavalry Regiment
101st Airborne Division (Air Mobile) (Air Assault)

Alpha Troop Association News Letter

Alpha Troop News

Fall 2015



The Newsletter for Alpha Troop Association


                                                                            New Officers 



Gentlemen, due to term limits a call was put out for volunteers to fill the vacant positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Newsletter Editor. The generous members who stepped forward were later voted on and approved by the general membership during the business meeting held during last May's reunion in Nashville, TN.  The names and contact information of the new Officers and Chairs have been updated and can be found on the back page. 



2/17th Air Cavalry Stand Down and Deactivation


The 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment at Fort Campbell was deactivated on July 17, 2015. This was necessitated by the Army's retiring the OH-58D Kiowa Warrior which was the mainstay of the Army's Air Cavalry component for more than 50 years. 


The Army will replace the Kiowa in the aerial reconnaisance mission with the AH-64 Apache teamed with Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones).


Just as we all know that Alpha Troop evolved from a Ground Cavalry unit into the Air Cavalry during the Viet Nam War in 1969, so it has changed many times since then. The weapons and means of getting to the battlefield may have changed but the mission has always remained the same. Find the enemy. It's why they call it Cavalry and makes for the saying "If you Ain't Cav you ain't SH#T!!!




2/17th Air Cavalry Rides Again


That being said, The Army reactivated the Regiment on September 10, 2015 in a ceremony at Fort Campbell at the 101st Airborne Division Headquarters. This was accomplished by re-flagging the 3rd Battalion. 101st Airborne Aviation Brigade.


Lieutenent Col. Ken Smith (left), and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Brock, the senior enlisted advisor,

both with the 3rd Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, case the

colors of 3/101st CAB during a re-flagging ceremony September 10. The ceremony commemorated

the transition from 3/101st CAB to 2/17th Air Cavalry. 


The ceremony marked the change of 3-101st CAB, "Eagle Attack,' into 2/17th Cav., which inactivated earlier this summer. 3/101st CAB will remain inactivated.


"We changed our unit designation and colors today during this solemn occasion for Eagle Attack," said Lt. Col. Ken Smith the 3rd Bn. commander in his remarks. "We honor this history of Eagle Attack and the many accomplishments of the many Soldiers who have served in it.


Eagle Attack's history started in 1964 as the 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion. The battalion fought in 15 major campaigns in Viet Nam before being deactivated at Fort Hood, Texas in 1972. It was reactivated in 1978 as part of the 101st Airborne Division and re-designated as the 3/101st in 1986.


That history now merges with the 2/17th Cavalry whose history dates back to before the U.S. entered World war I. In 1916 the 17th Cavalry Regiment was constituted and served on the Mexican-American border.


"It is an honor for me to stand here to honor 2/17th Cav. as it rides again," said Lt. Col. Brad Smith, the rear-detachment commander of the 101st CAB. "This is not the first time these colors have been unfolded. Periodically in this unit's history our great nation has seen fit to put it on the shelf, only to call on them yet again."


Even though the colors of Eagle Attack remain cased, there is a sense of continuity to the mission. The soldiers and people that they represent remain the same. The only difference is that the next rendezvous with destiny will be under different colors.


"Today we merge one proud legacy with another, there are many aspects of the job that will remain the same," said the battalion commander during his speech. "Whether we are an attack-and-reconnaisance squadron, we find, identify, close with and destroy enemy forces. We orient our forces on the objective. We gain and maintain contact with the enemy; we do all of this as rapidly as possible. In the process, we often find ourselves as the most forward elements on the field of battle, hence the motto "Out Front". We do not do these missions for ourselves. We operate out front in support of all our nations forces, our allies and all of those we protect."





Association Annual Dues


A big thank you to the members who've paid their $25 annual association dues.  If you haven't paid dues for 2015 or last year, please send your payment to Keith Reed at his address at the end of the newsletter.  Dues must be paid to get this newsletter and to remain a member in good standing.  Veterans who don't pay dues are being dropped from correspondence from the association.  Active duty soldiers are not required to pay dues in order to belong to the association.



The Association President


Larry Palma currently resides in Brentwood, California with his wife Nancy






I began flying Jan. 1958 in my home state of Massachusettes. Then on to the U.S. Air Force followed by a stint in the Army as a helicopter pilot. Afterwards I flew in commercial aviation.


I have logged over 20,960 hours total Long Line at altitude, vertical reference, aerial photo, seismic,   fire suppression, helitorch, PSD, reconnaissance, BDA, surveillance, water drop, construction, fire retardants, animal herding, tagging, tracking, snow and glacier operations, mountain flying in Alaska,

Asia, Europe and Afghanistan. Setting steel towers, power lines, pulled wire, ski lift construction, over water operations and search and rescue.

I have been Director of Operations for several aircraft companies. A 133 Check Pilot as well as a Chief and Test Pilot. I have been in charge of as many as fifty aircraft and crews at one time as Wing Commander of EVAC in San Diego.



MMS Command General & Staff War College

BA Saint Martins College

AA Southwest College

AA San Diego College



FAA Commercial/Canadian Commercial. Instrument rated, typed rated SK61, SK58 and SK76. FAR Part 133 Check Pilot, Rotorcraft Instruments. Licensed Air Traffic Controller Tower.IFR Rated. Seaplane Rated, amphibian, float.



Past President Saint Vincent De Paul

Vice President Alpha Troop 2/17th Air Cav. Association

Special Events Coordinator for the Seattle Down Town Developement Corporation

Rotarian International NASA Group

Member of the Exchange Club of San Diego

Member NASA Rotary; Houston, Texas


Total Flight Time

Helicopter 18,960 hours

Aircraft Fixed Wing 10,780 hours

Sea Planes 7,980 hours

Long Line experience at altitude 15,870 hours



Served in the U.S. Air Force 102nd Tactical Fighter Wing

Served in the U.S. Army Captain Infantry/Aviator





The Association Vice President



Robert H. Hull currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife JoAnne. The following will allow you to know who he is as well as a little of his history.


I am originally from Pittsburg, Pa. I joined the U.S. Army in June 1966 at the age of 16. Took Basic at Fort Gordon, Georgia and then went to Fort Ord, California for AIT. After AIT I went to Jump School from February to March 1967. I got my Jump Wings later in March and asked to go to the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I got my pick of units and was assigned to "C" Company, 2nd of the 506th Infantry.


After the 101st left for Nam I was transfered to the 3rd Army 287th Field Service. When the 2nd of the 17th Air Cavalry was reorganized in 1968 I was transfered to Alpha Troop. At that time we received additional troops for the Rifle Squad. Two-thirds of the troops were international and all were draftees.

Our Platoon Leader was Captain Reed and he was hardcore, a real leader!


While in Viet Nam I was wounded. It took 43 years after my release from Camp Zama Army Hospital in Japan for the Army to award me the Purple Heart. After my release from the hospital I was sent back to Oakland Army Base to be discharged from the Army.


Ninety days after my discharge I decided to enlist in the U.S. Navy. I put in two years and was stationed at NAS Jacksonville. My rate was Aviation Ordinance. After I was discharged from the Navy in July 1971 I returned to Pittsburg. I went back to school to and earned my GED. I went to work for DOD and was picked up by the Army to work for the Army Reserve Center as a Store Worker. 


In 1973 I returned to Jacksonville and applied at the naval base for a job. I was accepted one year later and started working at the Naval Aircraft Repair Facility. I worked there from 1974 to 2005 as a Bearing Mechanic (Airframe Bearings and Engine Bearings). I retired in 2005 with a total of 38 years total federal Service.


After I retired I became actice in my local Disabled American Veterans Chapter. In 2006 I attended the Service Officers School for five days. I recieved my certification and to this day I am still serving Veterans from all wars to file service connected disabilty claims. I also work for the VFW as a Service Officer. This

past June the DAV awarded me the distinction of Number 1 Service Officer in the state of Florida. 

Jacksonville has been my home for 41 years.


Please feel free to give me a call from 9AM to 4PM EST Monday thru Saturday for any questions you may have about claims you may have with the Veterans Administration. I will guide you all the way, from beginning to end. My DAV Office phone number is (904) 269-2945 and on Thursday's only my VFW Office phone number is (904) 778-7909


Note: The VA recognizes the following conditions  listed as presumptive related to Agent Orange:


Lung Cancer

Parkinson's Disease

Prostate Cancer

Ischemic heart Disease (If you had just one stent or a full blown heart attack)


Most veterans do not know that even if you are rated at 10% and you require surgery on that disabilty after the finding you need to file a claim for convalesence leave. the VA will make a decision on how long it takes to recover. You could recieve 100% Temporary Disability. An example would be a total knee replacement for which the VA will pay 100% for the recovery time for 12 months.


I would like to thank the Alpha Troop Association for appointing me as the Troop Service Officer.


The Association Treasurer


Nathan Keith Reed currently resides in Tuscola, Texas with his wife Kathy.





22 years in the U.S. Army as enlisted (E1 - E5), Warrant Officer (W1 - W2) and a commissioned officer (O1 - O5). I flew the OH-13, UH-19, CH-21, CH-34, UH-1 and AH-1. I also flew the O-1, U-6 and T-41B. I was SIP in the UH-1 and AH-a. On the civilian side, I flew the Cessna C-172 and Piper PA-34 and the Beech BEVA-35. I commanded two basic training companies, one airborne cavalry troop and one air cavalry troop. Staff duties were at battalion/squadron level and directorate level.


After retirement from the Army, I worked 24 years for four defense contractors as a project manager/systems engineer. Programs were Multiple Launcher Rocket System (MLRS), High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), the C-17 aircraft, the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the Future Combat System (the system was killed after preliminary developement) and several research classified investigations.



U.S. Army Command and Staff College

MA - Webster University, St Louis, MO

BA - Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA



Past Chairman, Alpha Troop Association

LSU Alumni Association

Life Member, 101st Airborne Division Association

Life Member, Army Aviation Association of America

Past Secretary AAAA North Texas Chapter

Association of the United States Army

Cavalry and Armor Association

Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

Project Management Institute






"A" Troop 2/17th Air Cavalry 

Earned Unit Citations

The 101st Airborne Division or Units received Unit Citations. A Troop is entitled to all the citations by being assigned or attached. Each Trooper must be assigned and served at least 30 days with the unit during the period of the award.


UNIT                        AWARD                                                   PERIOD        GO#          GO DATE


Division            Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm     19 Jul 68 - 14 May 69     43       12 Aug 70

Division            Civil Action Honor, First Class                      Feb 68 - 2 May 70         48       14 Oct 71

1st Brigade      Valorous Unit Award                                 17 Jan 66 - 24 Mar 66    17       23 Apr 68


1st Brigade      Presidential Unit Citation                            2 -20 Jun 66                 59        8 Jan 69

1st Brigade      Meritorious Unit Commendation                  Jul 65 - Oct 66               17      21 Oct 68

1st Brigade      Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm      1 -31 Jul 66 &                21        8 Apr 69

                                                                                  9 Dec 66 - 18 Jan 67   

(Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry is attached to 1st Brigade and is included.)


3rd Brigade      Presidential Unit Citation                            10 - 21 May 69              16       31 Mar 70

3rd Brigade      Valorous Unit Award                                 17 Apr - 7 May 69            2       13 Jan 71

(Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry is attached to 3rd Brigade and is included.)

2/17 Cavalry     Valorous Unit Award                                  7 Dec 69 - 16 Feb 70     48      14 Oct 71



Greetings fellow Troopers

from the Chairman


I want to take a minute of your time to welcome aboard our newest group of alumni who were gracious enough to throw their hat in the ring for the open Officers' positions.


The nominations and election were held during our 2015 Reunion in Nashville last May. Larry Palma is now our new President and is busy looking ahead on how to make things bigger and better for the Association in the coming year. He is already making the initial plans for the next reunion to be held in 2017. Larry's previous position as Vice President of the Association gives him a huge step up on how things run.


Our new Vice President is Robert (Bob) Hull. Bob has been a member of the Association for many years and is known as THE man to see if you have questions or need help with VA Veterans Benefits. He is a Veterans Service Officer and was recently awarded the Outstanding Service Officer Award for the State of Florida. His untiring work on behalf of his fellow Vets speaks volumes to his commitment to see that they get what they earned after giving so much to our country. I'm sure the Association will only be stronger by having someone with his skills readily available to help guide us through the red tape when it arises.


Our new Treasurer is Keith Reed. As we all know, Keith has volunteered his time for just about every position within the association. We are extremely lucky to have him on board once again and I look forward to having someone with his knowledge base to help guide us through the red tape when it arises.


Our new Secretary is Richard (Rick) Harvey. Rick previously served a stint as Secretary of the Association so he already knows the ropes and most of the new officers and Board of Directors. This will make for an easy and seamless transition.


Our new Newsletter Editor is Steve Tedder Just in case you haven't heard the story, Steve is the gentleman who crashed the reunion in 1999 held in Nashville. Up until that time it was only pilots that also belonged to the Vietnam Helicopters Pilots Association. At the farewell breakfast Steve stood up and put a question to the entire group. He asked, "Why are there no enlisted troopers involved in your alumni gatherings?" Of course the rest is history. Bob Karig gave it some thought and immediately went about the task of locating and inviting every single person who ever served in A Troop, 2/17th Air Cavalry. We all owe Steve Tedder a big thank you for that action and I'm sure he will be bring the same tenacity to his new job as editor.


Thank you all for stepping up and taking your positions to serve the Association. We are very grateful to you for the giving of your time and effort.




It is with a heavy heart that we must say good bye to our departing president, Mike Mabe. I don't even know where to start so I will start with the first time I met Mike. We were at the 2008 Reunion in Nashville. As we were chatting about where we were from and what years we served I asked Mike how long it took to drive from his home in Pfafftown, NC to Nashville. His reply was that he rode the bus. Of course that led me to ask why. His response was that he wanted to see what it was like to again travel cross country on a Greyhound Bus. Just wanted to relive a bit of his past as a young soldier.


From what he told me it seemed like nothing much had changed. There were smokers, the couple making out, the drinkers and most importantly, the talkers plus the 80 stops they made to pick up new riders. As he was telling me his story I knew right then and there that I had met someone very special. I discovered just how special as we continued to talk. I learned that he was a retired corporate executive that had put in 30 plus years with huge clothing and food product manufacturing companies.


Here is a guy that was financially set due to his hard work and planning through the years. He could easily have afforded making the trip in a limousine both ways, yet he chose to ride the bus both ways. I could not have been more impressed.


Fast forward two years. I became Chairman of the Board in 2010. The position of president was up for appointment later that year. The first and only person that I thought about asking to fill the vacancy by throwing his hat in the ring was Mike Mabe.


I had seen all I needed to during our first meeting in 2008. I knew that the Association would be very fortunate to have a man of such integrity be our next president. As we all know, he accepted and the rest is history.


What many of you do not know is Mike not only served one term but that he was gracious enough when no one else volunteered to serve subsequent terms. Mike Mabe served a full four years as Association President. During his tenure he worked tirelessly on our behalf and insured the Association was as strong and vibrant as it could possibly be.


Mike, we all salute you for a job well done. Your leadership and support will be missed. The time and effort you put in so freely for each and every one of us is deeply appreciated. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors and look forward to seeing you at the next Alpha Troop Reunion.




Douglas Doerr - Chairman, Alpha Troop Association



Message from the Newsletter Editor


I apologize for the delay in completing the Fall Newsletter. That being said I have a few requests.


The Alpha Troop Association has a Facebook Page. I highly recommend that if you use Facebook that you send in a friend request and get on board. This is a great way to share pictures, stories or just keep in touch with fellow members. I never thought that I would even use any social media but once I checked it out I found it a great way to stay in contact with family and friends. So please, give it a shot. Currently we have a total of 35 members. I know there are more than 35 veterans on Facebook.


Beginning with the Winter 2016 Newsletter I will have a section titled "The History of "A" Troop. My objective is to tell the story of Alpha Troop from it's beginning with the 101st Airborne Division all the way through it's stand down in Viet Nam. I will need pictures and stories from individuals. One of the things that I've learned on our visits to Ft. Campbell is that with the exception of those who were actually there no one knows anything about us. Not our misssion, not our unit make-up. Not the places we served in-country. Nothing. I would like to change that.


I also would like to thank Mike Mabe for the great job he did serving as our president. At one time most of us thought it would be impossible to get the "Ground Cav" to participate in the Association. Mike made that possible and I for one am grateful. It has been great meeting these guys and learning how they operated and what it was all about before helicopters became the mainstay of the unit.





Current Officers and Directors



Larry Palma (1971-1972)

305 Roundhill Drive

Brentwood, California

559 367-5389



Vice President

Robert H. Hull (1968-1969)

5637 Chirping Way W

Jacksonville, Florida 32222

Home 904 424-3468

Cell         905 563-2178



Richard Harvey (1967-1968)

2105 West Emerald Bend Court

Granbury, Texas 76049

801 710-1059





Nathan Keith Reed (1968-1969)

209 Ruger Street

Tuscola, Texas 79562

319 377-1232



Newsletter Editors


Steve Tedder (1971-1972)

13307 Balta Turn

Chesterfield, Virginia 23838

804 739-1283





Doug Doerr (1971-1972)

1719 10th Street North

Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

904 509-2814



Bogart Memorial Fund


Frank De La Vara (68-70)

13736 E. Lomitas Ave.

La Puente, CA 91746

626 961-8306





Doug Doerr (71-72) (Chairman)

1719 10th Street North

Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

904 509-2814



Richard Smith (69-70) (Vice Chairman)

501 Dillahy Dame Loop

Island, KY 42350

270 543-2881



Glen Veno (71) (Director)

6397 Kinyon Drive

Brighton, MI 48116

810 599-9999