Alpha Troop

2nd Squadron/17th Cavalry

101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)

Alumni Association

Remembering our Crewmembers



Last night, I watched a PBS documentary on Army Helicopter Pilots in Vietnam. During

that show, Harrison Ford cited Army pilots as some of the bravest men ever to fly in

combat. This gave me some pause to think, and I'd like to share those thoughts with



There were other men aboard our aircraft in those days--men who were integral to the

success of the mission, but who had very little control over how it was done. They

didn't have a say over where we went or how we flew. Yet these men, who placed their

lives and their futures in our hands, came back day after day to fly with us into harm's

way. Then, when we were down at the club celebrating our cheating death one more time, they stayed up through the night repairing the damage we'd done to their airplanes

so they'd be ready to fly the following day.


Numerous studies have shown  that the greatest stress is suffered by those with the

least amount of control over the outcome of their jobs. I admit to being a little stressed

from time to time in the cockpit, but I cant imagine the stress that our crew chiefs and

door gunners must have endured as they watched some twenty year old kid take them

into a hot LZ. Yet these men came back day after day, without complaint, to serve our

troop and our country.


During this Veteran's Day remembrance, I would ask all of our Alpha Troop pilots to

remember those men who flew with us, and their selfless and heroic acts that brought

us home each day. The courage they displayed in accomplishing the mission is often

overlooked yet can never be measured.


I look forward to being able to share these thoughts in person next summer when ALL

Alpha Troopers from Vietnam--Pilots, Crew Chiefs, Maintenance Folks,

Blues, and Headquarters Guy's--reconvene in Denver.


Bob Karig

Assault 28, 71-72



Excellent thoughts, thanks for sharing them with us


Mike Wise

Assault 11, 70-71



Once again you have expressed thoughts that we, your comrades and friends, share.

Thanks for thinking out loud for the benefit of the rest of us.


Mike Talton

Assault 27, 69-70



Well said. Happy Veteran's Day.


Jim Davidson

Packet A, 69-69



Your thoughts on those brave men that followed and supported us were right on the

mark. I would like to think that their selfless service is a widely recognized fact, but

whether it is or not, it is good to remind whoever is listening that the quarterback

doesn't play alone.


Keep up the fire !!!!


MJ Brady Sr.

Major General, USA (Ret)



I cant reply to the reflector, but I certainly second your comments. I remember the

night I returned with 85 bullet holes on the LOH and went to the "Club" to celebrate the

fact that Nick and I were still alive. The next morning at 0530, the crew chief was

standing there on the flight line with every hole patched, the aircraft test flown and

ready for me the next morning. Those door gunners and crew chiefs get my vote as

some of the most valuable folks in that whole experience.


Bob Clover

Assault 16, 69-70



Well spoken Kemosabe.


Paul Patry

Packet A, 68-69



Well said, I experienced, again, both pride and heartache while watching the TV show

last night. My 14 year old grandson (the eldest of 8) sat through the entire showing

with Patsy and I. As the credits were rolling, he looked up and said "I hope I never have

to go to a war". " That's why we went son---so you wouldn't have to".


To all the pilots, crews and door gunners----welcome home and God bless you !!!!


Mac McComas

Assault 28, 69-70



Very well put.


Bob Masterson

Assault 28, 69-70



Bob, thanks for the Veterans Day thought and the pat on the back, it is welcomed here

in this old crewchiefs heart. I do not recall myself a hero, or even close to one, Just doing

my job. My heros were and are, the pilots, knowing what to do and when to do it. My

heros were and are, the crews who risk their lives pulling me out of the jungle on that

fateful May, 1969 day. John Rosenback,,,,,my heros were and people like Duane, Paul,

Ron, Joe, the names go on and on...My hat goes off to you all.


Don Foster

Crew Chief, 555, 69-70



I thank all that has spoken...I thought we were just doing our jobs. I just wish more of

us had come home.


Dennis Ward

Uh-1H 71-72 CrewChief



As a blues leader we placed our lives in the hands of the pilots who flew us in and

mainly out. Also gunship pilots who were there when we needed fire power to suppress

the enemy, when gunships put fire down 20 meters from our position was a life saver

" Alpha 6 get down, we identify green smoke, "Roger" fire began.


Blues Leader 1970

SFC Giblin Mark



Good morning. That segment aired in the Minneapolis area yesterday afternoon.

Thanks for...for putting into words the feelings many of us no doubt share.


Steve Rodgers

Assault 22, 71-72



Thanks for the obviously heartfelt thoughts about the crews. I'm sorry I missed the

piece on the pilots. Were you able to tape it? Maybe we could view it at the reunion...

[ Yes] I recall several times when I'd have to tell my pilot to take some kind of action to save all our lives. Fortunately, 98% of the pilots who flew my

bird were excellent and had total control. Overall, I'd say those were pretty favorable

odds. And hey, I came home !!!!


Ron Morse

Crew Chief, 69-70



I would like to thank you for your Veterans Day remembrance thoughts. The bond

that is felt and seldom talked about between a Crew Chief and his pilots is one of

faith, trust, admiration, and pride. The faith that our pilot would not exceed his own

limits or ours. The trust our pilots placed in our ability to keep the blind sides out of harms way, and in our ability to repair the damage done to our ships. But most of all the admiration we held and the pride we felt when our pilot would jump in to the front seat and ask "well ya ready for another day chief?" For my part it was an honor to fly into harm's way with the pilot's of A troop 2/17th. We were all young and bold, but when you're young you do bold things, and for most of us it was our job that's all just our job.


Rob Reavis

Assault 6's CE, 69-70



Just read your Memorial Day Message, (have been on the road), and agree with your comments. Although those brave troopers that flew w/us and watched our backs probably were stressed out, but one thing for sure we who caused the stress wee bonded to them to make dam sure nothing ever happened to them. And guess what, because nothing happened to us---they were the beneficiary, nothing happened to them. You must place your faith in something (one)---an "air cav aviator" ain't a bad place to begin.


God Bless,

Tom Curtin

Assault 6, 69-69


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