⇐ Back To DAT Remembrance Site Map ⇑ Home


-- B --

1st SGT Carl E. Baderschneider USA. Ret
May 14, 1924 -- June 28, 1983

1st Sgt Carl Baderschneider

1st Sgt Braderschneider served as the 1st Sgt of the 281st AHC from May of 1968 until January of 1969. 1st Sgt Braderschneider previously served in the 34th Combat Aviation Battalion. When selected for promotion to 1st Sgt, he was transferred to the 281st. In the 281st he was recognized as a outstanding soldier and 1st Sgt. He is interred in the Pinora Township Cemetery, Lake County Michigan. He shall be remembered by the Intruder family.


To my Brothers-in-the-wind,

Re: 1st Sergeant Carl Baderschneider, 1967, 281st AHC, 10th Avn Bn, 17th Gp, 1st Avn Bde, Nha Trang, Viet Nam.

I've fondly spoken of 1st Sergeant Baderschneider over these past 47 years, since I was assigned to the 281st in Viet Nam. As an in-country newbie, during the night of my first real alert at our company barracks in Nha Trang, I was the last guy heading to the flight line defense positions. Though I had my M-14 and ammo, I had forgotten my pot. That used to be mil-speak for helmet, about the time that the California hippies invaded our unit and "pot" took on a whole new meaning for a lot of us.

Well, as I trundled down the PSP covered company street past the Orderly Room, Top Baderschneider hollered and caught me aside, upbraiding me for not having and wearing my pot during the alert. He then proceeded to give his helmet to me with a direct order to report to him in the orderly room first thing the next morning, right after formation. Well, as a newcomer to the 281st, I was more scared of what he was going to say or do than I was of any potential VC incursion that night. After all he was THE 1ST SERGEANT. Since I was still a PFC, and only a few months out of basic training, I didn't know that 1st Sergeants were human beings also.

After what seemed like an eternity in the dark, waiting for some sign of VC, but only feeling the tension and the clinging wet night air, finally the alert was over, stand down ordered, and a half a night's sleep obtained. Upon waking and seeing the extra helmet next to my bunk, I quickly remembered Baderschneider's direct order, and tried to gird myself mentally to comply and meet with him after formation.

Reluctantly carrying Top's pot, I reported to the orderly room. I was told to go in the back where the First Sergeant was expecting me. "Oh, boy! I've had it now!" I thought.

Stepping into the back, I saw Top and a couple of the other guys playing pool. I blurted out the obligatory "Private Szwed reporting as ordered!"

Top looked up from his turn to shoot and did a quick nod that was more to point to where he wanted the helmet than to acknowledge my presence, or so it felt at the time. Initially, all he said was, "over there", until I had deposited his helmet in the designated spot. His next utterance was, "Do you think you can remember to take your pot with you on alert from now on?" Of course I said a resounding, "Yes, Sir!!" I guess he knew he'd made his point with me, as he then smiled, kind of sizing me up.

I hadn't been dismissed, yet, so I just stood there waiting. But after my response seemed to please him, Top shifted gears. He kept playing pool, and between shots, he asked how I liked my first night on alert duty. Then blew me away by asking if I wanted to shoot pool with them. It's funny that I remember all of it right to that point, but can't recall if I took him up on his offer and stayed to play or not. What a way to win an ignorant young soldier's heart, mind, and loyalty.

Carl Baderschneider's, self-sacrificing, wise, and compassionate discipline and treatment, of the scared ignorant kid who has become this old soldier, formed a lifelong living memory in my life!!

Craig Szwed
Wolfpack Crewchief 1967

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

September 5, 1948 - October 29, 2022

Jim Bailey
Known to most of us as
Jim "Beetle" Bailey
WolfPack CE 1969-1970

From the obituary:

James Wilmer “Jim” Bailey, Jr, 74, of Lusby, MD, died on October 29, 2022 in his home. He was born on September 5, 1948, in Leonardtown, Maryland. He was the son of the late James Wilmer Bailey, Sr. and the late Agnes Lorraine Wallace Bailey. He married Martha Ann Millikan on November 24, 1971, in Houston, Texas. Fifty years married, Jim's life has been filled with adventure, joy, and the love of family and friends. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Elsie Summers and husband Jason of St. Mary's City, MD and Mary Lu Dove and husband Rick of Lexington Park, MD. His grandchildren are Natalie, Steven, and Lyra Summers. He is also survived by his sisters, Pat Leslie and husband John of St. Augustine, Florida, Glenda Joyce of California, MD and Franny Bailey of Hollywood, MD. In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by his sister, Mary Jean Wills and his brother John Lee Bailey.

Jim attended St. John's Catholic School in Hollywood, MD. He graduated from Chopticon High School in 1967. Jim enlisted in the Army in 1968. He served in Vietnam in 1969-1970. He performed the duties of a crew chief/door gunner on gunship helicopters in Wolf Pack in the 281st Assault Helicopter Company. The 281st AHC was the first special operations company in the United States Army. Jim was awarded 17 air medals, including one with “V” Device (for Valor). He participated in Project Delta. When he departed from the Army in 1971, he was a maintenance electrician in Houston, Texas. He moved his family to Maryland in 1997. He worked for several DOD contractors as a facilities co-ordinator at Patuxent River Naval Air Station. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, 281st AHC, the Special Operations Association, the Disabled American Veterans and the Southern Knights Car Club. Jim was in the Recycled Bluegrass Band and in the Uncloudy Day Band. He enjoyed performing bluegrass, country, and gospel music. Jim wrote the song, “Sitting in the Door.” It is a song about him being a crew chief/door gunner during his tour in Vietnam. Jim enjoyed going to car shows with his 1957 Chevy Bellaire. He had his family car from his childhood restored and he always said that the 57 looks like it did when he was young.

He retired in April, 2022 from SA-TECH. He enjoyed traveling to Texas, going on a cruise to Alaska, and going to his 281st Army reunion in New Orleans during a 3 month span.

The family will receive friends on Thursday, November 10, 2022 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM with prayers recited at 7:00 PM in the Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home, in Leonardtown, MD. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Friday, November 11, 2022 at 10:00 AM in St. John's Catholic Church in Hollywood, MD with Father Ray Schmidt officiating. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA at a future date. Serving as pallbearers will be Tommy Alvey, Jay Armsworthy, John Brawley, Mickey Dillow, Ray Faulstich, and Randy Stillwell. Honorary pallbearers will be Phil Cameron and Jack Tippett.

Contributions may be made to Hollywood Volunteer Rescue Squad Auxiliary, P.O. Box 94, Hollywood, MD 20636.

From the family:
On Thursday, November 10th, his viewing will be at Mattingley-Gardiner Funeral Home in Leonardtown, MD. That will be from 5 pm to 7 pm and prayers will be from 7 pm to 8 pm. His funeral will be at St. John's Catholic Church in Hollywood, MD on Friday, November 11th at 10 am. The interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a future date.
Thanks so much for all of your prayers and your thoughts. Jim loved coming to the reunions and we both always had such a great time with all of you.
~ Love, Martha and daughters Elsie and Mary Lu


Jim of WolfPack It is our sad duty to inform you that our fellow Intruder, Jim “Beetle” Bailey passed away last evening. Jim was a Wolf Pack CE from 3-69 to 3-70 and was an active member of the Intruder Association. Jim is survived by his wife Martha and Daughters and he will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be announced.
~ JM

Sadly, our beloved Intruder Jim “Beetle” Bailey passed away peacefully yesterday, Saturday 10/29. Jim had many talents, including songwriting, musician and singer. He wrote and sang “Sitting in the Door”, from his memories of flying as a Huey crew chief in Vietnam. Jim will be missed by all who knew him. Our love and prayers go out to Martha and the Bailey family.
~ Bain Black


In past years, we would bring a lot of memorabilia to our reunions. One item always stood out. It was a copy of a citation for The Silver Star awarded to WO Robert L. George. Bob received the the Silver Star for his heroic rescue of the crew of his lead gunship, Ken Miller AC, Jim Brown Pilot, Daryl Evangelho CE & Tubby Brudvig, door gunner. They were shot down on Thanksgiving Day 1969 west of Ban Me Thuot during a siege at Bu Prang.

The regular crew chief on the Bob George's ship was Jim "Beetle" Bailey. Bob thought very highly of Jim and inscribed the following on his citation and sent it to Jim:

click on this picture to see the entire award; click your back button to return.

The punch line to this story is while Bob shared his Silver Star with Jim; Jim was not on the ship that day. That is how highly Bob thought of Jim. The full story of that day is on page 179 -180 in "Above The Best".

jim at reunion We had terrific crew chiefs and door gunners in every platoon. I have the “Greatest Respect “ for all of them. When Delta operations were active the Wolf Pack was always at the FOB and as we know the other platoons rotated. Also, when we made extractions the guns were always shooting and being shot at. So our time on station required a lot of ammo and good working weapons. Never did our door guns, mini guns or rockets fail. There was great attention to detail paid to all our weapons. I trusted all the guys in the back door. “Beetle” Bailey was one of our best. He was quiet, competent, solid as a rock, and will be remembered as the man “Sitting In The Door”, cool as a cucumber and getting the job done. With greatest respect, Beetle.
~ Wes Schuster, Wolf Pack 30

Jim's photo captured from a video of his performance at the 2018 Gettysburg reunion

Jim's famous poem opens in a new window: Sitting in the Door. Or hear him sing it here:

Mattingly-Gardiner Funeral Home, Leaonardtown, MD

November 28, 1937 -- January 18, 1995

Served as a CW2 with the 6th Platoon and the 281st in 1965-66. Major Baird was flying for a coal mining company in the PA area when he was killed in a helicopter accident, described as follows;

On January 18, 1995, about 1805 Eastern Standard Time, an Agusta A109C, N1WD, owned by Leffler Transportation Company and piloted by Charles E. Baird, was destroyed when it impacted in an open field near the Deck Airport, Jackson Township, Pennsylvania. The pilot and both company employee passengers were fatally injured. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plan had been filed for the flight conducted under 14 CFR Part 91.

Major Baird was living in the vicinity of Harrisburg, PA. at the time of his death. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetary

18 March 1946 - 15 November 2005

Billy Baker

Billy J. Baker served in the 281st AHC. He passed away on November 15, 2005. Billy is buried in the Huston National Cemetery, Harris County, Texas. He shall be remembered by the Intruder family.

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

September 26, 1940 -- December 31st, 2015

Ed Baker

Edward "Ed" served with the 145th in 1965 - 1966.

Ed Baker will be remembered by the Intruder Family. His obituaries follow:

“Edward W. Baker, 75, a resident of Midland City passed away Thursday, December 31, 2015 at his residence. Memorial services will be at 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, 2016 at the Sunset Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Ralph Sigler and Rev. Roy Rogers officiating. Military honors will follow in Sunset Memorial Park.”

“Ed­ward W. Baker, 75, a res­i­dent of Mid­land City passed away Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 31, 2015 at his res­i­dence. Memo­r­ial ser­vices will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 6, 2016 at the Sun­set Fu­neral Home Chapel with Rev. Ralph Sigler and Rev. Roy Rogers of­fi­ci­at­ing. Mil­i­tary hon­ors will fol­low in Sun­set Memo­r­ial Park with Robert Byrd di­rect­ing. The fam­ily will re­ceive friends from 1-2:00 p.m. prior to the ser­vice at the fu­neral home. Mr. Baker was born Sep­tem­ber 26, 1940 in Philadel­phia, PA, lived the early part of his life in Vi­enna, MD, and moved to Mid­land City in 1969. He joined the U.S. Army and was a Vet­eran of the Viet­nam War where he was a highly dec­o­rated he­li­copter pi­lot. Fol­low­ing his mil­i­tary ser­vice, he con­tin­ued to fly he­li­copters and flew crew mem­bers to oil rigs for 10 years be­fore re­turn­ing to Ft. Rucker where he be­came an in­struc­tor pi­lot and a test pi­lot un­til his med­ical re­tire­ment in 1993. Mr. Baker was a Mid­land City Coun­cil­man, a mem­ber of Har­vest Church, and en­joyed spend­ing time with his fam­ily es­pe­cially his grand­chil­dren. He was pre­ceded in death by his daugh­ter, Lori Ann Baker.”

The funeral home has video at http://www.sunsetmemorialpark.com/obituaries/1664/edward-baker

2 February 1950 - October 1973

Date of Birth: 02 Feb 1950, Date of Death: Oct 1973,  SSAN Issued:  Texas.  Bandit CE 69/70 Richard was killed in motorcycle accident in route to Ft Bragg, CA on Henry Harpster's bike. Richard had borrowed Harpster's bike to visit Paul Swol and during the trip he crashed head on into a van.

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

DAT 13 October 2008
Maintenance 10/68 - 10/69


On 13 October 2008 Jimmy Barragan passed away in the Pittsburgh PA Veterans Hospital after a long and hard fought battle with cancer. When Jimmy entered the army he was placed on restricted duty due to a hearing loss which did not allow him to serve in a position that would subject him to loud noises. Jimmy's first assignment out of school was to the 281st AHC where he served as a sheet metal technician from 10-68 until 10-68. So much for a loud noise restriction. Jimmy was a strong supporter of the Intruder Association and he took an active part in the annual reunions and the scholarship fund. Jimmy's remains were interred at the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies in Bridgeville PA. He is survived by his sister Dolores Reiman.

June 7, 1947 - July 15, 2019
Rick Barrett
Maintenance Section, May, 1967 to May, 1968

Obit from FindAGrave.com:

Ricklef E. “Rick” Barrett, 72, passed away July 15, 2019, after a courageous, 11 year battle with multiple myeloma.
Born June 7, 1947, in Council Bluff, IA, Rick was the son of the late John Robert Barrett and Ethel Margaret (Nielson) Barrett. He was preceded in death by two brothers, Richard and George Barrett; daughter, Lisa Barrett; sister, Kathy Armendariz; grandson, Dylan Rowden; and granddaughter, Jessica Grybco.
On August 11, 2012, he married Bronwyn Stoner, who survives. Bronwyn and Rick met Ballroom Dancing and shared many interests. They traveled, renovated a home, and visited historical sites in the nine years they spent together. They formed a blended family. Their children include Tiffany Barrett (Vince Knee), Heather McLaughlin (Shane), Sydney Barrett Glanz, LCDR Andrew C. Stoner, USN (Loren), Lauren E. Stoner (Andrew Swift), Corey Bruce (Sandy). Grandchildren are Casei Grybko, Billy Jaeger, MaClay and Colton Bruce, Ellis and Katherine Stoner.
Rick’s siblings are scattered across the country. They include Robert Barrett (Sandy), Nancy Barrett Robinson, Susan Tabler (Jeff), Kent Peters (Lynn), Ned Peters (Kelly); Brother-in-law Brian Bridgeford (Brenda) and nieces and nephews. His best friends, Jan and Lee Grove, provided extended family, fun and support for many years. Rick was a commercial designer, designing store interiors for Disney, Target, Mervyns, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and was Design Director at Lozier, a national store fixture company. His last position was with Remote Controls, Inc. as a Design Engineer. His focus was creating and editing Solidworks 3D drawings to complete the production of a Classified Military prototype program. The product was Anti Ballistic Windshield Armor. The project was funded by an Appropriation from Congress and was completed in 2012. Rick’s multiple myeloma and other health conditions were attributed to his exposure to Agent Orange in the Viet Nam War. His unit, the 281st AHC was the Army’s First Special Operations Helicopter Company, and is considered by Army Historians to be the legacy unit for today’s Special Operations Aviation units. Their unit is immortalized in two books, “Privileges of War” by Thomas A Ross, which details rescue missions of families held hostage in enemy territory, and “Above the Best”, by William McDaniel McCollum, which is a history and personal story of the 281st AHC, whose missions and locations were classified until 1996.
Rick was supported 100% by the VA during his battle with his diseases. He was always permitted to use his “Doctor of Choice” and was covered for his medications. Our family offers our sincere thanks to the Simon Cancer Center, Michiana Hematology Oncology, and Dr. Robert Oppman, South Bend Clinic, for the skilled care and positive attitude they imparted to Rick during his course of treatment.
Rick’s Celebration of Life will be held at Knollwood Country Club, Friday, August 2, 2019, from 5-7 PM. He will be buried at Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Ky., on Monday August 5, 11:00 AM. A luncheon will follow, location TBA. Please RSVP.
In lieu of flowers, Rick’s family is asking for donations to The Robert L. Miller Veterans Center (MVC), on the campus of the Center for the Homeless, contact Lvivirito@cfh.net, or to Companions for Heroes (C4H), an organization that pairs shelter dogs with military personnel and first responders. Donate at: companionsforheroes.org/donations/. To send private condolences, please visit www.McGannHay.com

Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 29 August 2019), memorial page for Ricklef Ethan “Rick” Barrett (7 Jun 1947–15 Jul 2019), Find A Grave Memorial no. 201591919, citing Camp Nelson National Cemetery, Nicholasville, Jessamine County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by C & Y Zinn-Haines (contributor 47043207) .

31 Oct. 1928 - 22 June 2010

SGT Bast served as the Operations NCO from 11-68 until 11-69. He passed away at his home in Quakertown, PA and is survived by his wife Delores.

SSG Bast was a very positive influence to a 19 year old kid in the army for less than 6months and just newly arrived at the 281st. He was always a very upbeat person no matter what the problem and kept operations personnel under control and doing the job with a light hand. I had spoken to him about two years ago, trying to get him to come to a reunion. He sounded his old cheery self. I think I sent him a 281st cap at the time. Family matters at the time prevented him from attending. Will try to contact family and give a belated thank you for his service and let him know he not forgotten by his comrades.
From : Jack Interstein

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

February 27, 1944 -- December 14, 2001

Last Known Residence: San Bernardino, Ontario, CA 91761
Certificate Issued: California

January 17, 1945 - July 10, 2008
Lt Bauer
281st from September, 1968 until ...
192nd through early 1970.

Bauer, COL William Bennet, USA (Ret.), died unexpectedly at his home on Thursday morning, July 10th 2008. The son of a World War II veteran and Naval Aviator, Bill was born the first of five children at San Diego, CA in 1945. During the course of his father's career in the Navy, the family lived in Guam, Hawaii, and multiple locations throughout the United States.

A retired Army colonel with 27 years of service, Bill entered the army as a private in 1966 during the Vietnam War. Commissioned as an infantry officer in 1967, he served 18 months as a helicopter pilot, platoon leader, and air mission commander in Vietnam. He later served twice on assignments in Europe during the Cold War, and he culminated his career at the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command at Ft. Monroe, Virginia. Like his childhood, Bill's Army career sent him, his wife, and two boys to locations throughout the United States and Europe.

Bill is survived by his wife of 36 years, Joan; his son, Major John Bauer and wife, Hilary; his son, Captain Brian Bauer and wife, Lindsey. A graveside service with military honors was held on Tuesday, September 2, 2008, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Letter from Jay, May, 2020:
My brother Bill flew with, initially the 281st out of Phan Thiet, as he arrived in country in late 1968. He extended his tour for 6 months and finished his tour in Nha Trang with the 192nd. I arrived about two months before he left and I flew fixed wing with the 183rd RAC which was Headquartered in Dong Ba Thin however I flew with the 1st Platoon out of Nha Trang so we were stationed together for a couple of months prior to him leaving country.

dad-sonBill was the son of Leo Bauer, a Naval Aviator, and Yvonne Bennett Bauer. He was a brother I highly admired and looked up to and it was a shocking loss when he passed away suddenly from a heart attack.

He has two sons, John Bauer who was a West Point grad and flew choppers also. He flew chinooks with the 160th special operations. He also retired after his twenty years and lives in St. Charles Virginia. Bill has another son, Brian Bauer who is a major and currently assigned in South Carolina at Shaw Air Force Base.
   - Jay

Our thanks to Bill's brother Jay for his photos on findagrave.com

-- June/July 3, 2002

Svc Plt, 66 - 67 Reported by Don Creed
34734 View Drive, Yucaipa, CA 92399
Tel: 909-797-4540

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

July 7, 1943 -- September 20, 2022

Fred Beck
"Fred" presenting the treasurer's report at the 2018 reunion.

From the obituary:
Jerome (Jerry) Jonathan Beck, went home peacefully to The Lord on September 20, 2022, with his wife praying at his side. He was born on July 7,1943 in Reading, PA to Joseph J. and Virginia S. (Beer) Beck. Jerry graduated from Berlin High School in 1961. He served with the 281st Army Assault Helicopter Company in Vietnam from 1967-1968. Jerry graduated from the University Of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 1970 with a BS in Accounting and worked for the U.S. Department Of The Treasury, retiring in 2000. He married Margaret E. (Drexler) Beck on December 26, 1970. They had 2 children, Shana Marie and Tricia Michelle.

Jerome is preceded in death by his daughter Shana, father Joseph, mother Virginia, sister Roberta, and brother Joseph. He is survived by his wife Margaret; daughter Tricia, grandchildren; Justine and Alexander; brothers, James (Jean), John; sisters Barbara Burmeister and Nia (Karl) John, and many nieces, nephews and friends. A memorial has been established.

Visitation will be held on Saturday, October 1, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at St. Gabriel Catholic Church 900 Geiger St., Neenah. The funeral service will follow at 11:00 a.m. with Fr. Bob Kollath officiating. Burial will be at 1:15 p.m. at St. Margaret Cemetery in Neenah.


Intruders All:
Our friend Jerry will be laid to rest Tomorrow at 12: o’clock. We are represented by Will McCollum who will attend the services in his dress uniform to present the American Flag that draped Jerry’s coffin to his widow Margaret.

Please pause for a moment in Jerry’s honor at 12 tomorrow. Jerry was many things to many people. However, many of his fellow Intruders recall that he he maintained one of the best bars in the BOQ. We are sure that he is in good company with Fred, MOP, Jay, and all the other intruders who did well in this life.

Thanks Will and Frank for making this an event that honors one of our own.



Fred with carbine Jerry picked up the nickname "Fred" from his flight school classmates, but I do not remember the particulars. He received the usual awards for his service with the 281st; the obits record 2 DFC awards. If I remember correctly, he may have earned his first DFC on his first mission in the 281st as my pilot in the right seat on a VIP mission; we were pressed into service in an attempt to rescue the advisors to a CIDG patrol caught in an ambush. The rescue did not work out as planned, but with the help of the 282nd BlackCat gunships, we created a sufficient distraction for the advisor's escape. An ARVN two star made impact awards the next day. The unfortunate aircraft had eight significant holes in it, and CE Mike Hargis received a slight wound.


Click here for photos from the family photo album. Thank you, Justine.


Jerry and Margaret
Obit and this photo from Kessler Funeral Home - Neenah, WI

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

-- March 23, 1995

Gilles D Belanger

A C/E with the Wolf Pack, Gilles died in Holyoke, MA of various illnesses related to his military service.
He is survived by his wife, Annette Belanger of Holyoke, Massachusetts.
He was interred in Notre Dame Cemetery, South Hadley, Massachusetts.
He shall be remembered by the Intruder Family.

May 5, 1950 -- March 16, 1998

John Served in the 281st AHC from July of  1970 until Nov. 1970

My father was John L. Bilyeu. Please let me know if you knew him and any other info on him would be great. He joined the army in Dec 1969 and left for Vietnam right  after AIT. His first unit there was the 281st and then he moved on to the 135th AHC. He stayed in the Army for 20 years and retired as an E-7. I think he enjoyed it. He was married 3 times his last wife being from Germany. still living in Ozark MO he had 4 children 3 girls and 1 Boy. He was always very devilish. tall and thin. long neck. we always called him a red neck because his neck never tanned. only turned red....He died March 16,1998
Thank you, Heather (Bilyeu) Cooper, hooper@apecgas.com.

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

Wolf Pack PLT SGT
DAT 27 September 2000

Dave Bitle

Served as a Gunner, Crew Chief and Platoon Sergeant of the Wolf Pack from 1965 - 1968. Sgt. Bitle was living in Hawaii at the time of his death.
He is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery, Punchbowl, Hawaii. 

Please visit the Wolf Pack pages on this web site for a memorial and pictures of SGT. Dave Bitle. Dave-Wolf Pack

Dave Bitle   Dave Bitle

11 December 1947 - 7 May 2013

Kenneth Blackwell

Kenneth's initial service was with the 281st AHC in Vietnam. Kenneth Wane Blackwell passed away in May of 2013 in the VA Hospital in Birmingham, AL. His obituary follows:

Mr. Kenneth Wayne Blackwell, age 65 of Albertville, Alabama passed away Tuesday, May 7, 2013 at VA Hospital in Birmingham. He is survived by his wife Brenda Lang Blackwell; daughters, Heather (Jason) Garrison and Andrea Blackwell; sons, Neil Blackwell and Scot Blackwell; grandchildren, Seth Blackwell and Taylor Blackwell; sisters, Maxine (Bill) Franklin, Genell Mosley, and Bobbie Jean (Frank) Edmonds; and brother, Curtis Ray (Dorothy) Blackwell. Mr. Blackwell was preceded in death by his parents, Troy & Lillie Boyd Blackwell and sister, Gail Burke.

Kenneth shall be remembered by the 281st AHC family.

Died after completing his tour on September 1, 1983

John died in September of 1983 as a result of cancer.
He served in the 1st platoon (Ratpack) of the 281st AHC

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

19 September 1968 - 11 February 1932

Major Bonnarens came to the 281st as part of an infusion program and served as the second Platoon Leader of the 145th Aviation Platoon for approximately two month before returning to the states in 1966. He was a 14-year army veteran from Browning, MO serving his second tour in Vietnam at the time of his death, which was the result of a non-hostile aircraft accident (OH-6 # 67-16015)

Notes from The Virtual Wall:
On the afternoon of 19 Sep 1968, an OH-6A (tail number 67-16015) of the 201st Aviation Company was detailed to provide transportation on an administrative flight to coordinate aviation activities at Khanh Duong, Boun Ea Yang and the U.S. installations at Ban Me Thout east and Ban Me Thout City Airfields. The aircraft departed Ban Me Thout City Airfield and headed in an easterly direction enroute to Nha Trang, 70 miles to the east. Its flight path paralleled highway 21 (which runs generally east-west), staying on the north side of the road and heading east. <>At about the same time a UH-1H (tail number 66-16323) departed Ban Me Thout City Airfield enroute Dong Ba Thin, 82 miles to the southeast. This aircraft also paralleled highway 21, but remained on the south side. The pilot of the UH-1H, a Lt Williams, reported sighting the OH-6A aircraft at 1700 hours, approximately 18 miles east of Ban Me Thout at a position north of highway 21 and flying in a southeasterly direction at approximately the same altitude as Williams' UH-1H. The OH-6A was closing on Lt Williams' aircraft and crossed highway 21 from left to right passing two miles to Williams' front. After a suitable separation was obtained between the two aircraft, the OH-6A was no longer observed by Lt Williams. The OH-6A aircraft was again observed by Lt Williams approximately three minutes later; it had reversed its original course and was now approaching Lt Williams' aircraft, head-on at a lower altitude and descending at an approximate angle of 30 degrees. The OH-6A aircraft was observed by SP Bowen, crew chi ef of Lt Williams' aircraft, to continue its descent all the way to the ground, where an explosion occurred shortly after impact.

Four men died in the crash:

-- October 15, 2009

Alan served in the 281st
His last known Address was Bradenton, FL 34204

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

December 27, 1945 - March 18, 2018

Ben Boysen

Benny served in the 281st AHC as a maintenance tech from March of 1977 until March of 1978. Bennie was a skilled technician who was respected and liked by his fellow intruders. He shall be remembered by the Intruder family.
Benny’s obituary follows:

"Benny Boysen of Irving, TX, left this world on 03/18/2018 in Irving, TX. He will always be remembered as a loving, caring husband, father and friend to all that knew him. He was born on 12/27/1945 to August Otto Boysen and Evelyn Boysen. Benny would have given you the shirt off his back. He was such a selfless man. He loved his family deeply and showed them every day. He loved his grandkids with all his heart. He loved his children and instilled his work ethics to make sure he provided above and beyond for them. But, most of all his love for his wife was never doubted. You could look at them and know that the word love was Benny and Dianne. He was always looking to make you smile or laugh, he was a jokester. He was a collector of things from Coins, Ceramic Ducks to Magnets. Every squirrel was called Willie. He retired, but was still working “part time” because, he loved his job and his friends at work. He was an honored Veteran of Vietnam. He loved his country and was proud to have served in the Army. He was also a quiet and private man, who cherished the value of family. He passed that value down to his children whom have stood up and will carry on his legacy. Benny Boysen is survived by his loving wife Dianne Boysen, Daughter Carrie Boysen-Thibodeaux, Daughter Christie Lott, Daughter Bonnie Ferguson, Son Bennie Boysen Jr."

Always remember to tell those you love that you love them each and every day because tomorrow may never come again.
As Benny would say "Happy Trails to you until we meet again."

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

June 17, 1945 -- November 30, 2010

Eldon with grandson

Eldon served in the Aircraft Maintenance sections from April, 1967 to April, 1968.

This information appears in findagrave.com at memorial 62471691:

Birth: Jun. 17, 1945 San Francisco, San Francisco County California, USA
Death: Nov. 30, 2010 Godley, Johnson County Texas, USA. Eldon Brack Jr., 65, passed away Tuesday, Nov, 30, 2010, in Godley. Funeral: 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Mount Olivet Chapel. Interment: Mount Olivet Cemetery. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Mount Olivet Funeral Home.
Eldon was born June 17, 1945, in San Francisco, Calif., to Mary and Eldon Brack Sr. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Pamela Lee; and former wife, Bonnie Junge. Survivors: Son, Eldon V. Brack III; daughter, Mindy M. Brack; and brothers, Mike Kelley and Rick Kelley.
Published in Star-Telegram on December 3, 2010

Family links: Parents: Eldon Verl Brack (1922 - 1973)
Burial: Mount Olivet Cemetery, Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas, USA. Plot: Founders Lawn Section 17 Created by: Tim Hawkins Record added: Dec 03, 2010 Find A Grave Memorial# 62471691

Eldon grave

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

January 5, 1935 -- June 2013

Bob served with the 145th Airlift Platoon from 11/64 to 11/65.
He resided in Kingston, NC at the time of his passing.
He is interred at the William Grady Cemetery, Albertson, North Carolina

November 25, 1946 - February 8, 1999

Jim served as the platoon leader of the Wolf Pack during 69-70.  Jim and Bob George were very close friends in the 281st and remained so throughout their lives after Vietnam. Jim died of lung cancer attributed to Agent Orange, as did Bob George exactly nine days after Jim's death. He was living at 32937 Satellite Beach, Bevard, Florida at the time of his death.

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

MAY 1, 1936 -- DECEMBER 15, 2014
Platoon Sergeant, 1st (Ratpack) Platoon

Jim, retired

Jim Bruce deployed with the 281st in 1966 as a SP/4 and remained with the unit for 18 months. During that period he rose to the rank of sergeant E-6 and was serving as the Platoon Sergeant of the Rat Pack Platoon when he departed in 1967. He served an additional tour of duty in Vietnam in 1970 and completed his service before retiring to his home state of Oklahoma where he passed away on December 15, 2014 at age 78. Jim was an active member of the 281st AHC association and will be missed, but not forgotten by the Intruder Family. His obituary follows:

James L. Bruce, 78, was born May-1, 1936 and passed away on December15, 2014. James was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. A great man, he was a hero to all of us. He will be greatly missed. He leaves behind a loving wife, 13 kids and many grandchildren. Memorial services were held at 2:00 p.m. Fri., 12-19-2014, at the Yanda & Son Funeral Home Chapel.

16 May 1949 - 19 June 2014

Tubby served as a Crew Chief and Door Gunner in the Wolf Pack from
July 1969 to July 1970 during which time he was awarded the Bronze Star.

Tubby in Viet Nam

Tubby served in the 281st Assault Helicopter Company as a Crew Chief and Door Gunner with the Wolf Pack from August, 1969, until July, 1970. Not only was Tubby an outstanding member of the Wolf Pack he was a soldier and person who earned the respect of his fellow Intruders.

In 1986 he led the effort to organize the former members of his unit and was the primary force behind the formation of the original 281st Assault Helicopter Company Association. His efforts resulted in the first reunion of the former members of the unit in 1986, The current unit association was built on the work done by Tubby for which we owe him a great debt. In 2013 Tubby was recognized by the 281st AHC Association for his contributions to the organization. We shall surely miss him but HE SHALL NOT BE FORGOTEN.

His Obituary follows:

Tubby in US

Duane Brudvig, 65 of Bella Vista died Thursday, June 19, 2014 in Fayetteville. He was born May 16, 1949 in Cooperstown, North Dakota the son of Helmer Brudvig and Rose Aalgard Brudvig. He was a 1967 graduate of West Fargo High School.

In 1969 to 1970 during the Vietnam War Tubby served in the US Army with the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, the US Army's first Special Operations Helicopter Company, during which time he received the Bronze Star.

He married the former Deborah Heupel on April 29, 1972 in Minneapolis, MN. He worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad for 20 years before moving to the North West Arkansas area. In the area, he worked as a Deputy Sheriff and finished working delivering oxygen. He attended Bella Vista Christian Church.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Deborah "Debbie" Brudvig of the home; daughters: Stacy Clair and her husband, Peter of Rogers, MN, Melissa Philpott and her husband, Sam of Noel , MO; 3 brothers, Harvey Brudvig of Fargo, ND, Lyle Brudvig of Dickinson, ND, Leland Brudvig of Webster, SD and 6 grandchildren. Burial will be in the Fayetteville National Cemetery with military honors.


Thank you for remembering my buddy Duane “Tubby" Brudvig. Back in 2013 I knew he was seriously ill and struggling. While I never went to summer reunions, I made it a point to go to St Louis that year and make a short speech about Tubby. It was important to recognize him and all that he had done over the years. I flew out, made the speech that night and flew back home the next day. That is how important Tubby was to me.
Attached is the speech that gives a little background on what he accomplished in the days before personal computers, quite extraordinary. By the way, it has not been said enough how much we depended on the guys in the back door. It warmed my heart after giving the speech to see every crew member crowd around Tubby’s table to congratulate him. Rest in peace, buddy.
Wes [email exchange, 19 June 2020 -ed]

2013 award

Duane “Tubby” Brudvig Presentation

Friday the 13th I landed in Vietnam. It was the luckiest day of my life. My assignment was to the 281st AHC. Little did I know I was joining an elite organization that supported some of the bravest soldiers in the US Army. I was to fly in one of the most skilled and professional army aviation units. We flew together as a team: aircraft commander, pilot, crew chief and door-gunner. Our lives and the success of every mission depended upon the coordination of these men on each and every ship.

I had the good fortune to fly with the Bandit platoon for three months. Then I joined the Wolf Pack. We flew Project Delta missions in Hue Phu Bai, An Hoa, Mia Loc and later the battle of Bu Prang.

It was in the Wolf Pack that I served with Duane “Tubby” Brudvig. It was critical that our ship was in top condition and our armament in flawless working order. I soon learned that Tubby was both a hard worker and a very competent door-gunner. When I flew with Tubby, I knew the guns would always be operational. When in combat, he and his buddy Daryl “Angie” Evangelho kept a keen eye for enemy fire and identified teams on the ground for extraction. They gave those of us in the cockpit crisp accurate input from their vantage points on the sides and aft of the ship. Coming out of the valley just below the DMZ, I can still remember them calling out 50 cal. fire coming from the right, 50 cal. fire coming from the left. It was a good thing we kept the doors open all the time.

Of course, the closest call Tubby had was Thanksgiving Day, 1969, when his ship 004 “Death Merchant” was shot down near Bu Prang. A 50 cal. nailed the crew of Ken Miller, Jim Brown, Angie and Tubby. As soon as they hit the ground Ken and Jim depended on Tubby and Angie. If ever their lives depended on two skilled guys who could fire M-60 machine guns free hand it was then, on the ground, with the enemy surrounding them, it was there that Tubby and Angie held the enemy at bay. The two pilots, Ken and Jim became the ammo bearers … feeding rounds to Tubby and Angie to fire. For that Tubby was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism. To this day, I don’t think it was a high enough award for bravery.

I always enjoyed going to the flight line and chatting with Tubby. Tubby’s lasting quality is his easy way of being friendly. That quality has endured for years. We exchanged Christmas cards over the years with brief notes of how our families, work and lives were evolving. Once I had the good fortune to be in Minneapolis on business and we had dinner together. We had a good chat and again caught up on things.

Then in 1986, Tubby called and told me about the decommissioning of the 281st AHC at Scott AFB in St Louis. With the passage of time, some 16 years, I had lost touch where the unit was located but, Tubby had not. In fact, Tubby told me about guys he had contacted and informed them about the retirement of the colors of the 281st. Now mind you, all these contacts were years before personal computers, Google and emails. Tubby did it the old fashioned way, by writing and talking to everyone he could locate. I can’t imagine the hours, days and months that went into locating so many people. At Scott AFB we drank beer, told war stories -mostly funny ones- and got out onto the flight line. The first reunion was a real success.

Afterwards, we said we needed to do it again. It was at this point, that I thought it would be a good idea to write a newsletter in hopes that it would work like a chain letter and get passed along to guys we hadn’t located. In kicking it around with Tubby we thought we wanted to include family and friends. Joe Blitzkie suggested San Francisco and said he would work on all the arrangements. Tubby was in charge of finding more people. By the second reunion in 1988, Tubby had located some 222 people and amassed addresses and phone numbers, all by personal, friendly contact.

This past winter Tubby’s concern and interest in others was further exemplified. He called to say that he was going to Corpus Christi to a Memorial Service for a door gunner he had trained. To this day, Ricardo “Rich” Garcia is still MIA. To be honest, I never met Rich nor did I know of his tragic loss. However, if Tubby was going to a memorial service for his buddy, that was good enough for me, I was going too. I’m glad I went. It will be one of the most memorable weekends of my life. We saw old friends, met new friends and attended one of the most emotional memorial services I have ever witnessed.

These great events, reunions, the formation of the 281st AHC Association, and mini-reunions all have had their impetus because Tubby took the time and interest in the 281st. Thank you, Tubby. It is an honor to know you and to have flown with you.

Wes Schuster
Wolf Pack 30


joe and tubby
Joe B, left, and Tubby  

Attached is a picture of me and Tubby taken at his last reunion – the 2013 reunion in St. Louis. Since I left the 281st before Tubby’s arrival in 1969, I didn’t meet him until we met in 1986 at the Scott AFB reunion – the first of our Association reunions. Tubby and I hit it off (easy to do with Tubby) and began communicating about the formation of the 281st AHC Association. As Wes Schuster has said, Tubby put together the original roster of Intruders without the aid of internet, email, or Google. All accomplished with “snail mail” and telephone calls (at long distance rates.) He would send me the records he gathered, and I would enter them into an Excel spreadsheet to form a computerized version of our roster. By the time our second reunion rolled around in San Francisco in 1988, we had over 200 contacts on that roster. With Wes Schuster as President and Fred Mentzer as the newsletter editor, the Association grew into the organization that we see at the current reunions.
Tubby was the beginning. Thanks to him, there is a growing 281st AHC Association. We all miss him.
Joe B.


tubby and daniel


Tubby and Daniel Vaughn in the maintenance area.

Daniel was killed in action on May 11, 1970.
A complete writeup is available on our KIA pages.

Note the rotor blade boxes on the left of the photo.
We used a lot of those.

This photo is the source of the photo at the top.


Biloxi reunion
Angie, Linda George, Wes, Tubby

Branson reunion


The first reunion at St. Louis, a result of Tubby's work.
Tubby is on the right on one knee with red and white cap. Wes is top left.
This photo can be seen in the Member Area on the 1986 St Louis reunion page.
Yes, we were once even younger.

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

08 Feb 1931 -- 16 Oct 1978

SSG Buckalew was the Wolf Pack Plt SGT during 1965 - 1966
Last Address: 76574 Taylor, Williamson County, TX

silver star

Mahon Buckalew early years     Mahon Buckalew as Sgt


Mahlon Buckalew was a door gunner with the 6th Airlift Platoon "Fangs" in 1965 and 1966. When the 281st was formed, he was the Wolf Pack's first Platoon Sergeant and the guy who taught the fresh-off-the-boat gunners and crew chiefs how to handle an M-60.  In May '66, Sergeant Buck single-handedly saved his crew, including me, in a nasty and quick firefight north of Tay Ninh. For that he was the first Intruder, and the first member of the 10th CAB, to be awarded the Silver Star.

His son found his name on our website and I've just received a couple of emails from his kids, which I'm pleased to pass along to all of you.

Fred Phillips

Subj: Mahlon Buckalew
Date: 10/16/2002 
From: Irene Kelly
To: FredPhillips@aol.com


Hi Fred.  Hope this email finds you in good health. My name is Irene Kelly (Buckalew) I'am the daughter of SGT. Mahlon Buckalew. My father died on October 16, 1978.  I was 15 years old when he passed.  He died of cancer.  I miss him very much.  He was a wonderful man.  My brother "Sonny" happened to come across a website, he was looking for information on our father and was truly shocked when he saw your story.  He has our father's silver star and purple heart and flag.  He instantly called me and told me about your story, he was so happy and kind of scared, he was afraid to email you, and i told him that he should send you some information.  I would like to send you some pictures of my dad if that's okay with you.

I was 5 years old when I met my father. He married my mother Ruth in Taylor, Texas. Together they had 5 children. Edward Allen Buckalew born in 1961 and died in 1989, Frances Irene Buckalew born in August 1963, Diane Marie Buckalew born in Oct 1970, Mahlon Ray (Sonny) Buckalew born in July 1968 and Dell Wayne Buckalew born in Jan 1972. My father had a scar on his right side of his face, just below his nose and on top of his upper lip, he told us kids that he was in an accident when he was little, he sustained a laceration while on a sled. I guess he did not want to tell us about his war injuries. He never really talked about the war, we were still young kids when he died. My mother does share some stories that he had told her. I would give anything to just be able to have had more time with him. He was ill for at least 5 years before he died and he fought so hard to stay alive. He retired in 1968 and died 10 years later. If you have any stories to share with me, I would really appreciate anything you can send. If you would like some pictures, please let me know.

Thank you,


From: Mahlon68
To: Fred Phillips
Hello Mr.Phillips,
My name is Mahlon Buckalew jr.It was nice to know that someone remembered my father from the war. If you want to get in contact with me here is my e-mail address. mahlon68@aol.com

Subj: mahlon buckalew
Date: 10/21/2002 
From: diane_buck@hotmail.com
To: FredPhillips@aol.com

Hi Fred, my name is Diane Buckalew my brother Sonny called me up and told me about dad and the stories. I was so happy that someone remembered him. I went directly to the website. Thank you. I was a little girl when dad passed away I was only 7 yrs. old but I remember when dad would come home from work I would run to him and jump on his lap. I loved him so much and miss him dearly. My sister Irene was also excited and the rest of the family. We were in Taylor yesterday at moms they were going to gather dads pictures from the military. Thank you so much for remembering my dad, it made my day. Take care and god bless you and your family.

Diane Buckalew
2404 Dowd Ln.
Austin, Tx 78728

Subj: Re: Mahlon Buckalew
Date: 10/19/2002 
From: irenek@totalaccess.net
To: FredPhillips@aol.com
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Thanks for replying Fred.  Sonny still thinks he's dreaming.  Like I mentioned earlier, we were young when our father passed and we really never got to know him as well as we would have liked to. I do know one thing, he loved the water. He would load up us kids and the neighbor kids after a hard day at work and take us to Jonah River to swim. I do remember him telling me some stories when he was ill, he would reminisce and I vaguely remember him telling me about a young man that died in his arms, and I remember the sad face he had when sharing this with me.  I know he had nightmares, he would on occasions wake us, and  he would never have a recollection of his dreams/nightmares the following day.

Dad was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas and met my mother (Ruth) in Taylor, TX.  They married and settled in Taylor, TX. Dad was born in New Egypt, NJ. His father Delmas passed in 1968 and his mother passed in 1976.  Dad had two brothers and one sister.  We met his brother "Shorty", we have never met our other uncle or aunt.  Sonny and I have recently been doing ancestry research, and we have located our 3rd and 4th cousins. It's amazing what the internet can do these days.  We are working on planning a trip to NJ to visit our fathers birthplace.  We will be gathering some pictures and letters tomorrow, we will scan them and send them to you via e-mail.  If you have any pictures, I would really love to see them.

I do know that father joined the service at the age of 17 - and retired at the age of 37. He was taken at an early age. Our mother never remarried.

I remember when I was 7 years old, it was late and my mother was just getting home from working a late shift, it was around 11pm - and we were sleeping and dad was asleep as well.  As my mother approached the front door, she saw a man trying to break into our house through one of the bedroom windows, which was my bedroom window.  She started to scream, my father awoke and the man ran down the hill.  My mother called the police when she saw my father grab his rifle and chase the man.  The robber to be ran down the hill into some woods and dad was running with his pajamas barely hanging on, I remember us kids laughing at the site of dad and his PJ's.  When the police arrived, we asked them if they were going into the woods to help, the policemen stated that father would take care of it himself.  As the police were telling us that father would take care of it, we heard 2 gunshots.  Within a matter of minutes, my father appeared and told the policemen to "call for an ambulance - I just shot him in the ass". The policemen were afraid of my father, why we did not know. To make a long story short, my father crippled the man that tried to break into our home. Years later, we would see the man walking with an aid of a cane.

We have so many stories to share.  We have so many good memories of dad, and we know that he loved us.  Anyway, its getting late and I hope to hear from you soon. Sonny and I will be sending you those pictures.  Take Care. Irene

From: <FredPhillips@aol.com>
Subject: Mahlon Buckalew

Hello Irene and Sonny,

I was delighted to receive your emails. I knew your father well. We flew more than 100 missions together, including perhaps a dozen that involved firefights. On one of those, he saved our entire crew.  But before I tell you about that day, here are a few other thoughts and memories, in no particular order ...

Your dad was the Sergeant in charge of the enlisted door gunners on the armed helicopters we flew. The average gunner was about 19 years old, somewhat crazy and definitely hard to handle. More than a few of those guys were psychotic. But every one of them would follow Sergeant Buck anywhere, anytime, without hesitation. In 30 years in the Army, I never knew another NCO that had as much respect from his soldiers.

Occasionally, I used to joke that what I most disliked about Vietnam was the fact that I couldn't get up and go out for donuts. One morning, while we were on a combat operation, miles from nowhere and living in tents in the woods, Sergeant Buckalew brought me a dozen donuts, still hot and fresh from the oven. He wouldn't say where, or how, he got them.

You mentioned that he had a Purple Heart. I'm almost certain he received it for wounds suffered in Korea, including the scar on his face.

Your father's Silver Star made the front page of the Stars and Stripes, the armed forces newspaper. It was the first awarded to a member fo the 281st Assault Helicopter Company or the 10th Combat Aviation Battalion. That unit, with a few thousand soldiers, had been in Vietnam for more than a year. Silver Stars, and higher decorations, were truly rare.

On Sergeant Buck's last night in Vietnam, he stopped by my hooch. We downed a  couple of beers and he tried to thank me for writing the recommendation that got him the Silver Star, but I didn't need that. I tried to thank him for saving my life, but he wouldn't listen. Finally, we just polished off a few more beers and enjoyed each other's company. That was the last time I saw him. For the last 36 years, there has not been one single day when he hasn't crossed my mind. I miss him.

Here's what happened, on just one of the missions he flew:

I was the pilot of our Huey gunship. The co-pilot was Ed Carty, who was killed in a training accident about a year later. The crew chief (and left-side door gunner) was a new guy flying his first mission, named Long. Lately, we've tried to find him but haven't yet succeeded. Your father was the right-side door gunner.

Our mission was reconnaissance in an area called War Zone C, which was heavily wooded and had no friendlies, but lots of bad guys. When we spotted a dirt road through the trees with fresh tire tracks, I stupidly decided to fly down the middle of it to try and find somebody to shoot. At an altitude of about 50 feet, we came around a corner and there, about 100 yards in front of us, was a guy in black pajamas with an AK-47. He started shooting, and we were on top of him before anybody could return the fire. Something knocked my left arm off of the controls, and I remember thinking that we had just taken a hit through the cockpit. At about the same time, I saw muzzle flashes from man automatic weapon in a foxhole on the right side of the road, maybe 75 feet away, which stopped after a burst from Sergeant Buck's machine gun.

I began a turn to put some trees between us and the bad guy on the road, but the stick jumped out of my hand and the we rolled inverted. The aircraft's hydraulic system (like the power steering system on your car) had been hit and had failed.

At that point, we were out of control and upside down, 50 feet above the ground. Your father had been standing on the skid, outside the helicopter. Suddenly, the shooting stopped.  I don't know how Ed Carty and I got the aircraft back under control, but we managed somehow. I looked back to see if everybody was OK, just in time to see your dad scramble back into the aircraft. He said he shot the bad guy after we had "turned left." I looked back and saw the dude who shot us, lying dead on the road. Mahlon Buckalew had just saved our lives.

Sergeant Buck was a stunning human being, and that's a fact. Recently, one of his underlings, Bill Perren, said of him: "He was a hell of a warrior." He will not be forgotten.

Maybe, we hope, some of his children will attend our next reunion. Any pictures you might have will be most appreciated.  But for your father's breathtaking skill and courage, I wouldn't be here.

Fred Phillips

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

DAT April 2011
Wolf Pack Pilot 1965/66

Tom deployed to Viet Nam with the 281st Assault Helicopter Company in 1965 and served as an armed helicopter pilot His Obituary follows:

Tom Buckley, 69, of Silver City, N.M. peacefully passed away of natural causes on April 11th in the Smoky Mountains National Park while pursuing his lifelong dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. By his own assertion, Tom led a full and vibrant life. He served in the US Army for 26 years, including two tours of duty in Vietnam and one in Korea. He was distinguished for heroic service as a helicopter pilot with the Bronze Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. He further served as an Army Comptroller, earning a Master's Degree in Business Administration and CPA while on active duty. He retired as a Lt. Colonel and began a second career as an owner of a multistate distribution company in Houston, TX for 20 years.

When he retired to Silver City in 2006, he served as a stalwart volunteer in the local community. A quietly committed member of many community organization boards, he brought experience and energy to the Grant County Concert Series, the AARP Tax-aide program, the Grant County Pilot Association, the Senior Services Board, and the Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP). Tom was a true master dabbler, language aficionado, and skilled handyman who was not afraid to jump on the roof to install a solar water heating system. As a life-long learner, he had widely varied interests including classical and gospel music, reading, flying, and dancing. He loved to travel, especially adventuring off the beaten path from Patagonia to the Arctic Circle, Europe to the Pacific Rim. And he loved to hike. He so valued the camaraderie and community on the trails, especially his buddies with whom he bushwhacked through the trails of Southern New Mexico and the "families" he hiked with for 235 miles along the Appalachian Trail.

Tom is survived by his loving wife, Mary Ann Buckley of Silver City, mother Louise, Brother David and his wife Pat, daughters Susan, Ellie and her partner Shelley, Kay and her husband Brian, Bonnie and her husband Joe, stepchildren Susy and Andy and his wife Shaira, and grandchildren Justin, Emily, and Andie. Donations can be made in his memory to the Grant County Community Concert Association P.O. Box 2722, Silver City, NM 88062 or the Continental Divide Alliance, 1200 Arapahoe Street, Golden CO, 80401. TRIBUTES From Ms. Tom Buckley

I cannot express how much these comments mean to me and Tom's daughters. It links all of us with a part of him that really formed his future life and none of us participated in. He did not talk a lot about his time in VN, but I knew bits and pieces, never really pushing the topic with him. However I did know of his poker savvy.

Tom really had a great spirit of adventure and I always felt that his desire to hike the Appalachian l was his need for another adventure challenge. While life in New Mexico was very good and he remained very active, I always thought there was a void in his spirit and that the AT help fill that. He had a real zeal for life and was always upbeat and positive. Each day with him was very special.

If you have the opportunity, please convey my appreciation for all those who took time to write their memories. This email really did bring me moments of peace and great pride during this very difficult period.

Thank you
Mary Ann

From: Lynn Coleman
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2011

I knew Tom very well. We were in the same Helicopter Q Course at Rucker in 1965 and joined the 281st at Benning in January 66. He was originally a Bandit pilot and was flying with Maj Garrett when they were shot down on Black Sunday in August of 66. He came over to the Wolf Pack after we left Tay Ninh and was with us at Khe San and was flying with me the day we lost Sulander's ship.

After we rotated back to the US we were together at Hunter for two years. After Hunter he went to Korea and I lost track of him. I made contact with him in the either 2003 or 2004 but he was not interested in renewing his ties with the 281st. He said tht he had some real problems with flash backs and didn't want to get involved. I lost contact with him again after he moved to New Mexico.

I was really shocked when I got Gary's phone call reporting his death. Lynn

From: Fred Phillips
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2011

I knew Tom Buckley well.

He was the best poker player in the 281st. Whenever we were out on a Delta operation, a couple of majors and several other officers had a serious game that ran whenever we weren't flying. Tom crushed it. Some months, his winnings would double or triple his pay.

He arrived in-country sometime in '66 and saw first serious combat in August, on Black Sunday, near Song Be. Tom and Ron Gaddis were flying the recovery slick when Ray Oksa and Curt Garrett got shot down while trying to pick up a Delta team that found itself in the middle of an NVA Battalion. Tom landed in the extremely confined LZ, picked up the crew and then hovered, backwards, into one corner of the LZ to get a long enough takeoff run to clear the trees. He did all that under fire from multiple automatic weapons, at a range of 50-100 meters. Magnificent.

When I went home couple of months later, he took my spot in the Wolfpack.

We've lost a really good guy and a great aviator.

Fred Phillips
Wolfpack 32

Top of page DAT Remembrance Home

15 October 1944 - 02 May 1990

Bobby Bumbalough
281st Operations 1969/70

Bobby served in the 281st AHC in Vietnam and rose to the rank of Specialist 5.
His internment was in the West Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee.
He shall not be forgotten.

From Jack Interstein:

He worked in Operations. Was a really terrific young man who was very helpful to a 19 year old JINT, when I first got to 281st. He did spend time in the FOB as operations man on the scene. Always wondered what happened to him. He taught to me to drive a jeep and had a lot patience with someone who had never driven a stick before. A real southern gentleman. R.I.P. Bobby!

July 7, 1928 -- February 13, 1998

Last known residence: 33549 Lutz, Hillsborough, FL.
SSAN Issued: West Virginia or North Carolina.
David served in the 281st AHC as an Aircraft Maintenance NCO

May 1977 3 March 3, 1947 -- May, 1977

Assigned to the 281st on 28 Dec 67 from the 61st Avn Co.
Departed 281st on 10 Aug 68 for the 192nd Avn Co for the remainder of his tour under the Infusion Program.
James was living at 27261 High Point, Guilford, NC at the time of his death.

⇐ Back To DAT  Top of page Remembrance Site Map ⇑ Home