"A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN"
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From: Thomas West [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2005 6:49 PM
Subject: Bob Eddy
While I was in the hospital for 9 days I got call from
Helen Eddy, Bob Eddy's wife that he had passed away on April 14, 2005. He was in
the signal unit with Jim Lavender.
ROBERT K. "BOB" EDGLEY
Died on 26 October 1999 at the age of 55 after a lengthy illness caused by a heart condition. Bob Served in both the Rat Pack and Wolf Pack platoons in 1967-68 and 1969. Prior to the 281st Bob flew with A /229, 1st Cav Div. Following his service with the 281st he flew with Air America. Upon returning to the states, he flew for the Boston Police Dept. Bob was raised in upper New York. His last address was 786 Lawrenceburg Loop, Bloomfield, KY 4008. His wife Paula survives him.
LARRY CHESTER ELAM
Larry Elam served with the 281st as a Crew Chief with the Wolf Pack Gun Platoon during 1968 - 69. Larry was a highly respected Intruder and a friend to all. He served with distinction and was decorated for his actions in the Thanksgiving day rescue of a downed Wolf Pack crew in 1969. His service reflected great courage and devotion to his duty, and was highly representative of the members of his unit. He shall be remembered by the Intruder family. His obituary follows:
Larry Chester Elam, born February 21, 1944 in Dallas, Texas, passed away peacefully in his home on November 15, 2018 in Fort Scott, KS. He was a proud American, an Army veteran who served multiple tours in Vietnam between 1968-1976. He enjoyed helping others, playing pool, fishing and spending time with family and friends.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Barney and Oleta Elam and his brother Tommy Elam. He is survived by his wife Carol Elam, of Fort Scott, KS, his daughter, Kimberly and Denny Bourassa of Mesquite, TX, his son John Elam of Austin, TX, his stepson, Johnny Powders of Fort Scott, KS, his stepdaughter, Lori and Jason Lewis of Fort Scott, KS, and grandchildren Jacob, Hunter, Peyton and Ainslee, and his sister, Juanita and Gary Morrow of Nocona,TX. Military honors will be held Graveside on Tuesday, November 20, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. at Fort Scott National Cemetery, KS.
Daryl Evangelho Writes About His Friend and Fellow Intruder.
Larry was one of the crew members that saved our lives when Miller, Tubby, Brown and I were shot down in Vietnam, Thanksgiving Day, 1969. I was about to call him this week when I learned of his passing. He and I were the only ones left alive from that 8 man helicopter crew. We got to visit at a couple of Vietnam reunions and I am truly happy for that. RIP my brother, Elam. You will be thoroughly missed. Below is my story of Thanksgiving Day!
Thanksgiving Day 1969 in Vietnam Thanksgiving Day 1969 in Vietnam OCT 25, 2014 FacebookTwitterMore668 “Death on call” was the motto of the Wolfpack gunship platoon of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company. The company arrived in Vietnam in June 1966 and departed in December 1970. In the fall of 1969, the North Vietnamese army held a large-scale operation northwest of Ban Me Thuot in central Vietnam. So pervasive was the operation that no U.S. army helicopters were allowed to fly in the area. That included medivac and supply missions. The only U.S. helicopters permitted to operate were gunships. It was all “top secret.” Capt. Jim Brown (now deceased), our gunship platoon leader, and us were tasked with providing aerial support to the isolated outposts manned by U.S. personnel that were in imminent danger of being overrun. I asked Capt. Brown how long we were going to be out on this mission and he replied, “If we make it for three days, then we will be relieved by another crew.” I vividly remember the trepidation and fear I felt, unlike any other mission I flew in Vietnam. If we got into trouble, we knew there would be no chance of rescue from medivac or any UH-1 helicopters in the area. We made it to Bu Prang in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day 1969. While Duane Brudvig (now deceased), our gunner, and I were refueling our helicopter, another gunship (who we were relieving) was refueling next to us. While talking to their crew chief, he raised his shirt up to show us a bruise on his chest the size of a watermelon. He had taken a round earlier that day, and his chest protector saved his life. The outpost on top of a small volcano-like hill was manned by U.S. personnel who had been under intense attack from the North Vietnamese occupying the surrounding hilltops only a few hundred yards from their position. They were being attacked by mortars, rockets, etc. So intense was our engagement with the enemy that we had to return to Ban Me Thuot twice to rearm and refuel. Those personnel on the hill called in gunships and F4 phantom jets to suppress the enemy. While refueling and rearming for the third time that day, we had our first crack at using flechette rockets. These are rockets with hundreds of needles in the warhead, that burst in the sky and sent hundreds of needles out to cover a vast area. After the F4 phantom jets left, we headed into the volcano-like area at treetop level and all hell broke loose. Rounds were bursting up through the floor of the helicopter between my legs. I immediately returned fire, listening to Ken Miller (our pilot) say, “May Day, May Day, we are going down.” Glancing at the control panel, the lights were blinking red, indicating that we were crashing. After crash landing, we jumped out, taking as much ammunition as we could carry. We took up defensive positions around the helicopter and were now surrounded by an enemy force that we had been fighting most of the day. We were within hand-grenade range of numerous spider holes occupied by the North Vietnamese army. An intense ground battle ensued for at least half an hour. We eliminated the enemy in the spider holes, but we were still receiving fire from the tree line and surrounding enemy positions.
Duane and I left our defensive positions many times to return to the helicopter to get more ammunition, since we had full mini gun trays sitting in the aircraft to use in our M-60 machine guns. Robert George (now deceased), pilot, Larry Elam, crew chief, Jackie Keele, pilot, and Red Vandervene, gunner, were flying over us to protect us while waiting to be rescued, but no one was coming. George’s mini guns were shot out and he was running out of fuel. Realizing that no one was coming to rescue us, George landed a few yards away from us, just as the enemy was getting closer to our defensive positions. The four of us ran and jumped into his helicopter. So close was the enemy, the skid of the aircraft hit an enemy soldier in the chest when we took off. For our heroics that day, Bob George received a Silver Star, and the rest of us received a Bronze Star with a V device, for valor. Thirty-five years later, we found out that the U.S. outpost we had been defending that day, was overrun and all personnel were killed. There is not a Thanksgiving Day that each of us still living does not think of that day that we were shot down, surrounded, and made it back to our post to eat our Thanksgiving dinner out of a can. We had everything to be thankful for!
Daryl (Angie) Evangelho
Cynthia Hemphill Witham
I had the privilege of talking to him almost every morning for the past year and a half. Whether he was teasing me, telling me stories that I enjoyed hearing about his family he loved dearly, his younger years, about "getting old" or just about the weather. If I was having a off day he knew it and took him only a few words to make it better! I'm lucky to of called him my friend! He made my day! I work at the daycare where his grandchildren attend and the children in my room lit up when they seen him and gave him the name "Papa high 5" and squealed with joy as soon as they seen him, he gave every kid in the room a high 5 and greeted them all with just as much enthusiasm! I was eating lunch one Saturday and the waitress took my check and came to the table and said "Papa paid for it" I have never been shown such a kind gesture then I saw that day from him and his wife. This kindness was very much his character. I will miss him very much and so will my daycare kids! High 5 Papa!! You are greatly missed!
From Michael Feely:
Fred E. Ellis, DOB 12 March
1947, was a member of the 281st from 1967 to 1969 serving most
of that time in the Motor Pool. I'm told that he later transferred to aircraft
maint in the end of 1968. His Mother wrote to me in Sept of 1977 to inform me
that he had passed away in his sleep on Feb 14, 1977 as a result of a
malfunctioning furnace. He was buried in his family's plot in Jasper, Texas
I would like to pass on some information about one of our fellow intruders who
passed on sometime in the mid seventies. His name was Fred Ellis. Fred was in
the company before I arrived in May of '67, and he was there after I left in
December of '68. I don't know how long he was there, it had to be at least two
years or more. Fred worked in the motor pool as the records clerk, I think.
Later, just a few months before I left he had transferred into aircraft
maintenance. After he returned I went to visit him in Tulsa, OK, that was in the
winter of '71. He was selling insurance. Sometime after that, I think it was in
'74,'75,or '76, I received a letter from Mike Feely with a letter from Fred's
mother. She said Fred was found dead in his apartment, didn't mention a cause of
death. She went on to say they had buried him in Houston, TX. Mike Feely might
have a better recollection of the letter than I. I thought I would pass this
along as Fred was one of a kind, and I'm sure there are a lot fellow intruders
who remember him.
I wanted to write a note and update the 281st AHC webpage on the death of my
father, Gerry Ellis. He served in the maintenance platoon 10/66-10/67, and
his pride in service with the unit greatly contributed to my own service.
He passed away from cancer in January, he was 71.
RYAN J. ELLIS, LTC, USA"
The obituary for Gerry Ellis:
"Gerry W. Ellis was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior on Friday, January 15, 2016. He was born in Piggott, Arkansas on January 12, 1945, and moved with his family to Arizona when he was six months old.
He was raised in Chandler, Arizona and lived there until the time of his marriage. He is a veteran of the Vietnam War. On Halloween, 1968 he met Kay Flack on a blind date.
They were married one year later on Halloween, 1969. Gerry worked as a mechanical technician most of his career and was an accomplished welder as well as an artist and silversmith
which he enjoyed in his spare time in his younger years. On November 26, 1975 the light of his life, son, Ryan Joseph Ellis was born.
Their bond was extraordinary and he was so very proud of all of Ryan's accomplishments.
Gerry is survived by his wife of 46 years, Kay, his son, Ryan and daughter-in-law DeAnna, his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, his uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews who all loved him dearly.
He is predeceased by his loving sister, Leita, who we lost in 1979, his Father and Mother, Willie and Veneal Ellis.
A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at Mountain Bible Church 302 East Rancho Road, Payson, AZ.
In lieu of flowers you may make contributions to Hospice Compassus 511 South Mud Springs Rd, Payson, AZ 85541. He will be privately interred in the Payson Pioneer Cemetery."
-- Published in the Payson Roundup on January 19, 2016.
KENNETH R. EMBREY