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Final Missions

This page is a memorial for all O Deuce troopers who have died after coming home from Viet Nam. We do not have lists to refer to, so for them to appear on this page it will require that their brothers who still live send us their info. Please send a photo or two if you have them available (one from Viet Nam, one recent would be very good), memories about who they were in Viet Nam and/or afterwards.

Donald Corey (Echo Recondo 70-71): February 9, 2022

Don Corey

Donald H. Corey enlisted in the U.S. Army in January of 1969 and after completing his basic training, AIT, and jump school he spent a year as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Don then volunteered for service in Vietnam. He served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne Division August 1970 to 1971. Upon his arrival back in the states he worked at the Gibson Guitar Company and then Michigan Bell Telephone Company where he worked for over 35 years. In his free time, he enjoyed hunting. He most loved bow hunting but truly enjoyed his time in the outdoors and the hunt. In 1972, Don married Denise Hagen, and they had two sons, Jeff and Marcus.

Don "Wild Bill" Corey was a brother of mine. We met early January of 1971 when he joined Recon, 2/502. He was a great solder, a great friend and a great human being. May you rest in peace!

- Richard "Lambchops" Price

Howard Grabill (Echo Recondo 70-71): January 12, 2022

Howard Grabill

Howard R Grabill proudly served with the Recondos, where he received a Bronze Star with "V" device. Following his service he earned a bachelor's degree from Eastern Kentucky University.

Howard was a UPS driver for over 30 years in Kentucky, before returning to the family farm in Hillsboro, Texas. He was a member of the St. Mary Catholic Church in Hillsboro. His greatest passion was trains. He enjoyed traveling on and photographing trains in the US and abroad. He traveled by train in 48 of the 50 the states, as well as Canada, Europe, China, and Africa. When Howard was not traveling, he could be found working outside or on his farm.

Dane McNabb (HHC Recondo 67-70): October 22, 2021

Dane McNabb

Dane Lyman McNabb joined the Army shortly after graduating high school and became a paratrooper. He served three tours in Vietnam with the Recondos of 2/502.

Following his time in Vietnam, Dane continued his service with the Army in Alaska. There he was also a scout master, civilian skydiver, graphic artis, illustrator, and an avid fisherman. He also worked for the Nome Nugget newspaper.

Dane graduated from Lewis-Clark state college with a bachelor's degree in business management and business administration. After earning his degree, he worked as a business consultant.

Bruce Falconer (HHC Recondo 67-68): September 6, 2021

Bruce Falconer

Bruce Allan Falconer is survived by his wife Sharon of 51 years, 3 sons and 8 grandsons. Bruce was a squad leader in the Recondo Platoon of the 2/02, a good leader of men and a trusted warrior.

He was a true American Patriot and adamant 2nd Amendment supporter. He was involved with the PTSD group and Redding VA hospital, and associated with the Military Historical Vehicle Chapter.

Thomas Brennan (Alpha 69-70): September 7, 2020

Thomas James Brennan, 72, of Overton, Nebraska passed away unexpectedly on Monday, September 7, 2020 as the result of an automobile accident. Thomas was born on November 21, 1947, in Lexington, Nebraska to Thomas and Anna Marie (McTygue) Brennan. He received his education from Overton Public Schools, graduating from Overton High School with the class of 1966. He then attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for one year.
On December 3, 1968, he was drafted into the United States Army. He served as an infantry squad leader with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam. He was wounded twice. His awards and decorations included the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Combat "V", the Vietnam Service Medal, the Parachutist Badge, and the Combat Infantry's Badge. He was honorably discharged on September 1, 1970. Tom returned home to Overton, where he began his lifelong passion of farming and feeding cattle.
Tom was united in marriage to Cheryl Smith on November 27, 1971 at St. Ann's Catholic Church in Lexington, Nebraska. The couple were blessed with two children: Brandi and James. The family made their home in Overton, where Tom operated the farm and fed cattle.
Farming was Tom's life, he enjoyed long drives and would always say he was going out to “check up”. He was always willing to help out fellow farmers and tell a good story. He was a strong supporter of the Overton Community and was an active member of the Holy Rosary Church and the Overton American Legion Post 277, serving as adjutant for many years. Tom served as the main speaker for the Memorial Day Services at the Overton Cemetery, he was a member of the Knights of Columbus and he was a former School Board member for Overton Public Schools.
Tom enjoyed old Classic Cars, playing pitch and following his children and in later years his grandchildren's school activities and sporting events.

Rainer Nyman (Alpha 69-70): May 13, 2020

Rainer Nyman, 74, Mosinee, passed away on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, at Ascension St. Clare's Hospital, Weston. He was born Nov. 20, 1945, in Oravais, Finland, the son of the late David and Ingrid (Blomqvist) Nyman. He married Carol Lynn Vesey on Aug. 30, 2003. She survives. He achieved a Political Science Degree at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle. He then mastered his true skill and life profession as a professional painter and remained a member of the Painters Union till his death.
After college, Rainer was a decorated U.S. Army veteran serving in Vietnam from Nov. 8, 1969 to Sept. 2, 1970. The following medals are a tribute to his outstanding Military Service: Bronze Star Medal & Letter “V” Device; Purple Heart; Air Medal; Army Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal & Bronze Star; Combat Infantry Badge 1st Award; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon w/Device; Sharpshooter Badge & Auto Rifle Bar & Rifle Bar; and Marksman Badge & Machine Gun Bar.
Rainer was a proud man who loved his wife dearly. He was a wonderful Dad to Danielle and an amazing Papa to Braxton who he adored. He enjoyed life, was a hard worker and never made plans to retire. He loved the challenge of an equipment rebuild or small home remodeling project. If something needed to be fixed, Rainer was there. He loved listening to classical and jazz music, cooking, reading mysteries, watching old westerns, a round of golf with his brothers, a beer with friends, boating on Lake DuBay and doing crossword puzzles. While words cannot express how devastated we are with the loss of our friend, Dad, Papa and soul mate, we also celebrate and are grateful for what he has given us. His love, kindness, knowledge and compassion he shared with so many will remain forever. Survivors, besides his wife, Carol Lynn, include his granddaughter, Danielle Heins, Wausau; his great-grandson, Braxton Southworth, Mosinee; three brothers, Ralph (Eileen) Nyman, Park Ridge, Ill., Roger “Mel” (Helen) Nyman, Gurnee, Ill., and David (Kathleen) Nyman, Vernon Hills, Ill; a brother in-law, Rick Spafford, Bartlett, Ill; and many nieces and nephews. He is proceeded in death by his sister, Lois Spafford. A celebration of life will be scheduled this summer when it is safer for loved ones to gather

Franklin "Doc" Hardee (Echo-Recondo 70-71): January 8, 2017

Franklin 'Doc' Hardee

Franklin T "DOC" Hardee served in Vietnam from November 6, 1970 to August 7, 1971. Doc "Shakey"" as we called him, arrived in Recon in early 1971 and was a dedicated medic that would risk life or limb to help a fallen soldier. He was a very humble man that we all had great respect for. The April 30, 1971 assault of Co Pung Mountain and the helicopter crashes that occurred there were very hard on Doc. As a dedicated combat medic, Doc wanted to help the mortally wounded and could not. This haunted Doc throughout the rest of his life. Doc passed away on January 8, 2017 at his home in Crawfordville, Fl. Doc was cremated and his ashes were spread in the Ochlockonee River. Doc served his country proudly and payed the ultimate price for it. Doc will be missed by all that knew him.


- Richard "Lambchops" Price

Paul "Chag" Chagios (Charlie 1967-8): December 21, 2016

Paul Chagios

Dave Rathert (Echo-Recondo 1970-71): October 24, 2016

Dave Rathert

Dave proudly served in Vietnam from October 14, 1970 to August 22, 1971 with most of his time in Recon. Dave was a very private individual so We know very little about Dave except he came from a town near San Diego, Ca. He was a good soldier that we always depended on. Dave passed away on October 24, 2016 with his family at his side. He was cremated and his ashes were spread according to his wishes. As in Vietnam, we know very little about Dave's passing but that was who he was. He didn't want an obituary, any fanfare or memorials, just his privacy. Those of us that served with Dave will always remember him and respect him the way he wanted to be remembered.


- Richard "Lambchops" Price

Wilbur J Gaspard (Alpha/Delta 1967-68): May 26, 2016

Wilbur Gaspard
Wilbur Gaspard's Obituary

Wilbur was a damned good friend and machine gunner in Nam. He humped the 60 all over A Shau. We called him the Ragin ' Cajun, because he'd fight over most anything. Sure Gonna miss Him.

- Billie Two Feathers

Tom "Beetle" Bailey (HHC 1967-68): May 11, 2016

Tom 'Beetle' Bailey

Beetle was not only a trusted friend and keeper of his Brothers, he was also a "keeper of our stories". Our life stories are kept alive by those who know us, and have shared in the creation of our stories. When a keeper of our personal story dies, it is like we have lost a part of our own story. Beetle knew many of our stories as well as, or perhaps even better than ourselves. He was a walking history book of our time in the O Deuce. Many of our stories have died with him.

Facebook Photo Album - Internment at Arlington Cemetery

Raymond Plesiewicz (Charlie 1966-7): December 22, 2015

Ray Plesiewicz

Services Information

I was a machine gunner with the 1st Platoon, C Company, and served with Ray in 1967. On 18 May 1967 our Platoon was ordered into a bunker complex on Hill 424 to flank an NVA unit that had ambushed members of B Company. They were pinned down and taking numerous causalities. Myself and two other members of our platoon were wounded early in the firefight. I was laying down slope from the rest of the platoon in an exposed position. I wasn't sure if we were going to make it out. Then I saw Ray. He was coming down the slope with John Hogan following. At the time, I thought they were crazy. They passed by me and went down the slope and engaged several enemy bunkers with grenades and rifle fire. Ray's courageous actions that day, with disregard for his own safety, brought hope to everyone in our platoon. Later I learned that Hogan received the Distinguish Service Cross, our nation's second highest award for valor. I was sure Ray had received a Silver Star or the DSC with Hogan for their actions that day. Although he never received that much earned recognition, I would like all to know that he will never be forgotten, by me or the other members of the 1st Platoon who he saved that day. Rest in Peace my brother.

- Francis J. McCloskey - Charlie Co

COL Charles J. “Shamrock” Shay (2/502 Commander 1970): December 7, 2015

Colonel Charles Shamrock Shay

I was a Company Commander under "Shamrock" in Vietnam during some very trying times and he was exactly the kind of decisive, combat leader that we needed back then. I saw him again later at Fort Carson where he rescued me from a staff job and got me down to another command. Rest in Peace Sir. Strike Force!

- Gerry Dillon - Charlie Co

I served under "Shamrock" in Vietnam. It was the most difficult of times , but his strong leadership made it better. God bless him and all that served our country. He has a great place in our history.

- James Brinker - Echo Co

I served under "Shamrock" in Vietnam for a few months and in his later years we were close friends and shared many a war story over lunch. I believe that probably the best comment or compliment that I can make to a leader of his caliber is there are many veterans that survived Vietnam and other conflicts because of this man's great leadership abilities that would not have survived under a leader of lesser abilities. "Shamrock" created history and changed history as we know it. We lost a truly great American when he passed away.

- Richard "Lambchops" Price - Recondo


Guest Book

Richard Sonnenberg (Echo 71-72): November 21, 2015

Richard Sonnenberg and Col Shay

Richard Sonnenberg was born 7/18/1948 and passed 11/21/2015 from heart failure. Richard served with Co E, 2d 502d in Vietnam (1971-1972. Richard was a past president of the Rocky Mountain Eagles Chapter, 101st Airborne Division Association. The picture shown here is from that Chapter's annual picnic. Richard is shown with his battalion commander from Vietnam, COL (Ret) Charles J. “Shamrock” Shay who also is a member of the Chapter. Richard was staying with friends in College Station, Texas at the time of his death. Richard will be interred at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, Denver, CO. Richard was proud of his service and work in the Chapter where another friend from Vietnam, Mike Thompson, also serves.

- John Thompson, President, Rocky Mountain Eagles Chapter

Jim Lovstrom (Charlie 65-66): May 18, 2015

Jim Lovstrom

Jim and I met at Fort Campbell, Ky. after I was assigned to the 101st. Airborne Division, Charlie Co. 2nd. Battalion, 502nd. Infantry.

He was in the mortar platoon across the aisle. I was a gunner on the 106 recoilless rifle. We trained together, went on maneuvers, served on guard duty, and, oh, yes, that dreaded duty….K.P. Just call us all Beetle Bailey…one big happy family.

Thus began an unknown future for a group of unacquainted young men from across the country .Jim was from the West coast, and I, from the mid-South.

Just around the corner awaited our destinies, involving wartime experiences that would forge our lives and friendships for a lifetime.

Jim possessed a personality with an easy going affability. His smile immediately made you feel comfortable and at ease. We were all indeed “A Band of Brothers”. In 1965 we were put on alert. Chatter said war was inevitable. We began to ready ourselves. We were taught how to load the gear and supplies which included everything onto railroad cars.

Then came our orders. We would be shipping out to a place called Vietnam. I don’t remember much about the cross country trip but I do remember getting off the bus in Oakland, California. Grabbing our duffle bags we marched down the dock to one “humongous” beyond ugly, ship.

The date was July 8, 1965. The band played an “Airborne” song, as we boarded a ramp that led us onto the deck of the infamous… General Leroy El Tinge.

I remember saying to no-one in particular, this can’t be happening. We are Airborne .We were indignant at having to travel on a W.W. II troop ship.

On July 29, 1965, after surviving the crossing of the Pacific Ocean, the 1st. Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division, disembarked at a place called Cam- Rahn Bay.

We loaded onto amphibious landing craft, assaulted the beach, and then went ashore under combat conditions in neck deep water. After finding a suitable location we set up a base camp. We literally dug in with both mortars, and 106 recoilless rifles. We acclimated to the oppressive jungle heat, and learned about the indigenous snakes, mosquitoes, fire ants, and lizards.

I was teaching the art of throwing bowie knives. Jim decided to get the feel for it. He tried to retrieve it in mid-air. It almost severed his thumb. We both recalled the incident at our first reunion together in Reno, Nevada a few years ago. He still had the scar to prove it.

We were a close knit group, a family. There was Jim Lovstrom, Carl Bennett, Freddy Moore, Walt Ostrander, and myself .There were others as well in our squads. We trained hard, fought hard. We were a unit of survivors that watched out for each other .Often our roles would change as the needs required. We engaged the enemy while on patrols and night ambushes. We were acutely aware of the darkness in the jungles and rubber plantations at night when the light could not penetrate. Have I mentioned the rice paddies, leeches, monsoon rains, punji stakes, B-52s on bombing missions while we waited so we could go in? Later, the C-130s released a chemical that was orange in color that literally sprayed a rainy cloudy mist that would fall on us as we sought out the gooks, as we called them then.

That was our first encounter of many, as what we would later learn to be Agent-Orange. It was very effective as it killed out the foliage in the jungle. We were naive to its deadly effect on us as we inhaled it .What a cost many have paid with their lives, because of it.

Yes, we remember Jim…. as long as memory remains, we shall remember. He was a warrior, a brother-in-arms, a fellow soldier, one of our many heroes, an honorable man. The man with the twinkling, laughing blue eyes, tall, thin, slim Jim. He was a true Yankee Doodle boy.

James S. Lovstrom entered this world on July 4, 1945. He fought a most courageous battle with cancer for several years. This disease was a direct result of the inhalation of Agent Orange in the jungles of Vietnam while fighting as a young American soldier. Jim passed away on May 18, 2015.

To Jim’s beloved wife, Marsha, his sons, Mike and Glen and his step daughter, Jennifer-his grand-children: Jamie, Dylan, Suzanne and Ryan, we offer our prayers and condolences.

I have been blessed to have called Jim Lovstrom my friend.

To all who made it back…. But never quite made it home… Welcome Home Brother

- Charles Vance

Jose Sablan Laguana (Alpha 65-66): March 5, 2015

Jose Laguana's Obituary in the Guam Pacific Daily News.

Joe was an infantry man throughout most of his military career. In addition, Joe was an athlete in his earlier years. He was part of the U.S. Army Elite Panther Boxing Team. At Fort Bragg, he became the 82nd Airborne Flyweight Boxing Champion. In 1954, he earned the title Flyweight Boxing Champion of Florida; and in 1956, he was 1st Calvary's All-Japan Bantamweight Champion. When he served in Germany in the late fifties, he earned runner-up position as Bantamweight and flyweight Champion for the entire 8th Army Division. Joe Laguana was from Guam USA. As young boy, he helped his father raise cattle and with his brother harvested sea salt from the Pacific Ocean to help the family until his enlistment in the Army in 1952. Joe passed away from lung cancer, at the age of 80, at Tripler Medical VA Center for Aging in Honolulu, Hawaii. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Rosita Dolores Laguana and they are laid to rest next to each other at Guam Veterans Cemetery in Piti, Guam. Jose & Rosita raised five children Beebee, Martie, Jose Jr., Vanessa, and Ben Henry. The joy of retirement for this soldier and his proud military wife was traveling to military reunions, visiting family and their treasured grandchildren.

I am from Barrigada Guam. All the people who grew up with me felt we owed the Americans something for what they did for Guam during World War II. That's why we volunteer to fight.

- Jose Sablan Laguana, 1SG US Army (Ret)

Ken Hefling (Delta 70-71): February 16, 2015

Ken Hefling

Ken Hefling's Obituary

Kenny was my best friend in Viet Nam. We served together in 1971 with Delta Company where he was the company RTO and I was a platoon RTO. Most of us went our own way when we got back to the states and failed to follow up on these friendships that we had built while in the jungles of Viet Nam. I visited with Kenny once in 1975 and then never saw him again until 2011 when, thanks to the efforts of Terry Varner, six of us met in Kansas City to renew those friendships. Kenny passed away four years later and I am very thankful that I got to see and talk to him during those last four years.

- Dannie Cummings

Hank "Gunfighter" Emerson (Battalion Commander 65-66): February 4, 2015

LTG Henry E Emerson's Website - information about Emerson's life, photos, and Arlington Cemetery.

Hank Emerson's Obituary in the Boston Globe

From The Obituary link above: According to those that knew Him best, such as Colin Powell, who would go on to become the U.S. Secretary of State, what set him apart as a combat commander was his great love for his soldiers and his concern for their welfare. During his command in the Vietnam War, he conceived aerial reconnaissance and combat methods that employed effectively against the Viet Cong. These included a checkerboard concept that involves small groups covering grid squares to seek out an enemy, and jitterbug tactics which are complex maneuvers using helicopters to surround an enemy. This would seem jittery like the dance when Eagle Flights, which were helicopters loaded with local soldiers, were flown in quickly to assist foreign troops in certain situations. He demonstrated that American soldiers could effectively "out-guerrilla" the Viet Cong. Emerson also developed the "seal-and-pile-on technique" (the rapid build-up of combat power to surround and destroy an enemy force). General Emerson, who was fraternally called "The Gunfighter" by his troops, was one of the most decorated officers in the history of the United States Army.

We have lost one of our greatest Commanders. Hank "Gunfighter" Emerson has landed on a new DZ. We are sure he will make it safe for all of us who will follow him.

"Gunfighter" as he was known to all of us, was the one man who changed how battle was conducted in Vietnam. From Phan Rang, through the battles at Dak To, Gunfighter was the one who held Our Battalion together.

YES, it was the BEST SCOTCH he could find, that was in his 2nd canteen. This was confirmed at our 2/502 Reunion in 2012.

Rest in Peace Sir

- Dale Joritz

Robert "Buffalo Bob" Corey (HHC Recondo 65-66): October 20, 2014

Robert Corey

Obituary and Memorial Service info

Brother Bobby, you were a good friend and trooper in Nam. Some how we hit it off. Walked many patrols, got our asses shot off, had some good time too. From the time we parted in Nam I have thought about you every day. You were a legend in your own time. Many hearts are saddened by your passing but as always you led the way. The rest of us are counting on you to check this out before we come in. If all ok, pop green smoke, if not we will be seeing red. Bobby, please find peace, sit back and enjoy as you did before. Until we meet again AIRBORNE, STRIKE FORCE, RECONDO

- Jim Gould

Jack "Doc" Treese (Charlie 67-68): October 1, 2014

Jack Treese

Jack was born on October 5, 1945 and grew up in Titusville, Florida. He enlisted in the Army after high school, and served as a combat medic with the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam from 1967-1968, earning two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts. He retired from the Army, after 23 years, as a Chief Warrant Officer 2 and became a Physician Assistant. He practiced with an ophthalmologist, dermatologist, HMO, and cosmetic surgeon, maintaining his license until his passing.
Breitbart Memoriam

I first met Jack in the field at Doc Pho, SVN, in early June 1967 when I reported to Charlie Co. As a “Cherry” I was completely at the mercy of the rugged country of Viet Nam. I went to third platoon, Sgt Larry Fletcher was my platoon Sgt. Those days were a swirl of new experiences and I was along for the ride. Up and down hills and hollers and through creeks, rivers and of course rice paddies. It didn't take long and the living conditions began to impact my body. Heat, humidity, rain, steep terrain, leeches, and of course the enemy kept me ducking every time I heard a shot.

I was having trouble with infections, Jungle Rot. My arms were constantly oozing pus and every little scratch I got caused more discomfort and soon I was covered with little patches of oozing sores. I was issued a new pair of Jungle Boots when I got in country and they were making my feet hurt. I didn't want to take my boots off so I wore them all the time. Little did I know what a mistake that was until I began to have trouble walking. I couldn't stand the pain any longer so I went looking for the Medic, surely he could fix me up, I thought.

I had never even spoken to Jack up to that point. He was always with the LT or back with Fletcher near the rear of the platoon. Well I tracked him down and explained my situation to him and of course he said, “take off your boots let's have a look”. He could tell I was hurting because I walked like I had a cobb up my rear and groaned a lot. Well, after about 10 minutes of pressure from Doc I finally gave in and took off my boots. Jack gasped, took a deep breath and said, “I'm sending you to the rear”. I pleaded with him to fix me up and let me stay, I was needed by my squad I said, as if they couldn't get along with out me. I offered him extra “Cs” , especially peaches and pound cake. I had learned real quick that peaches were worth a lot as a bargaining chip. He looked me over and finally said “ok” but if you are not better by the next resupply you have to go back to the rear. He put some ugly looking concoction he mixed up on my sore ankles and told me to take my boots off once a day and change my socks as often as I could.

Well in a couple of days my sore feet/ankles were better and I didn't have to leave the field after all. He continued to monitor my other jungle rot sites and I was able to build up a resistance to the infections from the scratches, cuts, etc. and from that time on Jack and I were the best of friends.

I will always remember him as compassionate, caring, friendly person who tried to take good care of the troops.

You will be missed my friend. Rest in peace.

- Mike Perry

Tom Russell (Charlie 65-66): July ?, 2014

George Mercado (Charlie 65-66): September 24, 2013

George Mercado

Awaiting further information...

Pedro G Ambriz (Bravo 69): April 26, 2013

Pedro G Ambriz

From the Mission Park Memorial:
"Pedro G. Ambriz was born on Januray 3, 1934 and passed away on April 26, 2013 at the age of 79. He is preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by his loving wife Rachel A. Ambriz and daughters: Rachel Ambriz Ford , Janie A. Ambriz Caballero (Edward), and Renee A. Juarez (Richard), Sons: Pedro Ambriz Jr., Roland Ambriz (Soila), Jesse Ambriz and Michael Ambriz also numberous grand children and great grand children. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him."

"Pepe" Ambriz died 4/26/13 in San Antonio. He was the 2nd PSG for a short but violent while, May & June 1969. He was with us on FSB Currahee. We would do patrols off Currahee. He called the NVA the little people and he was not too thrilled about bumping into them as we would have to kill them, a prospect he did not relish despite him being the hardest core PSG we ever had. He was the ranking man on the Hamburger Hill adventure. He ordered Dick to secure the LZ and my squad leader, Lynn Spurgeon, to get on the left flank of C/2/17 Cav. As such, we were closest to the southern-most peak of the hill, where the Cav had troopers pinned down by an unknown number of NVA in bunkers. As it began to get late in the day, the Cav stayed on the adjacent peak, obviously hesitating to take the hill where they had troopers pinned down. Now picture this: 2 squads of Infantry with a troop of Cav (the equivalent of a full strength Infantry platoon). PSG Ambriz asked the Cav 1LT if he planned to take the hill. When the 1LT hesitated, PSG Ambriz did not, immediately turning to SGT Spurgeon and saying, "Spurgeon, take that hill." We did, finding SGT Robert Howard dead on the top. Short story is we killed 3 NVA in bunkers before getting the hell out of there. And that, brothers, is how a hard core squad of Infantry pulled a troop of Cavalry out of a hell of a jam. To add insult to injury, the Cav 1LT demanded that PSG Ambriz give him the AK 47's we took from the dead NVA. With CPT Apodaca's backing, PSG Ambriz basically told the LT to f*** off (of course not in those words).

Robert, as you see, PSG Ambriz is the man who gave the order that pulled the Cav out of the jam and secured your father's body. I expressed my condolences to Pepe's widow, two granddaughters and a brother in law. Pepe, may God bless your soul and take you into paradise. You served faithfully and always secured the mission while watching out for your men. Strike Force!

- Randy Hyde
(written to Robert Howard's son)

Wade Stewart (Bravo 68-69): January 14, 2013

Wade Stewart died of a heart attack several days after back surgery. If you have information, stories, or photos, please send them for inclusion on this page.

Wade was a hell of a soldier; he was on line with us for 8 months as our Artillary FAO. He managed all the artillary, mortar, cobra, and puff fire at FSB Currahee... I certainly remember his management of all indirect fires on FSB Currahee on June 15, 1969 Just visited with Wade at the 2/502nd and 101st Airborne reunion in August in Nashville. All was well at that time.

- Randy Hyde

Sam Snyder (Bravo 1966-7): January 9, 2013

Sam Snyder

Still looking for information. Please send to if you have any.

William F Gunter, Jr (Bravo 1967): December 20, 2012

William F Gunter, Jr

Bill graduated from Santiago High School, Garden Grove, CA in June 1966 and enlisted in the US Army in July 1966. After completing Infantry Training, he served with the 101st Airborne Division "Screaming Eagles", the 30th Military Police Battalion and from 1970 to his retirement in 1987 as a Special Agent with the United States Army Criminal Investigation Division. During his 21 years of military service Bill was assigned to several U.S. Army installations in addition to overseas tours in Vietnam, Korea, Japan and Germany. He received numerous awards and decorations, the most notable being Legion of Merit and a Purple Heart for wounds received in 1967 during a battle at Hill 414, Doc Pho, Vietnam. After retirement he returned to CID in 1988 as a Civilian Criminal Investigator for the Laguna Nigel Fraud Team, Laguna Nigel, CA and remained at that office until his retirement in 2008 as the Special Agent in Charge of the same unit renamed Pacific Fraud Field Office. At the time of his passing he was a longtime resident of Mission Viejo, CA having lived in that city since 1988.

Orange County Register Obituary

William Gunter's Page

Brien Richards (HHC Recondo 66-67): January 18, 2012

Brien was born Dec. 6, 1946, in Bellevue, Wash. Brien served his country in the U.S. Army and the Arizona National Guard. He was in law enforcement for many years at the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the Kingman Police Department, the Wickenburg Police Department and the Navajo Army Depot.

Kingman Az newspaper obituary

Morris C Epps Jr (Charlie 67-68): December ??, 2011

Morris C Epps Jr

EPPS MORRIS C. EPPS JR., U.S. Army, retired employee of Ohio Bell and AT∓T; beloved husband of Rhuneta, loving father of Carmen, Sean, Siobhan and Shajmil; adored grandfather of Aaron and Deja; and great grandfather of Rachael.

Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper obituary

David Blodgett (Charlie 66-67): August 3, 2010

Tommy M. Jackson (Bravo 70-71): July 30, 2010

Tommy M Jackson

Tommy was born January 15, 1950, in Independence, Mo. He grew up in Kansas City and graduated from Northeast High School in 1968. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and coaching baseball. He was with Bravo Company from 1970-71. He was a member of the D.A.V., the VFW post #0449 in Blue Springs, and a life member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Gary E. Hillyer (HHC Recondo 66-67): July 19, 2010

Gary Hillyer

The following quotes were taken from Gary's Guestbook listed on his Obituary Page

It was an honor to serve in 1967 with Gary and a lot of other great recondos. I am so greatful he would call me on his way through Newhall CA and stop in to say hi. He was a blessing to be around, always made everyone around him a better person.

- Greg Nutter

Gary and I served together in the Nam back in 67, he was the 60 gunner in my squad, the best! He stopped at our house in Haverhill,Mass after we lost our son Evan in Afghanistan in 2003. He was one of the best in all he did.

- (unsigned)

I was fortunate to have served in Viet Nam along side Gary Hillyer.I met him once more after the war,and He will be forever missed by fellow "Recondo"s" and His loving family,peace to you Brother.

- Tom 'Beetle' Bailey

We shall meet again one day. We will tell stories and laugh and cry with each other. But until that day, I am humbled at the opportunity to fall into your position in the formation. I know that although you may not be physically present, your spirit is with us. I promise not to bring dishonor on your name, and I will try to fill the enormous shoes you have left behind. Save me a seat in Heaven, the Team will be along shortly

- Cal 'Preacher' Rollins

Norval "Butch" Paxton (Charlie 1968-69): June 27, 2010

Norval 'Butch' Paxton

Norval Hilton "Butch" Paxton Tulsa, Oklahoma Past away Sunday, June 27, 2010, at the age of 67. Preceded in death by his parents, Norval A. "Red" and Geneva F. Paxton of Sapulpa, Oklahoma. Survived by his son, Christopher, and wife Sharla, grandson Dylan and granddaughters Paige Leeann and Haylee Renee all of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Also survived by Sammie Paxton King of Tulsa and brother Michael Paxton of Sapulpa, two nephews, Brian Paxton of Tulsa and Adam Paxton of Cancun, Mexico. A graduate of Sapulpa High School and Northeastern State University. Retired engineer from Frisco Burlington Northern.

Butch served with Charlie Company 2/502 Infantry (Strike Force) of the 101st Airborne Division, Screaming Eagles, 1968-1969. Butch was a member of 2nd Platoon, "Fletcher's Fighters". He was known as the "Old Man". He served in I-Corps in South Vietnam He served with distinction and was awarded the Bronze Star, Army Commendation, Air Medal, and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He was proud to serve his country with his own Band of Brothers who he remained in contact after all these many years.

Rest in Peace Brother Eagle. You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten.

Michael K "Mickey" Looney (HHC/Echo 1966-68): June 9, 2010

Michael K 'Mickey' Looney

Michael K "Mickey" Looney, 64, died at home In Auburn, MA. He leaves his five siblings, many nieces, nephews, cousins and many close friends. He was born in Worcester, MA, and attended Auburn High School and Oceanside High School in CA before enlisting in the US Army

He was a member of the 2nd 502 Infantry BN, 101st Airborne, serving two tours in Viet Nam and earning two Purple Hearts and the CIB.

Following his military service, Mickey moved to California where he had a 20+ year career in the film and television industry. He held positions as Location Manager and Assistant Director for numerous movies and TV shows. He often entertained family and friends by putting them in move scenes as "extras" or introducing them to cast and crew. After retiring he returned to Auburn in 1995.

Mickey's greatest joy and love was spending time with his family and friends. This joy and love was returned ten-fold.

Bob Stapleton (Charlie 66-67): January 31, 2010

Bob Stapleton

On 31 January, 2010 Bob Stapleton passed away at the age of 63. For one year of Bob's life he was a member of the 1st platoon, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Airborne Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. He served his country, his unit and the United States Army with honor. He was respected and well liked by his fellow airborne troopers. If you shared a three-man night ambush position with Bob during those hours when he was on watch, you knew he would be awake. He was a man that could be counted on "to do his job".

Bob went home and started his life with his wife Jan. He was blessed with two children, Bob and Lorie. As with his service in Viet Nam, he lived his life with honor and was a credit to his family. Bob never felt he was owed or entitled to something for his service to his country.

On 31 January, 2010 Bob became another causality of the Viet Nam war. He succumbed to several diseases which he developed during the final years of his life. The causes of his physical problems were, without a doubt, acquired during his tour of duty in Viet Nam. Unfortunately, the effects of what he and many others were exposed to would not be recognized or acknowledged until many years after the war. Sixty-three is too young to die. But to the very end, Bob loved the United States of America and was proud to have served with the 101st Airborne Division.

-Jim Henk
Fellow Platoon Member and Friend

George "Doc" Kuznezov (Recondo 1967-8): December 20, 2009

George Kuznezov

George "Doc" Kuznezov was born to Mother Alexandra Kuznezov on May 24th, 1946 in Eisenerz, Austria, and passed away December 20th, 2009 in his home in Burdett, NY. George Kuznezov is survived by his wife of 31 years, Diane Kuznezov; children, Laila, Joshua (Audrey), Sasha, Katherine; grandsons, Bailey, Jacob, Liam, Nicholas; and sister, Mary (Rick).

George was an academic scholar honored at the age of 13 to attend Harvard Universities School for gifted young children. George declined that opportunity while pursuing his gifts as a talented springboard and platform diver. George won the New England league diving championship 3 consecutive years, setting several state and national records. Both academic and athletic talents led to George's opportunities to pursue both scholastic and athletic scholarships across the country. George eventually chose to attend Brown University on a full academic scholarship. George was drafted, but then was deferred as he was caring for his mother. Shortly after she passed, George volunteered and came to the Recondos as a medic.

"Doc" Kuznezov will always be known to his family, friends, and country as a well-respected, loved, and caring person. George found peace in his hobbies which included fly fishing, reading, writing, attending athletic events, and most of all spending time with his family. Many thanks to the Hospice of the Southern Tier for their loving care so generously given to George.

(Information from )

Gary Taylor (Echo-Recondo 1970-71): November 11, 2009

Gary Taylor

Gary Taylor served in Vietnam from November 15, 1970 to September 27, 1971. Gary was my brother, the man I slept back to back with during the monsoons and depended upon him to cover my back as he depended upon me. We had a bond that could only be broken by death. We daily placed our lives in each other's hands as well as the others in our team. Most of Gary's time was in Recon until he got a rear job towards the end of his tour. After Vietnam, Gary worked in the intelligence field till he passed away. Not much can be spoken about what he did but all of our lives are better because of what he accomplished. Gary was born January 19, 1951 and passed away on Veteran's day, November 11, 2009 while visiting his step-son in Guadalajara, Mexico. We lost a true patriot in his passing.


- Richard "Lambchops" Price

Samuel Wane Roe (Charlie 1967-8): August 25, 2009

Samuel Wane Roe

Samuel "Sam" Roe 61 of Springfield, Mo. passed away Tuesday August 25, 2009 at Cox Hospital South in Springfield. Sam was born on August 23, 1948 in Atoka, OK. to John Alvin Roe and Nelma Inez "Karr" Roe. Sam served in the US ARMY for 16 years and in Vietnam and was a truck driver for JB Hunt for 15 years. Sam was married to Janice Maureen "Trent" on July 1, 1983.
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I served with Roe in 1967-1968, we both were in Charlie Company. We fought and lost many friends in later part of 1967 , but 1968 was our worst year when the Battalion made a helicopter combat assault into the Infamous A SHAU Valley. To the west was the Ho Chi Minh Trail. We were in daily contact, some of the biggest battles took place there and mention of it's name still brings fear to us all. We lost our Company Commander and several NCO there, we were part of Albert W Fernandes 4th PLT.

Randolph Worrell

David Kent Tillman (Delta 1971): July 8,2009

David Kent Tillman

"Kent" served with Delta Company in 1971.
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Francis Terry "Butch" Bartush (Bravo 1970): April 25, 2009

Butch Bartush

We called him The Canadian Bacon. Butch was the kind of guy that would hump your claymore or 60 amo with no reservations if you had diarrhea and were weak, and didn't look for a favor. In April 1970 he received the Silver Star on Hill 714. In August 1970 he received The Purple Heart which put him on a hospital ship for 6 weeks.
After Vietnam he went to work for A & E Conrad Construction where he worked for 33 years. He and Linda were married for 37 years. They have 2 daughters and 4 grandsons. Butch liked to fish with his brothers on Lake Michigan and Lake of the Woods in Canada. He liked a good cigar and a cold beer.
Three years ago Butch acquired Multiple Myleoma from Agent Orange. He received a stem cell transplant in Minnesota but it didn't take. Then he went to Seattle, Washington for a double stem cell transplant. After the transplant they brought him back to the VA in Minnesota where he died. His birthday is Sept. 4, 1948, he was 60 years old. He was buried at Fort Smelling National Cemetery with full military honors.

- Roney Guilbeaux

SGM Macias (Alpha - 1966): Oct 11, 2008 (funeral date)

SGM (R) Macias was A/2-502 1SG in 1966 when he was awarded the Soldiers Medal for saving 7 Soldiers lives in Vietnam. SGM Macias was also a WWII and Korea Vet.

Brad "Elk" Elkins (Charlie 1967-8): October 3, 2008

Brad Elkins

Elk had been battling cancer for some time. Brad was one of those who greatly supported the O Deuce. He always wanted to stay in the background and didn't like any attention. I can now let those who attended the small reunion in DC (04) and those who attended the reunion in Atlanta (06) know this.
It was Brad who provided ALL the Sweatshirts, Polo Shirts, and Hats. It was one of the ways he could give back, to the men who meant so much to him.
He was a real O DEUCE TROOPER
He will be greatly missed.
Rest in Peace Brother Eagle

- Dale Joritz

Ernie "Terrible T" Taylor (Charlie 1968-9): September 10, 2008

Ernie Taylor

T was one of us who went to Division LLRP's near the end of his first tour.
Ernie was able to come to Atlanta in 2006, where he was reunited with many of the men who were part of his life and memories of the 101st and the O Deuce.
Ernie had been suffering with Liver cancer and was to have received a transplant. The cancer spread and the transplant no longer became an option.
For those who knew T, his laughter and that crazy smile will long be remembered.
He may be gone, but never forgotten.
Rest in Peace Brother Eagle

- Dale Joritz

Eric Sanders (HHC Recondo - 1967): July 17, 2008

Eric Sanders

Eric Sanders, 61, died July 17, 2008, at G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson. He was born in Brookhaven on March 1, 1947, to John Calvin (J.C.) Sanders and Mary Christine Sanders, both of Brookhaven.

Eric enlisted after graduating high school in 1965. He was serving his second tour in Viet Nam, as an RTO with the Recondos, when he was injured on October 26, 1967. After he was discharged from Walter Reed he was sent to the V.A. Medical center in Memphis, where he remained for close to a year. When he was released he came back home to Brookhaven. While recuperating he obtained a degree in Architectural Drafting through the G. I bill, and later took a job with the Sheriff's Department.

He was a member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brookhaven and was affiliated with the VFW Post 4806, and was a member of the Elks.

Survivors are his parents; a daughter, Linda Wingfield, of Clinton; his sisters, Sherry S. Washington, of Brookhaven, and Ann Sanders Carr, of Starkville; and his two grandchildren.

Frank Wohlfahrt (HHC 1967-8): July 2008

Frank Wohlfahrt

Frank Wohlfahrt passed away in July from pancreatic cancer. He is survived by Anna Wohlfahrt, his wife of 49 years. Those in Altanta will remember Frank and Anna helped at the registration table.

Larry Aglin (Bravo 1965-6): December 1, 2007

Larry Aglin passed away due to complications from his illness caused by Agent Orange.

Tom Lakomia (Bravo 1967-8): August 22, 2007

Tom Lakomia

Tom Lakomia was a former Platoon Leader. Tom was on his way in his boat to the Bahamas when he was struck by another craft killing him.

Tom is buried at Arlington and passed August 22, 2007. He retired a LTC in the USAR and continued Government service as civilian until (I believe 03) retiring and moving to Florida.
Tom was buried will full honors in his Blues. He loved the 101st thru and thru!

- Scott Gunnell, Command Sergeant Major (ret)

Terry Stanosheck (HHC - Recondo 1967-8): April 22, 2004

Terry Stanosheck

Terry Stanosheck was a machine gunner with the Recondos.

He was looking forward to the 2004 Melbourne Reunion, and died one day before the reunion started.

In the years prior to his death he had nursed his wife through a terminal illness.

Raymond Ortega Jr (Charlie 1968-70): March 5, 2003

Raymond Ortega Jr

From what I know of him, he served four tours in Vietnam and earned himself The Silver Star, Purple Heart, and Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf cluster and a V, as well as, other medals. He passed away March 5, 2003 and was born May 12 1948. He was married to Donna Streeter (Ortega) and had three children: Raymond III, Crystal (myself), and Joey. He also had four grandchildren. He was from San Jose, California. He passed away from years of dealing with Multiple Sclerosis at the VA Nursing Home in Temple, Texas.

- Crystal Ortega (daughter)

Norman C. "Mac" McGirr (Delta 1971): January 17, 1998

Mac McGirr

Norman C. "Mac" McGirr Sr. died Jan. 17, 1998, at the age of 48, after a long battle with cancer.

He was a life resident of Barberton, a U. S. Army veteran of the Vietnam era, employed by Gason SDI, and a member of Cliff Hockley V.F.W. and St. Augustine Catholic Church.

Surviving are wife, Maude; sons and daughters-in-law, Staff SSG Ron and Karen of Fayetteville, N. C., Norman Jr. and Michelle of Barberton; daughter, Tami of Barberton; granddaughter, Megan; parents, Robert and Betty Raider of West Virginia; sister, Launa Mead of Utah; uncles, Ben (Deloris) Wathey of Norton, Earnest Wathey of Akron; and many special friends.

Tony Paramo (Delta 1971): January 1981

Tony Paramo

Tony Paramo was from Oxnard, CA. He was born Dec. 9th, 1950, he died in a car accident at age 30.

Tony was a friend to all and had a great sense of humor, he was willing to share whatever he had. He even offered to share Menudo that his family had sent him from the states.

Abel Dehoyos (Delta 1971): November 27, 1973

Abel Dehoyos

Abel Dehoyos was from Houston, TX. He was born Dec. 26, 1949 and died at the age of 23, after returning safely from Viet Nam

Abel was proud to be a Texan and a member of the 2nd 502.

Michael Asap (Recondo 1968): September 8, 1970

Michael Asap

Michael Asap was KIA on a second Viet Nam tour, with the 173rd Airborne. His memorial is located here because he died after his tour with the 2/502.

Michael and I were both from the East New York section of Brooklyn, so it was a very happy and sad day that our paths crossed, ten thousand miles from home in the infamous A Shau Valley, Vietnam, during TET 1968. Our Unit had made a helicopter assault back into the valley.
Michael was with the 2/502 Recondos, and that day on that hill we both embraced each other like true brothers. For a brief moment we escaped from the horrors of war. I have a photo taken that day of Michael carrying the M 60 machine gun. I was a short timer and he said, "Stop by and let my folks know I'm OK", when you get back to the world.
Several years later I learned that Michael went back to Vietnam with the 173rd ABN Bde and was killed in action in September of 1970. Michael, I recall those school days of our youth, JHS 64, and the guys from the block. Vietnam got all of us and many never returned. May the Almighty smile upon you, You are not forgotten.

Randolph Worrell -C Co.


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