Above photo

WO John Clemens, LT Jon Mabrey, WO Don Sayrizi, WO John Esslinger, WO Ralph Willard, WO Larry Linonis 


  Recollections from Buck Anderson

(Ralph's Platoon Commander)  

February 2012 

"In May of 1968, on the anniversary of Ho Chi Minh's birthday, we received a rocket attack at Camp Evans - our base.  At least one of the rockets landed in the ammunition dump, and the resulting explosions and fires lasted literally all night.  I had just received several rolls of film/slides which I took during the Tet Offensive and the Khe Sanh and A Shau Assaults. I am certain that both Ralph and Chuck (Larry Callahan) were in those slides, as the pictures were as much about life in camp as they were about the combat assaults. Unfortunately, all those things were lost as fire from the ammo dump swept over much of our company area." ...I remember Ralph and others playing catch with a baseball in the company "street" between the rows of tents. One could tell at a glance that Ralph was an athlete and that he loved the game."



 Excerpts from Ralph's letters home about "playing catch"!


~31 May 68 "I ran into a guy today who had a baseball and a couple of gloves so tonight we had a pretty good game of catch before it got dark. In your next package see if you can dig up a good ball."

~29 June 68 - "Every once in a while I have a game of catch with one of the other guys. Lately the ball has been in real bad shape so we are waiting for another." 

~5 July 68 - "I Got the baseball."


 This is the baseball we sent to Ralph. It is displayed in the catcher's mitt that Ralph's dad wore when he would catch Ralph in the backyard.




   The "infamous" "Air Force Cargo Chute/Parachute

Standing Tall!


  Excerpts from Ralph's letters home about the parachute!


~11 May 68 - "We had a big Air Force Cargo Chute that we got up in the A Shau valley and we put it up next to our tent for shade. It was about 10 degrees cooler under it but we've got to take it down because the Air Force wants it back. It's getting very hot here now, it's at least in the low 100's, so we spend most of the days when we don't fly in the bunker where it's cooler."              

~16 June 68 - "I was lucky and had the day off so I helped put up another parachute just outside the tent. We used to have one up before but we had to take it down, then they changed their minds and we've got it up again."

~29 June 68 - "We've had our parachute up now for a few weeks which must be a record. It gives a lot of shade on these sunny days. We kept this one in hiding because we figured we would probably put it up again sometime. We didn't think that it would be so soon." 


 Notice the beach chairs sitting under the parachute and the abundant supply of sand all around! But where is the water? Here it is!

 It's called a Water Buffalo!


 Actually Ralph talked about beautiful beaches that were about 5 miles 

to the east of Camp Evans!


~12 May 68 - "I went swimming today in the ocean over by a seabee base on the coast. It was a great change. A ship flew us over and back." 

~16 May 68 - "Today was a pretty good day because they took us over to the beach and we went swimming. On our days off they try to get us a ride to the beach, this is the second time I've been. The water is real clean and it's a great change. The beach is part of a large seabee Marine and Army supply depot just east of us." 



 Another Photo Under the Parachute! 

Don Sayrizi who called Ralph "Ralphie" tells me this was the "social area" in front of the "poker bunker" between two platoon tents. Ralph's tent was the one on the left.

Front Row: (in chairs) LT Oscar Buford, WO James Wilder, ?

 Middle Row: Lee Garrison, LT Jon Mabrey, WO John Esslinger

Back Row: (in chairs) ? and ?

Larry Lizotte told me he believes Ed Detuncq put up this parachute. Before Ed was a pilot he was Special Forces. Larry said everybody loved to sit under it when they were off duty. Don Sayrizi told me that Larry Lizotte was the Operations Specialist. His job was to wake the crews at 4:30 am and give them their daily assignments! Don says they would greet Larry with expletives and throw things at him. One time Ed Detuncq grabbed him and pulled him over his cot. Don explained that one of the assignments was "Arizona Log". It meant that you would usually have a crummy day resupplying the "Prescott Arizona Unit" (call sign), which usually was mired in some kind of dangerous conflict daily. Maybe Ed got assigned the "Arizona Log" that day!



Company Dogs! 

  Recollections from Glenn Hess (fellow C227 pilot and tent-mate)

 February 2012

"Those dogs were a big part of our lives. Buffy is the blonde. Overtorque is the one with the snaggly tail. Got his name because of his tail. Pentaprime got covered in the stuff. We washed him with kerosene to get it off." 

Recollections from Jim Brennan (fellow C227 pilot)

February 2012

"As Glenn said the dogs were a part of the team. Some guys were indifferent to the dogs but most liked the attention they gave us. They slept where they wanted to (sometimes the tent). We of course all kept them fed. If memory serves me right they started out as stray puppies that we took in. There were not many but the one's I remember were Buffy (the first), Overtorque and Pentaprime. I want to say that me and Glenn even took Buffy on a mission with us once. There were times they would run to the flight line to greet you when you came back from a mission. Like any dog would, greeting you at the end of a day at work." 

A Story About Buffy told to me by Glenn Hess

 February 2012

Glenn told me he changed units to fly scout helicopters after 6 months with C227. His new unit was on the other side of the base so he left Buffy with the guys until he got settled. He came back within two to three days to get Buffy but the guys said Buffy never came back to 227. So he went back to his new unit across base and after 3-4 days there was scratching and noise at the door. Glenn opened the door and there was Buffy. Buffy had found Glenn! The next morning he brought Buffy to the Flight Line and left him at the helicopter revetment while he flew a mission. When he came back Buffy was still there! Unfortunately his new unit would not let him have a dog so he had to bring Buffy back to 227. He said Buffy then seemed to understand.



  Excerpts from Ralph's letters home about life on Company "street"!


~25 Mar 68 - "I'm living in a tent with about 8 other guys, we've got a refrigerator and all kinds of candy + food. All we need now is a floor." 

~1 April 68 "Oh! Everyone in the Company has grown a mustache so I didn't want to be different so I've got one too." 

~ 5 April 68 - "Speaking of something happening to cameras, I dropped my camera and it broke so I'll just have to try harder to get a new one. ...In the letter I got from Dad ...Dad also asked about the M-16. The one I have is brand new and has some improvements. I don't think that it jams much anymore and I doubt it would jam at all if it was kept clean. The guys in the tent have M-1 + M a carbine they captured and shotguns and grenade launchers and one guy even has an AK-47 Chinese Communist rifle which is a real good rifle and comparable to the M-16. Even with all the assortment of weapons they tell me I have the best in the M-16. I've fired it and it's real nice on semi auto and automatic and it's real accurate. I like it. I've also got a 38 Smith + Wesson pistol." 

~8 April 68 - "The tent we have is about 40 feet by 15 feet and actually there's only six of us in the tent but two guys sleep down in the bunker where they made a room. The bunker is attached to the tent by a small tunnel. We don't have a floor yet but we'll probably make one soon." 

~20 April 68 - "I already shaved the mustache off so don't worry about it. I don't have any pictures of it.

~22 April 68 - "We'll today I didn't fly and I built some shelves and a floor. It's a lot better." 

~1 May 68 - "We got some new people in to our Company this past week and now I haven't flown too much lately. When we don't fly there is absolutely nothing to do. I'm still waiting for my moving pictures to be developed. I took some good pictures of the A Shau Valley from one of the camps on the mountain side. It shows the valley floor and the job that the B 52's do. 

~11 May 68 - "Yesterday was a pretty good day, we had some real milk and some strawberry ice cream plus Chris Noel visted us right outside the tents." 

~18 May 68 - "Well I've now got five rolls of film back and a few more on the way also I have 20 slides and 20 prints that I took before the camera broke. I still haven't been able to pick up another camera, still trying though. I send the film to Palo Alto, California. There's nothing on this place for developing film." 

~13 June 68 - "One of the guys got a new model of the swinger camera so today we were fooling around and we took a few pictures and these are a couple of them. The new swinger now takes pack film instead of the roll film. It's a lot better. It uses the same black + white film that Dad's camera takes." 

~16 June 68 - "We've been having trouble with our generator and we haven't had much electricity. Today we ended that problem when we got a brand new generator. It's really hard trying to find one but luckily we did." 

~19 June 68 - "I was over talking to Bob Witt today and he is doing real good. He said to say hello. He says he wants me to put in for R+R in Sept for Japan but I'm not sure where I'll go. Hawaii is too hard to get and you have to wait a long time to get it." 

~22 June 68 - "We are doing pretty good in this tent for homemade things. They all go fast though."            

~27 June 68 - "I just got the letter that said you were sending a camera and film. That will be good to get. I've missed a lot of good pictures."

~29 June 68 - "I haven't received the camera yet because all packages have been taking a long time to get here. There is not too much to worry of not getting it though, because I've received all the packages that have been sent so far. It will be good to get a camera again because I've missed a lot of good pictures. Those prepaid mailers come in handy over here when you want to get your film developed."

~5 July 68 - "Well yesterday I received the camera and sewing kit you sent. Thanks, it's just like my last instamatic. Thats a real nice case for it. I took a couple of pictures today of our company area and the flight line. ...I'll be going to Tokyo Japan the 19TH of August for R+R. Bob Witt is leaving the 17TH also for Japan so I'll meet him there. I plan on buying a camera and maybe a tape recorder so I'll probably have to have you send me a check from my account. Let me know how much I have in my account.

~10 July 68 - "I've taken three rolls of film already and I'm going to need more mailers and more film."

~16 July 68 - "In about a month I'll be leaving for R+R to Tokyo. I can't wait to get out of here for a while. I saw Bob Witt last night and he says hello."

~19 July 68 - "I was over talking to Bob Witt last night and he's doing pretty good and looking forward to R+R. I'll probably be writing for about $250.00 for R+R. I plan to buy a few things like a good camera + tape recorder." 



 Fellow C Company "Street" Guys!