Another Of My Many Tributes To One Of My Own

Discussion in 'People I Have Known' started by Thomas Stillhere, Feb 28, 2022.

  1. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    I was going to post this Tribute on the 26th but had internet problems. Last week I thought about posting it early but then decided the actual date would have been better and I thought to myself then it would be my luck to have issues with the net, go figure right. It seems to be alright now as of this morning but I don't want to start dancing just yet. Anyway this was a very bad night a very long time ago. It was bad because a T-Bird gunner was also hit trying to rescue a person pinned under the body of the light ship. The eye witness was a person stationed at a nearby outpost and he saw the ship hit by an RPG and it exploded in midair. I try to remember as many as possible over the years now it seems every week or so I get word of another person passing. You just can't last forever.

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  2. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    Preston Lickey, one of thousands who served more than one tour usually in a different field of duty. Preston chose aviation after his first assignment as an Infantryman. He served in the 336th and was wounded in action but survived to continue his tour. A nice guy. Here is his Infantry Unit in Tribute

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  3. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    Don Raczon was from Michigan but after Vietnam he left Michigan and lived in California until his death a couple months ago. He was effected by some heart ailment after Vietnam and he struggled thru life until it finally brought him down. Of course we all know it was the agent orange, it effected certain people not everyone exposed. I personally was soaking wet with the agent all over me when I had to clean my ship after they used it to spray. I had to rearm it and it took an entire day to just clean the oily mess off the ship. I like to think I was never effected due to me buying that small box of Tide to clean with. .0) So Don had some close calls and this photo shows a round thru his rocket pod, it then entered the storage compartment directly behind him with the round going thru his hat. He had much worse days with the ship on it's side and he survived. He had the luck of an Irishman, don't know if he was Irish unless he was a polish Irishman. Don built the first and only company website going back about 25 years ago. His family chose to close it down but our facebook group has taken the task to open a new company site. There are hundreds of photos of members and people no longer with us so it was great news to hear it will be back up again. When I receive the url I will post it.

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  4. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    This one is about 6 years old and the Vet had an advanced case of Agent Orange poisoning. The Aircraft he flew was the Mohawk, it was our first close support aircraft used in Vietnam. It had speed above 500 miles an hour and was designed with hard points for ground attack. The Air Force complained about making it a close air support and was jealous they didn't get the money and the US Army did. So the Air Force won the argument and it lost the role of ground attack and became a very important weapon using the latest electronic for jamming and also was used as a night time sentry taking intelligence photos. You never heard them at night but you could be laying in your bunk and see the entire countryside light up when they took a photo.

    I like to think the Vet is still with us. He told me the aircraft could linger around on station all night and fly back to the most southern area of the country where it was stationed. A lot of people say it is the first warthog because it is so ugly. It was a two seat side to side with a bug eyed windshield. They were pretty dangerous to fly and take off because if you happened to lose an engine on take off it would roll over and you were gone, the torque from the loss of an engine could not be overcome fast enough when taking off. I thought the aircraft was beautiful.

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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Supreme Member
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    I’ve only seen one Mohawk up close and that was at Ft. Eustis. Va. when I went through Acft. Elec. school.
    Even though I’m a rotary wing guy and love everything about them, the Grumman made Mohawk fixed wing was indeed an intriguing aircraft albeit to me, it’s an electronic mess.

    That said, I was able to sit in the cockpit in order to familiarize myself with the instrumentation, breakers and switches and whilst there, I found myself really wanting to get up close and personal with her and be able to fly in it just once. In her own way, the Mohawk was the sexiest thing on the flight line.
     
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  6. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    I feel the same, ours was stationed at Can Tho same airfield as my Bn Headquarters. Another nice aircraft was the OV-10 Bronco flown by the Navy HAL 4 Black Ponies, also the Marines were using it. OV-10 Bronco HAL 4 Black Ponies.jpg
     
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  7. Thomas Windom

    Thomas Windom Very Well-Known Member
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    Ft. Eustis, there’s a memory. My dad was stationed there for a long time, worked on a 100 ton floating crane in 3rd port then a tug, LT1956, IIRC. . Then became a civilian marine inspector working in the same area after he retired.
     
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  8. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    Here us another plane that was intriguing, I walked up to one and could actually look inside just standing there it was perfect for the shorter Vietnamese air-force guys. TIC any of the main page photos and there is a nice upclose preview of actual Vietnamese war photos.
    https://militarymachine.com/a-37-dragonfly/
     
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  9. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    A small photo album from that early morning. It was just at sun rise when our two ships arrived at the LZ and about 30 minutes before the troop ships were to arrive for troop insertion. We were task with finding any enemy and locate them first then kill them if possible. The night before it had rained all over the Delta and inland flooding of areas like this one was common. The water was about a foot high on hootches in the tree lines that you can't see. We tried to fire most of the huts to flush out any enemy but using our white phosphorus wasn't working out do to the high water. Once the grenade gets underwater it is useless and just fizzles out. For 30 minutes we circled and looked for humans and not one was found. The first troop insertion arrived and Peter's ship was on the right of me very close as we both came together at the end of the LZ. There was a short burst of automatic fire from our front left and about 3 rounds hit his ship. One round came thru the left quarter window frame between the windshield and entered his right shoulder just about 2 inches above his chest protector. So often it was said that our job was a game of degrees and inches. He was killed instantly. The right seat was quick to react and got the aircraft nose back up and they were very lucky that he was so fast because they were no more than 40 feet from the ground. A very good chance we too might have received some debris taking us down with them it was that close should that have happened. I count my blessings everyday in life no matter how bad the day was. If I live to a hundred I will always make a point to remember those that did not live. We were all happy to hear the shooters were killed that morning by the Infantry. You can only do so much in life and a very dangerous job to flush out an enemy that is adapt at making himself invisible.

    https://ibb.co/album/bHRC9q
     
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  10. Thomas Stillhere

    Thomas Stillhere Very Well-Known Member
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    Update...... I received word last month that Preston had died.
     
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  11. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Supreme Member
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    Sorry to hear it, Thomas.
     
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  12. Mary Stetler

    Mary Stetler Veteran Member
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    :(
     
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