I only flew with MG DePuy for a short time- I think about a month. But in that time he earned my respect. I remember him as a little guy with a hot temper and a demand for perfection. I have two memories of him that stick out the most. The first time was onboard the Longhorn as he was talking with one of his aides about all the whore houses in Vietnam. He actually seemed to approved of them. Over the intercom he told the aide: "Hell, if a man won't fuck, he won't fight!"
Another time we had picked him up from a party (somewhere- I forget). He was dressed in a suit and tie. Maybe he had a few drinks, I don't know- but when we were flying back "home" he grabbed his M16 rifle that was onboard and, in the dead of night, started firing out over the jungle. Ya gotta love the guy. General DePuy was born in 1919 and died in 1992 at age 72.
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM E. DePUY
COMMANDING GENERAL MARCH 1966 - FEBRUARY 1967
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN HANCOCK HAY, JR.
COMMANDING GENERAL FEBRUARY 1967 - MARCH 1968
I flew with MG Hay the longest. I think about 6 months, and I actually remember him quite well. He will always have my respect and admiration. Onboard he kept an M79 grenade launcher as his personal weapon instead of the standard M16 rifle. He was a great man and he had compassion for his troops. The one thing I remember most about him was during the battle of Ong Thanh on October 17, 1967. In less than 2 hours of fighting 64 1st Infantry soldiers were killed, 2 missing, and 75 wounded (the 2/28, the Black Lions). It was an ambush. We were flying overhead, and towards the end of the battle and as it was getting dark, the general asked over the radio how many American bodies still not recovered. The answer was "over 30, sir". I sat across from him in my gunner's seat and turned my head and looked at him. He put his head down and after a brief pause he softly said over the radio "dear God....".
This man cared.
On a brighter note, I had a chance to salute and fly with Bob Hope after his '67 Christmas show when the general flew him from Lai Khe to another airstrip. General Hay was born October 2, 1917 and died of cancer at age 77 on December 11, 1995.
MAJOR GENERAL KEITH L. WARE
COMMANDING GENERAL MARCH 1968 - KIA SEPTEMBER 13, 1968
I didn't fly with him- I was already stationed back in the states, but he does deserve recognition. This general didn't hesitate to fly into the action. His Longhorn helicopter was shot down on September 13, 1968. All on board were killed - the general and his dog, both pilots, both gunners and several members of his staff. Rest in peace.
A very ill-informed so-called author wrote a book about Vietnam which basically damns the American government and all its military leaders. In an interview I saw of this dickless wonder he stated that the commanders would fly so high above the battle that they were safe from anti-aircraft fire. Well asshole, tell that to General Ware.... Oops, you can't. He was killed by anti-aircraft fire.... He was born in 1915 and killed in action at the age of 52.
I think I finally realized that I'm truly an important part of history. Something I never thought about when I was there. During my last 6 or 7 months in Vietnam I flew everyday with the commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division. I sat so close I could have leaned over and kissed him (maybe I should have- I would have gone home sooner). Again, at the time it was not that big of a deal to me, but today it's a major part of my war stories to my kids and anyone else who will listen. All these generals were in the history books along with many infamous battles, and I was there with two of them. Yup, that's a big deal.