While locating and documenting CNC’s First Decaders, a project I began in 2008, I have asked each about military service. My Military Veterans lists, covering all five branches, have grown since original publication (2018) of this series. The Army list (published separately) now includes eight more people, a total of 60, almost half of whom (27) served in Vietnam, as did my brother Bob (USAF). Because of its length, this Army article is being published in two (perhaps three) parts, each of which includes photos, facts, and memories sent by the veterans themselves.
No matter where they served, however, or how they served, all veterans deserve to be honored.
Two CNC First Decaders were killed in action (KIA)-- Army Lieutenant Richard Duncan (Ric) Bahr and Marine Major John Patrick (Pat) Giguere,a Cobra pilot who escaped death in Vietnam only to be shot down in1983 in the Grenada Invasion. Ric Bahr (Warwick H. S. photo L) is the subject of two essays by Wade Williams, located in our Website ARCHIVES under the sub tab YOUR MEMORIES: "Remembrance, Remorse, Reflections," followed by "Revisiting Ric Bahr." They are located very far down, near the end of that sub tab. A tribute to Pat Giguere (USMC photo R) is also in our website ARCHIVES under the sub tab FIRST DECADE HISTORY: "Remembering Alumnus Pat Giguere," located about 1/3rd the way down in that sub tab.
Identical twins Carlton W. and Claude T. Stanley both served in Vietnam. The photo left shows Carlton (L), who commanded an intelligence unit and Claude (R), who piloted Huey helicopters from Long Binh (photo R), used to transport troops to and from combat and armed for defense in case attacked. Both became career Army officers, Carlton retiring as Colonel; Claude as Lt. Colonel. Photos at Long Binh sent by Claude.
James T. (Jim) Eyre (above L & Mid), who sent these photos, was a First Lieutenant with the Mobile Riverine Force (above R) in the Mekong Delta in 1966-67. Of his time there he wrote: One experience in Vietnam especially remains vivid in my memory. We were on patrol, traveling a dirt road. Down the road, we spotted a small child with some bags piled on the road. Knowing that theViet Cong often used small children as booby traps, we sent a teamof men around our right flank. They came on a group of Viet Cong lying in ambush and soon scattered them. We found the child was indeedsitting on a booby trap. After carefully defusing the bomb and him, I interestingly interrogated him with the help of our interpreter. Aftersome amusing conversation, we returned him to his village. This event is something I have never forgotten because it was a memorable example of how cheaply life was valued in Vietnam.
Kenneth G. (Ken) Smithserved in the Army from July 1965 - July 1968. Trained as a stenographer, he was first at Fort Lee and then in Vietnam, where he served first with the First Cavalry Division, An Khe; Headquarters, U.S. Army Vietnam, Long Binh. He was in Long Binh during the 1968 Tet offensive. Next he was with Provisional Corps Vietnam, Phu Bai, where he first served as secretary to General Creighton Abrams and later prepared briefing files for General William Rosson. Ken sent his 1965 photo in dress uniform at Fort Jackson, S.C.
C. Edward (Ed) Knight III (deceased) joined the Army and attended Officer Candidate School, Infantry, while completing his law degree at William and Mary in 1968. He was transferred to Judge Advocate General (JAG) in 1969 and served in Vietnam May 1970 - May 1971. The photo of him at his desk in Vietnam was sent by his widow, Carolyn Knight. Ed also served June 1971 - Jan. 1973 at Fort Monroe and afterwards served in the Army Reserve, retiring as Colonel in February 1996. He received the Army Commendation Medal and other awards. He had a 20-year law career and 12 years as District Court Judge, plus 8 years on Hampton's City Council.
Roman Schenkkan served in Vietnam from August 1968 until October 1969. He was assigned to the First Aviation Brigade, where he served in the aviation safety section and flew combat support missions. He has shared two unforgettable events: One quiet night we heard sounds of an attack--a loud rustling beyond our perimeter. We in our position and several others opened fire. In the morning, surveying what had happened, we found a water buffalo riddled with hundreds of rounds. Quite dead! Its owner, the farmer who worked the land, was quite upset.
Another time while I was on night perimeter watch, we heard squeaking and fired our flares. The sight was unbelievable--hundreds of cat-sized rats coming toward us through the rice paddies! Scared the hell out of us! We fired flares into them. Screeching and crying, they fled.
O. Jay Dunnsent his Army picture in his basic training annual from Fort Gordon, GA, in early 1966. He served from February 1966 to January 1969, leaving as a Specialist 5. Jay wrote: I had the good fortune (or dumb luck) to be assigned to the White House Communications Agency, a joint service command that provides communications to the POTUS. My only foreign assignment was to the LBJ Ranch on two occasions!
The above photo of the FIRST VETERANS CLUB at CNC was printed in the 1968 Trident, on page 80, with no last names of the men. Jim Fronkier, who was the club's president, has identified all of the men as (clockwise from top left) Tabe (Bud) Woolard (Secretary), Charles (Chuck) Bell (deceased), Jim Fronkier (President), Lynn Lindberg (deceased), Dan Clark, Charlie Sills, and foreground, Jim Walsh (Vice President).
Not yet locatedareDan Clark, Charlie Sills, Jim Walsh, and Tabe (Bud) Woolard. Please contact me at email@example.com 757-238-9629if you can help locate any of these veterans. Thank you.
PART 2 will be published November 13, 2020.
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Published November 4, 2020
Honoring CNC's First Decade Veterans: ARMY
Updated November 2020
by A. Jane Chambers
Part 2 continues the ARMY tribute from Part 1, beginning with two vivid accounts by Charles M. (Corky) Brooks of harrowing events that occurred in the first six months of the year (Nov.1967- Nov. '68) he was stationed at the largest Army Airfield in Vietnam, located in Vung Tau. As a member of the Search and Rescue unit, he drove one of the fire trucks.
"Two events I remember vividly," he wrote. "The first happened when I was sitting in my fire truck close to the runway. A single engine aircraft (L-19) banked right just after it took off. The engine made a loud popping noise; then the propeller froze. We firemen knew the plane was going to crash. I started the fire truck and raced through town, following it. Luckily the pilot found an open field in which to land safely, but unfortunately, the plane hit a power line, flipped 360 degrees, and hit the ground hard, right side up. We quickly reached the plane, which, to our surprise, did not burst into flames. And amazingly, the pilot had suffered only a cut lip!"
The second event began at about 2:30 a.m. in April 1968 with a loud explosion that awakened everyone. Six Russian 122 mm rockets had been launched by Viet Cong soldiers nearby. "Fortunately," Brooks wrote, "only one of the six rockets hit one of our 20 to 25 planes parked on the airfield, all fully fueled and ready for takeoff in the morning. From our deep sleep we had to race quickly to put out the fire of that plane, a twin engine Caribou. The flames rose 60 feet into the air."
The photo above shows "what was left of the Caribou and the hole where the rocket landed and exploded.The enemy attacked the airfield again at about 5:00 a.m., but this time only with mortar, so it was a minor incident with only minimal damage to the airfield and some of our other planes. In both attacks, thankfully, none of our firefighters were injured."
Thomas W. (Tom) Redman (above L) served 35 years (1965 - Jan. 2005) active duty in Army Intelligence, mainly at TRADOC, Fort Monroe. He retired as Chief Warrant Office (CW4), then worked full time two years in Civil Service, followed by several more years part time. The photo shows Tom at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL in 2003. He worked there at the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) Center, one of the largest military coalitions in U.S. History, formed after the 2001 Twin Towers attack in NYC to fight terrorism.
David Scoggins (above R) served in the Army from Sept. 1968 to Feb. 1972. His rank in the photo he sent was Corporal E4; he left service as Specialist 5. His overseas tour was in Bavaria, Germany, at Herzo Base, an Army Security agency field station. His photo was taken by his wife, Julia, on Jan. 1972 in their off base apartment in the town of Herzogenaurach.
John Normanserved in Vietnam July 1969 to July 1970, working in field radio repair in a shop at his base station in a famous highlands resort city of Dalat (or Da Lat) and making convoy trips to move communications equipment to field units. His most memorable time was Memorial Day 1970. He had just returned from R and R in Sydney, Australia, with only 60 days left in Vietnam, when the Viet Cong decided to overtake Dalat. The U. S. troops suddenly had to defend their home base. John remembers being "in a corner bunker with an M-60 machine gun" and "listening to the Indy 500 race while the mortars were coming in on our position." Fortunately the VC were quickly driven out by the Army of South Vietnam. Photos of John before leaving for Vietnam (top L) and (top R) while at the Dalat base (taller man, L) were provided by John.
Ronald Lowder, Sr. (above L) and Paul Darden (R) were both talented musicians who played together in bands such as "The Sheepherders" and "Just Us" before their military service, so quite naturally they both served as musicians while in the Army. Ron was stationed at Fort Eustis 1966 - 1969 as a clarinetist and saxophonist, performing in both the Stage Band, which played popular music, and the Concert Band. Paul was stationed at Fort Monroe 1968 - 1971 as a percussionist, playing in the U.S. Continental Army Band. Beginning in 1971, the year of the first baccalaureate degree class at CNC, the Fort Monroe band performed at many commencements at CNC. The picture below is of the Stage Band at Fort Eustis. Ron is the man second from the left in the first row, holding his alto sax.
William H. (Bill) Mann, Jr. was the first CNC graduate to receive a military commission, that of Second Lieutenant in the Army. A member of the first baccalaureate class, 1971, he had completed the ROTC program at William and Mary while also completing his degree work at CNC. Bill then served actively from Nov. 1971 to Sept. 1973 at Fort Carson, Colorado with the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), with the General Staff, Directorate Civil Military Plans. Afterwards, he served from Oct. 1973 until July 1987 in the Army Reserve as a Captain with the 80th Division Maneuver Training Command, Military Police. The photo here is his official picture taken when he received the rank of Captain.
Norman Covert enrolled at CNC in the fall semester of its second year, 1962-'63, when the new college was located temporarily in the old Daniel Elementary School, where he had attended his 6th and 7th grades. Like many of our early students, he tried to work full time while also attending college: "I was working double shifts in the shipyard," he wrote, so "dropped out in second semester since I hadn't distinguished myself." While working as a sports reporter with The Daily Press Norman was drafted into the Army in July of 1967.
He served in the Federal Republic of Germany with the 237th Combat Engineers and 7th Engineer Brigade. He left active service on July 23, 1969 as a Specialist 4, Chaplains' Assistant. The photo here shows Norman at Maguire Air Force Base at 3:00 a.m. after returning home from Germany in July of 1969.
NOTE: Another updating of this article is possible if additional First Decade Army