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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Jocko Podcast 153 w/ Dennis Rowley: SCRAMBLE The Seawolves

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this is Jocko podcasts number 153 with echo Charles and me Jocko Willick good

evening echo good evening

congressional resolution honoring the veterans of helicopter attack light

squadron 3 and their families whereas helicopter attack light squadron

3 here and after in this resolution referred to as Hal 3 began its history

as detachments of Navy helicopter combat support squadron 1 hc1 which began

helicopter gunship operations in support of navy brown water special operations

and army units in the mekong delta of South Vietnam on September 19th 1966

whereas the detachments of hc1 adopted the name sea Wolf's whereas Hal 3 was

officially established on April 1st 1967 in Vung Tau South Vietnam and was the

only active duty Navy helicopter gunship squadron in the history of naval

aviation whereas during the squadrons existence nearly 3,000 veterans of Hal 3

displayed extraordinary courage in support of United States military and

political objectives in Vietnam whereas 44 veterans of Hal 3 gave their lives in

support of military operations in the mekong delta vietnam whereas the

extraordinary performance of the veterans of hal 3 earned numerous Unit

Citations including six Presidential Unit Citations seven navy unit

commendations one Meritorious Unit Commendation a Republic of Vietnam

Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Vietnam Service Medal whereas the valor

of the veterans of Hal 3 earned five Navy crosses 31 Silver Stars two legion

of merit medals five Navy and Marine Corps medals 219 Distinguished Flying

crosses a hundred and fifty six purple hearts a

hundred and one Bronze Stars a hundred and forty two Republic of Vietnam

gallantry crosses over 16,000 air medals four hundred and thirty nine Navy

Commendation medals and two hundred and twenty eight Navy achievement medals

making it possibly the most decorated Navy squadron during the Vietnam War

whereas the maintenance and administrative personnel of Hal 3

contributed greatly to the success of the nine hal three detachments operating

throughout the mekong delta providing the detachments with superb maintenance

support and logistics whereas hal three flew over a hundred

and thirty thousand hours of combat and logistical support whereas hal 3

inflicted several thousand casualties on enemy forces whereas hal 3 performed

1530 medical evacuations whereas hal 3 delivered over 37,000

passengers and over 1 million pounds of cargo and whereas hal 3 was

disestablished in march 1972 at being the south vietnam as part of the

Vietnamization program leaving behind it a combat and humanitarian record

recognizing recognized as bringing great credit upon the united states navy and

its role in the vietnam war now therefore be it resolved that the House

of Representative won honors the service courage and sacrifice of the veterans of

Hal 3 to honors the families of Hal 3 veterans for their support 3 expresses

its condolences to the families and comrades of those killed in action and 4

recognizes Hal 3 as a unique squadron in the history of naval aviation

and that resolution of recognition was made in 2010 actually 38 years after the

Seawolves were disestablished in vietnam and that

is a long time to wait for recognition and this is because well for one thing

they weren't looking for recognition but also to much of the world the sea war

with sea wolves were relatively unknown for me having grown up in the SEAL Teams

I actually knew about the sea Wolf's I knew about the reputation from the

Vietnam era seals that held them in the absolute highest regard possible and

they were considered extremely creative courageous sometimes beyond courageous

they were incredible pilots and the highly aggressive Gunners and the teams

that maintained and kept the aircraft flying in really horrible conditions

they were known for getting the job done and there's one thing that always stuck

in my mind when I heard stories about the sea Wolf's in Vietnam and that was

this simply if you called them they would come and it didn't matter if it

was day or night sunny skies or typhoon rains a calm extraction or a hot landing

zone filled with enemy fire to the Seawolves

none of that matter what mattered is that the troops on the ground needed

help and if you called the sea wolves they would come and it is an honor today

to have one of these men here with us to tell us about this relatively unknown

but at the same time legendary squadron of Naval Aviation helicopter attack

squadron light hal 3 the sea Wolf's and we have Dennis

rally naval officer naval aviator and of course Sea Wolf sir absolutely honored

to have you on the show thank you for coming

chuckle I thank you and you echo for the opportunity to be here it's it's

something that I didn't want to do you know you hear the old saw about you

don't talk about the war and I think that's true of most all of the guys that

I knew and flew and fought with we just don't talk about it except over a beer

in a bar somewhere with that guys we've trusted our lives too

however my wife stinky and my son and daughter when they heard about this

opportunity told me you got to do this you got a help keep the reputation of

the sea walls alive and I don't think that reputation he's a lot of buildup on

my part that I'm here to honor the 44 of our brothers who weren't able to come on

back with us and I'm here to help share a little bit of history about the

squadron and I'm here to thank every one of you swinging dick Gunners who helped

me get my little pink body back without any additional holes in it those guys

are phenomenal I mean they're really something but we'll get into that it's a

pleasure to be here I'm looking forward to the conversation I'm still a scratch

in my head as to why I'm here because you guys have giants on this show

you just had a fella who was a highly decorated marine infantry officer he

went on to get a law degree he went on who work in the VA he became the

Secretary of the Navy he became a congressman from the great state of

Virginia and oh by the way was a little-known candidate for president of

the US and party politics aside this kind

would have been better off if Jim Webb had been our president totally agree

yeah and I can say that not from you know just a casual reading of his bio I

know Jim because it was a classmate of mine at the Naval Academy I know Jim

because it was a company made of mine at the Naval Academy and I know Jim to be

the the kind of a man that I would hope my son would become just a great guy

I can also say that I know Jim because for a brief time plebe summer we roomed

together so you're looking at one of the only guys that you'll ever meet who is

proud to share the fact that he slept with the Secretary of the Navy so yeah

we're here to spread the word and have a little fun

via the one thing that was really important about recent past is a Seawolf

reunion we have reunions every every couple of years and now many reunions

more frequently but this one who is pretty special

it was about two months ago we were gathered on the flight deck of the

Midway for the premiere of a documentary called scramble the Seawolves they had a

big inflatable screen on the flight deck and we were all up there laughing and

scratching one thing that I noticed about the entire experiences man OVAs

guys look old but the the movie with the documentary was very well shot it's

actually being released on KPBS and PBS and I assume that shortly after that'll

be available on YouTube but it it gave us a sense of pride and I think I can

speak for everyone that it gave us a little greater sense of belonging based

upon the fact that our story could now be told yeah no that's a I've watched it

anybody can watch it you can give you Google scramble the Seawolves KPBS it'll

pop up and you can watch it just you know there's no email to sign up for

it's free that's how you can you can watch it

let's let's talk about the seal so let's talk up a little bit about your past cuz

I think you're I mean starting with your your dad being a pilot and now let's

start with that and and what that was like growing up well my dad would really

be pissed off at you for calling him a pilot because dad was an aviation

ordnance chef and he knew that the guys in the back were doing the job and the

guys up front were just uh steering the bus no my dad William John Rowley was a

hell of a guy he was an interesting man and that's the nicest thing you can say

about somebody I think dad was a kind of a guy who could walk into a room and

full of strangers in an hour later walk out and everybody thought to is their

new best friend good guy great guy but he comes from a long line of warriors my

grandfather who married my grandmother from Hilo yeah yeah he fought in World

War one I have a wonderful picture at home of my mom and her three brothers

taken during World War two and uncle Walt is there in his Marine Corps

uniform Uncle Bob is there in his navy blues and my my Uncle Jim is there in

his army airforce uniform yeah and then when world war ii broke out my my dad

and his brother my uncle herb both joined the Navy dad went on into

aviation ordnance and came out the other end of the the pipe after peace is one

of the last of the Tojo Chiefs a guy who made chief in a little over three years

yeah he's an interesting fellow and leadership lesson number one for me

was the way he helped me grow as I was coming up you would think that a chief

petty officer in the Navy can be very gruff and directive and they can and

they are when it's required the dad never told me go do this he'd say have

you ever considered have you ever thought about have you ever and he

brought it into practice one day when I was just getting

ready for college and trying to decide where I was going to go he had just come

back from a Med Cruise and he had one of his Jos a pilot a Naval Academy grad I

invited me over to his house for dinner I know I thought that was a little

strange but I was pretty excited about it the guy came and picked me up in a

brand-new yellow Corvette and took me over to his home and introduced me to

his drop-dead gorgeous Swedish wife and how dad didn't have to say you should go

to the Naval Academy for the experience in learning leadership he brought it

down to a level that I could understand yeah I thought you'd get issued a

Swedish wife yeah well actually what I wanted Jocko was so somebody five eight

five nine long straight blond hair good dad bitchin bod would he come completely

intelligent and imbued with the mating instincts of a wild mink in heat and

what the good Lord saw fit to pair me up with was stinky and she's a stumpy

little brown haired girl that's just ornery as a sack a wild guess so yeah

ain't it funny how it all works out so so you you you go meet this pilot and

you did that did that flip the switch in your head well I always knew I wanted to

be a naval aviator it's just something that I what I wanted I had initially had

dreams of going in and flying spats that day one was a just a hell of a weapons

carrier and a close air support mission that was nonparallel in my way of

thinking they got a lot of guys out of the ship but that didn't work out

because the aircraft was being retired as I was going through flight school the

thought of going to the Naval Academy was always intriguing to me I didn't

know that I'd be able to make that but I was one of the you know I'm sort of

large and I was a one of the only Navy dependents who were into athletics and

Kubasaki high school on Okinawa where I went through all four years of high

school and the senior naval officer on the island had roomed with

the football coach at Navy they did a quick Scout and told me to take up a

competitive exam and I'd be considered for the Academy I had had a year to

waste while I was waiting to get into the Academy so I went to Berkeley this

is in the 1963-64 school year which was very colorful Mario salvo was up there

doing his is a dirty word movement on the steps of the administration building

was it was ugly my parents lived across the hill in Walnut Creek California and

every time the news was over I'd get a frantic call from my mother are you okay

you okay yeah mom I'm okay it's yeah but in any rate following that you're at

Berkeley every seat of presidential appointment and even though he was he

had been assassinated John Kennedy signatures was on that yeah and I went

back to the to the Tanev II fell in love with Cru and I can honestly say that if

it hadn't been for rowing at Navy I probably wouldn't have made it through I

probably would have quit which is something that you would have been

pissed off about yeah and why is that because it gave you

something to focus on it gave you an outlet exactly crew is hands-down the

the greatest team sport that you can imagine it if even one person is not

pulling their weight is not exactly in sync the rhythm of the boat suffers

it'll be dragged down and everyone will know exactly the the reason for that you

can tell by the size of the puddle the way the boat is set it's it's phenomenal

so it's it's a great lesson in group leadership and that everyone has to be a

leader in that she'll to put their there the maximum that they can into it to

make the boat move if you get a chance for you to book all the boys in the boat

it's a I've heard of that it's yeah it's got great insight and - what rowing is

all about and you guys should be up on other

sports and so you you you row at the Naval Academy and how is your how is

your since you kind of grew up in the Navy your dad was a chief it must have

been at least somewhat prepared for the you know the shock and awe of chill

instructors and upperclassmen and all that stuff

it wasn't the the drill instructors or the the upperclassmen it was the chicken

ship I had a guy in our company that just aided me and he'd stand me up in

the passageway and he had a plastic baseball bat and beat me in the chest

with it yeah it's a non-event you know funk funk funk but if I saw

that guy again because it was just so juvenile I was happy years older than my

classmates for a number of reasons I flunked kindergarten but if any rate it

was yeah you just don't do things like that there's there's there's no there's

no leadership lessons there's no benefit to be had from some of the stuff that

was going on in there but when I got out there on the water with my teammates you

know it all just went away yeah there's something to be learned from having to

put up with such crap and I think there's two ways people go with it some

sometimes they go with like oh I'm gonna be able to do that one day and give

people a bunch of shit about whatever and some people go okay I'm never gonna

act like that yeah and then how and and so you were Jim Webb's roommate plebe

summer just for a few days but we were in the same company for all four years

yeah and then he's a heck of a guy yeah no it was awesome it was a real honor to

have him on here and you know he he told a similar story and he wrote about in

his in some of his books which was you know a guy just smacking him in the ass

with some kind of bat it was our song book and and they're telling him he

needs to say you know just admit that it hurts and he wouldn't admit it

but same thing you know he's like if he what did he say he said you know I don't

hold anything against those guys that did that to me

but I remember there name so yeah I think they made the list

for Jim Webb and then how did you end up pick it so you you already automatically

knew you wanted to be a pilot yeah absolutely and was that hard to get

selected for that no it was a service selection is done based on class rank

and I graduated in the top 10% over the bottom third of my class and that was

sufficient to get me and in aviation since I couldn't fly this bad I really

wanted to go jets sorry guys I have to admit that that due to due to my size

and my anthropometric measurements if I had to punch out I would have left my

knees on the glare shield of the the trainers how tall are you

that's six four yeah big this was you know clearly and Jim Webb talked about

this when he was on the podcast you know he's he was the guy in charge of hanging

up the names of the guys that had been killed and and yet when I had Charlie

plum on who graduated I think in 64 or he showed up in 64 no graduated 64

Vietnam wasn't even on the on the radar that's for them and for you guys it you

know 1967 1968 it had to you you know you had to have known okay I'm going to

fight in Vietnam when you walk into mother B Bancroft Hall you go into the

rotunda which is a very larger open area and when we started losing our former

classmates the graduates I'm sure Jim explained but they put a poster board up

there with the picture out of the lucky bag and a brief bio and not a

description but where they died and initially it was just onesies twosies

but pretty soon that the March went all the way around the rotunda and they had

to move it up into Memorial Hall and it really brought home the fact that this

is this is serious this is a you know if you're making up your minds whether or

not you wanted dedicate your lives that in the defense of this country and

it might come at a considerable cost and for 44 of our brothers it certainly did

44 Seawolves didn't make it back and I'm sort of an emotional guy that one of the

few times that I've really cried openly and then ashamedly was at the wall seen

seen a couple of my Gunners up there just really brought it home to me

amazing people Gunners are so so that's that's what you know you're getting into

upon commissioning and so you you get commissioned and you graduated in 68

your class of 68 right and you then you go to Pensacola Florida is that where

you go to flight school that's right and that's that what you talked us a

little bit through the flight school path you show up you learn to fly what a

t-38 is that no we you start out at t-34 okay and it's there's there's been a

change in the way they instruct naval aviators now when we were going through

you had to do the flight the fixed-wing flight syllabus first before you could

get into helicopters and then you go through the helicopter syllabus and then

after that those of us that got orders to Vietnam would go up to a Fort Rucker

and the army would instruct us in tactics in armaments systems they did

they did a good job in prepping us and then sent us overseas and the rest of it

would be done in country so the the the training that we've received along the

way was was excellent that a lot of it was just like back at the academy they

told us that hey guys the education you receive here at the United States Naval

Academy cost the taxpayer approximately two hundred and fifty thousand dollar

which is a lot of money back then and our reply was yeah but yes sticking of

our butts a nickel at a time so you know you know had you so now you're in the

pipeline for four helicopters had you heard of sea Wolf's at this time were

you hearing about it did you is it something that you said oh I want to go

do that we were just starting to hear about it and you know it wasn't fully

developed in my mind it that's where I wanted to go that it quickly became

there is a purpose for every element in the military from the guys who swabs the

decks all the way on up but I didn't want to be a bus driver I didn't want to

be a guy who bored holes in the sky so this being a Seawolf

immediately appealed to me as an opportunity to be able to I don't know

to pay back it's it's a funny thing and I'll jump ahead a little here but I have

a cousin who is very close to me she's like a sister to me

and I'd never really thought about questions like you just ask that after

immediately after I got back from Vietnam she was driving me on out to

family home in Walnut Creek California and without taking her eyes off the road

she said how can you do it and I thought about that for just a

minute and said well it was pretty easy I went over there to bring as many of

our guys home safely as I could and in some ways I failed in some ways I

succeeded but that's it I was enough of a student to to understand that the

domino effect certainly that that wasn't in my thinking you know your thinking

sort of 10 yards 10 yards but in the air it's a little more expansive it's it's

the guys that you're flying with the guys in your flight fireteam the guys on

your debt the guys who were maintainer is back in been tui they're

the they're the guys you think about and that's why you do it it okay so did you

get to select you get done with thumb you get done with the training did you

get to select hey I want to go to the squadron in Vietnam pretty much yes

was there a long list for that ten words there I'm sorry they were more

volunteers than then got exiled I don't know the mechanics of that I asked for

it I got it and how did that look like showing up in

in Vietnam I was the only officer assigned to the Seawolves who took that

reverse freedom flight on into Saigon and I got there and they shuffled me off

to the Annapolis hotel which I thought was a little unusual but you know I had

a couple of days to kill because there wasn't any transfer transport down to a

tube into E and I knew a dear friend of mine who was it in depth to at nabe and

he'd got over there before I did so I figured nabe that's not too far away I'm

gonna go visit him and the next morning I check out a 45 put it in my gym bag

I'm in civvies they didn't like us roaming around town in onesies in the

uniform so I jumped on a navy bus out to nabe know there's having a great time

talking to the guys at the Det there and learn a little about what's going on and

comes time to leave and it's probably about 16 30 and I say well I better get

back and they say well you just missed the last bus but don't worry about it

you can take a pedicab so here I am brand new in country I've got the zipper

in my on my gym bag open with my hand very close to it and this Vietnamese

fellow is pedaling away taking me back to the the hotel it took us about an

hour to get back there and I tipped him generously because I'm not a light

fellow I was a lot lighter then but you know Here I am my first day in country

and I'm gonna get grease tea so yeah it's a tell us if you wouldn't

mind some of the about the formation the Seawolves because it's a very cool story

about the mekong delta about the way things the way the enemy moved through

the mekong delta and through the wrong special zone and there was no roads and

the only way to get around those water if you want to maybe expand on that just

so people can kind of get a feel for for what started this whole thing off sure

sure yeah the mekong delta is fed by water

from the himalayas it comes on down and spreads out into a broad quasi oceanic

area basically it's mud and crap and brown water and hence the brown water

Navy but at any rate yeah the there are very few roads that do

anything but connect major cities in the Mekong back family and consequently just

about all the traffic's moved by a sampan or are junk and that's the way

people got around the infiltration that the NVA and the the VC practice came

largely either on foot by bicycle or by boat in order to counteract that task

force so one one six was put into place game warden was the the operational

mission and we were there to interdict that traffic and personnel ammunition

and food logistics that was moving down into the Delta the army had took that

mission on first actually flying off a couple of LCDs that were rigged with a

this makes you fly tech but that didn't work out too well and not this is not

saying anything against the army but in their syllabus they weren't trained on

instruments in Navy we were rigorous first in fixed-wing and then in

helicopters so we were used to flying in the shit and the Navy and and the army

was not and and that's that's because the Navy has to fly at sea and land on

her on boat on ships that's right that's it different missions at the time the

army outgrew that that it was it was painful they had it at a different

mission than we did so they they had a unit that was assigned to our OPCON and

they would fly a cover for for the small boats now that was primarily the PBRs

and the Swift boats we didn't see many Swift boats up had been luck we were

working with the PAPR sailors PBR patrol boat river is a 32 foot fiberglass

luxury boat that was stripped clean and I was highly manoeuvrable but it was I

say stripped clean of everything that was non-essential they were very

lightweight had a little armor at all that they were very heavily armed and

these boats if you talk about guys with brass balls

they'd poke up into these impossibly narrow canals and up Little River let's

just looking for trouble and it frequently came their way so the army

was uh attempting to work with them there were all sorts of a minor

operational problems to overcome who's calling out the missions uh what

the support area is it just wasn't working well so the Navy decided that we

needed a navy squadron and they've turned hc1 the fleet angels but put a

few debts in place to help provide cover for the the brown water Navy and by

brown water Navy I mean the small boat guys the seals

any Navy Navy vessel that was down in the in the Mekong

and it wasn't working well with the the army hc1 picked it up it started working

very well because they understood the Navy's mission much better than the army

and they were equipped with the capabilities to fly both at night and in

bad weather and I don't know if you've been in monsoon before but it's shitty

flood really bad so as you've already mentioned on April Fool's Day in 67 they

decided that they in-country squadron was required and that responsibility was

shifted from hc1 to Hal 3 we grew to having nine detachments that were

scattered throughout the Delta to give us a quick reaction time to virtually

any any area in the Mekong and each detachment had two aircraft designed it

had two full crews for each aircraft and that was about it but let me let me give

you a little info on the noble uh-1 Bravo I love that aircraft it was a

piece of crap it really was but it got us out of out of a lot of trouble every

time we flew it and just for people that are listen that's the classic vietnam

huey aircraft that's that's what you see that's what you see in movies that

that's it yeah there really was sort of a McHale's Navy that okay catch hey that

was attached to the Seawolves the the army was just getting rid of

their Bravo models to go to this two of their Charlie's which had several

hundred greater horsepower a more maneuverable at Bob Loblaw and they had

some old Bravo's sitting around and rather than shipping him back to the

boneyard or destroying them in place they gave him to the Navy so frequently

we had a lot of rebuilding to do before we turned these guys loose but God bless

the army they gave us a they gave us our aircraft support for the Bravo and the

Navy chain was not the best so you've it's easy to say beg borrow or steal

borrow or steal is what we did quite well quite well our guys were incredible

we a chief had grabbed a couple of guys and go out and come back with exactly

what we needed and you don't ask a question about that you just put it into

play so the the nine debts two helicopters in each each Huey was

basically configured with two seven shot rocket pods 2.75 folding thin aerial

rockets we had a pair of 60s that were mounted with a flex gun they a co-pilot

control those but the the thing that really made us a unique and powerful was

our door Gunners when I first got there and just just for a very short period of

time our door Gunners were still firing 60s from the shoulder and that was just

an incredibly powerful tool in keeping the bad guys heads down during our break

and prepping the area for the next aircraft to uh to roll in so we

typically have a door gunner on one side and on the other side if we were lucky

of 50 eventually this grew we got some mini guns most all of our debt birds

eventually had mini guns and the guys in the back would fly them and it did

wonders for keeping uh keeping heads down I was did the 50 cals

that we had when we went from shoulder hair held 60s to there's a lesson there

our guys would it wasn't unusual to see them standing out on the skids firing

cover for us that was a great good thing but it also

resulted in brass in the sink elevator and the or it just wasn't really freely

acceptable if you brass a tail rotor he'll know about it it's a rough ride

going back in but and they decided that no he can't have that and sort of tied

the Gunners hands by putting what they called a pussy pole in the in the door

and mounted that the sixty to it well the guys got more than a little

inventive and decided that if one 60s good two would be better and mounted to

one yeah here here we go again Hayden thanks yeah but mounted to 60s

there and found out that they were brass in the tail rotor still so what they did

was they rotated each 90 degrees in opposing directions and all of a sudden

the brass Ian was no longer much of a problem did essentially the same with

our 50s they mounted that so that it would fire 90 degrees longitudinally and

that was a very powerful weapon for not only keeping keeping guys down but also

gave us a great degree of flexibility in the in the break and perhaps I should

explain that by the break we typically would fly in a in a wagon wheel type

type of approach to helicopters roughly flying 180 out from one another so one

is it rolling in on the target as the other is coming around behind it so when

you then break off the target the next helicopter is in there laying down its

fire and that that 50 would would really help us out in both identifying problem

areas and taking care of the problem

yeah that's a great a great background and and you know even when you watch

scramble the sea Wolf's the just and all the footage is just unbelievable footage

of the way you guys were flying and what the Gunners were doing Gunners hanging

out and shooting underneath the bird back in the other direction yeah hanging

out by a Gunners belt they might have invented the term Gunners belt there I

was go ahead there's a right of passage that most of

the FN jeez got and when I was in that FN g seat I learned it one dark and

stormy night we're flying along India and they they hack the aircraft

commander diverted my attention off to the left and I turned back right here in

the window of the Huey was one of my gutters who is Mooney this is gonna be

fun that and the other was if you were new to the depth as a pilot and you're

gonna get a colorful a brass and it was really easy for them to do when they had

the free guns they got a little more in the found of later on that that's that's

freaking dangerous smart so speaking of fun one of the one of the things I

pulled off of the website Seawolf dot org is you guys had this thing that you

called the wolf gram which was sort of sort of like a sitrep for all the all

the different elements that were out there and I think it paints a pretty

good picture of the overall attitude and I pulled out one of the clips and I'm

just gonna read it so this is your debt debt for from beautiful downtown Bend

luck the Fogg cutters of debt for would like to wish everyone a merry monsoon

season only ten shopping days left we'd better start with lieutenant JG who

white before we forget him everyone else has

he uh he though he was leaving in May but view pers forgot to assign him a new

duty station admin forgot to request a flight booking for him and operations

forgot to inform him that this that his FTL papers had been signed but we're

sure we'll finally for that we're but we're sure things will finally turn

around for what's-his-name lieutenant Deacon John Johnson left on

R&R to Hawaii and lieutenant JG rookie rich can't read the name farmer farmer

yeah farmer was called in to straighten out bin toy been to e cutting us to

three FTL's and an axe commander Hammond will still have to fly every day even

after the Deacon gets back beaucoup map as lieutenant Johnson is referred to by

mamasan won't be much good for anything after coming back from Hawaii rookie

riches talent for hiding should be of great value in Bend to e lieutenant JG

check Carlos Steele has opened a chain of combination taco stand slash minigun

exchange outlets with branches in coochie tan tan an and been luck with

others soon to be opening in long Binh ving long and Viet Tian

lieutenant JG weird Harold black is still looking for his mysteriously

vanishing n60 bolts latest debt for basketball casualty was lieutenant JG

buckets coffee named after his golden touch on the court who got four stitches

in his head after going for a rebound who will it be in April three additions

arrived this past month lieutenant tom rebola and lieutenant JG

Denny rally which is you sir are new in country and lieutenant JG bill belts was

shafted shifted from dead eight oh well with TV booze and all the attractions of

the big city what more could you want as one of our departed pilots used to

say going home is for sissies so and you guys these are all alive

they're fantastic to read I read that too my buddy Dave Burke where I sent I

sent him a copy of it and he said that's the best sitrep I've ever read in my

life so you guys had you know it's it's good cuz you know I always talking and

and every vet that comes on here we kind of talk about how we have fun and that

shows that and I guess getting mooned through your side window also shows that

you guys were having fun I don't know if the hot brass is fun but you guys were

having a great time and you guys were making it fun and at the same time man

it was very intense and very dangerous one of the things that you know you you

you kind of threw it out there you said hey we put these debts all over the

place so we could have a quick response time and what that meant was you guys

were spread out in these debts so that you could get to guys on the ground

within a matter of minutes tell me about that op tempo and what it was like when

when they scrambled the Seawolves well we had two full crews for each one

of our two birds and what that meant was you were 12 hours on 12 hours off 365 24

whatever in order to support the the brown water Navy when they got in the

ship they they needed us right away and we could literally get off the deck

in about three minutes and that put us out there quickly enough that we could

probably get them out of trouble the worst thing that could could happen to

them in my estimation other than losing someone as is losing their engine

because then they were just out there with they were a grape

know it no place to go so all they could do is just absorb the the incoming and

with that in mind what we would do is go on out and try and first get their heads

down and then to start working the target

we had a very close relationship with the the PBR sailors very close

those guys were sticking their necks out every day and that the times they got in

trouble we were happy to go and and try and extricate them on no matter up no

matter what but one of the great quotes that I saw in the in the history that I

was reviewing is the first contact that hc1 made they they the two boats had

gone out on patrol and it stumbled across a battalion size element with

about 80 Sam pans and that junks that we're trying to cross a river and the

boats came under obviously intense fire when the sea wolves got there a couple

of minutes after this the the incoming fire team League contacts the chief of

the boat and says where do you want us to put in our strike and he said

something like hell I want you boys to go in there and hold field day on those

guys and that's sort of the attitude that they're you know it is it's it's an

overused term but it's a brotherhood it truly is you did we do anything for

those guys they were putting it all out did you guys did you guys um pre-brief

with them for missions or how did you figure that out on how did you figure it

out so did you know where they were going did you know what their target was

did they pre briefed you unfortunately we had intelligence that was to put it

kindly generally a piece of crap it wasn't very good for a number of reasons

for a number of reasons but what we do is we'd talk to the guys on the boats we

know what the tactical situation was in the Noa and we would know where they

were going and what what they were doing that is are you going out for a bunker

are you doing an insert with seals we get that information

the from the team that was there actually we didn't have a team it was uh

just as a squad yeah but we'd share the answer the information so we've know

about where they were going and what we do as soon as we got airborne is head

for the the pre-brief spot and they've got update the info in route so that by

the time we got there we knew that where the fire was coming from what the

situation was with the boats and where we were likely to put in our first

strike so the deconfliction as far as where you

were shooting and friendly fire and all that was I mean as long as as long as

they tell you hey north north side of the river or something like that is that

how you would deconflict and did you when you were supporting ground troops

how the hell did you know who was who down there

we'd by heaven pop smoke and that generally worked but the the worst thing

that could happen is when you say pop red and one shows up right where you

expect it and one shows up a hundred meters on down yeah so the bad guys had

our head our freaks and that well I don't know if they had her freaks or not

but they could certainly see a smoke and they'd pop it also right same one and

that could create a little confusion but it also gave us a locus of points that

we could talk to the guys on the boats and they could direct our fire and one

thing that's important about that the 2.75 folding family aerial rocket was a

great tool I didn't like it much because it wasn't all that uncommon to have one

of the the fins not open properly and then it had just go squirrelly and go

anywhere if you had the aircraft trimmed up it could be an effective

weapon but I didn't like to use it too far out because that gave it more of an

opportunity to develop a mind of its own I use it more as a as a close-in weapon

so these the you'd be sitting in your in your hooch or whatever and you'd be

stamped you know just standing by if it was your 12-hour shift and then all of a

sudden the radio call would come in they they tell you guys go what was the

procedure like from their assholes and elbows out to the aircraft the one of

the other crews first first guy there would be suddenly uh the aircraft was

pre cocked but they'd go ahead and set the the rockets up for us and jump in

hit the button and go you uh every I think that it's safe to say that

practically every operational mission that we flew we took off over max gross

weight you'd pull it up enough to get it out of the revetment and get it out

there and what we do when we were really seriously overweight it just sort of

incident I head and get a little forward momentum on the helicopter and then drop

the collective which puts all the weight down on the skids and spread the skids

and then pop it up a little and the aircraft would beasts would slingshot up

to all about three feet and then you know yeah hopefully you'll get across

the v40 fence at the end of the end of the runway it was colorful but had to do

it in order to carry enough ordnance to uh get guys out of trouble and then I

mean um when we were in Iraq we always felt like the helicopters which win

Ramadi the helicopters they wouldn't really fly over the city of Ramadi

because it was there was too dangerous for them a couple times that they came

in it was like it was like a just massive machine gun fire at them and

they didn't really enjoy that too much but you guys were just so so my point is

that helicopters and actually vehicles as well they're like a bullet

magnets right everywhere you see a helicopter coming the enemy just sees

that and focuses on it you guys must have it you had to be

taking fire all the time yep all the time you get used to it yeah one of my

Gunners reminded me of a the first time that we saw a 51 Cal coming at us it was

a was night and these things you know they it's a big as a basketball yes as

big as a freakin basketball coming up at you we started to see the Frazier's come

up at it and he says damn you did the right thing

I said yeah and he see Lord the collective immediately got down on the

deck and then came around the weakest could adjust but those things are

frightening oh yeah that's clutch it's it goes with the turf you're 20 years

old that was 23 at the time and it's you think the mission you think the the

pride that you taken in the guys and the pride they take in you and it's

frightening you know there's I was terrified at

times I think we all were that you get by that you get by that you think about

the guys down there who were really in the ship and it's easy to apply what you

know tactically and get the job done that's that's another thing that that's

why I was kind of asking you about meeting with the guys on the ground

because you guys are doing this and and I'm sure in some situations you would

never met the people that were down there and you're still risking your

lives to go in there and give them the support that they need yeah it's what we

did there's that there's a counterintuitive thing to two

helicopters that you just mentioned which is so when you're getting shot at

from the ground if you get lower it takes away some of their field of fire

right brightly so so you would think oh there's someone shooting at me I'm gonna

get up and go away when the reality is if you get lower you know that that

person there's gonna be trees or whatever terrain features in between

that's gonna take a little bit time to uh to get your instincts go into that

direction yeah it certainly does but it's amazing

how quick those instincts are developing when you got somebody shooting at you

and then the maintenance crews the birds archivist I saw pictures of birds they

were just like it looked like they had been used for target practice yeah

coming back you go watch that movie scramble to see what it looks like

target practice was used that's what they were using the boards for target

practice that's what some of them look like and the maintenance crews were just

they they said they were making patches from beer cans that's true that's true

and the guys were proud of that and the the patch that was a beer can would not

be painted over generally ya know and there's one thing that I want to say and

this is gonna sound like a one-trick pony and my love for the gunners but

those guys not only fired the weapons they serviced the weapons they serviced

the the helicopters they performed all the dailies they were all qualified

plane captains they kept that thing up and running for us so that we could walk

out with our silk scarves and that strap the thing on and take him out to where

they needed to be in order to get the job done no we're not Air Force we don't

believe in silk scarf sorry Air Force brethren and then so you're doing this

this is a crazy op tempo operational tempo of 12 on 12 off 365 days that's

insane you get used to it you know it's funny have you got you got eight hours

of sleep okay and then you got four hours to eat and then the other 12 hours

you're on standby to go fly into into gun battles I got 365 days yeah I got

nervous though when I wasn't flying you know a decent aviator wants to fly and

it's hard sometimes this around waiting for your turn we played and lifted a lot

of weight played a lot of volleyball played volleyball with and against the

the seals and sometimes the boat drivers it just it was fifty metres

from the from the aircraft and that kept this kept us right there so we could

respond quickly and then um how often were you guys do in casualty evacuation

only one needed yeah it wasn't a primary mission of ours if somebody got shot up

and needed to lift out of town we provide that and occasionally we'd get a

call that someone was wounded and we'd go out and pick him up but generally

that was a job that was done by some certifiable idiots that I love the the

dust off pilots you got that 20 19 20 year old kids that are out there given

the keys to do a a maserati course this was only a Huey but still you get the

idea they were crazy they'd fly into into anything my hat really goes off to

him because they'd fly into areas where they shouldn't that's another thing I

talked about with Colonel bill reader who was on this podcast and same thing I

mean he just said that the the pilots back then and maybe it's because the

aircraft were very inexpensive compared to the you know to what they fly

nowadays they don't want to risk the aircraft now but he said these guys they

were just flying into like it was a your your aircraft is just gonna get hit

that's the way it's gonna be yeah deal with it and if you ever get to get

the opportunity to read the some of the citation for their Congressional Medal

for the these are helo pilots it's it's incredible what they did now what I was

and always on this show give the same praise that you give to the machine

gunners because the machine gunners in in a ground combat it's the machine

gunners that are going to allow you to be able to maneuver and get away from a

situation or maneuver towards you know they're gonna allow you to move and same

thing with with your Gunners and what they were doing so you had a gunner on

each side that's right that would protect the flanks that's right

one of them on either a 60 or a dual 60 and the other one on a 50 Cal generally

or eventually a minigun oh and then you guys got too many guns

yes I will in I looked at there was a real real fast flash on the screen in

scramble to see Wolfe's there's a minigun and it's actually it's upside

down you can't I had to pause it to read it it said the Lord giveth and the

minigun taketh away yeah it was a formidable weapon for a close close air

support yeah for people that don't know what a minigun is it fires it fires what

five thousand rounds a minute I mean it's absolutely ridiculous what it's yes

I don't know what the rate is but it's it gets your attention yeah and it just

it's powered it's it's powered it's electrically powered so it actually

feeds the ammunition faster than than a normal mechanical weapon could fire but

it just it's crazy how much and how much how many rounds because I think it's

5,000 something like that it's a ridiculous yeah and then you guys got

those so those were on your birds while you were on deployment that's right yeah

as far as the the minigun goes you know it doesn't go bang bang bang it goes at

the rate of fire is phenomenal in the the Gunners loved it but you know

there's a little John Wayne in all of us and I think every one of them would like

to go back to the yeah did the free guns one thing that I do

want to point out is that we were not very well equipped so when we were up

and around you know on patrol or actually out there engaged in had to fly

into a gas up and and rearm we'd go into an army base because the army had all

the fuel and they had nails the 2.75 makes a boom but if you can load it with

flechettes you can really keep the enemy down so we'd go on up there

depending on the tactical situation if we had a cause they're anti-personnel

some something developing on the ground we'd uh we'd load up there and that's

where I saw my first Cobra the snake was an impressive aircraft it was so much it

had so much more firepower than any one of our Huey's but where do you put the

Gunners you know it's for an FC team they don't have any suppression for

rolling off target other than your wingman and it did you

know it was intriguing but it just didn't make sense to me yeah I remember

this correctly that at one point you're whoever the commander was at the time

got offered hey do you guys want some cobras and the answer was no we need to

stick with the Huey's I'd heard that story I don't don't know whether it's

true or not oh yeah yeah yeah we like that but uh you know one of the guys you

mentioned in the wolf Graham and I will mention his name Chuck steely up Chuck

was quite a guy and he would go out on to requisition parts for us at the time

the army had a contractor tie an electron that was doing the work on

their aircraft and you know they're bored out of their skull when they don't

have anything to work on so they got a loach and started rebuilding it from

spare parts from here and there and got it to be fully functional and you know

to have an observation helicopter like that to go out and snoop and poop with

us that would be incredible Chuck engineered a deal where for a

refrigerator full of beer they'd give us this aircraft you know it was written

off the rolls they're closing it but you know they said hey if you have a problem

let us know we'll come down take care of it I like to think that chuck was

unplugging our refrigerator when the deado and see him and not just know but

L know that sort of thing was not unusual over there

god bless Chuck he did did everybody a lot of great service the the speaking of

beer apparently the the wolf on the Sea Wolf insignia somehow based on the

Lowenbrau beer can that's what they saw allegedly that's what they said I can

neither confirm nor deny you know strangely enough I didn't drink

much beer at all and I was over there because they they seem to treat it with

something that just put the taste-off we all thought it was formaldehyde that was

the the going rumour but when they told us that in cool when I was in Guam my

first deployment they told us the same thing yeah that there was from aldehyde

that rumors been heard that rumor survived from 1969 to 1992 and I was on

my first deployment there was formaldehyde in the beer but how did the

beer taste awful and I kept trying to see if I could make it taste better but

I did not succeed there's so some of the stuff that you're

talking about you know from a leadership perspective

you got you got guys that are risking their lives every time that call comes

how how did you did you see guys that that got to a point where they couldn't

take it anymore did you did you have situations where you had to send guys

back to the rear what did you do when you saw a guy kind of started to start

to get too nervous to go

this may sound self-serving and I don't care I didn't see anyone in our debts

and I did not see directly anyone who behaved in a cowardly manner an

overcautious manner we didn't have anyone that was sent back to the to the

rear there was a camaraderie that you just can't

explain to somebody who hasn't enjoyed it it's a it's an honor to serve with

people like that and we all took pride in our reputations among our squadron

mates so it it wasn't hard at all and and that was so clear when you watch

scramble the sea Wolf's it's so clear and there's this incredible that you can

see the camaraderie and you can hear it when you read through the the the

wolfgramm so you can see that guys are having a good time and there's this I

mean what I would consider and you can tell me if I'm wrong but like a peer

pressure of hey we're gonna we're gonna we're gonna do this you know I've often

said that when you get to a good seal platoon it's not a team it's not a

platoon it's like a gang that you have mix again and we just don't allow for

that bad attitude to creep out yeah yeah I feel the same way about the BSE wolves

and this might be a good time to share with you the fact that I at one time

after returning from Vietnam was so fed up with the mission that we were flying

it was an aging aircraft it didn't have systems that were required to do the job

that the job itself was not that important and you know you come from

living on a drum dren alone for a year and then come back and you're expected

to I don't know figuratively put your boots up on the table one day I got so

pissed off the middle of the morning I jumped in my Corvette remember that hey

I learned I learned jumped in my Corvette and tore on up to Coronado and

two of the seals that we operated with friends were there and I walked into the

office they had their LSDs pulled up face-to-face

and I said guys I've had it I want to join up and they looked at each other

and they locked up their secret and each of them grabbed me by an elbow and took

me up to the little Club in Coronado and we serve poundin beers that tasted great

no formaldehyde there and by the middle of the afternoon they'd convinced me

that being a peacetime seal wasn't everything that uh that I would expect

and that they the Navy had put an awful lot of investment into making me what I

was and I could make them far better contribution by continuing to fly and I

I turned my back on my opportunity to find out whether I had what it takes to

become a seal I'm surprised that those guys well I'm surprised they didn't talk

you into it those must have been they must I was Rhys once they got enough

beer in him they did they didn't have you down at down at Budds with a law go

to stand over your head is there any particular missions in when you were in

Vietnam that that stand out as you know one of the ones on scrambles he will set

they talked about this was absolutely ridiculous they're talking about the the

the helicopter was the helicopters were there supporting a unit on the ground

there was no one to relieve them they needed more fuel they were running out

of fuel the fuel lights on there's still no one - no one to relieve the

helicopters and provide support they say you know what screw it we're just gonna

stay until we run out of gas and that's and that's what they did they

stayed until they ran out of gas the other group came in they used ammo cans

to refuel to carry once - once the fire on the ground had subsided they used

ammo cans to refuel the the helicopters that were out of fuel so they could get

back to base that's freaking crazy well you know we never really took time to

think about whether it was crazy or not you got a job to do and you know that

that's probably a natural way to explain it that was the job he went out and did

that because that's what was expected that's what the guys on me in the boats

expected of you that's what the SEAL team that we had these are the seals

that we had operator benlloch expected and when they call you you go that's

another thing I think is really

impressive about the sea Wolf's 'as well first of all they took volunteers to go

do the job and like you said a bunch of people volunteered but the other thing

is and and I heard some of the vets talking about this some of the sea wolf

vets talking about the fact that they'd say oh I was in the Navy and I was you

know in the ship in Vietnam people say I you were in the Navy anyone in the shit

but the reality is people you wouldn't I can't imagine that there was any of the

Gunners that when they join the Navy they thought to themselves what I'm

gonna be is a door gunner and direct combat with the enemy these are guys

that were joined the Navy for whatever reason and they end up in that job where

the you know they're doing this day in day out and risking their life day-in

day-out not not really what they signed up for and yet they held the line over

and over and over again all of them volunteers yeah yeah it's it Amane it

humbles me to have been able to operate with guys like that and you know I did

the pilots yeah the pilots of brass balls it was expected it was the job the

Gunners had those balls and then some because they kept us up kept the

aircraft up kept the systems up I had a leadership lesson when I first got there

that grown up my dad you know he we'd hunt and fish and I had fired our we had

two 14s for each bird they hung on the back of the yeah pilot seat and I'd

taken one on out we had a little makeshift range and fired it and brought

it back on in after I was done and took it in to the crew area to clean

it you would have thought that I had just stepped on a baby rabbit I mean it

was Maura it was flight it was respectful but give me that thing yeah

and the guys had that feeling about the armament you know if this is my job if I

do this so you know it took a little getting used to it was easier to let him

clean my 45 then I just kind of want to but you know when you're when you're

there you you start to get to know these guys really well and I I don't you

didn't loot you didn't have anyone killed from your debt while you were

there is that correct that's correct but obviously other guys in other deaths

were killed while you were there did you guys have any kind of and this is

something I've talked about before as Americans and I think it's just because

we have so many different cultures here we don't have a good protocol to deal

with to deal with death and you know other other cultures around the world if

someone dies you know you you do this for a day you do this for a day you say

this prayer you you go through the ceremony and then you move on and

Americans we have so many different cultures here that are all mixed

together and death isn't something that happens all the time so we really don't

know a lot of times hey what am I supposed to do and I think that's what

that's what causes people problems is they don't know they don't know how to

handle they don't know how to put closure on it and so it just kind of

sticks around when you guys would learn that that someone in your debt had been

killed was there any protocol that you guys set

up was there anything that you guys did to to try and take that on board and

then move past it I probably miss out on a leadership opportunity in when guys

got killed and other deaths in combat or even just fairing and aircraft in for

maintenance I didn't sit down with the guys and talk about it

i internalize it and being Irish would reflect on all the good times we had

didn't think about what what went wrong didn't want to know initially you know

eventually you do because it's important for for your trade that I just think

about the good times that we we shared together I lost a couple of Academy

classmates I lost some great friends that I made while I was in country one

young fella and I don't wanna mention any names

but he and I were both bicyclists and the one thing that he wanted to do when

he got back home was built himself the Primo bike and to start to start

competing and they never got that opportunity

and when you when you personalize something like that when you think about

the opportunities that are lost in a heartbeat it makes you very thankful to

be alive and makes you very thankful of to have known that person and it makes

you feel like you should redouble your efforts to get the sons of bitches that

that took that life away from him if you can help focus your aggression and

that's a good thing yeah no doubt about it and that was um I

guess my way again I was uneducated no one ever taught me

but one thing I did is okay we're gonna go to work yeah that's the thing that I

knew how to do that's what I still know how to do is like go to work and you

know there's I guess you could say there's some you know eventually you got

out you got to deal with it you got to feel it more in the future but man when

I was overseas it's like yeah okay we're gonna work and and that's where the

focus becomes because you know and also from my perspective was like you know

your guys that's what they would want you to do that's what they would want

you to do so let me let me share something with you based upon what your

guys would want you to do came home from a mission one night we

were in contact and you know it you're you're decompressing and I walk up to my

rack and there's this manila envelope for lieutenant JG Raleigh's eyes only

and I feel Ono somebody back on back home has died and I open this thing up

with trembling hands and pull it out and it's a standard Navy message and I said

hi honey I'm gonna be an Tanzanian three days time come on up in there and see me

Sean's mom though the love of my life callsign stinky doesn't have anything to

do with personal problems it's a matter of attitude yeah she was a flight

attendant for Braniff and she was flying freedom birds in and out and she had one

coming in Ben Lux only about 40 klicks south of Saigon and okay and you know

word immediately spread like wildfire throughout the debt and my guy god bless

him they slept in a sandbag bunker or enlisted crew and it was normally pretty

ripe but it was also the only place that was really it had a little bit of

privacy well they had determined that I was

going to bring stinky on down for lunch I pick her up in town sonoda bring her

on down so they had that place spit shot they did it but it was alright it turned

out to be a bit of a disappointment we flew up flew a helicopter on up to town

salute and you know we're going over a bad guy country so it was armed and I

land the thing in front of I had no I didn't land it I wasn't flying it but we

land in front of the terminal there at Anza Newton immediately this Air Force

truck comes on out with its cherry job going and this this sergeant says you

can't land here and I put it out to him that we already had and that we're just

waiting for the arrival and we solved the problem by saying listen

this aircraft is armed why don't you stay here and watch it for us and we'll

just be a little while so we walked on over this big old green Braniff jet

comes on in and everybody gets off and you know the incoming guys aren't nearly

as gay and festive as yeah outgoing guys so they get off and there's Gail

standing up at the top of the ladder just waving at me so turns out she can't

get off the aircraft but they didn't say anything about us getting on so you know

Mike goes on up the the ladder and we're in there and Gail's introducing them to

the other stewardesses and they're loving it

and we go to the back of the aircraft and sat there for 45 minutes just

talking with each other but when we got back and Gail wasn't there the the guys

were just crestfallen they were so excited about having somebody there and

you know they III don't think the place was ever cleaned again but that was my

experience at dating my hometown honey in the zone what was it like was it

standard Vietnam we're just replacements would come when it was time for a guy to

rotate out a new guy would show up pretty much like I mentioned earlier I

was sort of kind of drift at the Annapolis hotel and happened to run into

a got weird Harold who you referenced in that wolfgramm he came just walking

through with the debt for O&C Colonel Hammond we called him currently was a

navy commander and Dave introduced us and said hey this is a great guy we

should have him and as it turns out they had an opening and within a matter of a

few days I was in debt for so it it was sort of a roll your own environment yeah

you know obviously they put guys ndu into slots where they needed them but

that it was fluid so then your times coming up to to head

home as it wasn't a one-year 365 days yeah pretty much yes and then did you

I'm you you stayed right on doing your 12 on 12 off until it was time to go

what they did normally do is for the last week or two that you were in

country send you into a band to e for the for the out processing and we'd fly

with the sea Lords so you know you didn't stop flying it was just a

different mission and then you get back that then you then you get okay your

time's up and it's time to go home yeah pretty much

well you know there there'd be a bit of a party a drunk ex but but other than

that yeah yeah that's that was that was it then how was that transition going

from Vietnam and then what how many how many hours later you're back in America

or how many days it was a straight-through shot we stopped off in

Honolulu there was one other stuff maybe Guam and then Honolulu and then home it

straight through and and to wait your so you what are you married you weren't

married yet no no we got engaged on R&R and Hong Kong and that's a tuberous

story so you got R&R from Vietnam that you're your bride-to-be in Hong Kong

that's right and proposed yeah you know we'd already talked about it we

knew it was coming got down on a knee in Jimmy's kitchen and all of a sudden it

but it was pretty interesting when I arrived in Hong Kong we were booked a

room at the Hilton so I go on down there and you know I'm checking in and I'm in

my uniform so the manager happens to be walking

behind the desk and says ah mister lally mrs. Lally is waiting for you in your

room tomorrow what's mom gonna think well of course

Gayle had gotten in a day early times were different back then

so your transition from from Vietnam back to America all of a sudden and you

were you know people people use the term wild west sometimes to describe various

military situations where it was how it was like the Wild West

hmm I don't know if it gets much more Wild West they see well for Vietnam it

just doesn't see the way you guys were running things the way the support that

you got or didn't get the I mean just the fact like you guys didn't even have

flight suits they did they wouldn't issue him or something like that and you

guys were just wearing kind of what you what what you could get a hold of

everything was sort of Wild West it took longer to get into a flight suit

than it did to come on no Mac certain certain bands and frequently it wasn't

Nomex and as they say you know I've flown missions in my tiny runners just

that we leave our gear there in the seat and if I was playing volleyball and if

they scrambled us you you don't think about anything but getting in that

aircraft in getting it cranking so yeah it was Wild West and God yeah and then

and then you get back to America and you're still in the Navy right yeah

how was that well got through training you know first of all you're just

decompressing that was newly married Gailen or getting used to living

together she's dealing with my unique personality it was sort of a scrapbook

we partied art it's so when we got back a couple of seals one of them had a em

was connected to a family that owned one of the mansions there in Coronado on the

on the waterfront I think that was first Street Front Street at any rate just a

man it was a beat-up old place but it was truly a mansion and they had a

couple mattresses on the floor and they had a table in the kitchen but no

furniture and they had a a tapper and we go over there and just party like crazy

and the where I'm going with this story is

all of that time and through all the craziness and through all of the

drinking there was only one person who got hurt as a result of overindulging he

refer an his car into a telephone pole didn't didn't kill him didn't even hurt

him very much but that was the only instance that I know of and the only

casualty we had to alcohol was that same guy who turned himself in to four AAA

and was cashiered out of the Navy and then for ten years he was sober clean

and sober and he applied to get back in and the Navy God loved it let him back

in but more remarkable than that this is one of our pilots now from the Seawolves

they gave him his wings back and he finished up his career flying that's

awesome but the point is we we had a really great time when we got back and

all that was sort of a haze but when I checked into the squadron after I

completed the rag learned to fly the the nor noble h3 sea slug via our commanding

officer took me in and in my checker board interview says I know where you've

been I know what you've done you aren't gonna get away with any of that crap

here and that there was a leadership lesson there I knew that I never wanted

to be like him if that had to be intimidating for a guy though that's

taken on these these pilots that have been doing what you had been doing and

all of a sudden they got to try and rein these guys back into the world I hope

I'm not going into too many sea stories but that great friend about the only guy

names I'm using guys who were deceased but that huge canvas was a co-pilot and

we were sent off to four to Guam for some specialized training

and he and I are there in our you know poopie suits at the bar the O club bar

at the Air Force Base on Guam and we're enjoying a couple of beers which tasted

good and all of a sudden they smell rings like crazy and income these guys

in in pressed flight suits with ascots and everybody in the bar all the Air

Force guys are standing at attention this b-52 crew coming back from a

mission and we're just sitting there with our elbows on the bar and the crowd

didn't know what to make of us but they didn't get too close to us either come

on we all have a mission to you and Rolling Thunder was very important if

taken to its conclusion we might not have lost that war and I used the words

loss and war carefully there and that that's not that a slip of the tongue if

they've got a mission to do but I mean yeah the war from 40,000 feet they're

worried about Sam's because they turn in at this I don't want to go there I'm

sorry I'd like to apologize to the United States Air Force and all the

noble men and women who fly for the Air Force yeah that's actually you know fo

some when we got back from Ramadi we we got after it in a very similar way for

several months I don't know how long you did but yeah there was a lot of beer and

other things that were drank and and I don't know

you know there's it was sort of it was sort of it seemed like the the normal

thing to do I don't know it seemed like we were going to kind of get it out of

our systems for a little while and you know get over it because it is is you

know it's not that big of a deal I don't want to make it sound like it's all

crazy but you know you're over there and it's like okay it's a little bit of it's

it's a different it's a different scenario

and you got to kind of process through the fact that everything that you just

doing whatever a week ago two weeks ago three weeks ago is now completely

different but when your life is completely different and there's no one

shooting at you and there's no one not you're not gonna losing your guys which

was the the the weight that I felt lifted off of me about a month after I

got home I was I didn't woke up one morning and I just kind of felt

different and I kind of I was like why do I feel I felt different in a good way

and what I felt was oh I was thinking about why do I feel different right now

and as I sat there and thought about I was like I'm not worried about any of my

guys getting killed right now which was the first time in months that I hadn't

been thinking about that all day every day and so yeah when you come home

there's there's definitely that and I I think it's I think you got to pay

attention as a leader to everyone in that group to make sure that guys are

staying within the box and staying within what's what's and I guess

possibly normal for those situations because you can definitely be you can

there will definitely be individuals that they'll they'll they'll go to

fahren that they're not making the transition and what they need is you

know some help someone to come alongside pull alongside and say hey man let's

let's take it back a little bit or you know let's let's readjust and you know

life's gonna be normal again and all that unfortunately the the way we were

rolled in and out of the squadron when we left and came back to a world it was

pretty much an individual effort so that and I also tempered with the fact that

your war was entirely different than ours I would imagine yours was more up

close and personal than than ours tell you the truth I don't recall ever

reflecting on whether my guys were gonna come back from this mission or not you

know it's something that we just all did we all did it together

and I don't mean that to sound callous it just just isn't wasn't part of my my

thinking and that goes back to what cousin Kim asked you know how did you do

it yeah yeah trying to bring everybody back home yeah I don't I definitely do

without question thought about that every every day that was the biggest

thing that I thought about every day was because there was guys getting killed

every day basically there was memorial services every day there was you know

one of the one of the things that have talking abouts a bunch but there was a

vehicle graveyard outside it wasn't it was on the way to the gate to leave camp

Ramadi there was a vehicle graveyard where all the vehicles that have been

blown up and destroyed by IEDs and there was I would say 50 or 75 maybe even 100

but a massive area and so in order to leave the gate you drove by that it was

it was a pretty harsh reminder and you know my guys would go out on missions I

wasn't always going on missions because I was overall in charge and there was

multiple units and so a lot of times I'd be just saluting the guys as they'd be

leaving and and that's a worse feeling of like okay you know you just you just

got your damn fingers crossed and you hope you've done everything you can and

hope you've mitigated the risk but that was the heaviest the heaviest weight for

me was just that daily fought every because there was also there was the

fact that there was always guys in the field almost always there was almost

always one of my you know little detachments of guys was out there with

seven guys and 20 Iraqi soldiers and there was gunfights going on and and

that's the way it was that was the that was the heaviest thing from a leadership

perspective for me and yeah so when I got home it took about a month you know

before I was like before any and the other thing is I didn't well everything

that I'm saying about that feeling I was barely conscious of it while I was there

I was like it was there but I was more focused on doing the job I was more

focused on it kind of cooked me like you know when they say the Frog we put the

frog in the boiling water you cook it slow whatever you it was like that it

was more like that like over time it just built up and what I did was just

focused on work and working hard but then when I got home it was like I said

it was like a month after I got home I woke up one day and just felt like

a a weight lifted and I was saying what all right what is that what is that and

then as I thought about it I'm thinking what am I not why do I feel like this

you know I just had a big smile on my face and was you know walking around my

house and and thinking myself ah this feels good what is this and then I

realized oh you're you're actually not worried that one of your friends is

gonna die today which is a which was a totally it's like I said it was

something that crept up on me and was just there there's just part of being

over there and it felt good to to have that weight come off but you know again

I think I dealt with it pretty decently and you know did I get drunk with my

friends yeah well there was some significant tu Boozer activities that

were were we're fun and we let off a lot of steam and I think that's fine but

again you know what worries me about saying that is that there's some people

that take that as like oh okay now I'm cleared hot just to go and and get drunk

and get crazy and it's like no actually you're not you've got to keep that in

check and especially from the guys that are in leadership positions hey man you

got to keep a close eye and step back and detach and look at the guys and say

okay I get it we're gonna let off some steam

I get it we're gonna adjust back to the real world but we need to make sure that

everyone is staying inside the box and make sure that they're gonna come

back out of this thing okay because I mean we all know it nowadays men the

vets veterans come home and that's a hard transition to make from from combat

to you know the civilian world and and even the world that you're talking about

going from being a Seawolf in the Wild West coming back to your commanding

officer saying look you're not gonna get away with that craft here and you know

we definitely had our share of little stories like that from to you bruiser

where you know guys guys would not quite be ready yet you know as a matter of

fact JP Danelle who is with me at national on front my brother when he

came home when we came home he used in another platoon got hurt they sent him

to our basic training school so buds he's going to be a buds instructor

and he didn't last very long over there because you can't take a guy that's 23

years old that just been through what JP had been through and say okay now you're

gonna go go and be in charge of training these guys that are trying to make it

through buds it wasn't a good fit yeah and so I just you know luckily had

friends and was able to just pull him over and he worked directly for me again

getting ready for the the more advanced training and combat training which he

was perfect for but that was an example of where you know I I had to look out

and say okay this is not a good job for him right now

you know JP is already an intense an intense guy and coming home from Ramadi

you know it was it was it was a tough deployment he only lost friends and as a

young kid he wasn't ready to be teaching these young you know he's looking at

these kids like you know you are you kidding me I'm gonna I'm gonna freakin

decimate you guys and so I had to pull him over to a little bit more canister

and my brother JP so you get oh so now so now you you're staying in the Navy

that's it never a doubt in my mind and you end up I mean you you end up doing

the anti-submarine warfare which is the job that kind of unknown is that the job

that annoyed you we call it a so what you were given a mission without the the

means to prosecute the mission and that annoyed me and then and then you went on

to become a test pilot is that rise that correct the steely-eyed granite jaw test

pilot and look at me now so so what is that job like ah it's it's fascinatingly

you know I'm living proof that nothing harms our that person more than too much

formal education but I get off on that and it was brought home to me once when

we were having a raging party at her home in Patuxent River Maryland when I

was there at the test center and most of the guys that have a copy of Playboy

magazine on their night table a couple of guys have gone back to take a leak in

our bedroom and found that I had some technical reports they're mine and I

didn't hear the end of that for for a long time but I enjoyed it I

enjoyed the technical aspects of it I have often said there are only two

topics that are worthy of conversation between men and that is flying and

fornication and you know I I lived to fly

having said that since I retired I've flown very little but at that point in

my life it was all about flying and it was a wonderful experience the the

flying we did was not experimental fine that was engineering flying we test out

weapons systems we test out new aircraft I was fortunate to to lead one of the

three prongs of the the biggest helicopter acquisition that the Navy's

made when they were looking for the new lamps helicopter two of my great good

friends were were flying the Sikorsky and the and the Boeing products and they

were pretty well through their test program which took I think about a year

when Bell Helicopter piped up and says hey we've got one too well they didn't

have a a really logical contender but they needed somebody to go on down and

leave the test of that aircraft and that was me and boy that was fun

you know you literally are flying the test card that takes out to the edge of

the envelope and hey are you good enough sure I'm good enough yeah just don't go

too far and don't bust your ass there's a lot of investment that you're sitting

in right there that you want they want you to keep in in one piece but no I I

thoroughly enjoyed it lifelong friends there and just keep me to a story the

two guys that were flying the bowings and sikorsky dear friends one of them

was a Naval Academy classmate and he and I flew in Vietnam and the other guy

Greek is just a wonderful guy and still a lifelong close friend well duck was

unfortunately fortunately for Hughes became their chief test pilot he got out

of the Navy and was flying for Hughes and was killed in a

and a horrible accident and Greek and I sort of sort of closed ranks and decided

that we were going to try and send duck off in good stead so if you're familiar

with San Diego now you know about the point loma lighthouse and the area up

there that's where the family was waiting Hughes had given us a 500 to

scatter the remains in that Greek took it upon himself to do this now at this

time he probably had 2,500 flight hours he knew his way around a helicopter he's

in his Navy blues he gets in the aircraft

he's got the cremains in his lap and they're flying out along well below the

the point on on out over the ocean and he looks up and sees the family up there

and he's so emotionally wrought that he reaches down and takes the lid off of

the cremains well if you've ever been in a helicopter you know that it's not a

very stable place to have cremains and immediately he said it was IFR inside

that cockpit with duck every and fortunately the family didn't know what

was going on and everything came out fine but Greek could call me up and said

hey I had to make mustard today and I said yeah and he says yeah and when I

got my blues out I'm still brushing duck off so yeah there's ways you you

accommodate that I always think of the great good times that that duck and we

got a Greek and I had together and I miss him sure I miss him all the time

but she life goes on sounds like he had the final say it that way yeah yeah you

oh I see during the Iranian hostage crisis what was that like that was

self-made you know yes we were the only a helicopter out there that wasn't on

the large gray boats to actually fly the mission that could could provide combat

search and rescue so we took full advantage of that got the armament that

we thought we passing through Guam you didn't like the sidearm I had so I went

on down to buy one I know it's going to take two weeks and it took me about two

hours to get in touch with the local authorities and I had my life sidearm on

going over the horizon which is sort of silly you know I mean really you're

flying an overwater mission and you need a said well you never can tell it's

always good to be prepared but at any rate we'd go out there and and just

train for that when we weren't actually out there in support of the the boats

we'd want an contraindicated it at 20 is that this is how long you did 20 21 21

years and then you went off to the civilian sector yesterday started

working a bunch of various jobs that's right it started out in high-tech our

company had a professional staff of two hundred sixty percent of whom were PhDs

and I had enough technical background that I'd go out to a customer with one

or more of these PhDs and they'd make their presentation and I'd say let me

think he was a doctor meant to say was a great I'm being surrounded by smart

people it just is a lot of fun it can be very frustrating at times then it's a

lot of fun yeah and we have a curious insult in the teams which is someone

will ask you about a guy and the guy's not a bad guy but some will say oh you

know he's he's a really easy really smart guy which is common sense you

might not be the best leader we're you know smart guy so yes it can get

frustrating hang around with people that are super smart and then fine and when

did you move to Hawaii 14 years ago I spent five years in

arranged operations and then they created a new position and for my last

five working years I was the environmental manager for the Pacific

Missile Range my daughter when she learned of that said dad you hate those

guys and I said yes Heather but now I'm in a position to say no and I just had a

lot of fun you know the video the local environment community great people that

they were not strong supporters of military training and that that was my

cause to help them explain why we needed to train out there and that we weren't

out to kill the whales yeah yeah and then how long ago was it that you

retired retired about four years ago that's retirement has been very very

good to DJ and I mean I got I got one more quote that I that I that I wanted

to read because I know we've been going at it for a bit here but uh this is this

is another quote this is a quote from from a Vietnam Seal and here we go

not only does many a seal always life to the sea Wolf's but the unit's often

operated together as a team very often located at the same base of operations

we developed friendships that are still alive today operating well outside

standing opera standard operating procedures the sea Wolf's have lifted

seals out of enemy encirclement and I have known them to land in a hot LZ to

lift out cache as too large for the seals to pack out they also evacuated

our wounded when medevac helicopters were not available most important they

were always there for us when we were down in the mud and darkness the night

illuminated with red and green tracers the VC behind every shadow many times

after we were out of danger they stayed with us until we were safely extracted

in the middle of the river and out of the range of enemy fire and

chief Barry Enoch who's a legendary seal from SEAL team one Navy Cross recipient

and I think that that quote just really exemplifies the the bond between seals

and sea Wolf's in like I said it was something that I heard about as a young

seal and it's a bomb that still exists when when I talk to the Vietnam seals

and it's a bond that's that's always gonna be there and I'm into that

do you have any uh you know I know like I said we've been at it for a while and

I like and like I told you before we started I can sit I'll sit here I could

sit here and listen to you all day but uh do you have any other you know any

other closing thoughts that you want to that you want to mention hand salute

into the 44 that didn't make it back with us anyone who hasn't been to the

wall anybody who's served who hasn't been to

the wall you got to make that trip a

shout out again and I know it sounds like a broken record but to the guys

that are responsible for getting me back in one piece our Gunners great human

beings and to the guys I flew with eight next time we'd get together the beers on

you yeah I should share with you that as a technical person I have developed what

I call Raleigh's theorem and rally's theorem says that all the truly great

ladies hook up with all the truly big buffoons and stinky if you're out there

listening I sure am glad that you did that love you more than porkchops baby

and well also thanks to your son Sean for for connecting us and when he came

up and asked me as I go do you would you have a CF on your podcast I'm like ah

let me think about that 4.2 seconds absolutely so yeah thanks to Sean for

for connecting and it's