When we came home in 1968, 1969 or 1970, we were lost sheep. We knew that we had fought well and served with honor but nobody seemed to want us so eventually we formed the Golden Brigade Chapter – just for us. Whether we knew it or not when we formed, we started out as a â€œLast Manâ€™s Clubâ€. You have probably heard of these clubs that go back as far as WWI. The youngest of us are now in our middle 50â€™s while there are a few of us are in the 80â€™s. Jim Littig has proposed and is starting research on establishing a Last Manâ€™s Club for just for us. Simply, those that want to join would chip in a few bucks and a fine bottle of champagne from 1968 would be bought and stored. The last 2 or 4 guys left alive would get together and crack the bottle and toast all who had gone before them. Any extra funds would go the last guy alive or charity. Jimâ€™s working on the details. Itâ€™s a great idea and I hope to be one of those guys sipping the Champagne!!
John Therrien called me last night and suggested that for our 40th Anniversary, we do a “Dining Out”. I’ve heard what they are but never participated as E5’s in very worn out and smelly jungle fatigues who didn’t wear underwear or socks never got invited! My best memory of John was outside of Hue as he rammed my head into the ground (with the normal expletives) as Marine F4’s put napalm came in so close to us that I still can feel the heat and O2 sucked from my lungs. I now blame John for my dim wittedness. Those were the days my friends!
After John’s call I got to thinking – a dangerous thing mind you. During WWII Col Ruben Tucker (504) bought a beautiful and massive Sterling silver champagne cooler – a big silver bucket – at a antique shop in London. He had it engraved with various 504 PIR crests etc and it now sits in the 82nd Museum. With much required MP security, it is today used for various 504 events.
We are as special as the 504 PIR so why don’t we do something like this for us. We could christen it in Harrisburg 2007 or in 2008 in St. Louis. We can afford it and we deserve it!
Please email me or click on “Comments” under this message to give me your feedback.
Airborne, All the Way and God Bless America!!!
Richard F. O’Hare, Treasurer
Golden Brigade Chapter, 82nd Abn Div. Assn. Inc.
South Tucson City Manager Fernando Castro died September 12, 2006, the same day the governor named “Fernando Castro Appreciation Day” in a declaration to the city. Mr. Castro had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May and had taken a leave of absence since that time to recover. His death came as a shock to many who worked with him. Mayor Jennifer Eckstrom, who grew up knowing Mr. Castro and then working with him in city government, said she last talked to him two weeks ago.
Monday, during a City Council meeting, Eckstrom read a proclamation and certificate from Gov. Janet Napolitano that declared an appreciation for Mr. Castro the following day. “He was a great man, great friend, great leader,” said acting City Manager Ruben Villa. “He will be greatly missed.”
Mr. Castro worked for the city in various positions for 20 years, including finance director, assistant city manager and building manager. “He was such a good person to work with professionally and know personally,” Eckstrom said. “There was no one like Fernando.” The memory she said she will always keep with her is his participating in regular city cleanup events.
“He always wanted to make sure our volunteers had enough equipment, gloves, trash bags, water,” she said. “He was always the first one there and the last one to leave.” Mr. Castro is survived by his wife, Rosalee Castro; children David and Ben; and three grandchildren.
â€œCity officials and staff are grieving his passing and send our sincerest condolences to Fernandoâ€™s family,â€ said Acting City Manager Ruben Villa. â€œWe will sorely miss him as our leader and friend.â€
He served in the US Army (82nd Airborne) during the Vietnam War and then graduated from Arizona State University in 1973. He is is survived by his wife Rosalee, two sons and three grandchildren.
Notification from Tony Benavidez
I was a platoon leader with Co.B and met Lt. Schneider in Ton Son Nut one day. I got lucky and beat him at his favorite game of “Aquire”. I only saw him a couple of more times, but he was an interesting person. My guess would be that the quote came from RLS’s “Alice in Wonderland.” I remember one time he asked me to go with him to the military payroll people. The nut had actually completed all of the paper work needed to get his pet duck paid. We walked into the office and Schneider demanded to know why Pvt. John Q. Duck hadn’t been paid for yet. The clerk found the paperwork and was ready to distribute the money if Pvt. Duck were there. Then Schneider opened his shirt and put “John Q” on the clerk’s desk. I thought it was funny, but the clerk and a major or two were not at all happy.
Original Post April3, 2004
Does anyone remember the sign written by Lt Schneider in front of A Co/1/505 HQ at Ton Son Nut maybe September 1969. It read something like this, This place will be remembered â€¦.in story books written by rabbitsâ€¦â€¦â€¦..(canâ€™t remember how it exactly went) I did have a picture of it at one time but my camera and hundreds of pictures were stolen from my car the day after I returned home.
RVN Unit: A Co.1/505th
RVN Dates May 1969- 4 Dec 1969
Location Now Bloomington, Minnesota
Photos courtesy of Sean McPhail
My brother was 1LT. Johnny F. Davis
. He was in Co. B, 1st BN, 505th INF, 3D BDE, 82nd ABN DIV. He was in VietNam from May 13th, 1969 until his death on June 14th, 1969. He was a Platoon leader and was killed in an ambush in the Providence of Hua Nghia at about 12:40 am on the 14th. Cpt. Hines was his CO until he was relieved about the 8th of June, the CO at the time of Johnny’s death was Ct. Kerrith H. King but he doesn’t remember Johnny’s death. Cpt. King was injured later in June or July.
I am trying to locate anyone who knew my brother while he was in Vietnam. If I could find a list of the soldiers in his platoon surely I could reach someone who remembers him and remembers what actually happened to him.
Thank you so much and God Bless,
Karen Davis Johnson
I was a fellow platoon leader in Lt. Davisâ€™ unit. I responded to Karenâ€™s E-mail and spoke with her on the phone. I was sent out that night to recover Lt. Davis. I was the third platoon leader. I would like to get in touch with other members of the unit. If youâ€™re out there, drop me a line.
Duane emailed me and I spoke with him last night, he told me all about the night Johnny was killed, what happened, why it happened. He is a brave man to be able to tell me all those details. Thanks to your website I now know what I have wanted to know for over 37 years.
2006 Orlando ReunionÂ Â Â The convention in Orlando was great.Â We had an excellent showing of our chapter members and their ladies. Importantly, we had a number of first timers show up and they were welcomed with open arms.Â Many new friends were made. Thursday night was a fun time as we all went to Dolly Partonâ€™s Dixie Stampede.Â This was a very patriotic horse show with an excellent dinner.
Veteranâ€™s Day, Washington, DCÂ Â Â Men, this is our day!Â I urge you to make it to DC for Veteranâ€™s Day.Â Check your Paraglide for details.Â If youâ€™ve lost it or thrown it away, let Rich Oâ€™Hare know and he will send you the info.Â We lay wreaths at numerous graves and monuments throughout Arlington Cemetery and then at the WWII, Korean and Vietnam memorials.Â Donâ€™t miss it!
All American Week â€“ May, 2007Â Â Â It is unknown if there will be an All American Week this year due to the deployment of the 82nd. The 3rd Brigade (505) is now in Iraq and the 4th Brigade (508th) and the division headquarters will be going to Afghanistan later this year. Weâ€™ll just have to wait and see but our prayers should be with these brave young troopers.
Convention- August 15-19, 2007Â Â Â Next yearâ€™s convention will be held in Harrisburg, PA at the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers. Reservations (717) 233-6000 mention code (82ABN).Â Rates are $99 plus tax.Â Check your Paraglide for more details as the time grows closer.Â We had our 30th Anniversary there and it is a great hotel.Â The Central PA Chapter did a great job and treated us very well.Â I again urge you to mark your calendars and make it to this wonderful event.Â We will again put together a fun evening on Thursday night just for Golden Brigade heroes and their ladies.
Our 40th Anniversary â€“ August 13 â€“ 16, 2008Â Â Â The 2008 Convention will be held in St. Louis, MO.Â Believe it or not guys, this will be the 40th Anniversary of the Brigadeâ€™s deployment.Â We are already in the preliminary stages of planning a gala event similar to the 30th and 35th Anniversary celebrations that we have held.Â It will be on the Thursday night of the convention and will be a very nice affair. If you attended either the 30th or 35th you have a very fine memory of them.Â More will come as our plans move along but do mark it on your calendar.Â We are not getting any younger and you owe it to your self to celebrate your heroic service to this Country and our fine Division.
Tom and Mary Holtzman Bring the Entire Family to OrlandoÂ Â Â Tom is a relatively new member of the chapter and attended the convention in Milwaukee last year.Â He and Mary were welcomed as all new troopers are and decided to bring the whole family to Orlando this year.Â The Holtzmanâ€™s had and entourage of 12 including children, spouses of the children and grandchildren. It looked like everyone had a great time.Â All the Way, Tom and Mary!
Thatâ€™s it Troopers,
Airborne, All the Way and God Bless America!!
Richard F. O’Hare, Treasurer
Golden Brigade Chapter, 82nd Abn Div. Assn. Inc.
Master Sergeant Charles W. Peters, USA, Ret., passed away on 02 September 2006 in Honolulu, Hawaii, after a brief but valiant battle with cancer.
Pete was an institution in the airborne community, having served for many years in airborne duty assignments as an artilleryman with the 101st and the 82nd Airborne Divisions, and as the curator of the 82nd Airborne Division Museum at Fort Bragg, as well as Director-at-Large for the 82nd Airborne Division Association.Â Pete deployed with the Golden Brigade both to Dominican Republic and to Vietnam.
Charlie â€œPeteâ€ Peters was born in Hartford, Connecticut on 20 December 1931, and grew up in nearby Bristol.Â In December 1948, he enlisted in the US Army, beginning a career of service to the nation that spanned more than forty-eight years.
After his enlistment, Pete trained in one of the last railroad operating units in the Armyâ€™s Transportation Corps, where he also experienced a tour of duty working in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroadâ€™s locomotive backshops in Baltimore.Â When the unit deployed for service in the Korean War, he was a 19-year old Master Sergeant, put in charge of critical marshalling operations in the freight yards of Pusan.Â His execution was flawless, but his exuberance earned him a bust and transfer to the Infantry, where he saw frontline combat with the 2nd Infantry Division.Â He regained his master sergeant stripes through competence as well as attrition during the savage fighting of those early Korean War battles.
When his enlistment was up in June, 1952, Pete returned home to civilian life.Â He took employment with the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Company in Southington, Connecticut, manufacturing aircraft engines, but the tedious routine soon led to boredom.
In March, 1954, Pete reenlisted in the Army, this time for a career in Field Artillery.Â He completed training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and served with various field artillery units in Japan, Korea, and in Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division.Â His specialty was in large caliber artillery, including the 280mm nuclear rounds designed for use in the M65 Gun, the â€œAtomic Annie.â€
But above all, Pete was a paratrooper.Â He loved the challenges that the Army presented to soldiers who opted for airborne duty, above and beyond the norms of military service.Â He served at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne Division, and finally at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in his beloved 82nd Airborne Division, where he was assigned to the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 321st Field Artillery.Â
Pete deployed with the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division to the Dominican Republic in May, 1965 during Operation POWER PAC, and deployed again in February, 1968, with the 3rd Brigade to the Republic of Vietnam.Â Along the way, he had advanced steadily as Gun Chief, Chief of Section, and finally battery First Sergeant and Master Parachutist.
Soon after Master Sergeant Peters returned from Vietnam in 1969, he was assigned to be the Director and Curator of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum at Fort Bragg.Â Medical problems had forced his early return from Vietnam, and that could have ended his military career, but the Division Commanding General and Command Sergeant Major John Pearce interceded to keep him on.Â Â Peteâ€™s medical profile precluded his promotion to sergeant major, but his leadership and soldier skills made his retention an asset to the Army.Â He studied museum management under Dr. Ellis Burgaw at the University of Idaho, and he became one of the pioneers in the fledgling Army museum system, guiding the 82ndâ€™s museum through its transition from a loose divisional historical collection to a professionally-run educational institution, whose mission is to instill unit pride and esprit in the Divisionâ€™s soldiers, as well as to tell the public the history of that distinguished combat unit.
Pete continued to serve as the curator of the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum until he retired from Army active duty in October, 1980.Â In 1975, when the first civilian museum director came on board, Pete patiently mentored and guided and shared his expertise; a role he would continue with the next director in 1978.Â During this period, Pete also served as Director-at-Large on the board of the 82nd Airborne Division Association.Â Upon his retirement, in recognition of his distinguished military service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.
The Army and the Armyâ€™s museums suffered a loss with his retirement.Â Pete settled into civilian life, and relocated to Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he quickly became a success in retail sales for J.C. Penney Co.Â But he would not stay gone long from the 82nd.
In September, 1983, Pete returned to the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum, this time as a civilian museum technician in Federal civil service.Â As the deputy to the museum director, Pete oversaw a major museum expansion and improvements in the museum exhibits, and was instrumental in guiding the museum through its first Army certification.Â The marks he left at the museum have shaped its success well into the future.Â But there was still another museum mission for Pete.Â
The Tropic Lightning Museum at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, had been reestablished in 1983, but had serious birthing pains.Â Major renovations plans were laid down in 1987, but despite ample development time, it was woefully behind schedule in preparing to reopen on the 25th Infantry Divisionâ€™s 50th Anniversary, 1 October 1991.Â Another complication was the voluntary transfer of the museumâ€™s director in January 1991, without so much as the first step in renovation started.
Once again, Charlie Peters answered the call.Â He left Fort Bragg to become director of the Tropic Lightning Museum on 1 April 1991.Â Against all odds, in just six months, he accomplished the nearly impossible task of completing the total renovation of the museumâ€™s exhibit spaces, and reopened the museum on time on 1 October 1991, to welcome the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam veterans of the 25th Infantry Division attending their 50th anniversary convention.Â
In May, 1993 Pete achieved another milestone, guiding the Tropic Lightning Museum to recertification by the Army Center of Military History.Â He was instrumental in opening the museumâ€™s gift shop soon after.Â Pete continued the development of the Tropic Lightning Museum until he retired from Federal service on 18 January 1997.Â
During his forty-eight years of service to his country, in both peacetime and war, as a soldier and a civilian, Master Sergeant Charles W. Peters has left indelible footprints.Â
Two tangible achievements stand today in the 82nd Airborne Division War Memorial Museum and the Tropic Lightning Museum.Â Pete left his mark on both these fine institutions, and made lasting contributions to them, that will continue to educate and inspire young American soldiers, as well as civilian visitors, for many years to come.
But Peteâ€™s intangible contribution to the Army, an even greater achievement than building museums, is the mark he left on countless soldiers, from privates to general officers.Â Pete set and maintained the highest professional standards, and he passed those on to all who served with him, both soldiers and civilians.Â He set a path to be followed.Â He was a leader, a mentor, a counselor, a teacher, and one of the finest soldiers who ever wore the uniform.Â Quick with a joke, compassionate and understanding, but hard as nails when the situation demanded, he was the epitome of a professional; the consummate warrior.Â He will be remembered always by those he touched.
As was his wish, Pete will be interred at the National Cemetery of the Pacific, Punchbowl, in Honolulu.
Peteâ€™s passing is a sad loss for the airborne community and his many friends Army-wide.Â He will be sorely missed.