Messages for the 3-17th Cav

Updated: 20 Dec 10

The 3-17th Cav is currently deployed in Afghanistan.  [They returned in late November 2010].  Fellow 3/17th Air Cav veterans (some of “God’s Own Lunatics“), families and close associates can leave messages here for the unit in our comment section.        

We have much more posted on our 3-17th Cav Support page.  We are updating that page as details/articles become available.  I’m extremely proud of the 3-17th Cav serving our nation today!       

Here are a few intial updates from Lighthorse 6: [Requires Adobe Reader]      

PDF: Lighthorse FRG Newsletter #1 

PDF: Lighthorse FRG Newsletter #2 

PDF: Lighthorse FRG Newsletter #3 

PDF: Falcon Flyer – Jan 2010 edition [Similar to our old “Hawk” newsletters] 

PDF: Falcon Flyer – Feb 2010 edition 

Lighthorse Inn on Facebook

Flying in the shadow of the ‘valley of death’: Task Force Falcon airlift U.S. Soldiers from Korengal Valley – Courtesy of Lighthorse 6

Tip of the SpearMSNBC Special Report

We Will Never Leave A Fallen Comrade – The February 8th Lighthorse MEDEVAC Mission  – [2003 Microsoft Office document file] courtesy of LTC Tom von Eschenbach, Lighthorse 6.

Roger “Bear” Young – Spur (Vietnam) webmaster       

Uncasing the Colors courtesy of LTC Tom von Eschenbach, Lighthorse 6, Dec 2009


3-17th Squadron Colors

Kiowa Warrior flying up the Konar Valley - Courtesy of Lighthorse 6

3-17th Patch

3-17th, Afghanistan, Feb 2010


Lighthorse 6 pinning on combat patches

Afghan helicopters coming in for fuel at our FARP


Snapshot from the countryside as the SS flew a mission in the Konar Valley

Kunar Valley

LTC Tom von Eschenbach & CW2 Vanduynhoven

CSM flying 3-17th battle flag in the back of a Chinook


3-17th deployments during war on terrorism:   

Apache Troop, 3-17th – Afghanistan 2004       

3-17th Lighthorse Squadron – Iraq 2004       

3-17th Lighthorse Squadron – Iraq 2007-2008       

3-17th Lighthorse Squadron – Afghanistan 2009-2010       

Official 3-17th Lighthorse Squadron site        

Official 3-17th Cavalry History & Current Composition       

Video: How the USAF Brings Our Wounded Home – San Francisco Chronicle       

News from the front lines:       

10 Feb 2010  

Wanted to pass on a story to you and the guys about Lighthorse in

Without getting into too much details in a story that would take an hour
to tell, on Monday February 8th we sent aircraft in terrible weather
into one of the highest threat areas in Afghanistan and picked up a
wounded Soldier and flew him to Bagram Airfield.  My most memorable
moment of event was standing in the TOC looking at the faces of the
aircrews and leaders as they were looking at me for a decision to go.
We had already launched and turned around once but they wanted to try
again.  This time we were going to try with only an Apache and one
MEDEVAC.  I called the ground force to see how long a ground evac would
take and was told 2 hours to get it going.  The roads were bad and the
Soldier was on a breathing apparatus and the bumping ride would make it
very difficult to keep him stable.  One of the pilots says to me, “Sir,
we can do it.  Let us try”.  The look of confidence on this face said it
all.  I still had to call the Brigade Commander for permission but told
them.  “OK, get to your aircraft, I’ll tell COL Galli we are going.”  I
called Falcon 6, who was aware of the previous attempt, and instead of
asking told him that we were trying again.  He approved and the rest is
history.  The Soldier is awake and responsive in the CSH at Bagram.
Fate had it hands in many things that day.  Below is the email my
Command Sergeant Major sent out to the leaders that night.  Pretty
awesome stuff that will bring tears to your eyes.  

“Today was one of the most humbling days of my 21 year adventure with
the Army.  Today we saved a life.  The family of the Soldier that was
snatched from the hands of death in the Pech Valley will never know.
Rightfully so, it is not within our character to boast.  They will never
know that, we too, value their Son as if we were Family and so much
more.  We are him.  We will never leave a fallen comrade.  Thanking the
enormous team involved in saving this Soldier would take a novel, so I
will attempt to do it with brevity. 

From Colonel to Private…….  

The amount of blood, sweat, tears, and energy put into today’s extremely
high risk MEDEVAC mission would not fit into any earthly container.  The
heart of an American Soldier is the only thing big enough.  I am honored
to be part of the whole, for the whole will risk all for the part.  We
have come a long way from beginning of the formation of Task Force
Lighthorse at Fort Bliss, TX. 

From the Commanders who deliberately agreed to trust their Troopers to
the aircrews that wouldn’t quit.  From the NCO that busts his knuckles
daily making sure our horses are fixed, fueled, and armed to the
countless others that make sure the mission comes first, all the way
down to the private on the radio. 

7 for 1.  Seven went into harm’s way for one.  

Nerve, guts, bravery, courage, gallantry, valor.  Parts of the whole.”  

LTC Tom von Eschenbach
Commander, TF Lighthorse

We Will Never Leave A Fallen Comrade – The February 8th Lighthorse MEDEVAC Mission  – [2003 Microsoft Office document file] courtesy of LTC Tom von Eschenbach, Lighthorse 6.

U.S. flies Afghan troops to retake districtArmyTimes – 1 Jun 10 – [According to sources, the 3-17th was involved with the insertion]

US hunts wanted Taliban and al Qaeda commander in Kunar – Posted 21 Jul 10

21 Aug 2010

Article in the upcoming issue of Men’s Journal about Kiowa Warrior pilots. Pretty good read on what we do here. The units in this article is stationed south near Kandahar and are commanded by a good friend of mine that I went to flight school with, LTC Hank Taylor. They are out of Fort Campbell.

LTC Tom von Eschenbach
Commander, TF Lighthorse
FOB Fenty

PDF: America’s New Cavalry by Michael Hastings

3-17th Kiowa Warrior flying U.S. Flag - courtesy of CSM Lemke


3-17th Cav Rides Again! - Courtesy of CSM Lemke




Pictures from Vietnam, A Troop, 3/17th Silver Spurs.  Speech by Joe Galloway originally given at the Wall for VHPA in 2000.

24 Nov 2010 – Return of the Silver Spurs::

A buddy of mine from my first tour has a daughter married to a commander based at Hunter Army Airfield. Today my buddy attended a welcome home ceremony/party there for the 3rd Squadron 17th Cavalry, including our A Troop. They are back home, with no losses. He said they wore Cav hats and spurs in the formation.

Chuck Oualline, Spur 3 – Vietnam

20 Dec 10:

For homecoming pictures, additional links to news articles from the 3-17th Cav, please see:

I want to thank all of you who posted messages of support for the 3-17th Cav while they were deployed!

Roger “Bear” Young – Vietnam Spur Scout Crew Chief & webmaster




About Roger Young

Roger served with A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav “Silver Spurs” as a Scout Crew Chief in Vietnam from ’69 – ’70.

This entry was posted in 3-17th Light Horse Cavalry, Afghanistan and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Messages for the 3-17th Cav

  1. avatar Bear says:

    It is my sincere hope that all the 3-17th Troopers return home safely from their tour in Afghanistan.

    God Speed to the 3-17th Cav!!

    Roger “Bear” Young
    A Troop, 3/17th Silver Spur Scout crew chief, ’69-’70

    • avatar Mike Christensen CSM(R) 3/17 CAV 89/90 says:

      I want to thank all soldiers, NCO’s and Officers of the 17th Cav for all their past, present and future missions. I was LTC Bill Belicks CSM when 10th mountain was newly forming and we had HQ and the Helicopters at Griffis Air Force Base and the Ground Troop (1SG Bush) were at Ft. Drum.

  2. avatar Sharon Harrilchak says:

    May God and the angels watch over and protect you during your tour in Afghanistan and bring you safely home to your loved ones.

    Sharon Harrilchak
    3/17 CAV A Troop Adopt A Platoon Sponsor
    Iraq 2007 – 2008

    • avatar Roger Young says:


      I want to personally thank you for all your support of the 3-17th during their 2007-2008 Iraq deployment. And for providing us with many of the updates we posted during that deployment.

      Without your dedicated assistance we would have been pretty much in the dark during that time period.

  3. avatar Arthur C. Bonevich says:

    God Speed and a safe return home to your Family
    and Friends. God Bless.

    Arthur C. Bonevich
    C & A-Trp 3/17 Air Cav
    Scout Platoon Sargeant
    Charliehorse & Silverspur Scout’s
    1969/70 DiAn

  4. avatar Pam Young says:

    You have my utmost support as you serve this nation, here and abroad. SALUTE!

    My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and your families. May God bless and keep you safe!

    Pam Young
    Vietnam-Era Veteran
    USN 1970-74
    CINCPAC Joint Pacific Command and
    Operation Homecoming

  5. avatar Charles Stutzman says:

    I thank The Lord of Heaven and Earth for the opportunity to pray for You, our Comrades and Brother Silver Spurs who are in harm’s way putting their Life on the line for the not only America’s safety, but the whole world’s safety.

    I pray God’s Special Angels will Surround and Protect you with His Armor and allow you to return Home safe to your families in the near future.

    Thank you Indeed for your Service and Protection that you are providing for all of us here in America.

    Charles Stutzman
    Silver Spur 13
    Class of 1969

  6. avatar Roger Young says:

    If only our fellow citizens could partially grasp the update above from LTC Tom von Eschenbach on 10 Feb 10, they might begin to understand the devotion of our military for a fellow fallen soldier, Marine, etc. during war.

    If we as Americans could capture their mind set, there is no problem we face as a nation that could not be resolved.

    I’m extremely proud of those serving our nation today, and clearly there is a new generation of “God’s Own Lunatics” deployed today.

    May God bless them, and keep them safe…


  7. avatar The Raley Family says:

    Thank you forever..Know we Americans love you and pray for you all to come home safe and sound..everyday..Thank you from the bottom of our hearts..Stay brave and has been the way of all Americans ever to fight a war for beautiful freedom..

  8. avatar Vincent Carlo says:

    May gods speed be with you and under your blades.
    Be safe and hurry home.
    Vincent Carlo
    “Slick” crew-chief. A-Troop, 3/17th Air Cav.
    Quan-loi and Lai-Khe 71-72

  9. avatar Pete Gunn says:

    Thank you all for your service to this country. I met a young man who has spent 3 years in Walter Reed with one more to go. He had more holes patched up than there are potholes in route 95. He had the most amazing spirit and thanked me for my service if you can imagine, not even giving his situation a second thought.

    Love live America and its freedom and thank you.

    Spur 39 70-71

  10. avatar Lois Gustafson says:

    The courage and dedication of the crew in the medevac mission on Feb 8 deserves the admiration and thanks of our nation. The troops of Kunar Province are blessed to have the 3-17th as their guardian angels in times of need. My humble token of thanks to all of you is in the mail.

    May God ride with you … bringing you all safely home.

    A sponsor of our brave troops in harms way
    in the COPs & FOBs of Kunar Province …. Lois

  11. avatar Ed Roffe says:

    To LTC Tom von Eschenbach and the troopers of A Troop 3/17th Air Cav: I salute you for your service and am proud to have served with A Troop in Viet Nam from Dec 1968-1969. I was in the 575th Maint Det as a Cobra maint officer/test pilot and then also in the weapons platoon for a time. As the current Chaplain for the Silver Spur reunion committee I pray daily for God’s protection over you and for the comfort and peace of your families back home.

    May God bless each of you. Be strong in battle but tender in spirit to one another and to God.

    Ed Roffe
    575th Maint Det
    A Troop 3/17th Air Cav

  12. avatar Erica Pelayo says:

    Just wanted to say that i hope all of 3/17 return home safe and sound. And to my husband Gabino Pelayo i love and miss you more than words can ever say. I pray everyday so that god keeps you safe. I love you honey, stay safe and hope to see you soon.

    Love u Always
    Erica Pelayo

  13. avatar Gary Swartz says:

    May God Bless You and Keep you Safe. (As HE did me in Viet Nam.)
    I also have a question. During your last Deployment to Iraq, I sent a package that had a Gathering of Eagles flag in it. Does the unit still have the flag? Is it still flying Proud? (Could you get a picture of it in Afghanistan and send it to me to be posted on the Gathering of Eagles web site? I would greatly appreciate that.)
    Spc.5 Gary Swartz July 69-July 70 Viet Nam

    • avatar Bear says:

      Good question Gary. Being that the 3-17th is now under an all new command since their last deployment, my best guess is they probably don’t have the flag.

      My very best to you, and I’m very proud to have served with you!


  14. avatar LTC Jeff Bali says:

    Thank you for posting Joe’s video. It reminds me of my time commanding Apache troop in the mid ’90s when we were a ground troop. Fort Drum was a great place to be stationed. We were so effective that the national training centers would not let us come to rotations at the NTC or JRTC because we skewed the force ratios. Too bad. Sure it disappoints me that Army transformtion has changed Apache to an air troop. But now, they are our guardians of honor. Long may they reign!!

    Scouts Out!!

  15. avatar Robin Douglas says:

    May God be with 3-17th at all times. I pray for everyone of you every day. I especially keep C-troop Pilot Deanne Murawsky in my prayers at all times. She is my little girl, a loved sister and cherished friend to so many. You truly are an angel in the sky.

    Robin Douglas

  16. avatar CSM Lemke, Richard says:

    To all of our supporters: Words cannot express our gratitude. Serving you and our great country is truly an honor. The battle streamers on our Squadron Colors tell a story. Many of you lived the story. We carry the Colors proudly into battle everyday and all night. Our Troopers are giving it to the enemy. They truly amaze me as do our Vietnam Veterans. We share a bond that strikes fear in the enemy’s hearts. We understand the sacrifices of our Vietnam Veterans and knowing what you went through helps us endure today’s battlefield. We will not let you down. We have it from here. God Bless the United States Cavalry. “Out Front”, “Blood Before Dishonor”…..LH7

    • avatar Roger Young says:

      CSM Lemke,

      We are extremely proud of all of YOU serving our great nation today. Tomorrow marks the 9th Anniversary of the worst attack on U.S. soil. I have not forgotten why all of you are protecting us.

      I pray that you all get home safely!

      Roger “Bear” Young
      A Troop, 3/17th Cav Scout Crew Chief – ’69-’70

  17. avatar Mike Billow CW5(Ret) says:

    Wishing our fellow A 3/17 aviators and troopers great success and safe flying while getting the bad guys!
    You are always on our minds and in our hearts!

    I proudly displayed my A 3/17 coin, on the yoke of my C-12 (Got to fly something with a toilet in it when your are an ancient aviator!) during my last deployment to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    If any one of you guys ever make it to Reno the 10th beer is on me! You make us proud, carrying the fine tradition forward!

    Best regards,

    Spur 38
    Quan Loi

  18. avatar Randall Meredith / Rifles Nam says:

    Just wanted to say, thank you for your service for all the unthankful back here. Anyone of you that wants to come home, i’ll take your place.

  19. avatar Allen, L says:

    Glad to see that the Cav is alive and well. Medics All The Way!!!! Still have my Cav coin, Stetson, Spurs and Combat Spurs!!

  20. avatar Mike Christensen CSM(R) says:

    As a former 3/17 Cav CSM (89/90) I want to thank all the soldiers, NCO’s and Officers who continue the finest cavalry traditions of troops before you and setting an excellent standard for troops to come after you. Hooha

  21. Came across the story of your 10 Feb 2010 medevac by accident but am glad I did. Well done. I served at Camp Holloway in Nam, 69/70, supporting the 52nd Combat Aviation Bn., including the 283rd MedEvac Co. Very proud, Sir, of you and your troops. God bless you all. No One has ever said it better than Joe Galloway: “God’s Own Lunatics.”