Hero – Silver Spurs

A very important part of our Spur history, our ventures into Cambodia in 1970 & 1971 – Bear:

It is important to understand that when the Spurs were supporting the ARVN thrust deep into Cambodia in 1971, a similar operation was happening in Laos, Lam Son 719.

In both cases the NVA allowed ARVN to deeply penetrate both countries and then set devastating ambushes trapping ARVN forces deep behind enemy lines. In truth despite reports in the U.S., both military operations – a test of ARVN vs the NVA – were devastating. In fact much of the cream of ARVN was eliminated which undoubtedly hurt the defense of South Vietnam during the NVA offensive that captured the south and ended the war in 1975.

Both these operations were part of Nixon’s Vietnamization program, but without U.S. ground troops and USAF cover, the NVA prevailed.

During our involvement with the 1970 Cambodian Incursions, we had plenty of U.S. ground and air assets which our ’71 Spurs did not have as the U.S. was cutting back drastically on in-country forces.

I encourage all to read the comments on this post, Dan Sutherland provides some valuable insight regarding the ’71 mission! – Bear

The important back story on the Spur Scout Observer, Sgt. Phil Taylor, who provided the video portion of our production above:

http://northwestvets.com/spurs/honor2.htm

April 30, 1970:

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About Roger Young

Roger "Bear" Young served with the Silver Spurs as a Scout crew chief and Line Chief from Dec '69 through Nov '70. Upon his return to the "world" he served at Hunter AAF as a Cobra Periodic Inspection team leader. He founded the Spur website in Sept 1997.
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4 Responses to Hero – Silver Spurs

  1. avatar Roger says:

    Guys, the past two videos I’ve put together have focused on the 70 & 71 Spurs. As you are aware our recorded history for that time period somehow “disappeared” likely because of our operations inside Cambodia. It is a very important part of Spur history and pictures/videos of that time period paint a POWERFUL portrait of the sacrifice, the danger, and the intensity of that time period. A part of our Troop history which needed to be told. I just so thankful that combined we’ve been able to show that time period, perhaps lost on the U.S. Army and the American people but not for us that served.

    Those Spurs who were lost in 1970 & 1971:

    1970

    GILLETT, JERRY C. -- WALLACE, WILLIAM T. Jr.
    BINDER, CALVIN W. II -- ELKIN, JAMES F.
    BARNETT, THOMAS M.
    FLIEGER, HAROLD MARTIN
    YOUNT, WILLIAM H. Jr. -- SPENCE, JOSEPH C. Jr.

    1971

    TAUALA, TAGIPO -- “DINH”***
    DECELLE II, ROBERT E.
    BENNETT, THOMAS E.+ HAKES, CLARENCE D.+ -- GOELZ, STEVEN W.+
    GREEN, VERNON A.+ WILSHER, JOSEPH M.+ -- JAKEL, CRAIG J.+
    KEYS, MICHAEL H.+
    ORR, PATRICK OREILLY
    KNUCKEY, THOMAS W. ++ -- TAYLOR, PHILIP C.++
    DALTON, RANDALL D.++ -- ANTUNANO, GREGORY A.++
    JAQUINS, CHARLES E.

    (***) “Dinh” was a Chu hoi Scout who perished with Tauala.
    (+) Lost in UH-1H #66-16038 on 24 Feb 71
    (++) Killed-In-Action/Body Not Recovered -- Note: Knuckey, Taylor & Dalton’s remains have been recovered & returned since the war for proper burial on U.S. soil. The search for Greg Antunano continues…

  2. avatar Roger says:

    Comments from our Facebook posting of this video:

    Dan Sutherland: You guys this picture was literally taken the day that my ship went down at DiAn. I was supposed to be on that aircraft but got bumped off so Captain Bennett could go on RR. Mr. Goelz (aka “Squatty”) was the pilot, Cpt Wishire the PP; Vern Green was the door gunner. I was bumped and went to the EM Club and was there when Capt Ivie came and got me to tell me what had happened. I was stunned and when I walked up to these guys, I snapped there picture. We all had just been told that there were no survivors. I honestly would have been on that aircraft if the tower had not told us to sit back down and wait for Captain Bennett. I never will forget this. Incident Date 710224 Panel 04W 002 WO1 Thomas Evans Bennett CP A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 002 WO1 Clarence Dean Hakes PP A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 002 WO1 Steven William Goelz P A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 002 SP4 Vernon Andrew Green CE A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 003 CPT Joseph Michael Wilsher PP A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 003 SP5 Craig James Jakel PX A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 003 SP4 Michael Henry Keys G A/3/17 CAV UH-1H 66-16038 Jakel, Keys, a red haired supply E-4 and me had shared some popcorn in the supply hut the night before. About two or three days before that I was on flightline guard duty and had fired a burst of rounds over the heads of a jeep full of ARVN’s who had run out of our gun howe after breaking into it.

    7 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 1
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    Dan Sutherland: Roger in that one film where that nomax shirt is flying out of that slick on the scramble, the camera that vickie had given me was lying on that shirt as we went out and it flew out of the ship. I had taken this picture with that camera. A small kodak instamatic..

    7 hrs · Like
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    Dan Sutherland: I’m wiping tears bro

    7 hrs · Like
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    Dan Sutherland: Look closely at the floor of the slick which is over the road. Blood stained

    7 hrs · Like
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    Dan Sutherland: That was my damascus road. That year brought me eventually to Jesus

    7 hrs · Unlike · 1
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    Vickie Sutherland: Awesome….. How can we get a copy of this

    7 hrs · Unlike · 1
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    Dan Sutherland: I can’t recall the exact hour anymore, but on that column trapped in on highway 13 halfway to Snoul, a broken arrow call was given and we removed all the American advisors off the road as the column fell to the NVA. After that it was aliteral blood bath and the end of Col. Tri’s crack South Vietnamese. Chris! Your Brother and Lt. Knucky had given their lives finding the 5th NVA division. We sought those enemies for a long time after the first invasion of Cambodia. They went deep into the Snoul area after the City was found, and we search and search. Your brother was shot down while over that Division. That’s what promted the second incursion from Haymaker. He was an American Hero by every action he performed. Your town, if they haven’t already, should honor him as an American hero. I last spoke to your brother as was going down on the deck to seek. He and knuckey took enemy aircraft fire very quickly and when we flew in besides their wreckage we recieved enormous enemy fire. What we found out later was that we had flown right into two NVA Divisions, several Viet Cong Regiments and an NVA 51 cal regiment. They were the units that were supplying the seige at Snoul and was why that ARVAN column went up Highway 13. Highway thrirteen was a literal deathtrap. Today, from all that I can gather, because of the heavy life that was lost on it, is considered a haunting place and no longer used. The Cambodians and Vietnamese are funny about ghosts or something and that area is to them haunted.

    7 hrs · Edited · Like · 2
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    Chris Taylor: Wow! That is some seriously powerful stuff Dan. Thank you for sharing that with me. And of course, much thanks to Roger for always sharing SO much with me. As always, you have really helped me to know more of what Phil and the 3/17th did there. Phil painted a very gentle picture of his day to day activities. I knew better then, but it is so good after all my years of searching and knowing only what the official reports said, to hear from people who were there with Phil and knew him. During my service in the Army Air Defense, I spent time with Air Cav units and tried to get an insight. But never got much satisfaction until I visited Roger’s website and met you all in D.C.
    We are a very close family and Phil’s loss was very traumatic. My brothers and sister are all getting together next week and I will share this video and your words with them if you don’t mind. Thank you Roger and Dan….and all of the Silver Spurs! God Bless you! {{{{SALUTE}}}}

    6 hrs · Edited · Unlike · 2
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    Dan Sutherland: Those pictures are a record of all that transpired

    6 hrs · Unlike · 2
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    Roger Young: Vickie Sutherland, message me your address and I’ll make certain you and Dan get a copy! Dan, thanks for the pictures and the narrative above which tells a very important story. I should post the video on our Spur site where you can add such comments for all our Brothers to see. God Bless these United States and the U.S. Cavalry!

    6 hrs · Like · 1
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    Roger Young: Dan Sutherland, I also had tears putting this together. Brothers forever!

    5 hrs · Like · 1
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    Roger Young: Guys, the past two videos I’ve put together have focused on the 70 & 71 Spurs. As you are aware our recorded history for that time period somehow “disappeared” likely because of our operations inside Cambodia. It is a very important part of Spur history and pictures/videos of that time period paint a POWERFUL portrait of the sacrifice, the danger, and the intensity of that time period. A part of our Troop history which needed to be told. I just so thankful that combined we’ve been able to show that time period, perhaps lost on the U.S. Army and the American people but not for us that served.

    3 hrs · Like · 2
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    Byron Dennison: Thanks for sharing roger!

    3 hrs · Unlike · 2
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    Roger Young: Thank you Buzz for you pictures which help to tell our story bro!

    3 hrs · Like
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    Byron Dennison: God be with all my Spur Brothers and there families!

    • avatar Roger Young says:

      It is important to understand that when the Spurs were supporting the ARVN thrust deep into Cambodia in 1971, a similar operation was happening in Laos, Lam Son 719.

      In both cases the NVA allowed ARVN to deeply penetrate both countries and then set devastating ambushes trapping ARVN forces deep behind enemy lines. In truth despite reports in the U.S., both military operations -- a test of ARVN vs the NVA -- were devastating. In fact much of the cream of ARVN was eliminated which undoubtedly hurt the defense of South Vietnam during the NVA offensive that captured the south and ended the war in 1975.

      Both these operations were part of Nixon’s Vietnamization program, but without U.S. ground troops and USAF cover, the NVA prevailed.

  3. avatar Roger says:

    One of the major misperceptions both during and after the war was that Cambodia and Laos were “neutral” countries. In fact the eastern regions of both countries had been controlled by the NVA dating back to their earlier war with the French after WWII. The infamous Ho Chi Minh trail in great part was within those two countries, and the NVA used sanctuaries in both countries to attack and infiltrate South Vietnam.

    When media critics and anti-war groups called the Cambodian incursion an expansion of the war by Nixon, the war had long been ongoing in both Cambodia and Laos. In November 1965 at the battle of the Ia Drang Valley, the NVA that LTC Hal Moore and his famous 7th Cav Troopers had faced, the enemy escaped into neighboring Cambodia. Moore had expressed his disgust when McNamara would not allow pursuit of the enemy into their sanctuaries.

    It was those enemy sanctuaries that prompted the 1970 incursion. It should have happened in 1965…