3/17 Air Cav Unit Crest

 

Crossed Sabres

 

 

A Troop
3/17th Air Cavalry
Silver Spurs

 In Memory of Jerry "Moose" Gillett

Panel 09W - Row 007

and

William T. Wallace

Panel 09W - Row 011

 

 

Jerry Gillett - Spur Scout Observer - David 'Jake' Jacobs collection

JERRY GILLETT - Scout Observer
Courtesy of fellow Spur Scout, David "Jake" Jacobs
Dian - 1970

 

 

 

Roger,

I opened mail this AM and saw the etchings you made of Wallace and Gillett, on your trip to Washington. I have etchings from a number of the crew who lost their lives from 69-70. I got them from the Moving Wall when it was on display at a memorial dedication of the High Ground War Memorial here in Wisconsin in 93. The High Ground is a large tract of land that was donated by a private individual for this purpose. I believe it encompasses close to 100 acres if I'm not mistaken.

Gillett & Wallace Rubbing.Gif

The original plan was to use it strictly as a Viet-Nam memorial but it has since expanded to include WWI and WWII also so far. The main site view is set on literally higher ground from the surrounding area. When you walk out to the flag and sculpture at the edge of the viewing point you are greeted to a panoramic view of half a million acres of forest and hills for as far as the eye can see. Directly below and half way down the slope is the Gold Star Mother's Memorial. It's in the shape of a helicopter landing pad and planted with golden flowers and bushes in the shape of a large gold star.

Gold Star.Gif
Tom Runkle Photo

While standing on the site from the end of the view point I easily heard again the whop of chopper blades in my mind and saw clearly a flight of slicks crossing the sky in the distance. The site itself is so like a scene from Nam that the walk out to the edge of the ridge and the view beyond brought apprehension and tears to my eyes with each step closer. When I got to the end I was a little embarrassed by the tears streaking down my cheeks but looking around I found I was not the only one. It was not very difficult to pick out those among the small clusters of families and friends who had the same thoughts going through their minds and living the same haunting memories again.

I wondered how many sad stories there were on that hillside at just that moment. Just as in Washington at the memorial Wall it was very silent on the site. The flag flapping in the breeze even seemed muffled. At the bronze sculpture of four interlocking and mutually supporting figures in combat garb the windsong tinkle of chimes drifts in and out of the ears of those quietly and emotionally standing nearby. The life-size sculpture itself is set in a replica of a Wisconsin Native American burial mound signifying the thought that we should never bury away the sacrifice of those that died and gave the ultimate of themselves. On the mound and elevated to the rear of the sculpture is a shattered and fragmented M-16 rifle hung upside down signifying the call for a med-e-vac and assistance.

Scupture.Gif
Tom Runkle Photo

A piece of orange stained glass is inset in the forearm of the rifle's stock reflecting the sun rays through it as a reminder of the Agent Orange issue. The song of the chimes emanates from the back of the sculpture itself where small bamboo shaped bronze rods are hung, each engraved with a name of one of the dead from Wisconsin who gave their lives in Viet Nam. Jerry's name is there on his own chime along with the many others.

While his voice has long since left me I felt that as the wind blew over the Highground I was hearing from him again. This time he spoke in his own peaceful and resting way within every breeze that swayed around his chime. I felt he knew I had come. He knew he'd not be forgotten by this old trooper and he thanked me. Thanks for showing his name from the Wall.

Jerry's Headstone.Gif
Jerry's final resting place -- Island Lake, Wisconsin
Tom Runkle Photo

Tom Runkle - Lift Platoon Crew Chief - July '69 to July '70.

 

Thanks Tom. Jerry often drove us Scouts back and forth to Saber Field in his truck, Spur 3 Tango, while we were at DiAn with the U.S. flag proudly flying. His death as a new Scout Observer on June 4th, 1970 along with the loss of William "Tom" Wallace, greatly impacted the Silver Spurs, and those of us in the Scout platoon. I will always fondly remember them....

My personal thanks to Tom Runkle for his wonderful tribute to Jerry and for sharing his pictures with us, and to my friend David "Jake" Jacobs for the picture of Jerry.

Roger Young,
Scout Platoon Crew Chief & Line chief - Dec '69 to November '70
Silver Spur webmaster

 

I can't tell you how much I was moved when I got your recent e-mail about Jerry Gillett and Bill Wallace. Jerry (Moose) as everybody called him was one of my best friends. I rode back and forth to the flight line many many times in his duece and a half. He never left us behind and the ones that weren't done yet always got picked up later. I remember very well when he decided to go to the scout platoon. He didn't feel that he was doing enough and felt this would be a way he could do more.

As I write this tears are clouding my eyes as I remember one of the bravest most selfless men I had the good fortune to serve with. I remember going to the funeral and seeing the Cav Hats and jump boots for the both of them standing in front of us all in silence and pledging not to forget. Men like Moose Gillett walked tall and lived large in the hearts of all that knew them. God bless you all for keeping his fire burning brightly in the hearts of us all.

Larry "Tank" Carson - Spur Armorer

 

"Spur-3 Tango"

Spur 3 Tango.Gif
Roger Young Photo

 

 

JERRY CECIL GILLETT

Rank: SP4 - E4

Start of Tour: Sunday, August 17, 1969

Date of Casualty: Thursday, June 4, 1970

Province: Tay Ninh -- OH-58

Date of Birth: Wednesday, December 1, 1948

Age at time of loss: 21

Home of Record (official): CORNELL

State (official): WI

The Wall: Panel 09W - Row 007

 

 

Silver Spur OH-58A Kiowa

 

WILLIAM THOMAS WALLACE JR

Rank: WO1

Start of Tour: Wednesday, January 21, 1970

Date of Casualty: Thursday, June 4, 1970

Province: Tay Ninh -- OH-58

Date of Birth: Sunday, July 18, 1948

Age at time of loss: 21

Home of Record (official): FOREST PARK

State (official): GA

The Wall: Panel 09W - Row 011

 


William Thomas Wallace, Jr.
Courtesy of his loving wife, Shiela

 


Bronze Star & DFC Awards
Courtesy of his loving wife, Shiela

 


DFC Citation
Courtesy of his loving wife, Shiela

 


Shiela and Tom's Wedding Picture
Courtesy of his loving wife, Shiela

21 August 2015: Wallace-Gillett Memorial Service Program courtesy of Spur 39 Ed Marzola [Redacted SSN's]


Remembrance