Thursday, December 31, 2009

Jim Schueckler's Christmas in Vietnam

Jim (aka Uncle Polecat)sent me this touching story about how he spent his Christmas in country. Altruism runs deep in this man. And then he created the Virtual Wall. What a guy! Thanks, Jim.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Anniversary of Dad's Death

Today. Thinking of you, Dad. Got a nice note from SDIT's Tony.

Terry Curry: Dad's Old Friend/ Our New Friend

My sister and I met with Terry Curry a couple of weeks ago over dinner at the Mission Inn. He had driven out here on his motorcycle. Terry freely shared stories about Dad that we had never heard before and has kept in touch via email since then. He sent all three of us a book about the Green Hornets. He's making us all a "shadow box" with photos of dad, medals, etc. Terry, I salute you.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Associated Press Distributes Photo of Fallen Soldier Against Family's Wishes

The family did not want the photo distributed. I'm all for honest journalism, but what about respect for the family's wishes? That should trump any journalist's need to tell a story. See story

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Interview with Terry Curry 8/22/09

I just spoke with Terry Curry who was also at the Base Leg Crash, and who saved Davis' life. He said he had also pulled my dad out of the burning chopper, which was news to me. I am waiting to hear back from Davis: did Curry save my dad's life also? Wow and more wow.

Note from Mom

This is the first time I have seen your complete blog. I have found it through footnotes and read a few entries. You are doing a great job in your support of the survivors. It sounds like all the questions we had about your Dad's heroism in Vietnam has been answered through this last communication with Mr. Davis. It was helpful for him to talk with you I am sure. It is interesting to read your initial blog in 2006 inquiring about your Dad to your 2009 information updating all on the support that can be obtained from various entities. Keep up the good work. Personally I am so happy that you are finally getting answers to the burning questions about your Dad. As for me, I still shake with emotion when I read the "real truth." I prefer to remember your Dad as a skinny 17 year old walking three miles in all kinds of weather to court me; as a 26 year old proud pilot with his shiny new wings after he graduated second in his pilot training class 57-O in Bartow, Fl; his terrific sense of humor. Even when he made me angry I would always laugh at his comeback; his ability to make friends. Everyone liked Bob even though at times he could be a real bear; the tenderness he showed with his babies; his toughness as a father; but most of all, I am so sorry that you girls did not get the opportunity to know a "real man" whose approach to life was never comprising his values or beliefs and whose intelligence and strength of character still support me today. I am so thankful that I have made peace with those events from 1969-1971 and can appreciate Bob's heroism and the many lives he saved and touched during those years. I know he is thanking me for letting him rest finally. Again keep up the good work in your support for the children. Love Mom

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dear Bob Davis

You contacted me today to tell me my father saved your life in Vietnam 40 years ago. Thank you. Your story is below:

Phone Interview with Bob Davis August 15, 2009

Bob Davis was the crew’s Chief Mechanic on the Huey chopper Base Leg Crash about 1 mile outside of Ban Me Thuot. Four crewmen were on board: Bob Swenck (pilot), his co-pilot, Kline (gunner) and Bob Davis (mechanic). A severe engine compression stall occurred when chopper was 300ft above ground. Swenck could not establish auto-rotation, so chopper landed on right skid, the skid failed, and the chopper fell over on its side. Rotors hit the ground, and the chopper burst into flames. Davis was trapped inside, the door overhang metal had pushed onto his helmet, smashing it onto his head just below his ears and he was stuck, unable to get his head out of the helmet. 12,000 rounds of ammo was stored in cans right next to 240 gallons of JP jet fuel, near Davis. (The Hueys had jet engines which were very susceptible to debris getting into the engines.) 8 choppers had been lifting off at the time, (4 Army and 4 Air Force) and all returned to location to help downed chopper. Pilots had to stay with running choppers, so 3 or 4 men from each chopper ran toward the one down, a total of around 12-15 men. Swenck initiated and organized the rescue. The men attempted to lift the chopper, but their first attempt failed. Upon second attempt, as Terry Curry climbed inside to release Davis’ gunner belt and helmet, they were able to lift the debris just enough to free him. As Curry was cutting his belt, ammo was already starting to pop off. Curry got Davis out from under door metal and through overhead green window above pilot seat and dragged Davis across ground to safety. 15-20 seconds later the whole wreck blew up sky high. All men were running as fast as they could away from the burning chopper. The only injury was gunner Kline who got some shrapnel in his leg. He was sent home and was not heard from again.
Davis spent the night in the hospital, on a cot with one blanket. The hospital was underground, and he saw one doctor all night long as he lay there. Some crew members came next day to take him back to base location. Alphonso (R.T.), Davis’ good friend, came up to him and with a mock sad face said, “I screwed up. I could have used my safety saw to cut your head off and save your body!” Davis did not fly any more missions after that, staying on ground duty. When I asked him if he was hurt at all, he said, “I hurt my pride and got a couple of marks on my neck where the ballistic helmet pinched it.” And then he said, “Vietnam was the highlight of my life, but I never talked about it until recently.” He also told me “Your dad was one of the finest pilots I ever flew with, in over 200 missions. When you looked at the flight manifest and saw his name, you knew you were with one of the best.” Swenck received an Airman’s Medal for Valor for his actions that day.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

SDIT plans Father's Day 2010

SDIT plans a Father's Day gathering for 2010! Our hope is to gather survivors from several organizations from all wars. Volunteers muster!

Gold Star Council founded!

SDIT has joined with other survivor's groups to form a new Gold Star Council. The mission (paraphrased from the Council's statement): to unify the groups’ voices and shared concerns on issues affecting Gold Star and Prisoner-of-War/Missing-in-Action (POW/MIA) family members and the organizations that represent them. The Gold Star Council is comprised of parents, spouses, children and other family members who have lost loved ones in America’s military conflicts—from World War II to today’s Global War on Terror. The Council represents a broad and diverse membership of more than one million people from organizations such as:

•American Gold Star Mothers (founded in 1928);
•Gold Star Wives of America (founded in 1945);
•National League of POW/MIA Families (founded in 1970);
•Sons and Daughters In Touch (founded in 1990);
•American World War II Orphans Network (founded in 1991);
•Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (founded in 1994);
•White House Commission on Remembrance (established by Congress in 2000);
•Snowball Express (founded in 2005); and
•Families United (founded in 2005).

This is most wonderful! This Council has the potential to mitigate so much of the pain and suffering I documented in my research project (see sidebar). Thanks to Tony Cordero of SDIT for organizing this Council gathering!

Note from Vet Vernon

This from Vet Vernon, who found my website through an unusual search:

Dear Stacy,

I'm an occasional talk show radio host on KSCO AM 1080 in Santa Cruz California and I happened to have the privilege of hosting the Memorial Day Saturday Special on Saturday May 23, 2009. At the end of that show, one of my guests (from ex-special forces) pulled out about 5 Montenyard bracelets, took one, placed it on my wrist, and said, "there, as you know, once you're given one of these, you can never take it off." As I looked at the bracelet, I felt honored to have it given to me as I journeyed back many years in my mind to my days in Vietnam, my 2 tours in Vietnam. I also thought of a good friend from those days that had just recently looked me up and contacted me and, who had done a film documentary on the Montenyards (the forgotten people of Vietnam and Cambodia) in the mid 90's. I requested, and was given, a Montenyard bracelet that I will send to him." The documentary is available for viewing via streaming video at:

Just search for, and click on "Living in Exile" on that page.

Vernon then searched Google: Montenyard and my page was the first reference. I had posted photos of the Montenyard village in Cambodia where dad's 20th SOS was stationed. While I wish there was more information online about the Montenyards (US allies who were victims of Pol Pot after the US left Cambodia), I'm glad Vernon found the website.

Then Vernon wrote: "On this Memorial day, May 25, 2009, please accept my condolences for the loss of your father at such a young age, a young age for both of you actually, and know that, in my humble opinion, he did not die in vain. He died saving the lives of others and for that they owe him a debt of gratitude."

Thanks for your kind message, Vernon!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dad's Memorial Page on the Virtual Wall

The folks at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund accepted my dad's memorial page. Thanks so much! I love getting notes from vets who find my dad's pages online; the new Virtual Wall remembrance pages will enhance communication and connections! View the page here:

SDIT Event s Update

Some upcoming events (from SDIT Legacies eUpdate May 2009): Memorial Day at ‘the Wall’: the annual Memorial Day ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1PM (EST) on Monday, May 25.

TAPS Good Grief Camp:”What is SDIT doing to help the ‘sons and daughters’ of today?”

Last year, SDIT members from across the country helped deliver a panel discussion about the realities of raising – and being – a surviving Gold Star child. If you plan to be in the Washington, DC-area over Memorial Day weekend and are interested in helping with this program, contact Colleen Shine at : A link to the program information:

Father’s Day at ‘the Wall’: The 2009 Father’s Day ‘Rose for Remembrance’ ceremony will be held Sunday June 21. SDIT members and their families are invited to attend and help place roses at the base of each panel on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. For more information, contact or visit

SDIT is planning a larger Father's Day gathering at the Wall in 2010!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lifting Media Ban on Fallen Soldiers

Watch Bonnie Carroll discuss the lifting of the media ban on returning fallen soldiers. Thank You, Bonnie! And thanks to the DOD for listening to TAPS grief professionals while drafting their new policy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

SDIT on Facebook!

Sons and Daughters in Touch is now on Facebook! What a great idea! Already a couple of people who had been seeking fellowship found us.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Note from Vet Gary

Dear Stacy,

I belong to an Air Force website called AFTWS, or Air Force Together We Served. One of the privileges of belonging to such a website is to honor our Fallen Brothers. I am a former Security Policeman, Sgt. Gary Banzhoff, and I have the honor of preparing a "Remembrance Profile" for your Father. I do this with love and respect. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting your Dad, he will always remain a "Brother Airman". This is a bond that many who have never served can fathom.

I have included a link to your Dad's profile, not only for you to view, but perhaps help me make corrections where needed, or fill in some blanks.

I am deeply saddened by your family's loss. Your Dad's memory will be kept alive in the hearts and minds of you, your family and his AF Brothers in perpetuity.



Gary, I salute you! Thanks so much for your tribute. My family loves it!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Note from Nadia, sister of deceased vet

Nadia sent me a touching note. Nadia's brother, James Thomas, was lost with my father when their chopper crashed in the river. Thomas was the pararescue jumper on board the helicopter. Thomas was seen swimming to enemy shore, but was never found. Nadia will visit the Wall in DC this May. As she said, she has "a few pictures and memories, but that is all" of her brother. We know how you feel, Nadia.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Note from Vet Kurt


My name is Kurt Tschuor and I reside in Muncie, Indiana. I am a retired USAF flight engineer (HH-3/HH-53/C-130), and was proud to read your statements regarding your father. Our condolences to your loss.

I was moved by your description of his return from Vietnam, and his behavior that was entwined to his tour. I too had similar actions, and can certainly relate. Time has certain actions that can provide a positive lifestyle, and for me it was to learn acceptance of "family first", and "brother's combined". You see, I had a very hard time distinguishing between the two. Half of me wanted to be there for my family, but I just couldn't get the thought out of my mind that I needed to be somewhere else. I adjusted, but it was a long and hard endeavor.

You father was and IS a hero! His dedication is evident through his decorations, and his love for his family is that he came home for that short visit.

All of our love,

The Tschuor Family
Muncie, Indiana

Thanks, Kurt. Your words mean more than I can say.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Note from Vet Jerry

Vet Jerry Austin found my blog and wrote that he remembered my dad in country. Jerry said he was 19 years old and worked as crew chief on the gunships for the 20th SOS. He remembered my dad as being tall and good at softball. Jerry writes:

"You should always be proud of your father as he did what he believed to be the right thing as did many others."

Amen to that! Thanks, Jerry.