tv Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Monument Dedication CSPAN May 5, 2018 11:00pm-11:46pm EDT
monument at arlington national cemetery. speakers include several former vietnam helicopter pilots. almost 5000 helicopter pilots and crew members were killed during the war. >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. nce again my name is bob please rise for the posting of the colors and the playing of the national anthem.
>> please be seated. for our invocation, we are honored to introduce rencheds rome daley a retired lieutenant colonel. father daily flew helicopters and is a recipient of the distinguished service cross. everend daley. >> about a half a century of ago, thousands of new member engaged in a new warfare. didn't go to war in tanks and trucks but a -- in a helicopter. many felt it was too vulnerable for combat.
but what those skeptics didn't anticipate, the very difference between victory and defeat was those young men. many just out of their teens and yes, a few slender teens who's skill, bravery made up for ha the helicopter may have lacked as a machine of war. heavenly father, with those who proudly served in that war so long ago and far away gather here today on these hallowed grounds, the resting place of heroes of so many battles. we remember those of our comrades and of all the services whose lives were lost answering the call to their nation. we dedicate this monument commit them to our remembrance and by our prayers we commit them to lmighty god, amen.
>> ladies and gentlemen, at this time, i'd like to introduce vietnam helicopter pilot association, president mike sherman. [applause] mike: good afternoon. on behalf of the vietnam helicopter pilots' association, i welcome you to the dedication of the vietnam helicopter pilot and crew member monument. today we gather to dedicate a marker, a tribute to honor, courage and self-sacrifice. but we're here for much more than that. we're here to remember the thousands of young american helicopter pilots and crew members who as the monument states gave the full measure of
devotion to their nation during the vietnam war. the month -- oh. we are here to remember the first helicopter casualties killed in vietnam on july 15th, 1962. obert cor kneel. joseph goldberg. ance everette and guthrie lee. rmbaugh e to rebelwood and richard vandegier, the last casualties on may 15th, 1975. and we're here to remember all those who died operating helicopters. .ll 4,877 we salute their service and we'll never forget their sacrifice.
the monument now serves as their legacy in this place of honor, articlington national cemetery. it's fitting to place the marker here, surrounded by the heroes of many wars and conflicts. and we are grateful to those who accomplished the work of designing the monument, who crafted the proposals and patiently carried the effort from concept to completion. there are many to thank. i wish to thank those members of e vietnam helicopter pilots' association legacy committee who performed much of the work leading to this monument. i asked them to stand and be recognized. they deserve our applause. [applause] thank you. you may be seat.
i wish to recognize the people on the day of. i ask that you hold your applause until all of them have been recognized. first of all, major general retired carl mcnair, vietnam association legacy committee member and the first united states army aviation branch commander. ms. julie kink gold star family coorled nator. julie is responsele for many of the family members -- coordinator. julie is responsible for many of the family members being here. and u.s. marine corps and world war ii. medal of honor recipient mike spayberry who encouraged our efforts, worked tirelessly in support of the monument and inspires us in every way. mr. joe kleine a combat helicopter crew chief in
vietnam, a superb artist who assisted in the design of the monument. representative mark amaday of nevada. the congressman who led the house effort in support of the monument. senator kenny baldwin of wisconsin who along with senator dan sullivan of alaska led the senate effort supporting the monument. . karen durham aguilera, executive director of army cemeteries. her leadership and vision were key factors in the final monument design and the wonderful placement within this cemetery. representing the secretary of the army, major general frank tate and sergeant major mike dove. representing the common dant of the marine corps brigadier general bradford garrin, he is
the deputy assistant commandant marine corps aviation. representing the district of washington, d.c., deputy to the heberlack r. eagan and command major paul biggs. director of united states of america vietnam war commemoration, major general retired james jackson. representing the united states rock.rare admiral representing quad a brigadier general steve motte retired. and last but not least, army war ficer first class and army lieutenant colonel bob bean. it was his vision, dedication completion that we are here
today. please join me in a round of applause. [applause] >> they were still applauding. >> oh, many thanks. [laughter] >> there are others to be recognized. i ask that you hold your applause until i recognize everyone. for their lasting support of the monument we dedicate today, i ask the members of the executive council, current and past to stand and be recognized. hold your applause. please remain standing. i ask the members of the vietnam helicopter pilots' association in attendance today to rise and
oin the executive council. i ask those who served in vietnam as helicopter pilots and crew members to rise and join those already on their feet. >> if you're a vietnam veteran and we work for you, please stand and be recognized. [applause] and lastly, i ask all who served their nation in uniform or love and supported those in the service to stand and be ecognized.
ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your service. you may be seated. again, on behalf of the vietnam helicopter pilots' association, i welcome you to this dedication and thank you for coming to onor our fallen. [applause] >> it is a pleasure to introduce major general carolyn mcnair with 1500 combat hours during three combat tours in vietnam. he is a living legend and his awards include four
distinguished flying crosses, hree awards of the lesion of merrifment and 53 air medals earned one hour at a time. his efforts cannot be overstated. please welcome major general carl mcnair. [applause] >> super. thank you, bob. for the kind introduction and for the leadership that you and your team have provided in ringing us together in the nation's capital on hallowed ground. it's a place that holds the remains of over 400,000 of our nation's heroes, from presidents to privates all who committed themselves to preserve our nation's security and independence won by our
forefathers. what a beautiful day and what a beautiful setting for us to memorialize our comrades in arms paying our respects and tribute to their sacrifices during the nflict which has always been -- be known as the helicopter war. over 12,000 helicopters, army, navy, marine corps carried the flag to the enemy. it is only fitting that our monument we dedicate today bear the iconic symbol. over 10,000 were built for that war and 7,000 saw service in the theater flying over 7.5 million flight hours. more combat time than any other aircraft in the history of warfare. over 3,000 of those aircraft did not return. and 4,901 pilots and crew
members gave their lives. 66 of those pilots were only 19 years of age. and two were over 50 years of age. as i reflected last night, where was i 50 years ago this day? as you all know, major jim jackson by proclamation is the director of the vietnam war. 50 years ago this day, this time a uh-1 in the naicon delta. you wonder what it would be like to fly in combat? i think i flew 13 hours refueling many, many times. earlier when i reported into my company, there was a major after four years in the pentagon, i had the greatest instructor pilot, father jerry daley.
jerry only had two weeks left before he was going to return home. he was the most decorated helicopter pilot in the army in 1967. i put him in the left seat. and i said you can't go home until you teach me everything you know. he said i could never teach you that much. seriously, ladies and gentlemen, 50 years ago, i was a 34-year-old major. major i'm an 84-year-old general. and you the veterans of this war, our family members, our survivors that is it here today, we pay you our tribute for it was your sons, your daughters and those who in fact carried the fight to the enemy back in that precious period. we in fact, have to honor those who serve with us and died among us. there but for the grace of god
go we. and may god grant those we honor peace and comfort as we place this memorial stone which should last for eternity. vietnam was declared an unpopular war. many citizens turn their back on the war and even turned against us who fought it. but anyone who experienced a single taste of war much less two, three, or four tours. jerry daley has three tours back-to-back to back. came home for the direct commission, retired as a lieu lieutenant l -- colonel. you should hear wars an rumors of wars yet see to it that you're not troubled for all these things have to come to pass but the end is still to come.
your personal presence here today reflects that same confidence and commitment which you and your loved one had during their tour or their tours in helicopters as a pilot or a crew member. you all likely have the scars and the medals to show be. assured that our nation even then as well as now does salute you and commends you today for your courage and valor. your contributions will be recognized for decades to come not only by those who fought that war, but those who will fight our future wars. i must remind you that not one generation of americans in our entire history has ever experienced a lifetime without the privilege of defending these united states. from the battles of lexington and concord, the initial engagements of the american revolutionary world, the shot heard around the world was shot just as the sun was rising on
april 18th, 1775 a few years ago. since that faithful day, our nation has engaged in 12 major conflicts, plus the current war on terror. with a multitude of other major squirmishes across the globe. from that sun rise in 1775 to is day in 2018, 2043 years later, the sun has yet to set on the american servicemen and the women who keep our nation free. demographic records reflect and take this home to your children and your grandchildren that over 57 million men and women have more -- bore weapons in nation's defense. there were 8 million of us who served in vietnam. and many of you can count yourself among that number as we enjoy the comfort and security
of this great country. there are almost 3 million american soldiers as we is it here today, soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, under arms and are active in missions in over 100 countries. just remember the words, still trueto plateo, 20 centuries later. only the dead have seen the end of war. it is only appropriate that two of our presidents john f. kennedy and william h. taft are interred here as well as the son of abraham lincoln is also buried here. there are also 400 medal of honor recipients here entered here at articlington national cemetery, including general arthur macarthur, father of dog
las macarthur and oti murphy with the medal of honor and 33 other awards. you will walk by his grave on the other side of memorial drive s we process down to lay the wreaths upon the new monument. i will submit to you that all that we do, in fact, we owe to those who have preceeded us and those who will follow us. for our time is done. as most of you are aware, there are nine army aviators and eight crew member who is have received the medal of honor. two of us are with us today. over my shoulder there are two medal of honor winners buried in section 7-a. michael novocelle who is credited with hundreds of medical evacuations and hundreds of missions in vietnam. mike saw the service he in fact served at age 48.
the oldest medal of honor recipient in our history as you walk down -- if you walk back down no the women's memorial for our reception, you will pass mike's grave and you will also pass the grave of ed freeman. too tall he was called. 30.vacuated thus, in depth as in light. 315 of our fellow helicopter pilots rest here among us today. row upon row, head to toe in perfect alignment with one another for a of eternity. pause a minute in your time as you walk down or ride down. visit a grave. say a prayer and remember them as they remember us whether in lead or in trail, we all flew to the sound of the guns. this is america. land of the pilgrim's pride,
filled by pilgrims, settlers and home settlers our nation will and always will stand nal that history, has born out by what each of you has done in service to god and country. and may god bless each one of us and may god grant us peace, love and compassion for all who go us this day and forever more. i salute you this day. we are soldiers for life. [applause] >> gold star families provided
important inputes to the design of the crew member monument. their vision was represented by s. julie kink, the vietnam pilots' association gold star coordinator. she sought out the families many of whom are with us today. speaking now on our behalf, ms. julie kink. [applause] >> thank you, bob. when i was growing up, the sound of a helicopter was the sound of sadness. gazing up at the sky my mother would put her hand on her heart and lower her head. without a word i knew she was grieving to the son she lost over the skies in vietnam. i know now what that sound meant to the men who were fighting the war. it was the sound of hope.
it meant someone was coming to push back the bad guys to bring surprise and ammo, to rescue their wounded and eventually to carry them out of hell. those of you who were crazy enough to fly around in those wobbly thin-skinned machines, what can i possibly say but thank you. 'm proud to say -- [applause] thank you. thank you. i'm proud to say my brother was one of you. warrant officer david kink lost his life in the summer of 1969 after one important in vietnam. he was 19 years old. and i was 8. david would be 68 years old today. but to me he'll always be a teenager, my big brother. i've seen 17,000 more sunsets
than he had a chance to see. with us today are many gold star families who lost brothers, husbands, sons, fathers, uncles, cousins. gold star families, please stand if you are able. [applause] thank you. sitting beside us are the men who flew with our loved ones. they took the same risks, flew the same unfriendly skies. they trained with them, bled with them, laugh and cried with them. in many cases, they saw the light fade from their eyes long before we received the news that ripped open our hearts. i believe that when our loved
ones died, a part of these men died too. but they will carry their memory always. they help us learn not only how our loved ones died but more importantly how they lived. in his last letter home, my brother wrote, you're never alone on a mission. this monument was conceived, funded and placed not by the government, but by the men who flew beside our loved ones and thought of them as brothers. the english poet steven spenders said, i think continually of those who were truly great, who in their lives fought for life, born of the sun, they traveled a short while toward the sun and left the vivid air signed with their honor. i would ask families and
veterans to join me now in lifting into the vivid air the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. you each know someone. please say his name. david kink. they will never be forgotten. thank you, and welcome home. [applause] >> some three years ago, the vietnam helicopter pilots' association sought individuals in congress to support the monument and build a national voice calling for its installation in articlington national cemetery. a decorated military veteran understood the importance of this mission and was the first
legislator to step forward. he remained a strong supporter throughout the years leading to today's dedication. our keynote speaker, representative mark amaday. [applause] >> thank you, bob. i notice on the program that i've only got a couple of minutes some of hang on tight because i know you didn't come here to hear me talk and i'm not disappoint you. first of all, when these folks said would you like to say something at the dedication? yeah, i'd love to. this is neat. this is more people than we have in three counties in nevada. and so if i had it to do over again, i might give ate second thought. rear ten, it is for a echelon jag officer who was assigned to the headquarters in fort hood although we called
ourselves the largest personal injury office in the world, it's an privilege to be here. when the association by the way, you can say something about the importance of this to america, i -- presume to be be that. but as a baby boomer, a guy who was born in 1958, just a couple of years after you, general, you know, when you talk about the importance of this occasion, this was not only the first helicopter war, but it was kind of the baby boomers' war. as you listen to the statistics of who fought and who died especially in all branches but in this particular area, this was the first tv war too. so as a person who grew up sitting in the living room, you know, on the couch next to your dad's chair breathing
second-hand smoke which is what all good americans did at that time, you know, you'd see walter con -- cronkite and all that stuff and talk about all this stuff, it was a profounding affecting thing to a person growing up in largetown and smalltown america. this was part of your growing up in the 1960's and 1970's. the only thing i could figure out these were the folks i looked up to. these were the folks that were playing on the high school football team doing the whatever, the big kid that you were afraid of that was going to notice you and beat you up or something. i mean, all that sort of stuff. so when they were leaving to this far away place and things were happening, it had a phenomenal impact. and so when your organization showed up and said hey, would you do something for us? i said well, yeah, how hard can that be? you know, because we're in the nation's capital and in this business that we're in, oftentimes, things are a little
harder than they seem. and like many of you in the profession of arms and who have worked at the pointy end of the spear or supported those who worked at the pointy end of the spear, you know, if somebody given me a pat on the head, i like to get along with people, i probably might have done that. but like most of you in this profession, when they said, not no. no, heck and now we're fighting to the death, girls and boys. i want to say some thank you. you see a turtle on the fence. it had somebody help it get there. it didn't get there by itself. i want to give a few shoutouts. i see my colleague ralph abraham, phenomenal supporter on the veterans' affairs committee. matt cartwright. i want to recognize one of your members, a gentleman by the name
of moon mohewn. i see you looking down down there. so we'll just leave it at that let me tell you why i mentioned his name because we're trying to figure out what tease outplan. how are we going to get from a to b? well, do you guys know anybody? do you know any democrats or on the committee? moon not only terrorizes crartwright's office but he made the mistake of mentioning this he went to school with bill pascrow, one of the senior democrats from new jersey? i go. i need you to work on him a lib. i don't know what he did, but he comes and finds me on the floor and says what do you need. i said i need some more democrat signatures on this thing because we can get special treatment. i think it took him -- if it wasn't 24, it was 25 hours. and he comes up to me and says
how's that working for you? working so well, that bill's an italian-american, he got lunch for his office the next day. i want to mention another name who is kelly dickson who is the senior legislative staffer for majority leader kevin mccarthy. we were getting close to the end of things before congress shut down and we had to get this out of the house. and so we had to get it to the floor. she was getting some guff from somebody on one of the other committees. i'd like to know why this is going to go through the floor when it hasn't gone through this certain committee. and kelly answered because the majority leader of the house wants it to be. [applause] i wish i would have thought of that line. needless to say kelly dickson got flowers -- and we specified you've got to put a helicopter in the arrangement. so they found a little toy
helicopter. a asn't a huey, a cobra or cha nook. they found and put it in there -- to this day if you walk to kevin mccarthy's desk on kelly dickson's desk is your guys' helicopter from the florist shop. one more before i give a huge thanks to someone who has been very special. my staffer lauren curry who went and got married for some reason and now her name is lauren billman. she was the one who said go push this button. harass that person. phenomenal job which is why she got an offer to be a legislative officer and left me like a bad habit. but she picked a good thing. listen, the final thing i want to say is this, i want to give a shoutout to karen durham aguilera. because quite frankly, things changed a lot when she took the job as the head person here at
arlington. we feel like we set the -- listen, we passed the bill in the house. we came this far from the senate from passing it in the senate and we're not going anywhere until it gets done. and guess what, she made that all irrelevant. she said we're going fix that accordance with the procedures. it's hard to gate memorial here. i can't think of a group that's more deserving for its spot in history, its sacrifice in that conflict and the job that you folks all did on the pointy end of the spear. it is a privilege and an honor and a humbling thing to be associated with fellow folks who are in the profession of arms. you humble me and one o my memories for the rest of my life to be associated with your group. thank you very much. and congratulations. [applause]
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>> next on american history tv, university of illinois history professor adrian burgos talks about the history of race and baseball in america. this 15-minute interview was recorded at the american historical association annual meeting in washington, d.c. >> you have written that baseball is essential to the hispanic experience to history and also to your own personal history. first make the case about the latino experience and how important baseball has been. >> baseball provides identity for many latinos particularly those coming from