John Berrien Whitehead III passed away

LTC (Ret) John Berrien Whitehead, III
April 28, 1942-August 10, 2011

LTC (Ret) John Berrien Whitehead III, age 69, resident of Columbus, passed away at his residence in Columbus GA on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. LTC Whitehead, son of the late John Berrien Whitehead, Jr., was born April 28, 1942 in Douglas, GA. He graduated with Flight Class 67-22 and first went to Vietnam in 1968-69 with the OH-6A NETT Team. He returned to Vietnam in 1971-72 where he flew with A Troop 7/1st Cav, D Co. 229th Avn Bn and F Troop/9th Cav of the 3rd Bde 1st Cavalry Division His awards were the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal and numerous Air Medals. John will remain a legend to those of us who flew in the III Corps area during the Easter Offensive of 1972, when in April, he and Dave Ripley flew OH 6s from D-229 to rescue the Loc Ninh MACV advisors who were escaping and evading towards An Loc. In the chaos of finding and bringing them out, 3 American Advisors, 4 ARVN, John and his gunner SGT Waite flew out under heavy ground fire in Loach 243. This is the only account I have ever found as VHPA historian of 9 souls on board an OH 6 and it still could fly. John was awarded the DSC for this action and a life time of gratitude from Marv Zumwalt one of the three MACV advisors in the back. John will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in September 2011. Check the Arlington National Cemetery website for phone number that will provide the exact date.

- Mike Sloniker

One account of John Whitehead’s piloting in Vietnam is detailed here.

Mike Wheeler lost in helicopter accident

It greatly saddens me to announce the loss of another An Loc veteran, Mike Wheeler, who was lost on May 26, 2010 in a helicopter accident in Boxborousgh, MA. Here is a link to a remembrance page:

Col. Ed Benedit passed away May 18, 2010

May 18, 2010

Colonel Edward B. Benedit: Retired United States Army

Col. Edward Bernard Benedit was born on June 5, 1931 in Newark, New Jersey the youngest of two sons of Bernard Benedit and Stella Benedit of Union, New Jersey. He was preceded in death by his loving and caring wife of 49 years, Diane Ellen Benedit. He is survived by his oldest son Edward B. Benedit Jr., his wife Karen and their daughter Brooke Lynne, his number two son, Ronald Mark Benedit and his wife Dawn and their three children Amanda, Tayler and PFC Kenneth McCain, and his loving daughter Donna Marie Cotlow, her husband Dean, and their two sons Mark and Chase. Ed was captain of his High School Baseball Team at Union High in Union New Jersey and graduated in 1948 with honors at the age of 16. He worked full time at a pen factory before being drafted both by the United States Navy and St. Louis Browns baseball team in 1952. His dream was to enter the Marines with his brother and friends but later decided to move to the United States Army. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in 1953 after attending Officer Candidate School. He is also a graduate of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Army Command and General Staff College and the Prestigious British War College in London, England. He served in 31 permanent duty stations during a 29 year career with one tour in Korea and two tours in Vietnam. His tours covered numerous duty stations from Fort Myer, Virginia to Fort Benning, Georgia to Commander of the 1st & 54th Infantry in Bamberg Germany, including tours in England and Belgium. While stationed at SHAPE Headquarters in Belgium, he served as Comptroller under General Alexander Haig. Ed served in the epic “Battle of An Loc” in South Vietnam as Senior Regimental and Deputy Adviser to the South Vietnamese Army. For his efforts at the “Battle of An Loc” he was awarded the distinguished Silver Star and the Vietnamese Medal of Honor. During his career he received the Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge (46 jumps) two Legion of Merit Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, four Bronze Stars, with a “V” device, five Air Medals, three Army Service Commendation Service Medals, four Vietnamese Crosses of Gallantry, the Presidential Unit Citation and numerous other medals. In 1981 Ed retired from the U.S. Army as a Colonel after 29 years of service and made Palm Coast, Florida his home with his wife Diane. During his retirement Ed enjoyed golfing and bowling with friends. He served VFW Post 8696 as both Junior and Senior Commander. He commanded the Post Ceremonial Detachment (Honor Guard) for 14 years and played a key role in fund raising for the organization. In an article by Ron Schmucker, a veteran and longtime family friend, “Honoring One of Our Veterans” Ed was described as a “Warrior in the purest sense of the word”, “We salute you Ed Benedit. Well done solder!” Husband, Father, Grandfather, Soldier and Friend…………… will be missed. Thank you for your service. We love you Dad……… “62 Alpha…………Out”Memorial Services will be held on Saturday, May 22 at 11:00 AM in the Chapel of Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home, 511 Old Kings Road S. Flagler Beach. The family will receive friends on Saturday from 10:00 AM until the time of services.Interment with Full Military Honors will be held at Arlington National Cemetery on a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that a donation be made to the VFW Post 8696-District 19, 47N. Old Kings Road, Palm Coast, Florida 32135. For online condolences go to: “Online Obituaries”. Arrangements are in the care and trust of Craig-Flagler Palms Funeral Home.

Lt. Gen James Hollingsworth died at the age of 91



BG (Ret) John A. McGiffert,  LTG (Ret) Hollingsworth,  Frank Muller, Mrs Hollingsworth,

 Nyles Fulwyler, Dr James Willbanks



It is my sad duty to report the passing of LTG (Ret) James F. Hollingsworth on 2 March in San Antonio. As anyone involved with the battle of An Loc in 1972 well knows, “Danger 79er” was the Commander of Third Regional Assistance Command and, along with his ARVN counterpart, LTG Minh, III Corps commander, in overall charge of the fight in Military Region III. Having spent some time in An Loc with first TF-52 and then 43rd Regt, LTG Hollingsworth has long been one of my personal heroes. I had the opportunity in 1999 to attend the dedication of a statue of the general at our alma mater, Texas A&M, and he was in fine form, giving a rousing, but definitely politically incorrect speech to the Corps of Cadets. He was a rare man and we shall not soon see the likes of him again. May the Old Warrior rest in peace and may God bless his family.

-Jim Willbanks

Read the rest of this entry »

Brig. Gen. Edward N. Brya – 1938 to 2005

“Even Generals Had Misty Eyes”
Published Tuesday, October 4, 2005

It is hard for an Air Force man to move into a Marine community and command respect, but Ed Brya did it. Read the rest of this entry »

Col. Bill Miller – 08/09/1924 to 02/28/2004

Col. Bill Miller passed away on Saturday, February 28, 2004 and was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Col. Miller was a dedicated soldier who served in WWII in Korea, and three tours in Vietnam. Read the rest of this entry »