ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PAGE UP!
The An Loc website is the result of a project I started four years after I retired from flying. Looking back to Vietnam in April of 1972, I was a Sundog FAC flying in the battle of An Loc. On two of my missions over An Loc, I carried my personal cassette recorder fitted with an ear piece in my helmet, and recorded several hours of radio transmissions. Thirty years later, after closely listening to these tapes, I knew I had to find a way to contact the Army Advisors; the men on the ground, with whom I had talked with day and night during the battle.
All I had to go by as I began my search were their call signs: 62 Alpha, 62 India, and Bounty. Who were these men? Searching the Internet, I found a reference to a monograph written by Jim Wilbanks, a professor in the Army History Department at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. A call to the history department resulted in my receiving a copy of the monograph from I extracted Jim Wilbanks’ phone number.
One night, on impulse, I called him and as fate would have it, Jim answered and we talked for thirty minutes about An Loc, as if it were yesterday. He was uniquely qualified to assist me. He arrived in the An Loc April 12, 1972, after volunteering to join Team 87 to help. He was wounded in July and med-evaced out. Jim was invaluable in my quest for information on the Army advisors who defended An Loc. When I visited Ft. Leavenworth to examine the microfilm records, Jim was not only a gracious host and a wealth of information, but he pointed me in the right direction to begin my research. He has written several books on Vietnam, and became the Director of the Department of Military History at Ft. Leavenworth. He earned his PhD during the course of his career.
From Jim I learned of another author, Dale Andrade, who wrote the book “America’s Last Vietnam Battle”. I called Dale, and through him, the pieces of the puzzle started to come together. I was able to locate some of the Army Advisors whose call signs are on my tapes. 62 Alpha became Col, Ed Benedit; 62 India -–Maj. Ken Ingram; and Bounty was Harold Moffet. As the puzzle was unfolding, I widened my search to look for other pilots in the air during the battle. Getting in touch with Darrel Whitcomb, the author of “The Rescue of Bat 21” and the FAC Association historian was very encouraging. Not only was he a big support and resource, he had a large network of people he knew.
One such source was Mike Sloniker, a helicopter pilot with the A/229th during the battle. As the historian of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association (VHPA), his breadth of general knowledge about helicopters in the air during the siege as well as his personal experience have been an invaluable resource.
At that time, I decided to create the website.
My son, Ben Carruthers did the initial programming for the website and continues to manage it.
There will be more added at a later date!