tv Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Monument Dedication CSPAN May 6, 2018 11:00am-11:46am EDT
>> interested in american history tv? you can visit our website, preview upcoming programs and watch the archival films and more. american history tv at c-span.org. up next, the dedication ceremony for the vietnam helicopter pilot and crew member monument at arlington national cemetery. speakers include several former vietnam war helicopter pilot and members of the vietnam .elicopter pilots association almost 5000 helicopter pilots and crew members were killed during the war.
>> 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 almighty 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. robert corneal. joseph goldberg. lance everette and guthrie lee.
we're here to rebelwood rumbaugh and richard vandegeer, the last casualties on may 15th, 1975. and we're here to remember all those who died operating helicopters. all 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, arlington 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 the 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 seated. 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 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 amodei 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. ms. 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 commandant 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 commander, mr. eagan heberlack and command major paul biggs. director of united states of america vietnam war commemoration, major general retired james jackson. representing the united states navy, rare admiral rock.
representing quad a brigadier general steve motte retired. and last but not least, army war officer first class and army lieutenant colonel bob bean. it was his vision, dedication and 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 join 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 recognized. 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 honor 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, three awards of the lesion of merit. 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 bringing 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 conflict 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
i was flying a uh-1 in the mekong 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. today, i'm an 84-year-old major
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 lieutenant 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. 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 19th, 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 this day in 2018, 243 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 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, attributed to plato, still true 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 arlington national cemetery, including general arthur macarthur, father of douglas macarthur and otti murphy with the medal of honor and 33 other awards. you will walk by his grave on the other side of memorial drive as 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 members who 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 back down 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. he evacuated 30.
thus, in death as in life. 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 in 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 inputs to the design of the crew member monument. their vision was represented by ms. 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. i'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 arlington 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. voiceained a strong throughout the years leading to today's dedication. our keynote speaker, --resentative mark am a day --
>> thank you, bob. i know you did not come here to hear me talk and i'm not going to disappoint you. they said, would you like to say something about the dedication? i said, i would love to. town in from a small nevada, this is more people than we would have in three counties in nevada. if i had it to do over again, i might give it a second thought. ,or a rear echelon jag officer although we called ourselves the largest personal energy loft -- personal injury law firm in the world -- it is an honor to be here. when they said, by the way, maybe you could say something about importance of this to america -- i will not presume to speak for the whole country. there are too many in my business doing that already. guy born inomer, a
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. statistics,at these those who fought and died, this was the first tv war, toro. as a person who grew up sitting on the -- on the couch, breathing secondhand smoke, which is what all good american families did at that time, you would see walter cronkite and all of these folks and they would talk about this stuff and it was a profoundly affecting thing for a young person growing up in small-town and large time -- large town america. this was part of your growing up. you say, why is that?
the highe people on school football team, doing whatever -- the big kid was going to notice you and beat you up or something. when they were leaving to this faraway place and things were happening, it had a phenomenal and so, when your organization showed up and said, hey, will you do something for us, we thought, hey, how hard can that be. how hard can that be? often times things are harder than they seem. like many of you in the profession of arms, who worked spear,pointy end of the people give you a pat on the head and say, hey, you, go away, i like to get along with people. i probably would have done that. no, heck no,ay,
and by the way, we are fighting to the death. that old thing. if you have a turtle on a fence. the turtle did not get there by itself. it had somebody help it get there. shout outs.ve a few i see my colleague out there from louisiana, phenomenal support on the veterans affairs committee. i also want to recognize one of members -- inauspicious gentleman by the name of moon mullen. i see you looking down. we will leave it at that. let me tell you why i mentioned his name. trying to figure out how are we going to get from 80 to be and all this sort of stuff. do you know anybody. do you know any democrats. he makes the mistake of
mentioning that he went to pas grow.h bill one of the senior democrats from new jersey. i said, i need you to work on him a little bit. i do not know what he did, but he comes and finds me on the floor and says, what do you need. that's what you need? i said i need more signatures on this thing. can we get special treatment? -- if it wasok him not 24, it was trying five hours and he comes up to me and says, how is that working for you? got lunch well -- he for his office that day. i want to mention another name. kelly dixon. the senior legislative operations ambassador. we were getting close to the end of things before congress shut down and we had to get it to the floor. it had been passed out of committee and she was getting some guff from somebody in one
of the other committees. i want you know why this is going to go to the floor when it has not gotten through this certain committee? and kelly answered because the majority leader of the house wants it to be. [applause] i had thought of that line. needless to say, kelly dixon got flowers and we specified you got to put a helicopter in the arrangement. they found a little helicopter. it was not a cobra or a chinook. you walk intof -- kevinarthy' s mccarthy's office, on kelly 's desk, there is a helicopter. and my staffer, lauren currie, who went and got married for
some reason, phenomenal job. she was the one where, every day, no, go push this button, harass this person. phenomenal job, which is why i think she got the job offer to be a legislative director and left me like a bad habit instantly about two months ago. but she did a good thing. i want to give a shout out to karen. quite frankly, things changed a lot when she got the job. in the house,bill we came this far from the senate. she made all of that irrelevant. she said we are going to do this with the procedures. it is hard to get an in this place. ladies and gentlemen, i cannot think of a group that is more deserving for its spot in
history, it 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. you humble mean to be associated with your group. thank you very much and congratulations. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the west point alumni geek -- glee
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] -- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] follow us on twitter to keep up with the latest history news. next, a discussion of the history of race and baseball in america. this was recorded at the american historical association annual meeting in washington, d.c. susan: adrian burgos is teaching history in a specialty that people may not think of as a