|The year before I was born my father's cousin was 26 years old|
and a Navigator in a F4-D Phantom II in Vietnam.
On his very first mission with the WolFac on March 19, 1970, 1st Lt. Dennis Pugh was shot down along the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Plain of Jars, an area heavily concentrated with North Vietnamese regulars and Pathet Lao troops in northeast Laos. After successfully ejecting from his aircraft, Dennis landed in a river and climbed up into a tree to assist the rescue attempt for himself and his pilot, Maj. Richard Rash. Maj. Rash sustained serious injuries during his ejection and landing and found himself immobilized several hundred yards across a dense jungle from Dennis' position.
(Read more at Faces On The Wall)
Richard A. ‘Rick' Rash, the Aircraft Commander, left the following message at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial - I remember everything, Dennis - the explosion, the ejection, the AAA everywhere as they tried to get us in the chutes, running on the ground trying to find a place to hide. Then hours later when I came to, I remember your voice and the other voices all around you. You told them you surrendered in Vietnamese over and over - but it didn't matter, they killed you anyway. So many years ago - and just yesterday at the same time. I am so sorry Dennis. I don't know if I screwed up or if it was just fate - but it was me flying the plane so can't pass the buck. I have wished many times that we had traded places - but don't have that power. I pray I will see you again. Ric
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Click for the history of the Assam Draggins.
Pictures from The Punch Bowl, Hawaii. Courtesy of my niece. (April 2014)