7955 58th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32967
Located at Indian River County Fairgrounds
7955 58th Avenue, Vero Beach, FL 32967
Master Sergeant Ray Bows, US Army (ret.) will be signing copies of his new book, IN HONOR AND MEMORY, at the upcoming Military History Expo Show in Vero Beach, Florida, on Saturday, 7 February 2015, from 1000 hours to 1700 hours. Bows will be set up under the covered 20,000 square-foot pavilion which will house a large military vehicle display from WWII, Vietnam, and present day. Please come by and see Ray, whether you already have your book or not.
On Friday, the beginning of this weekend, I encountered an old friend, Marty Jester, who had joined the Air Commandos in 1961. Marty was one of the original Air Force personnel to join the Air Commando program, originally dubbed Jungle Jims. One of Marty's other claims to fame was that he was a close personal friend of Tuffy the Tiger, the mascot of the 93d Transportation Company (CH-21 Helicopter) when the 93d was stationed in Soc Trang.
Marty and I had so much to talk about that I failed to mention to him that it was fifty-two years ago this weekend that I enlisted in the United States Army as a seventeen year old private. When we first arrived at the Fort Dix reception station, if a soldier had a really large foot or a really small one, he was issued old brown boots rather than the new black boots of 1963. There were signs prominently posted in the barracks stating, No boot dying in barracks or on back steps. Luckily I was not issued the World War II leftovers, while the really big guys, and the smaller ones in my company learned the complexities of dying combat boots.
The other remnant of World War II and Korea that I did deal with was the M-1 Garand Rifle. The M-14 was still being developed, not to mention the M-16 that was still years in my future. In basic, I became one of the company's high scorers on the rifle range with the M-1, a weapon that served my predecessors fearlessly at Normandy and Inchon. I took basic training in February and March 1963, one of the coldest winters that Fort Dix had in quite a few years, and some soldiers suffered from frost bite during our basic training cycle. The thing I remember most about basic, was crawling into my bunk at night, in a nice warm barracks, and although totally exhausted, wondering what we would be learning and doing the next day. I looked forward to it all, however not everyone felt the same way.
During my basic training they never mentioned Vietnam. Yet, the first two tactical helicopter units, the 8th and 57th transportation companies, had been in Southeast Asia since December 1961, flying CH-21 Shawnees into combat. In July 1962, the first helicopter losses of the Vietnam War occurred. Tencza Compound, Camp Goldberg, and Guthrie and Lane hangars would be named for those who died in that crash as a result of enemy fire from the ground. Six days after I had arrived at Fort Dix, US Army advisor Captain Leon D. Kramer was killed in Quang Ngai Province and subsequently the Kramer Compound in Quang Ngai City was named in his memory. There had been many locations named before my entry into military service, about twenty in all. The fallen were being honored by naming locations for them since 1956, when few if anyone in the states could even find Vietnam on a map, and as basic trainees, my fellow soldiers and I had no understanding of what or where Vietnam was.
By the time I arrived in Vietnam in June 1968, there were almost 400 facilities and installations named in honor of the fallen. I have now registered a total of over 800 locations in the new book, not to mention another 2,300 fire bases and landings zones. Its a long way from 17 to almost 70. Fifty-two years ago I had absolutely no idea what the future held.
IN HONOR AND MEMORY -
INSTALLATIONS AND FACILITIES OF THE VIETNAM WAR by
M/Sgt Ray Bows is now available!
The book describes over 800 facilities, paying tribute to the fallen for whom they were named. Such locations were named by all branches of the US Armed Forces, as well as its allies.
We are elated that we have received the books from the printing plant and are now tackling the physical work of mailing books out to those of you who have already ordered them.
Lieutenant General Leonard P. Wishart III, a two time Vietnam veteran and former commandant of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was kind enough to write the foreword, for which we will be forever grateful. We also thought it would be appropriate to ask former enlisted men to review the book for the back cover. We worked extremely hard on the front and back covers of the book which bear a total of six vivid color photographs. We wanted reviewers and words of comparable quality and sought out researchers who are known historians involved in records of the Vietnam War. We obtained some of the "best in the business" - Les Hines, Dan Gillotti, Bruce Swander and Fred Fiedler.
Les Hines, historian for the AMERICAL Division Association, not only reviewed the book, but had dug through stacks of Pacific Stars and Stripes articles that described some obscure memorializations that we had somehow missed, but were able to integrate into its pages before the book was printed. We can't thank Les enough. From the very beginning, back in 1986, he has furnished his resources selflessly.
Dan Gillotti, not only gave us a book review, but is a diligent and respected figure in his work to clarify the locations of fire bases and landing zones in Vietnam, and is the author of the "History of the 30th Field Artillery Regiment from 1918 to 1998".
Bruce Swander, a US Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam, is a monumental figure in recording the lives and deeds of those that have gone before us. A mainstay and coordinator with the Coffelt Database, his knowledge of the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial are equaled by few. We are all indebted to Bruce for what he has shared. Enough about his good work can not be over emphasized.
Finally, I can't forget my good friend Fred Fiedler, another reviewer, who passed away 13 May 2012. Fred was a contributor to Harve Saal's four volume set of books on SOG, and helped me immeasurably with the full story of his close friend SP4 Willie Montgomery (US Army Special Forces' Club Montgomery, Saigon) which appeared back in 1997 for "Vietnam Military Lore - Legends, Shadows and Heroes"; Reviewing one of my previous books in his local Special Forces newsletter, he was the inspiration for the Thailand section of "IN HONOR AND MEMORY" through his query about Major William R. Card, for whom his Special Forces chapter at Fort Lewis was named. In 1998, Fred and I encountered each other at a book signing at the Fort Lewis Post Exchange, only to realize that we were old friends who were stationed together in South Korea back in 1979 and 1980. Fred and I had been extras in the movie "Inchon", starring David Jansen, Jacqueline Bissett, and Sir Lawrence Olivier; considered by many to be the worst movie ever made. Fred used to say that he and I costarred in the movie. It's the only time I ever heard Fred exaggerate about anything. He was a man of truth and modesty. Fred, one of the pioneers in US Army Special Forces and US Air Commandos, furnished a review for "IN HONOR AND MEMORY" in the early stages of finalization, before we hit a bump in the road and more information poured in. I regret that Fred didn't get to view the final tribute to Major Card and see the book completed. Fred was truly a friend not just to me, but to all who knew him. He is sorely missed.
Fred Fiedler and the three other former enlisted men, who work extremely hard at what they do, not only agreed to review "IN HONOR AND MEMORY," but approved of its concept and format. Their continued dedication to duty is proof that the Non-Commissioned Officers Corps is indeed the backbone of military service.
Master Sergeant Ray Bows' new book, IN HONOR AND MEMORY - INSTALLATIONS AND FACILITIES OF THE VIETNAM WAR, is now available for shipment.
Ray Bows signs a copy of FIRST ON THE WALL for an interested reader, May 2014 Photo by Pia Bows
Welcome to our BLOG, which because of our ability to make it through the maze of military acronyms, and in the process create an acronym meaning of our own, we have decided to label our BLOG as "Bows Logistics On Ground". Our BLOG will keep you abreast of where we are going to be at book signings, and where we've been, as well as the people we have met as we research future projects.
Little did I know that after my retirement from the U.S. Army in 1983, my curiosity about the names of military installations and facilities around the world would become a lifelong project to memorialize fallen servicemen who should never be forgotten.
My wife, Pia, and I were fortunate enough to be at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, for a few days through Veterans Day 2014, where we saw several old friends, some of whom work as volunteers at the Memorial. Allen McCabe introduced us to volunteer Tony Wallace. We had the final draft of IN HONOR AND MEMORY with us and Tony recognized Firebase Atkinson on the cover of our manuscript. Tony was stationed at FSB Atkinson, where his friend Corporal William R. Di Santis was killed when Tony was wounded, and Tony immediately recognized him from his high school photo. Tony didn't know that FSB Di Santis was named when Company B, 2d Battalion, 7th Cavalry moved there. Tony, like all the volunteers at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, is a selfless contributor helping visitors find their way through the 58,300 names listed thereon.
I'd like to thank those of you who have already seen the book in its manuscript form, and who have made comments about the book's content, its cover art, and the final title we have chosen. When Pia and I decided to go ahead with a complete and total listing of the commemorative namings of installations in Vietnam, we had some very definitive ideas about what the finalized book would look like, and had concrete concepts for both the front and back covers. Everything was there except a title and we explored many.
US Camps and Bases - Vietnam War
US Bases - South Vietnam
US Army Compounds- Vietnam War
US Army Camps - Vietnam
Abandoned Camps - Vietnam War
Cenotaphs of the Vietnam War
Military Installations - Vietnam
Military Facilities - South Vietnam
US Base Camps - Vietnam
US Military Locations - Vietnam
The above were just a few of the variations, while at one point subsections in the book were to include:
US Bases in Thailand during the Vietnam War
US Bases in Okinawa during the Vietnam War
Abandoned Airfields in Vietnam
Landing Zones and Fire Bases in Vietnam
Marine Corps Bases in Vietnam
BEQs and BOQs in Saigon
Maps of Military Locations in Vietnam
Maps of US Military Bases - Vietnam
IN HONOR AND MEMORY - INSTALLATIONS AND FACILITIES OF THE VIETNAM WAR was our final decision for the book's title. It was part of the terminology that we used every day. If a serviceman died in the line of duty, a location was named in his memory. If he died during an act of heroism, the location was named in his honor. We lived by that rule throughout the writing of the book.
On Veterans Day 2014, through the help of our good friend, Mike Cruden, who lost his father in Vietnam, we were privileged to meet Krysteen Hamilton Wescott, the daughter of SFC Robert H. Wescott Jr., for whom Firebase Wescott in Phuoc Long Province was named. Krysteen was gracious enough to furnish us a copy of one of the last photographs taken of her father when he was a drill instructor at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Because of Krysteen's thoughtfulness we literally stopped the presses on IN HONOR AND MEMORY to include her father's up-dated photo. In doing so, through circumstances too complicated to explain in our "Bows Logistics On Ground", we were able to locate photographs of US Army Captain Byron Stone, for whom the Stone BOQ in Saigon was named; and 1LT Earl F. Browne, for whom the Graham-Browne Compound, Hon Quan, Binh Long Province, was named in part for. We had been looking for these photographs for many, many years and Mike and Krysteen deserve our deep appreciation.
Since Veterans Day 2014, I was also able to contact Bill Van Alstine, son of Merle O. "Dutch" Van Alstine for whom the Special Forces Van Alstine Mess Association in Qui Nhon was named. I met Bill twenty-five years ago while at veterans reunions in Sterling Heights and Pontiac, Michigan. It was wonderful speaking to Bill all these years later. Our twenty-five year disconnect seemed to evaporate within minutes of the beginning of our conversation. Bill and I had become friends half his lifetime ago, while for me it seems like only a few months had passed. Time is indeed relative, and I recognize this through vivid experiences, although I'm no Einstein!
IN HONOR AND MEMORY - INSTALLATIONS AND FACILITIES OF THE VIETNAM WAR has become much more than I could have ever imagined during its meager beginnings when it was just a dream back in the 1970's. Through lots of hard work, meeting good and wonderful people, timely contacts, and the innovation of the internet, we will hopefully get out the word to thousands of people about what we have achieved and what we still hope to accomplish. I know there are still modest unit day rooms and little austere clubs, buildings and operation centers, which once existed in Vietnam, named for our fallen comrades, that have not yet come to light. Likewise, if you know the secrets behind the naming of such places as FSB Becky, LZ Doris, FSB Jake, FSB Jay, FSB Edgar, or others designated only by first names, please let us know. We are always happy to hear from our readers, historians, and all veterans from all wars. With my wife, Pia, on board, there is no doubt that I will answer every message personally.
Happy New Year to all.
Master Sergeant Ray Bows, US Army (ret.) spent twenty years on active duty including overseas assignments in Korea, France, Vietnam, Germany, and Belgium, with TDY to Crete and Italy.