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.