Background picture - General Westmoreland addressing paratroopers of Co. A, 2/502nd Infantry, at Dak To, Republic of Vietnam, June - 1966.

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A poem by Peter S. Griffin

Enemy beware when "OLD ABE" is near,
A predator of flight, by day or by night,
The eagle will STRIKE with a terrible might...

His feathers are made of soldiers of nether,
They will send you to hell,
No matter the weather...

They will appear from out of nowhere,
And death you will fear, for it is so near...
You shall run for cover when he hovers,
Too soon to discover,
The shadow of death you have met...

His eyes are keen and he has seen,
The fear of death you have left...

Your body trembles as he assembles,
Too late, you know, theres nowhere to go...

His talons are sharp as they cut you apart,
Your screams you shall hear,
As Hades grows near...

The devil you say, is on his way,
To collect his pay on your dying day...

It is over fast as you breathe your last,
But before you go you have come to know,
Exactly what, I told you so..!



A poem by Peter S. Griffin

Dear Mom, Dad and folks,

Just a few minutes to drop you a line. Have a funny feeling I'm running out of time. Set up a defense around the artillery, last night. Charlie decided it was a good time to fight. Sent a battalion in the middle of the night. "A" Company put up a hell of a fight. They had us outnumbered four to one, thought they had us, when it begun. Got our act together quick as we could, seems Charlie only fights in his own neighborhood. Came out of the jungle, bugles and whistles blowing. Heavy machineguns and AK tracers glowing. Hollering at us, "Tonight you die!", had us believing, it wasn't a lie.

They were trying hard to knock out our heavy guns, but the artillery only lost but one. It changed hands a couple of times, when the enemy broke through our lines. They tried their best to overrun our positions, but these troopers upheld the "Screaming Eagle" tradition. One new trooper said, with tears in his eyes, "They got us surrounded, the poor bastards", but our flag was still on it's standard. He thought it was time for "Taps". I was scared too, but couldn't help but laugh.

Some of the NVA had ropes tied to their ankles, about fifteen feet long. When they die, their buddies pull them back where they belong. They don't want us to know how many we've killed. Hinders the count, but no denying, bloods been spilled. They hide the bodies in the jungle, don't know why they go to the trouble. After a few days they don't smell like a rose, all we have to do is follow our nose.

At the peak of the fight, didn't seem we'd make it through the night. They were hitting us from all four sides. The guys on our listening posts were caught outside, they had to run for their lives. Charlie was right on their butts, most made it back, but it was luck. When Charlie got on line and made his push, seemed like there was one behind every bush. All the sudden they would charge, our howitzers fired point blank, a most deadly barrage. Beehive rounds found their marks, the dead were everywhere. The "Redlegs" instilled in them a most terrible fear. It was amazing, the punishment they took. If they had stopped, just long enough to look, there wasn't enough rope to tie each foot. Nor arms enough to pull them back, they lost that many in the attack.

Our engineers had to pick up their rifles and join the fight. Many of them became heroes last night. They fought like hell, their M 16's blazing, the effect of their grenades, amazing. They left many enemy soldiers dead and lame. Great soldiers, these Combat Engineers, they have earned their name. They should be listed in the annals of Infantry fame.

Our commanders called in air strikes, they pounded the enemy throughout the night. "Smokey the Bear" dropped flares, created an eerie light. But it was good enough to see, the ravaged enemy retreat in disharmony. "Puff the Magic Dragon" came in for the kill, laying hot lead all over those hills.

Most of the guys think the battles done, but I have a nagging feeling, Charlie isn't really on the run. Still have that feeling, I'm running out of time. Oh well, don't worry, I'll be fine. Will write again, they are probably right, ain't many Charlies, survived last night. Remember all, I love you much, think of me, wish me luck.

Your loving son and soldier, Dak To, S. Vietnam - 08 June 1966

Strike Force Monument
Fort Campbell, Kentucky


"Stranger, if you go to the land of the Spartans, tell them we lie here obedient to their laws, do not forget us, for then we will truly will have died. May the pride, strength, and courage of The Strike Force endure forever."

"Where ever two or more gather in My name"...

(Photo courtesy of Ivan Worrell)

Honoring our military Chaplains of all faiths, branches and eras. Thank you for your dedicated leadership, spiritual guidance and many blessings.

In loving memory of Father (Major) William Joseph Barragy, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division. Chaplain Barragy perished in the crash of a CH-47 (Chinook) helicopter at Nhon Co, RVN on 4 May 1966. Twenty other brave paratroopers entered eternity with him. God rest their souls. At the end of every combat operation, Father Barragy held funeral services to pray for those soldiers who perished. He also led us in prayer for "those who were next to die." I never imagined that his helmet, rifle (which he never carried) and jump boots would be the first in line at the conclusion of our operation at Nhon Co. He was a good and just man, respected and loved by all. The world was a much better place with him in it, he and his spirit still light the way.

(Photo courtesy of Tom Walinski, veteran of B Batterry, 320th Artillery)


A poem by Peter S. Griffin

Photo courtesy of Ivan Worrell
Editor/Publisher of "The Fist Screaming Eagles In Vietnam"

"Duty, Honor, Country!"

IN HONOR OF....those troopers we lost,
IN HONOR OF....those who, bore the cost....
Liberty, for all, is what they sought,
America's freedom, the gift, they bought....

IN HONOR OF....those who shouted, "FOLLOW ME!",
Their sacred path..., to victory....
IN HONOR OF....Rudy, George, Chuck and Dave,
All those, who sacrificed, all their days....

Fallen Screaming Eagles, brothers..., so true,
They preserved, the Red, White and Blue....
IN HONOR OF....the lives they gave,

Photo courtesy of Ivan Worrell

IN HONOR OF Rudy, George, Chuck and Dave...and oh so many others. God rest your souls, brothers, 'till we form again.

SP/4 Rudy Mantiad Sagon was killed in action on 10 December 1965 while on patrol in Michelin Rubber Plantation (The Iron Triangle). Two other Troopers, SGT Lewis and Sp/4 Boston died with him. Rudy was a member of Co. A, 2/502nd Infantry. His brother was also KIA serving in another infantry unit a couple months later.

SGT George A. Morningstar was killed in action on 9 June 1966 (Dak To) while attacking an enemy machine position while trying to rescue a sister company that was threathened with annihilation. He was a member of Co. A, 2/502nd Infantry.

PFC Charles V. Turley was also killed in action on 9 June 1966 (Dak To) about an hour after Sgt Morningstar was KIA. Turley also died attacking an enemy machine gun emplacement. He was a member of Co. A, 1/327th Infantry.

PFC David L. Dodson was killed in action on 7 June 1966 (Dak To) while defending B Battery, 2/320th Field Artillery who was threathened with being overrun by enemy forces. He was a member of Co. A, 2/502nd Infantry.


As our first year in Vietnam came to an end, President Lyndon Baines Johnson visited Fort Campbell, Kentucky, stateside home of the 101st Airborne Division.

Photos courtesy of Mr. Mike Phillips. They were taken on 23 July 1966 when he visited the Screaming Eagles with his family. Mike would like to hear from anyone who might be in the pictures.


LBJ informing the soldiers of our other two brigades they would be joining us soon in sunny South Vietnam! Girl in the polka dot dress is believed to be Linda Bird Johnson.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson

Inaugural Coin (1965)



A poem by Peter S. Griffin

"Mightier than the sword!"

Gallant tales of the combat paratrooper, are well known,
But in our shadow, there is a hero, rarely shown....
Sharp and fast, AIRBORNE'S PAPER TIGER, has a mighty roar,
Wielding a weapon mightier than the sword...!

His eyes and ears, always on full alert,
Quick and eager to spring to work....
Unnoticed, scurrying behind the scenes,
A staunch and faithful ally, rarely seen....

Nothing passes, that he dosen't see,
Ever vigilant to destroy our enemies....
Everything that crosses his path,
He takes accurate note and reports it fast....

Spreading the word far and wide,
Through vicious battles, he was by our side....
For when he roared, the truth was heard,
Enemy propaganda was quickly discerned...!

A Master Parachutist, awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, the Bronze Star,
The Combat Infantry Badge, he has fought hard and travelved far....
Our Public Information Officer in Viet Nam,
Carrying pen and rifle he had no qualms...!

Serving in peace as well as war,
This dedicated soldier has kept our score....
After rounding out a distinguished AIRBORNE career,
By our side, he has stayed, throughout the years....

A pillar in his community, he has always been,
To The Boy Scouts of America, a true and loyal friend....
A professional fund raiser, there is no better,
An executive, publisher, editor, a real go getter...!

A loving husband and father, faithful and true,
Four grandchildren, one great grandchild new....
An elder in his faith, setting an example, for me and you,
Part Cherokee Indian, his GREAT SPIRIT always comes through...!

The 101st, the 82nd and Special Forces,
An AIRBORNE soldier whose mastered all courses....
Hes' afforded recognition and honor to all deserved,
In film and print, Airborne deeds he has preserved...!

He has dedicated his professional life to his beloved "Sky Soldiers",
Volumes of Airborne history, borne on his shoulders....
Through his hard work, determination and perseverance,
The Airborne has had a strong voice, for all to hear us...!

Retired Major Ivan Worrell is of whom I speak,
His mighty roar blasts out Airborne's courageous feats....
Impossible to spread our proud history farther or wider,
No enemy could ever silence, AIRBORNE'S PAPER TIGER...!!!

1st Brigade Information Officer Ivan Worrell with Dean Burgess of CBS News at Dak To, Republic of Vietnam during the war.

Read more about The "Always First" Brigade's odyssey in Ivan's "The First Screaming Eagles In Vietnam" magazine.

Click the banner above to visit Ivan's "The First Screaming Eagles In Vietnam" website. Please consider subscribing to his compelling magazine about the outstanding battle history of The "Always First" Brigade. It is a fantastic magazine, most worthy of your special attention. I assure you, you will not be disappointed! Sincerely, "Grif".

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