I'll have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised to see a response to my notes I left on the virtual wall website for Jerry, As you suggested, I also tuned into your webpage and the one your son did for Jerry and think it is a great way to keep loved ones in our memories. My recollections of those years at flight school and Vietnam are still strong yet a little vague, so forgive me if I don't have any specific stories to tell about Jerry. Suffice to say that my association with Jerry during our months at Ft. Wolters and Ft. Rucker was very enjoyable. We shared many experiences with instructors and events. In fact t I still have a picture of our flight class including Jerry and I taken at Fort Wolters. If you don't have that picture, I'll be glad to send you one thru e-mail. I remember Jerry as a fine man and fellow officer and pilot and I'm sure that if we continued to be assigned to the same unit we would have developed into a good friendship. All of us were split up after graduation and we all lost track of each other. I was of course deeply sorrowed when I read about Jerry's fate after leaving the Army. We shared one of the same duties at Ban Me Thout only 3 or 4 weeks apart not knowing that we did. Being both in the Medical Service Corp and "Dustoff" pilots which were a relative few, I'm sure we would have once again crossed paths if there was more time. I was one of the lucky people who was able to return to my family and am very sorrowed that Jerry, as well as other friends, didn't share in that luck.
I was wondering if you have any more details on Jerry's MIA status then I have already read on the Dustoff web site. Was there any further information on tracking where he might have been taken after the crash. I flew that terrain quite a bit in January 1968 and know how desolate it is. If you have additional details, please let me know. Again I am very happy to hear from you and talk about Jerry. Please pass along to the rest of his family my sympathy for their loss. They should feel proud that Jerry along with his crew contributed significantly to the saving of many lives under sometimes harrowing conditions so that other families could have their loved ones return.
Sincerely and with Love,
Jim Gebryel (Dustoff 107)
Dear Sandra and Derak,
I just read your tribute to Jerry on the Wall website. I was a medic in the 50th Med Detachment and served with Jerry. He was transferred into the 50th shortly after we arrived in Vietnam from Ft. Polk. I flew with him a lot and he was my favorite pilot. I have so much to tell you, I don't know where to start.
Three years ago, on Thanksgiving weekend, I started looking for all of the guys that were in the 50th. I used the various people locators on the internet and starting searching. I found quite a few that first weekend and called them and it was such an emotional time for us. For 29 years I had never seen or talked to any of the guys that I had served with. And the big knot in my stomach all those years was what had ever been found of our missing crew, Jerry, Alan, Harry, and Wade. I continued the search.......and had 85 guys on my list that had been in our unit.....even though we only had 40 in the unit at a time......but some had transferred in and others out. Over a two year period, I found and talked to 45, 4 are missing, 20 had died since Nam, and I'm still looking for the other 16. I organized a reunion and we had that last February in San Antonio. Twenty-five of the 45 showed up there. It was an emotional time for us all. Before the reunion, I put together a video of pictures that I and others had taken in Nam. I dedicated the video and the reunion to Dustoff 90 -- Jerry, Alan, Harry, and Wade. I showed the video at the reunion and we all cried together. It was very moving.
Alan Gunn was new in our unit so I didn't know him well. But I loved those other three, Jerry, Harry(Brownie), and Wade(Red). I want you to know that we searched for them for days. We flew hours and hours at low level and slow speed. My crew chief, Hugh Howell and I hanging out the doors looking down through the trees trying to see a chopper. We cried when we gave up the search........knowing that they were down there somewhere.
When I first located the guys three years ago, that was everyone's first question......."What happened to our guys?"
I was in DC three trips in November and visit the Wall every visit at least once. I always leave a tribute to our guys. We are planning a reunion in DC over next Memorial Day. I hope you can attend. I know all the guys would love to see you.
Neal A. Stanley
Dear Mrs Kilgo:
I was a member of Jerry's outfit (50th Med Det - AA) in Vietnam. He was a true professional in my book. He had taken his training seriously in flight school and was flying by the book in Vietnam -- not a hot dog (one doing dumb things). The bottom line, Jerry, was well liked by the guys in the unit. The crews liked flying with him. He took care of them and they trusted his judgment and ability to fly the "bird" (helicopter).
Now for my story and relationship I had with Jerry and his crew. My crew had been at the standby site for the week we had been assigned. Jerry and his crew were to replace us for their week rotation. The bird they flew out had had maintenance pulled on it during the day, so they were late coming out to replace us. Normally, we tried to get out to the standby site by noon giving the crew to be relieved time to get back to home base before dark and in time to pick up mail and do other personal things before things shut down for the day (hair cuts, shopping, laundry, etc).
Shortly before sunset a mission came in for the Dust Off crew at the standby base. My crew responded by going out to our bird and preparing to take the mission. Once our engine was fired up and the radios turned on, Jerry came on the air and said he was about ten minutes out from the standby base. He encouraged us to head on to our home base. He said his crew would do a quick refueling and then take the mission to pick up the patient. I was the aircraft commander for my crew so I went on intercom and asked them (pilot, crew chief and medic) what they wanted to do. They all agreed to accept Jerry's offer and head home. After Jerry had made his approach to the refueling spot, I called the tower for take off instructions. We thanked Jerry and his crew for taking the mission and took off for home base. I stayed on the radio frequency monitoring Jerry's refueling and departure for the patient pickup for about 20 minutes. When Jerry called the landing zone for patient pickup and told them he was about 10 minutes out, I once again went on the air and thanked him again and wish him Godspeed on the mission. I then changed frequencies to the home base radio. About 20 minutes later we landed at home base. I don't recall how much later, but about 2 hours later we received a call that Dust Off 90 had not made the pickup and that radar from the standby site had lost him shortly after his radio call to the landing zone that he was about 10 minutes out. I returned to the site and spent about 2 weeks searching for Jerry and his crew. I felt then and still feel today responsible for that crew. They took my mission and went down. Jerry was a professional soldier and aircraft commander.
I have been carrying it for most of my adult life now and you are the first family member I have been able to contact to extend my condolence for the lost of your loved one. Know that my heart, compassion and love goes out to you and all your extended family. May God continue to support and sustain you and my He help soften the hearts of those who have the ability and knowledge to bring this to closure. God bless!
Dust Off 93
I appreciate your e-mails responding to my comments to you of Sunday, 31 Dec 2000.
Yes! I knew that Jerry was a good Christian. He lived his religion and was true to the faith. He was not the preacher type but would reflect by his example and deeds the faith he had in the Lord. If a fellow soldier would get upset and use bad language he would politely suggest a better behavior or word choice. If the Lord's name was used he said, "Jesus is my best friend and I would appreciate it if you would not use His name in that manner." Jerry was a real gentleman.
I wish you and yours a very pleasant New Year. Thanks for responding!
I am Hoss. I wrote the story of Dustoff 90. I had the honor and privilege to fly as his Medic for almost 4 months. I still wear the crews POW/MIA Bracelet. I loved Jerry and trusted him with my life on many occasions. I wish I had gone down with him than live this hell I live here. I have always felt a lot of guilt over that last mission. I was rotated back to Tuy Hoa 2 hours before they went through the trees. I am so sorry I wasn't there for him. Let me read this other sites and I will be back to you in a couple of hours. Again, I am so sorry I was there when he needed me the most.
Don (Hoss) Caldwell
Have Jerry's remains ever been brought back home? The VHPA directory says "Disappeared on a clear night flight to Ban Me Thuot after call." So he died on his way to rescue someone. Medevac pilots were the most highly respected as they frequently risked their lives for others
Polecat (aka Jim Schueckler)