Valis, I have sent Lee some photos, but he hasn't put them up yet. However, my buddy Ron has a couple at the bottom of the 69 - 70 page. It's funny you mention me smiling, my daughters complain I don't smile enough. The smile in my profile pic was easy, though, I was holding my second Grandson, Josh, the day he was born.
Mega, the story of that helicopter pilot is all too familiar. In the 18 months I was physically in country, we lost about 44 of the OH-6s I worked on. From that number, I can only remember about 6 dying. One, Scotty, was a total shock to everyone. He was shot in the leg, was recovering fine and on the flight to Japan, his leg started bleeding inside the body cast they had him in and he bled to death while sleeping. The book, "Red Bird Down," by Bruce Carlson, is dedicated to him. Bruce was flying the helicopter the day Scotty was shot.
Another book covering the operations of the Air Cav in Vietnam is "Hunter-Killer Squadron" by Matthew Brennan. It is a compilation of first hand accounts of activities there, from 1965 to 1972.
Manon, Thanks. Most of us did return safely. Many faced ostracism from the public, though. Since I stayed in the Army another 6 years after Vietnam, I wasn't exposed to as much of it as some others were, though. I'm very happy your uncles returned safely and hope they are doing well.
In retrospect, the 7/17th was considered one of the better units in Vietnam. All still agree today and we are actively seeking all who we served with. They have been holding yearly reunions around the country as well as reconnecting old buddies and getting reacquainted with each other. We had some really good leaders who did everything they could to keep our morale high and still get the job done. We all regret the politicians didn't let us do what they sent us there to do.