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An Officer and a GentlemanJohn Van Blarcom for Salem-News.com
Two Vietnam War helicopter crewmen; a pilot and a crew chief, locate each other 44 years later.
(MANAKAEKIN, NJ / SALEM, Ore.) - This is a true story about an Officer and a Gentleman from Salem, Oregon. Forty four years ago, in 1966, two very young men crossed paths half way around the world in Phu Loi, Vietnam. Both were in the U.S. Army, members of the 116th AHC (Assault Helicopter Company).
I was a Huey crew chief and Warrant Officer Stanley Perry was a pilot.
We flew many missions together during the year and have a lot of stories to tell, but the story I want to tell took place last week.
While doing some WEB research regarding Vietnam, I came across a message posted by Warrant Officer Perry.
Wow, my mind raced through memories that have been dormant for many years.
I haven’t been in touch with him since leaving Vietnam. I quickly sent off an Email including my phone number.
Twenty minutes later I received a phone call and you guessed it, Officer Perry!
Here’s the twist. Before I could say how wonderful it was to hear from him, Mr. Perry said in an excited voice, I’ve tried hundreds of times to locate you with no success.
I’ve been trying to find all the crew chiefs I have flown with to say, “THANK YOU”!
Now that’s a class act, a demonstration of extremely high character. A decorated Vietnam Veteran that had the skills and nerves to get me home, and he wants to thank me.
I am proud to have served with Officer Perry and to this day I believe he is the one who deserves the credit and thanks.
John Van Blarcom
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