OBServation SquadRON Sixty Seven
Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor
"In lasting recognition of the gallantry and self-sacrifice displayed by the many Enlisted Combat Aircrewmen who teamed with their pilots, in whom they entrusted their fate, to engage the enemy in the air, on land and on the sea, no matter the odds. . . ."
Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor Plaque
A02 DARRELL BERG|
Berg served as an aft M-60 gunner on the skippers Crew-1 during VO-67's deployment in South East Asia in 1967-68. He flew numerous combat missions and received both his gold and silver combat aircrew wings with VO-67. It was quite an honor to be chosen to serve on Captain Sharps crew. Darrell also serviced and maintained the forward mounted SUU-11 7.62mm mini guns mounted on each wing. Firepower from these guns was around 6000 rounds per minute. Darrell kept these guns in tip top shape on MR-1.
ADJ2 KERRY BIGNALL|
Kerry Bignall, VO-67 Crew 6, was officially inducted into the Enlisted Combat Air Crew Roll of Honor on 12 November, 1999, aboard the USS Yorktown (CV-10). The Yorktown has been designated as part of the Naval and Maritime Museum at Patriots Point in Charleston, SC.
On Thursday evening, 11 November, a get acquainted dinner reception was held for all inductees and officials. AT 10:00 a.m. on Friday morning, some 450 people gathered in Hanger Bay 2 of the Yorktown for the induction ceremony.
RADM James H Flatley III USN (RET), CEO of Patriots Point, was the Master of Ceremony for the event. VADM Richard C. Allen USN (RET) awarded the plaques as each of the inductees was called up to the podium. Forty Six of the 82 inductees participated in the ceremony. Some of the inductees were unable to attend and others were awarded posthumously.
Kerry Bignall was the first Navy Vietnam War air crewman to be inducted into the Roll of Honor. Two Marines from the Vietnam War were also inducted this year with Kerry.
Pictured in the photo below left to right: Alexander McCormick MSGT USAF (Ret), Melvin R Schultz CAPT USNR (Ret) & Kerry Bignall
At the beginning of the ceremony, RADM Flatley gave a short speech about the history of the Roll of Honor. He noted that at this ceremony they were inducting the first Navy air crewman from the Vietnam War into the Roll of Honor. He did not mention in his remarks who the air crewman was or his squadron.
Kerry was the second inductee to be called up to the podium. RADM Flatley introduced Kerry and stated that he was from VO-67 which was a top-secret squadron implanting electronic sensors during 1967-1968.
Kerry related the following conversation after the induction:
Both RADM Flatley and VADM Allen approached me after the ceremony and asked about VO-67. RADM Flatley stated that he had spent three tours in Vietnam and had never heard of the squadron. I told him that few in the Navy or anywhere else for that matter ever had knowledge of the existence of VO-67.
I went on to tell the admiral that the squadron needed help finding lost shipmates and families and that we would provide him with the official history of VO-67 along with a copy of Wings of Gold Over The Ho Chi Minh Trail, the story of VO-67 written by our VO-67 Operations Officer, CDR Gire.
Pictured in the photo below left to right: Vadm Allen, Tony Bissell, Kerry Bignall, & Radm Flatley
I made a copy of Wings of Gold… available for the admiral and told him the official history would be sent. RADM Flatley said that he would review our history and see what he could do to promote a course of action for the enlisted crewmen to be inducted into the Roll of Honor and to bring recognition to VO-67.
VADM Allen, who is the President of the ANA magazine, also said he would be willing to help us through the magazine. A copy of Wings of Gold… and the history were also sent to him. Everyone, from the admirals to the inductees and their families, were very respectful and said they were honored to be introduced to someone from such an elite squadron that they never knew existed.
ATR3 ANTHONY BISSELL|
ATR3 Anthony Bissell is pictured kneeling, second from the left, with members of Combat Aircrew 6, VO-67.
Anthony Bissell, ATR3, Combat Aircrew 6, was inducted into the ENLISTED COMBAT AIRCREW ROLL OF HONOR in a ceremony held on the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriots Point, SC on Veteran's Day 2000. The honor was bestowed 32 years after the squadron, Observation Squadron Sixty Seven (VO-67), was disestablished. Tony flew many combat missions as a radioman, later earning him an Air Medal
"Anthony Bissell of Great Falls is presented with the Navy Air Medal at the Navy recruiting office in Kalispell. Pinning on the award is retired Navy Commander Alex Alexander of Whitefish."
AX1 RAY BRALEY|
AX1 Raymond Braley is seen standing second from left with his crew in 1968. Ray was handpicked by the VO-67 Skipper , Captain Sharp, for his leadership and electronic skills. He spent a lot of time on the rear guns on the many low level missions in the Mud River area of Laos. Ray completed many missions in support of the Marine fire base at Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive. He was officially inducted into the ROH on November 5, 2010.
A02 ROBERT CONDON, JR.|
Robert Condon Jr., was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown in 2018 during a special induction ceremony. Bob, a member of VO-67's famous Crew-9, " The Green Garuds", flew many missions into Laos , Vietnam and in support of the KHE SANH Marine fire base. Bob served as a maintainer of all weapons used by the crew and a M-60 gunner on the many combat missions that his crew completed during the squadron's deployment in South East Asia in 1967-68. It was rumored that Petty Officer Condon melted several M-60 barrels laying down suppression fire on the enemy during their close in missions. Highly praised by his Crew 9 OPC and fellow crewmen, Bob received both his Gold and Silver combat aircrew wings while serving in VO-67. Sadly Petty Officer Condon passed away before the induction ceremony aboard the USS Yorktown took place. His son, Robbie, proudly stood in and received his Dad's award plaque.
ATN3 RICHARD DECUIR|
ATN3 Richard DeCuir is pictured standing top row left with Combat Aircrew-2, VO-67 in 1968 at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force base. Rich was handpicked by the XO to serve on his crew. He received numerous awards and both Gold and Silver aircrew wings while serving in VO-67. Rich was inducted into the ROH on November 5, 2010 aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC.
ADR1 HERBERT DEMONEY|
Herb served as a gunner on Crew-9, "The Green Garud's", early in the deployment of VO-67. He and another crewman assisted the pilot in getting control of the gunship MR-9 after one of its engines had been hit by small arms fire during a low level mission in South Vietnam. The round caused the engine prop to go into an overspeed situation having the potential to throw the propeller into the cockpit and bring the aircraft down. The pilot was able to get the bird back to base and land safely with the help of these two crewmembers. Herb was promoted to enlisted Plane Captain of Crew-7 not long after that. He received both Gold and Silver aircrew wings while serving in VO-67 and was inducted into the Roll of Honor in 2018. I entrust my fate.
AE2 KEN DWELLE|
Ken Dwelle is pictured with his Crew-8 , third from right kneeling. He was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor on November 5, 2010 aboard the USS Yorktown. Ken took great pride in his aircraft and crew. Known for his outstanding sense of humor Ken always kept his crew loose, relaxed and ready for action aft of the wing beam. He received both gold and silver aircrew wings while serving with VO-67. Ken and his crew flew many missions in defense of the Marine fire base at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
ATR2 DENNIS GANDOLFO|
Petty Officer Gandolfo and another crewman were instrumental in saving their aircraft and crew during a low level combat mission in Laos when their aircraft was hit by small arms fire. One of the rounds penetrated the aircraft and severed a hydraulic line spraying hydraulic fluid all over the crew and aircraft instruments. Dennis and the other crewman used a piece of surgical tubing to direct the high pressure fluid back out the bullet hole to the outside of the aircraft. As a member of the Skippers Crew-1, Petty Officer Gandolfo served as radioman and often rear gunner in the OP-2E gunship. He received his Gold and Silver wings while serving with VO-67. Dennis was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor in 2018 aboard the USS Yorktown.
AOC WILLIAM GRAYSON|
Chief Bill Grayson was handpicked by his OPC Commander Bruce Brown. Bill and Bruce had served together prior to VO-67 being commissioned. Serving as aft M-60 gunner on Crew-4 Bill's other duty was to make sure that the sensors departed the aircraft at the precise time. Crew-4 never had a sensor hang-up during its many combat missions into Laos and Vietnam. AOC Grayson was inducted into the "Enlisted Roll of Honor" aboard the USS Yorktown on November 5, 2010, forty two years after the squadron was decommissioned.
ADJ3 ROBERT JACOBS (Jake)|
Jake is pictured with his crew , front row left. Jake served as second mech / gunner on Crew-10 known as the "Back Stabbing Lizards". Jake and his crew entered the HARD AIR countless times in Laos and Vietnam implanting sensors at very low levels along the Ho Chi Minh trail and in support of the Marine base at Khe Sanh during the 1968 Tet Offensive. Jake was inducted into the " Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll Of Honor" aboard the USS Yorktown on November 5, 2010.
ADR2 PARNELLE JONES|
Serving as Enlisted Plane Captain of Crew-9, The Green Garudas, Parnell was a true leader. Instrumental in aiding his pilot and co-pilot save the aircraft and crew during a runaway, uncontrollable prop emergency midway through a combat mission over Laos. Quote from Commander Nordhill, "I can't praise Parnell's brave actions enough for what he did that day at the risk of his own well being". A great example of the Roll of Honor proclamation, "I Entrust My Fate".
AO2 PETER KAULS|
Peter served on Crew-12 as ordnance specialist and rear window gunner during the many low altitude missions his crew flew in Laos, and Vietnam. Peter was proudest most of all, of his missions at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam knowing that what his crew did implanting sensors around the base while under siege saved a lot of servicemen's lives. Peter received his Gold and Sliver combat aircrew wings while serving in VO-67. Peter was inducted onto the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown in 2018.
ADJ3 VANCE A. NIELSEN|
ADJ3 Vance Nielsen was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown in 2018 during a special induction ceremony. Vance, a member of VO-67's Crew-12, "The Dirty Dozen ", flew many missions into Laos and Vietnam. Serving as a jet mechanic for VO-67 when on the ground and a rear M-60 gunner on the many combat missions that his crew completed during the squadrons deployment in South East Asia 1967-68. Vance received both his Gold and Silver combat aircrew wings while serving in VO-67.
ATN3 ROBERT E. REYNOLDS (Dusty)|
Bob served as electronic tech/ gunner onboard the OP-2E gunship with the Crew-5 Road Runners. He was officially inducted into the "Navy Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor" aboard the carrier USS Yorktown, November 5, 2010 in Charleston South Carolina. He received his gold aircrew wings while serving with VO-67 and along with other qualified members of VO-67, the "Silver Combat Aircrew Wings" for missions in support of the Khe Sanh Marine fire base during the 1968 Tet offense.
AX2 ROGER RINGGENBERG|
Roger Ringgenberg was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown in 2018 during a special induction ceremony. Roger is shown above with the VO-67 Association President, Richard Decuir during the presentation. Roger, a member of VO-67's Crew 4, flew many missions into Laos and Vietnam. Serving as an electronics technician for VO-67 when on the ground and a rear M-60 gunner on the many combat missions that his crew completed during the squadron's deployment in South East Asia 1967-68. Vance received both his Gold and Silver combat aircrew wings while serving in VO-67. He was often heard saying, "What the hell is a boy from Iowa doing here"? He served 24 years in the Navy and said VO-67 was his most exciting and rewarding tour of duty.
AE2 JOHN ROACH|
John served on VO-67's Crew-5 as a rear window gunner and electrical specialist aboard the OP-2E gunship. He flew many missions into the "Hard Air "with the Road Runners before they were lost in combat on February 17, 1968 while implanting sensors at very low levels on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. He was not aboard that day. John continued to fly combat missions until the squadron was decommissioned in July of 1968. AE-2 Roach received his Gold and Silver Combat aircrew wings and numerous combat awards while serving with VO-67. John was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor in 2018 aboard the USS Yorktown.
ATR2 DAVE STEFFY|
Dave Steffy was officially inducted into the "Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard the USS YORKTOWN (CV 10) Museum at Patriots Point, South Carolina on November 5, 2010. This recognition came 42 years after Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven (VO-67) was disestablished. Dave served as a combat aircrew member of Crew-9, "The Green Garudas ". He served as radioman and rear window gunner flying many low level missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and Vietnam.
AX2 JOSEPH TEODORCZYK|
Joe served on both the Crew-5 "The Road Runners" and later Crew-12, " The Dirty Dozen". He held crew positions as Radioman, Second Tech and Gunner during his tour with VO-67. Joe was a very skilled aircrewman. He also flew many patrols in Vietnam with VP-2 during the Market Time coastal surveillance missions in Vietnam. Joe received both gold and silver aircrew wings while serving with VO-67. He was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown November 5, 2010.
AMCS MELVIN UNDERWOOD|
Mel served as rear gunner on Crew six, "The Golden Eagles "during his first tour in South East Asia. He received numerous combat awards including a Bronze Star w/ Valor, the Air Medal, and Presidential Unit Citation to name a few. He also received his Gold and Silver combat aircrew wings while with VO-67. Mel continued to fly combat missions while serving his second tour in Vietnam after VO-67 was decommissioned in 1968. AMCS Underwood was inducted into "The Enlisted Combat Roll of Honor" during a special ceremony aboard the Naval Carrier USS Yorktown in April 2018.
ADR2 FRANK E. TOWNSEND|
Frank E. Townsend, is pictured kneeling third from right, with members of his Crew-3.
Every squadron has it's " In House Heroes " , Frank Townsend is one of these. A particular mission late in the VO-67 deployment was deemed as dangerous as they get. This mission called for a very long string of ADSIDS to be implanted over Tchepone in Laos, which was the hottest AAA gun area on the Ho Chi Minh Trail at the time. The mission would require a two minute and 48 second constant heading and airspeed run at 2,500 ft. A ground gunners dream. It was decided that only three members of the nine man crew would take this low survivability mission. The Pilot, Copilot and Bombardier. This did not sit well with the flight crew especially Frank. The following day Frank approached his plane Commander and stated, "Commander, with all due respect , I'm going on that mission!" Frank then delivered a well rehearsed speech on how he was needed in case of system failures or battle damage repair. Commander Gire again explained how dangerous the mission would be and the low odds of coming back. Townsend again stated, Commander, I'm going. Commander Gire relented and Plane Captain Townsend was allowed to go. The mission was completed without any direct hits on the aircraft from AAA gun fire. This esprit de corps existed in every VO-67 flight crew. ADR-2 Frank E. Townsend embodies the "Enlisted Roll of Honor " creed, " I Entrust My Fate ".
AE MICHAEL WALKER|
Mike Walker was the designated leader aft of the wing beam in the famous Crew-9 " Green Garudas". His commander could always count on Mike to keep the troops in the back calm during the most hectic of times. He remained cool under fire and had complete control and knowledge of is M-60. Mike was inducted into the Roll of Honor aboard the USS Yorktown November 5, 2010 in Charleston , South Carolina.
AFCM EDWARD J. WITT, JR.|
AFCM Edward J. Witt, Jr., is pictured kneeling, third from right, with members of VO-67 - From Naval Aviation News May-June 2001.
Retired Master Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate (Reciprocating Engine) Edward J. Witt was inducted into the Enlisted Combat Aircrew Roll of Honor aboard the YORKTOWN (CV 10) Museum at Patriots Point, S.C., on Veterans Day 2000. The honor came 32 years after his Observation Squadron (VO) 67 was disestablished. The squadron’s mission consisted of dropping listening devices and sensors to alert U.S. forces of enemy truck convoys coming down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Once a convoy was found, an airstrike was called. Because of the squadron’s heroic measures, Army reports showed VC truck kills more than tripled.
Witt flew 25 combat missions with VO-67, earning two Air Medals in a seven-month period. Later as part of VQ-1, he earned two additional Air Medals for combat support missions. Today, Witt works as a civilian supervisor at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.
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