The "Purple Foxes" Today

ANY updates are welcome, from the this-is-what-I-do-these-days, to special stories and events.
21 January 2016

As a follow up with you regarding this e-mail you sent to me, I did get in contact with Mike Tsukamoto and gave him permission to use any of the pictures I took of the Khe Sanh area. He said they would be using one of the pictures in their February Air Force Magazine with an article about the resupplying of Khe Sanh during the siege of that base.

Interestingly, two months prior to your email I received another e-mail from a person writing a novel about the siege of Khe Sanh and he wanted my permission to use the attached picture for the possibility of being on the cover of his book. He said it is the most iconic picture he has seen of the Khe Sanh area during the siege. He is a senior executive VP with a major worldwide engineering company that did an upgrade construction project for the old highway #9 that ran from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh. While doing the project in he researched the siege of Khe Sanh which inspired him to write a novel. His book should be coming out sometime this coming summer. For permission to use my picture, I get an autographed copy of his book. He is currently in Dubai on a construction project. We have been e-mailing and talking live via cell phones on a weekly basis. I’ve been able to give him some bits and pieces of what I saw and experienced in late 67 and early 68 during the key months of siege of the Khe Sanh base. He has written our squadron’s number (HMM 364) into his book. And he also depicts a Sgt E-5 crew chief that is supposed to be me.

Between the Air Force magazine article and the person writing a novel, who would have ever thought some pictures I took 48 years ago would become useful.

Semper Fi,
J R (Jim Reed)

16 January 2016
Retired from BNSF Railway (2005)
Married lots of Grandkids.
I stay busy as a Hospice Patient Care Volunteer, Olathe Medical Center Hospice House.
I'm also active in my Church and VVA Chapter 912.
R.J. Keeney    (1963 Photo)
HMM-364, 63-65


Ken Wade's 2012 Veterans Day Speach


Judge Donovan's speech 8th & I Evening Parade


Pat Donovan Promoted to Hearing Center Chief Administrative Law Judge (HCCALJ)


Ernie Cunningham becomes a "Golden Eagle"


Warren Smith's surprise in Hawaii !



State Univ of New York, Cortland  (Cortland State)
has chosen Richard Bianchino to be inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame


Don Esmond "Mystified" by Runaway Prius


Courtney Payne's Reunites with one of his recruits

Pat Donovan's Chicago Law Bulletin

Pat Donovan is A Golden Eagle

Warren R. Smith's Go-Cart

Combat Air Crew Wings Awarded 38 Years Late

Frank Gulledge, Providing Service to Others

Col. Eugene R. Brady is Enshrined in the
Santa Ana, Ca., Veterans Walk of Honor

Purple Fox, Donald V. Esmond, is Featured in Above & Beyond

02-15-05 -
Purple Fox Becomes a Federal Judge

George W. Cox's Christmas Present

Barney Espinoza's Three Careers

2ndLt. Eileen C. Donovan an Officer of Marines

Purple Fox Master of Ceremonies, Soldiers Field, Chicago, 11 Nov 2004

1stSgt. Earl P. Ewing's Daughter Seeks Information

It's a Very Small World

"Uncle Frank's" Tongue in Cheek DFC

Thomas J. "Sully" Sullivan's Fortitude

Joseph P. "Pat" Donovan, Vietnam Class of 68-69
Appointed to Illinois Veterans Advisory Council

(Click Above to View)

Hard Down Purple Fox to be Honored


Former "Purple Fox" is Now a Brigadier General

(Click here for details)

Arthur Marc Slagel, LtCdr. Chaplain Corps, USN (Former Cpl. USMC 67-68)

Lieutenant Commander Arthur Marc Slagle was born in Dayton, Ohio on 13 December 1948, the second of twin sons.  He was raised in the South Bronx in New York City.  In July 1966 he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.  Upon completion of recruit training at Parris Island, he reported to Millington, Tennessee for aviation training.  He reported to MCAF Tustin, CA. in June 67, joining HMM-364 "Purple Foxes" preparing for deployment.  While deployed to the Republic of Viet Nam, Corporal Slagle also served with HMM-164 "Knightriders" where he flew as an aerial door gunner and mechanic.  Follow on tours were with VMFAT-101 and VMFA-531, both F-4 Phantom squadrons at MCAS El Toro, CA.  In September 1970 Sergeant Slagle left the Corps to attend Walla Walla College in Washington state where he earned his BA degree.  He began his pastoral ministry in New York City in 1975.  In 1979 he completed his MA degree at Andrews University School of Graduate Studies in Berrien Springs, Michigan.  He was commissioned in August 1979 as a reserve officer.  From 1979-1983 he served with Marines in Garden City, New York and South Bend, Indiana.  Following post-graduate studies at Andrews University Theological Seminary he accepted a superseding appointment into the Chaplain Corps in September 1984.  Chaplain Slagle reported to active duty onboard the USS HALSEY CG 23, a guided missile cruiser out of San Diego in Oct 1984.  Subsequent tours include 3rd Battalion 7th Marines and the 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1stMARDIV, Camp Pendleton.  Heading to the east coast LT Slagle reported to the National Naval  Medical Center, Bethesda, MD as staff chaplain in December 1989.  In July 1992 Slagle pursued post-graduate studies at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.  In June 1993 LCDR Slagle reported to MCAS EL TORO, CA where he assumed the duties as the Group Chaplain for Marine Air Control Group 38 (MACG 38).  June 1995 saw the Slagle's short-toured with orders to the nuclear aircraft carrier USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER CVN 69, homeported in Norfolk, VA, to serve as the Senior Protestant Chaplain. Upon completion of thirty-eight months onboard EISENHOWER, Slagle reported to his current assignment at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, VA where he is the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) Chaplain to 1500 hundred men and women.  LCDR is a highly decorated Marine/Chaplain with 30 decorations including the Marine Combat Aircrew Wings, Purple Heart, Air Medal (three awards), Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal (two awards), Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal (two awards) and numerous unit and personnel decorations.  Chaplain Slagle has three grown children Marc, Brent and Amy.

Submitted by:
    Your Webmaster

Back Browser  or  Continue "Purple Foxes Today"

Operation Dominic and Radiation Cancer

I would be more then obliging, to any and all Brothers of Operation Dominic, to converse and assist in procedures relative to compensation from The Veterans Administration for "Service Connected" problems due to radiation, as my current status is 40% SCD, with  the loss of my Cancerous Left kidney, and Loss of 15% of my Posas Stomach Muscles. (Note:the Kidney's are the Primary area that radiation attacks first)

Cpl. Donald L "Crook" Crooker, USMC (Vet)

Two More "Purple Foxes" Reunite After 30 Years

Do you remember Sgt. Foyster "Willie" Williams 69-70?  After my e-mail address was placed in the squadron roster, I got an e-mail from a Scott Williams.  He introduced himself to me and explained that his father had been visiting him and they found my e-mail address and that they were curious as to whether or not I was the same "Pappy" that Scott's dad knew.  Well, I had been trying to find Willie for a long time with no success and all of a sudden here he was.  So, I sent an e-mail back explaining that indeed I am the same guy his dad served with and filled him in on some of our exploits.  Then my wife came up with a phone number for Willie in Ohio, by utilizing  I called him and we had quite a reunion.  And it was made possible because you put my e-mail address in the squadron roster.  Thanks for providing us a means to stay in touch. If it wasn't for this web site, Willie and I would still be wondering what ever happened to each other.

Semper Fi,
William N. "Pappy" Hill
MGySgt.    USMC (Ret)

Two Web sites/Organizations Reunite Former "Purple Foxes"

About 2 years ago, I stopped in a 7-11 store in the town where I live.  I was in line at the checkout counter behind a gentleman wearing a black satin jacket that was embroidered rather colorfully with Southeast Asia on the back.  I said, "Nice jacket, what outfit were you with".  To my surprise, he said, "Marines, Marble Mountain."  "Yeah, me too, I was with 364 Purple Foxes", "So was I".  I briefly told him about the USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association reunion group and vowed to send him some info.  I grabbed a piece of cardboard and had him write his name and address on it.  But I lost it and never ran into the gentleman again.

A little while back while scanning the "Noteworthy..." section of our Purple Fox web site I was reading the story by Guy Lobdell about his visit to the Wall.  It brought back a lot of memories of my visit to the wall.  His name rang a bell and I decided to look him up in the Popasmoke member directory.  Much to my surprise I saw that he was from Richland, WA, the same town I live in.  Bingo!  It came back to me, that this was the guy from the 7-11 store.  I quickly sent him an e-mail and asked if he was indeed the guy I had briefly met.  When I found out he was, I told him I was glad to see he connected to the group because I had lost his name and address.  We had a couple of nice chats on the internet and Guy invited me to look into the local Marine Corps League and the Young Marines Program.  I said I would give it some thought.  Then the other day I was visiting my daughter who lives in town and she said, "Dad, take a look at the Wrangler Jeep two doors up when you drive out."  I did, and it was a beauty.  Black w/a huge Marine Corps emblem on the wheel cover.  But I also noticed one of our Nam Stickers on the bumper of a pickup parked there as well.  It caught my curiosity and went back to the member directory and lo and behold, Guy Lobdell lives two doors up from my daughter.  Now I have not gone over to see him, but I will.

Just goes to show you what a really small world we live in.  There is only one thing that concerns me....Guy mentioned to me on the internet that his nickname was "Magnet Ass".   I think I will approach Guy slowly and check the surrounding area before I make contact, because we all know that nicknames don't just appear out of the blue, you have to earn 'em.

Submitted by:
    1stLt. Pat "Swift Chuck" Kenny, USMCR (Vet)

 My name is Lenny Melancon currently living in Santa Barbara, CA and am a pilot with Petroleum Helicopters supporting oil production and exploration in the Channel off the California coast.

From the perspective of a pilot that has over 16,000 hrs and probably cheated death many times both in my Marine Corps career and in civilian life, recollecting a comrade loosing his life on a 'beer run' makes me thankful to be alive and remorseful that a young man in his prime was taken from us.  The "Wall", books like Bonnie Sue, and getogethers at reunions all produce queasy feelings and make me realize how fortunate I am to be able to associate with men and women of the Corps.
Semper Fi
One Grateful Cajun,
1stLt. Lenny Melancon, USMCR (Vet)

This is in Responese to a Posting Below of 07-26-99 "Braggin Rights"

Major Allen,
I had the distinct honor of serving as your son's Executive Officer and later as his Commanding Officer in HMM- 262.  During the second cruise we made to the Orient I had the honor of promoting him to Captain.  I also was on the staff at the Amphibious Warfare School when Travis was a student.  He has certainly continued the legacy from father to son.  I salute both you and Travis.  You have more than just "Braggin Rights."  May God bless you.
Semper fi,
Dave McSorley
Colonel USMC (Ret)
(And Former "Purple Fox" 69-70

08-23-99    Marines of HMM-364, General Colin Powell is Speaking to You!
               You are Among the Most Influential People of This Century.

Time Magazine prepared a list of the 10 most influential people of the century in each field to mark the end of the century.  The 10 most influential scientists, politicians, entertainers, sports figures, musicians,  artists, and industrialists.  This month they published the 10 most influential people (overall) of the century.  They named "the American GI" the most influential person of the century.   It is the only one that is not a single individual.  General Powell wrote the introduction to the award.

As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I referred to the men and women of  the armed forces as "G.I.s."  It got me in trouble with some of my colleagues at the time.  Several years earlier, the Army had officially excised  the term as an unfavorable characterization derived from the designation "government issue."    Sailors and Marines wanted to be known as sailors and Marines.  Airmen, notwithstanding their origins as a rib of the Army, wished to be called simply airmen.  Collectively, they were blandly referred to as "service members."  I persisted in using G.I.s and found I was in good company.  Newspapers and television shows used it all the time.  The most famous and successful government education program was known as the G.I. Bill, and it still uses that title for a newer generation of veterans.  When you added one of the most common boy's names to it, you got G.I. Joe, and the name of the most popular boy's toy ever, the G.I. Joe action figure.  And let's not forget G.I. Jane.  G.I. is a World War II term that two generations later
continues to conjure up the warmest and proudest memories of a noble war that pitted pure good against pure evil and good triumphed.

The victors in that war were the American G.I.s, the Willies and Joes, the farmer from Iowa and the steelworker from Pittsburgh who stepped off a landing craft into the hell of Omaha Beach.  The G.I. was the wisecracking kid Marine from Brooklyn who clawed his way up a deadly hill on a Pacific island.   He was a black fighter pilot escorting white bomber pilots over Italy and Germany, proving that skin color had nothing to do with skill or courage.  He was a native Japanese-American infantryman released from his own country's concentration camp to join the fight. She was a nurse relieving the  agony of a dying teenager.  He was a petty officer standing on the edge of a  heaving aircraft carrier with two signal paddles in his hands, helping guide a dive-bomber pilot back onto the deck. They were America.  They reflected our diverse origins.  They were the embodiment of the American spirit of courage and dedication.  They were truly a "people's army,"going forth on a crusade to save democracy and freedom, to defeat tyrants, to save oppressed peoples and to make their families proud of them.  They were the Private Ryans, and they stood firm in the thin red line.

For most of those G.I.s, World War II was the adventure of their lifetime.  Nothing they would ever do in the future would match their experiences as the warriors of democracy, saving the world from its own insanity.  You can still see them in every Fourth of July color guard, their gait faltering but ever proud.

Their forebears went by other names: doughboys, Yanks, buffalo soldiers, Johnny Reb, Rough Riders.  But "G.I." will be forever lodged in the consciousness of our nation to apply to them all.  The G.I. carried the value system of the American people. The G.I.s were the surest guarantee of America's commitment.  For more than 200 years, they answered the call to fight the nation's battles.  They never went forth as mercenaries on the road to conquest.  They went forth as reluctant warriors, as citizen soldiers.

They were as gentle in victory as they were vicious in battle.  I've had survivors of Nazi concentration camps tell me of the joy they experienced as the G.I.s liberated them: America had arrived!  I've had a wealthy Japanese businessman come into my office and tell me what it was like for him as a child in 1945 to await the arrival of the dreaded American beasts, and instead meet a smiling G.I. who gave him a Hershey bar.  In thanks, the businessman was donating a large sum of money to the USO.  After thanking
him, I gave him as a souvenir a Hershey bar I had autographed.  He took it and began to cry.

The 20th century can be called many things, but it was most certainly a century of war. The American G.I.s helped defeat fascism and communism.  They came home in triumph from the ferocious battlefields of World Wars I and II.  In Korea and Vietnam they fought just as bravely as any of their predecessors, but no triumphant receptions awaited them at home.  They soldiered on through the twilight struggles of the cold war and showed what they were capable of in Desert Storm.  The American people took them into their hearts again.

In this century hundreds of thousands of G.I.s died to bring to the beginning of the 21st century the victory of democracy as the ascendant political system on the face of the earth.  The G.I.s were willing to travel far away and give their lives, if necessary, to secure the rights and freedoms of others.  Only a nation such as ours, based on a firm moral foundation, could make such a request of its citizens.  And the G.I.s wanted nothing more than to get the job done and then return home safely.  All they asked for in repayment from those they freed was the opportunity to help them become part of the world of democracy-and just enough land to bury their fallen comrades, beneath simple white Crosses and Stars of David.

The volunteer G.I.s of today stand watch in Korea, the Persian Gulf, Europe and the dangerous terrain of the Balkans.  We must never see them as mere hirelings, off in a corner of our society.  They are our best, and we owe them our full support and our sincerest thanks.

As this century closes, we look back to identify the great leaders and personalities of the past 100 years.  We do so in a world still troubled, but full of promise.  That promise was gained by the young men and women of America who fought and died for freedom.  Near the top of any listing of the most important people of the 20th century must stand, in singular honor, the American G.I.

General Colin Powell,
former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, now chairman of America's Promise

08-22-99    Guy W. Lobdell Visits "The Wall"

On the occasion of a recent business trip to Washington, D.C. I decided to make my first visit to "The Wall".  I don't know how other veteran's felt about the Viet Nam memorial, but when it was first described to me I thought that they couldn't be serious.  A black wall with all the names on it!!!

However, as I walked to the  wall from my hotel,  I was mesmerized by  the intensity of feelings rushing to mind as I got closer and closer.  The vision of this wall is now permanently burned into my mind.  I had this incredible feeling of brotherhood with all 58 thousand, plus names inscribed on this magnificent wall.  I felt that both times I was wounded, I could have ended up on the wall.  Many times I have  wondered how I survived
and they didn't.

I took several pictures of the Iwo Jima, because it has always stood out in my mind that that is what the Marine Corps  is all about, and my dad was on Iwo.

Sgt. Guy W. Lobdell, USMC (Vet) & "Purple Fox" 67-68

8-22-99    Stephanie Hanson (Daughter of Gary Young, HM)

On Memorial Day I went up to the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial here in Oregon. They have a miniature version of the Wall in Washington DC. There are different walls for the different years of the War and only those killed from Oregon are listed - all 800 of them.

It was the first time I had been there, and while I was walking around with my aunt and uncle, we were approached by a reporter from our local paper, The Oregonian.  The next day, my story was on the Front Page of the newspaper! They didn't use the pictures they took of me, but I was a major part of the story. They focused on 3 people who were at the memorial, but as my Grandma says..."They used more words for me than anyone else!"

Here's the article (at least the part that relates to me).

So far, 5 people that knew Gary have read the article and contacted me!  Two of the women grew up with Gary, so they have some really neat recollections and are digging up some pictures and letters for me. It's been pretty cool.

Thanks, Marines of HMM-364, for assisting in making my search fruitful.

Stephanie, Hanson
A Memorial Page Maintained by Stephanie

Vietnam Dead Remembered
Survivors gather at a memorial to honor their loved ones who didn't return


On a day when the past is remembered, the scorching memory of Vietnam remains, sharp and poignant. Even for the young, it persists.  On Memorial Day at Portland's Vietnam Veterans Living Memorial, onlookers thronged the grassy bowl as names of Oregonians who died in the Vietnam War were read. Some came to remember parents or family members, others to reflect on a war they did not personally experience but that has burned through a generation to their own lives.

Monday at the memorial, Stephanie Hanson, 30, of Portland sank down before the polished black slab of granite on which the name of her father, Gary N. Young, is chiseled.  It was Hanson's first visit to the memorial, a focal point for a search that has come to fill her life. The search is as much for her father as for herself.  Stephanie Hanson never knew her father. Gary Young, a Navy medic, died 2 ½ months before she was born.  She was put up for adoption at birth.

It was only in 1996 that Hanson began a search for her birth parents. She found her birth mother that year and learned that her father died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam.  She began an Internet search on Veterans Day of 1996 to find more, not only about her father but about the circumstances of his death. She learned that the crash occurred as the copter descended to pick up the victim of a land mine explosion. She even met a survivor of the crash.  With the full support of her adoptive parents, she joined an organization of children whose parents had been killed in the war. She wears her father's metal identification tag around her neck. She has written the Army, asking to be given his service medals.

"It's amazing what a huge part of people's lives the war was," she said.  "Some are still haunted by their stories."

Often the search for the past in Vietnam is a search to heal a wound.....

08-18-99    Colonel Dave "Smiley" McSoreley's Family and the Corps

Tomorrow Colonel Dave "Smiley" McSoreley, USMC(Ret) and his lovely wife Rita will leave for Quantico.  Their youngest son, Matt, who is a college junior is completing his first summer session of PLC.  Matt has an aviation contract and Dave and Rita look forward to the day they will visit Pensacola to assist in pinning on Matt's "wings of gold".

Their daughter, Katie, is married to a Marine Captain and they are stationed at Quantico.  Their eldest son, David, is a Marine Captain stationed at Camp Pendleton, Ca.  Looks like the future of our Marine Corps will be in capaple hands for a while thanks to a former "Purple Fox".

HMM-364 Webmaster
Dave's e-mail address is:

07-26-99    Braggin' Rights

Attached you will find a copy of the invitation I received yesterday.  I am extremely proud of my #2 son!

Albert N. "Small Sam" Allen, Major USMC(Ret)
A "Yankee Kilo Marine" of  1963 - 1964

04-25-99    SECNAV Appoints a "Purple Fox" to Retiree Council

MGySgt Carl R. "Moon" Mullen USMC(Ret) was recently selected to serve a three year term on the SECNAV retiree council.  The Council meets annually in D.C. and plays an active part in policy making decisions as they affect the retired community.   Carl "Moon" Mullen served in country with HMM-364 as a Sgt. in 1964.  His sub committee is looking into medical/health care issues for retirees and met in D.C. 18 - 24 April this year.   "Moon's" report of this year's activities follows:

Sunday, 25 April 1999

Just got back from D.C. last night so our meeting is over for this year.  Was very impressed, a very dedicated bunch of retirees from all over the world who want to make things better.  I worked with the committee on medical issues and our focus was getting a medical program for the over 65 age group.  We offered about three different examples for SECNAV and DOD to consider.  We also made recommendations for changes to the retirees dental plan, updates to the mail order pharmacy program, ways to include overseas retirees in all our benefits and improvements to regular  TRICARE just to name a few.  Two other groups worked on compensation and support issues but I have not seen their final draft yet to know what was included.  I will continue to be an advocate for retiree issues for the next three years while on the council.

                                                                                                 Semper Fi - - - Moon

Carl R. Mullen
Attn: NARED Naval Hospital
Box 555191
Camp Pendleton, CA 92055

Forward Noteworthy Items of Interest to:

Back Browser  or  Home