Veteran shares story during VFW event
CW4 (ret.) John A. Crowley shared his military experience and remembered those he served with who lost their lives in Vietnam during the VFW Post 6020's Veterans Day event on Friday, Nov. 10.Crowley served in Vietnam for 19 months from 1970-72."The memory filter of almost 50 years makes those days sometimes not quite as clear as it used to be," he said. "Some of the memories are still very vivid."Crowley said during his time in Vietnam, he lost members of his unit during a combat air assault operation."On April 4, 1971, my unit lost a UH-1H Huey 'Slick,' with crew and passengers, while participating in a combat air assault in the vicinity of (a Vietnam village)," he said. "The lost aircraft was the trail aircraft of a flight of five 'Slicks,' and it was not known that they had crashed until they failed to make the trail aircraft call that the flight had landed and discharged the troops."When it was noted that they were missing, the route was searched and the wreckage was found. It had appeared that the main rotor of the Huey had separated in flight and caused the catastrophic loss of the aircraft crew and passengers."He recited the name of the crew to remember those who lost their lives in service.Crowley said he still remembers those who died. He said the pain of losing his brothers in arms stayed with him, even years later, but he eventually heard a speech that brought him comfort."The aircraft was in the platoon that I was assigned to," he said. "I often think of those young men who so unselfishly gave their lives in defense of America's freedom. The pain of those memories is still with me."For several years after the event, I was bothered by the memories of that day and often indulged in self-destructive behavior. I listened to a talk by the author of the book called We Were Soldiers Once and Young.' The end of his speech was, 'Those young men who gave their lives so long ago are now at peace brother. So should you be; so should you be.'"Following Crowley's speech, Staff Sgt. (ret.) Micheal Smith, VFW Auxiliary President Vicki Barry and Crowley placed a wreathe under the American flag to honor those who have served in the military.