December 2022 Sentinel

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FRONT COVER: Capt. Nguyen Van Tuong flying Kingbee north to Quang Tri in December 1968. Tuong was a highly regarded pilot of the VNAF 219 Squadron – The Kingbees, an elite helicopter squadron that supported highly secretive MACV-SOG operations in North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Nguyen Van Tuong saved SOG Green Beret Recon Team Idaho on several occasions. Read the story of Christmas Day 1968 on page 2. (Photo Courtesy John Stryker Meyer)

From the Editor:

Our November issue was a record breaking size for us, but there was so much to cover, both good and bad. We all enthusiastically worked extra hard to cover it all.

There was the SFACON 2022, and Alex Quade’s wonderful articles, including Chapter Treasurer Richard Simonian’“s receiving the prestigious St. Neri Award, and the internment of Bruce Long. If you missed it, go to https://www.specialforces78.com/chapter-78-newsletter-for-november-2022/, click on the Sentinel cover picture to view or download pdf version of the November issue. The PDF version includes all the info you don’t otherwise see.

This month we start, appropriately enough, with a Christmas story from John Stryker Meyer. Every Christmas he is drawn back to a hill in Laos where, but for an amazing “Kingbee” pilot named Nguyen Tuong, he and the rest of his Strike Team Idaho would have met their end. Decades later Meyer and Tuong were reunited in Orange County, CA.

Then, a Letter to the Editor from Dan Thompson brought us a wonderful poem and the touching story behind it. The title is “Gravediggers of Laos” and it is an absorbing read. Written for the membership of SOA, mostly comprised of SOG veterans, the message to the families of those that were, or remain, missing was enthusiastically and emotionally well received.

Following that is the hard hitting conclusion of Greg Walker’s telling of former Green Beret David Baez’ story. In each part, Greg reveals information unknown to the public and brings out why David was practically destined to follow the path he did with the Sandanistas. His eye opening stories have brought to light efforts of SF that helped turn the tide of Communist insurgencies in Central and South America.

Greg follows with a tribute to SOG legend Robert “Spider” Parks who very recently passed away. Greg had known “Spider” since Panama.

The 10th Group Public Affairs Office team has produced videos of the presentations at SFACON 2022. There is some great history and lessons learned there. You’ll find links to the easy way to view each one on our back cover.

Finally, here’s a quiz for you. How does one find several years worth of copies of the DROP on the Teamhouse website? The answer is: go to the website: https://teamhouse.specialforcesassociation.org/, log in, look among the 18 blue headings and find DOCUMENTS. Scroll down until you see The Drop Archive, click on it and select the quarter’s Drop you wish to view, all the way back to 2011.

Enjoy.

How Miller
Sentinel Editor

SENTINEL Awards

  • Awarded best Special Forces Association Monthly Newsletter at SFA National Convention June 2011 and 2014
  • Awarded Golden Quill at SFA National Convention June 2015 and June 2016
  • Best Newsletter Award for 2017 from Special Forces Association National Board of Directors at the International Convention in Fayetteville, NC
  • Special Forces Association (SFA) Cross Arrow Award for Excellence, 2018, First Award Presented by SFA in this category
  • The War Reporters Award, Presented by Alex Quade – (War Reporter and Film Producer) for Chapter 78 Sentinel’s Commitment documenting Special Forces History, July 2018
  • The Golden Arrows for Excellence in Newsletters 2019 awarded by SFA National
  • The Golden Arrows for Excellence in Newsletters 2020 awarded by SFA National
Funding for the SFA Chapter 78 Sentinel is provided by the Veterans Affordable Housing Program, a program of the American Veterans Assistance Group 888-923-VETS (8387) VeteransAffordableHousing.org

The Sentinel is published monthly by Special Forces Association Chapter 78, Southern California — art direction and design by Debra Holm, Dinwiddie Holm Graphics. The views, opinions and articles printed in this issue do not necessarily reflect the views of the United States Army or the United States Special Operations Command, the Special Forces Association, or Special Forces Association Chapter 78. Please address any comments to the editor at sfachapter78@gmail.com.