Bruce Crosby

Gary Westcott

We will always remember …

We were 20 years old. Seemed old at the time, all of us had been in country long enough to be considered ‘oldtimers.’ Gary and I met in Oakland, CA while waiting for transport to Vietnam. We arrived in Vietnam on the same flight and traveled from Saigon to Phu Bai together.

Gary was the ‘elder,’ he would turn 21 in a month; Bruce had celebrated his 20th birthday just months earlier. I was the youngest of the three; having transitioned into my twenties just a couple weeks prior to the North Vietnamese initiated attacks on March 30, 1972.

Often when I think of all the things I’ve experienced and enjoyed – or not enjoyed – I am reminded of my fellow 20-year olds. We’re still 20 in my mind, while I have aged greatly. They have not.

They did not experience the last 45 years: marriage, children, grandchildren and joys, sorrows and melancholy too numerous to mention. Their loved ones have no memories of them beyond that last good-bye. When they were twenty.

On this Memorial Day, I publicly salute the Crosby and Westcott families for the sacrifice they made in 1972 and for the years of sacrifice since. I salute the memory of your son, husband, father or brother, and want you to know they are not forgotten. At least not by this twenty-year-old.

“Any American who has ever listened to a bugler sound Taps, the last salute, whether on a green and grassy hillside, a muddy field halfway around the world, or a lonely tarmac stateside or anywhere freedom is cherished and defended, knows exactly why we set aside a special day each year to honor those who have died for our country and to pray for permanent peace.

“We do so for the sons and daughters of our land who have perished in the cause of liberty, country, and peace, the cause that has called Americans from generation to generation. We do so for the Nation that was home to these heroes and heroines, the Nation that gave them their birthright of freedom. We do so for the sacred trust they have left us, to revere, defend, and preserve all that they have revered, defended, and preserved for us.” (Ronald Reagan, President of the United States, May, 1987)

If any Air America veterans happen across this site, I’m interested in trying to track down the helicopter pilot who picked us up from the Le Vang POL point on Easter Sunday, 1972.


Welcome to the Guestbook Blog for “The Last Seven Days,” an article I wrote years ago following my return from Vietnam.  If you’ve read the previous posting of this article on the old Geocities web site, you’ll note that I’ve added to the original account a prologue, a postscript and some pictures provided by fellow 407th Radio Research Detachment Veterans.  I believe this will help place things in context for you.  If you’d like to download the article as a pdf, click on this link and select “save” (or “save as,” depending on your web browser).

To leave a comment in the guestbook blog – and I really do want to hear from you – scroll down through the existing comments and fill out the comment form (Name, email address and your comment), then click on the “Submit Comment” button.  Only your name and comment will be visible once the comment is accepted – I’m the only one who will see your email address, unless, of course, you put it in your comment!

If you’d like to contact me outside of the blog, please email me directly.

If you want to know something about the author, check out “A Bit About Me.”  I’ve also set up a page on which I occasionally add information concerning the Easter Offensive of 1972 – “Additional Information,” and a MACV Team 155 member has provided me with an account of the days covered by “The Last Seven Days” from his perspective.  You can read Major Robert Well’s recollections on the “MACV Team 155 Story” page.

Over the years I’ve subscribed to press releases from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), I thought that visitors to this site would be interested in the successful recovery efforts of that organization, so, I’m beginning to post those press releases on my “Returned Home” page.  JPAC has a very informative and interesting web site – well worth the visit.  I also recommend that you visit the Department of Defense’s POW/Missing Persons Office web site.  They’ve added a new feature highlighting the “recently accounted for” from Vietnam, Korea, World War II and other conflicts.

Thanks for visiting, and I look forward to reading your comments.

Thank a Veteran’s family for their sacrifices in supporting their Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine!

G. Duane Whitman

132 Responses to Home

  1. Shirley ( Crosby ) Ploetz says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories, and for your service. Bruce Crosby was my brother, and while I just learned of the ASA monument, it’s heartwarming to know that both he and Gary were remembered and honored.


    • johnnmastro says:

      Hello … Shirley … indeed your brother is remembered by many.
      I still have your letters from years past when you contacted me.
      John Mastro


    • RetiredMSG says:

      Thank you so much for reconnecting, yes, Bruce and Gary are remembered and honored – daily most likely, not only by those of us who served with them, but also by the many who visit this site. One of these days we’ll all meet.
      best regards,
      – duane


    • Skip Cox says:

      Navy certainly remembers Bruce and Gary … we especially regret they were out of our range and we could only hope for the best outcome that day.
      USS Buchanan sends …


  2. Gordon Morton says:

    Today, 1 May, marks the 45th anniversary when the 37th ARRS P.J.’s pulled our MACV TM 155 out of the Citadel at QT. Once, again, I thank you and my children thank you.

    I also will again ask if anyone happens to have the recording of the radio traffic of that mission. Airman Magazine printed the transcript, but when I contacted the current entity, I was told those archives no longer exist, or, at least are lost and buried.
    You just never know what someone may have and forgot about it over the decades.

    Then and now, Air Force Rescue are heroes. Thank you for your service.

    Gordon Morton
    MACV TM 155


  3. James Gall says:

    Thank you for writing down all the memories. I was in Phu Bai 1/66-6/67, but hardly ever left the compound except for R&R and leave. It is only in these past few years as I have connected with ASA facebook groups that I have heard the stories of my compatriots doing the job out at fire bases and with combat groups. That is a heck of a story, and so glad you made it back. Welcome home brother, and thank you for your service.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruth Richards says:

    Sincere thanks, Duane, for your many years of military service. We know so little of the dangers you faced so many times, and God preserved you.


  5. Great site, continue to success.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s