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. Don Gaudet says:

    I recently was on YouTube and searched for “Easter offensive of 1972 in quang tri” and a short video popped up by Jim Laurie about the evacuation of three star compound check it out.


  2. I went to language school with Gary, and his death, and that of Bruce Allen Crosby, is a tragic one to say the very least. Gary enjoyed life to the hilt, and it was a true shame he had to leave it with so much to look forward to. I noticed you had a picture of a Sam Ford. A man by that name was also in my language school class. Might he be the same one?
    Bruce Kelly, debsforprez@yahoo.com


  3. Bob Crossland says:

    Thank you, Duane, for this fantastic site! And thank you for your service!!

    Best regards,
    Bob Crossland


  4. Bob Crossland says:

    SP5 Bob Crossland here. O5H20. When I came back from Hill 180, I was assigned to Project Explorer where I met Bruce and Gary. Mar 29th was obviously a horrible day. I recall there being problems with the remote antennas at FB Sarge requiring Bruce and Gary to dispatch to that location. The crypto gear dropping sync seemed to be the biggest challenge. The rest is sad history.


    • Denny Morris says:

      Hi Bob. My name is Denny Morris & I too was an 05h20 in Nam from 69-71. I was with the 265th RRC and also spent some time with the 407th as a TDY. I remember FSB’s Alpha4 and Charlie 2 as some of the bases I spent time on. It’s good to hear some of us are still kicking.


    • John Mastro says:

      Denny, I basically followed your steps…from the 265th in Jan 72 and up to QT, helped close Carroll and rotated between A4 and QT. Whole bunch of us are still kicking…


    • Bob Crossland says:

      Great hearing from fellow Vietnam Vets! Hope you all are doing fine. It’s been a long ride since Hill 180 and all of the “niceties” that came with it! Quick reminder: Make sure you check on benefits that are due you for serving in country. The VA has treated me with above and beyond services, and unfortunately there are many vets who don’t realize these benefits are available. Take care my friends.
      Bob Crossland


    • Denny Morris says:

      John, closing Carroll must have been tricky at the least. Qt was no walk in the park either. But Ripcord and O’Reilly were terrible. Thanks for your service … Denny


    • John Mastro says:

      Denny … Know about those nasty places from others that were on those hills. I was just going in in 70. I have a 101st friend who was on Hamburger Hill, none of those places fun. I know it may not matter to some, but I’m glad the last two years of the Vietnam war are more widely known now. Most thought the war was over, but it was not, as Duane’s narrative attests. I had the honor to serve with him after the 265th stood down. Thanks for you service, also.


  5. John Percy; A Co., 311 C/R Bn. 1953-1956. says:

    Amazing story. Simply amazing.


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