Bruce Crosby

Gary Westcott

We will always remember …

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

154 Responses to Home

  1. Doug Stannard says:

    Attended DLIWC and Goodfellow with Gary and flew over on the same plane and then on to Phu Bai with him. Gary was quite a guy. Joe Kill and I stayed at the 8th; Gary lost with the flip of a coin and headed out to a FB. The rest is history. This past Fall I was fortunate to be a reader at the 35th anniversary of THE WALL’S dedication. Had requested to read both Gary’s and Bruce’s names but missed Gary’s name by a couple. Among my 30 names I was able to read Bruce’s. Although I never knew him it was a moving experience. A fellow behind me read Gary’s name. The reading of the names takes place every 5 years. For all of you still out there, if you are still able, it would be worth the expense. Thank you for this site.


  2. Jack Grigsby says:

    I was with the 407th for a very short period. I was the interim team leader on Carroll. I was pulled back to Phu Bai in November 1971 and worked in the S3 for the remainder of my tour. It was a very hectic time during the setup and completion of the evacuation of A4 and Quang Tri. CSM Cincotta was a great driving force

    Liked by 1 person

    • RetiredMSG says:

      I’m sure our paths crossed somewhere at the 8th … and I totally agree regarding CSM Cincotta – he was definitely a steady rational influence during the 1/2 day or so he and the CG 509th were at QT.


  3. johnnmastro says:

    Think Carl is in the picture I took at FSB Carroll when we closed it down, everybody is around a generator.


    • Carl M. Brown says:

      I remember Bruce, Gary and I standing around a generator at FSB Carroll. The generator had a hole in the oil pan. We had plugged the hole with a piece of wood, so we could keep the equipment up and running. I did not see the picture until I came upon the 407th website some years later.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. john 'jack' roche says:

    Duane, ” Life’s A Bitch; War Is Hell,But Phu Bai Is All Right”. The welcome sign at the 8th Radio Research Station when I arrived in April, 1971. Remember? When Gen. Hill was commanding the 1st of the 5th Mechanized and Capt. Scarangella was commanding the 407th, Quang Tri, the firebases weren’t that bad. You regularly received your mail, rations and water, etc. It went to crap when “mumbles wobbly” and the 3rd ARVN took over From December 1971 to March 1972 each listening post was like a GULAG. Camps Carroll and Shirley had been vacated. Sarge was marginally better than Alpha 4 because of its height. My one year tour was to end on April 13, 1972. At Con Thuyen on March 10, I learned from a language school classmate I entered country with that I was on a manifest for a flight out on March 13 from DaNang. Mr. Wilson (“Mumbles Wobbly”) claimed to have no such order and wanted me to wait for Gary Westcott to actually replace me. I contacted Phu Bai, they verified my ordered flight, and I hastened to Danang. I didn’t get to see Gary in the rush transition.
    At Fort Lewis I refused another overseas deployment until the mandatory six months stateside was served. They, therefore, had no use for a North Vietnamese linguist and processed me out. I recall distinctly listening to the evening news at home and learning the “Z” was overrun, including Quang Tri. I have always wondered about Gary’s fate, but had not delved into it.
    I stumbled upon your site and I read of the death of him and Chuck. Found it odd that you referred to the bunker as reinforced; I don’t recall that to be the case. Sarge listening post had consisted of a commo unit covered by a wooden frame and sandbags. I always felt more vulnerable there than the other posts. Even after 45 years I was discomforted that Gary died within the span of my early return.
    Given the radio traffic between NV units in February and March and the 3rd Division’s inability to keep roads open, etc., everyone knew bad times were coming, I was pleased to learn the remainder got out safely during The Last Seven Days. Thank you and God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnnmastro says:

      I remember you from being at A4 … I transmitted your “copy” back to QT.


    • Skip Cox says:

      Jack, as the only destroyer; Buchanan (DDG-14) on the gunline when the Easter Offensive broke on 30 March, I remember the 8 Soldiers on A4 were evac’d by the F Troop/8th Cav Blueghosts on 31 March. The same guys flew into A2 the next day under fire when A2 was overrun.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Carl M. Brown says:

      I left mid to late February. I remember five or six of us humped sand bags up from the lower pad.
      to cover the commo bunker and the living bunker. Gary and Bruce were busy setting up equipment.
      You are right about the bunkers only being wood frame and covered with sand bags. I don’t remember any reinforcing. The bunker sat beside the old quad 50 position. I remember thinking this was a good spot as I looked down below the bunker. It would be hard for anyone to get up that hill.
      I think about those times often.

      Carl M.Brown

      Liked by 1 person

    • RetiredMSG says:

      Reference the reinforced bunker … probably a poor word choice, but perhaps in the mind of the writer, 20 years old at the time, wooden timbers constituted reinforcement … my apologies to all for the poor choice of words.
      It’s good to see people reconnecting. I wish I had known all of you, but my time at the 407th didn’t start until most of you were on your way home. I do have recollections of you all as you were leaving, but I was the ‘new guy’ in the Det so not many people knew me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Marlyn Kraft says:

    Thanks Duane for writing down your story and sharing it. I was one of two receving systems repairmen assigned to Explorer 1 in Phu Bai 7/70 to 7/71 and traveled often to Hickory Hill. I became friends with Sgt. Roger Hill while there. I was on secure radio with Hickory when it was overrun. I also visited the 407th while enroute to and from Hickory.

    Liked by 1 person

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