MACV-SOG Memorial

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14 Feb 2005

I found this poem he, Barry Murphy, KIA 18Mar68,  wrote before he left for Vietnam many years ago.


Idea Of A Young Soldier

Sword and cannon rattle far away
Far from eyes or ears
Though I cannot see them
I know that they are there.

Though I've never seen the water
Of the Mekong Delta green.
Though I've never seen the daugher
Of the humble village chief
Though I've never seen the slaughter
And the people weep.

I must go, though it may mean
Be a martyr for my soul to keep
All men bound and shaken
Their master's fears I seek
To give no rest
For my life I give
To liberate the oppressed.

My love, and friends, and family cannot hear
They do not understand the hope, pain and fear
I pray to God
History proves me right
For I leave for Viet Nam
This very night.

Sword and cannon rattle far away
Far from eyes or ears
Though I cannot see them
I know that they are there.

- Barry D. Murphy -

From a friend,
Betty Bell Homburger

FOR THOSE WHO SURVIVED: This was a "War" and people die, no one is at fault, we did our best under very trying circumstances. I have on many occasions talked to the survivors of missions and many live with deep guilt. The question "was it my fault, did I do everything I was supposed to, did I fuck up," haunts them combining that with the guilt of surviving when others died. Split second decisions are made as bullets are flying, adrenaline is flowing and fear at it's zenith. If we had a minute, two minutes, a half an hour, an hour, a month, a year, ten years, we might have made a different decision -That was not the case! As life and death is being decided in micro seconds, any decision or action was better than none, because no decision meant certain death for all. Welcome home, thank you for your service and for what you did for our nation. You did not run, you did not hide, you stood by your country in times when most Americans were burning draft cards, refusing to serve or hiding in other countries. No one can understand what you  did or what you faced, not even our own and I say the "Hell" to them, I find no fault with you. Have peace within yourself my friend. I have also interacted with many family members of our KIA/MIA's, some have accepted the fact their loved one was in a war and was lost, honor their memory and take pride the loss was for our nation. Other,  take another approach, that their loved one was sacrificed, killed or lost by intentional design, was in some super secret unit where the government is covering up everything, even to this date. They are paranoid of everything, being stalked, their phone being tapped as though the mission continues...They will go to their graves with this cloak and dagger syndrome of the cold war haunting them...they will believe nothing that does not fit their beliefs. 

Special Memorials

Frank Noe: A Life in Pictures

Dale W. Dehnke

1LT Dennis Neal and SP4 Michael Burns

SSG Dennis Neal and SSG Michael Kuropas

The Missing Men of RT Intruder

Danny Day Entrican

William Michael Copley

Robert Sullivan

Larry Thorne: (Incident) (Site 2) (Site 3) (Site 4) (Book)


(Although, this tribute is written from one Aviator to another, it epitomizes the brotherhood shared by us all, those who have shared part their lives with their fallen comrades)

As the remains of Jon Eric Reid who served with the 48th AHC Joker Guns and was MIA on 2-20-71, and buried at Arlington National Cemetery, 0845, 14 Jan 2000.

VHPA member Rick Lester, Joker 94, read the following words at the funeral. "Through the fog of controversy which surrounded our country's involvement in Vietnam, some may ask 'Why', but let no one question the intentions of these honorable men. There are so many good things we can say about them. In the finest traditions of our great country, they answered their call and went forth with only the best intentions. They did all they were asked and, with their lives, showed their commitment. What more could their country or 
anyone ask? There has never been a 'good' war and there never will be. 

The cost of war is great, and it will strip the men of their youth. It also has a way of bringing out the best in men. War strips men to their most basic moral standards, facades are quickly torn away and you are judged as your true self, good or bad. Those of us who knew these men saw them in that light and can tell you they were truly dedicated, strong and courageous. 

Those of us who served with them also came to know their heart. In the quiet times, we heard of their love for their families, shared their laughs and listened to the stories of life before Vietnam. We found pleasure in simple things like music, mail from home, hot chow, cold beer, a periodic hot shower and time shared in the 'club.' We grew close. 

In the violence of that war, we also shared our fear and frustration, endured physical pain and the bitter pain of losing friends. We came to know indefinable fatigue from seemingly endless hours of flying in the most demanding conditions, yet if we weren't flying, we were not happy. 

Though, for the most part, we dealt with the confusion, complexity, and violence of battle in our own way, it was understood there was no shame in showing your emotion, we were only human. We endured and became better for it. We were sometimes hard on each other, but it was with purpose, and we knew we could turn to each other for anything. We grew closer.

We may have been sent in harm's way with a broken sword, but we stood as one. Our shield was our pride and the respect we had for each other and our duty was to carry out the mission. We were in this thing together and our strength would become our commitment to each other and our unit. We learned a special trust common only to those who have learned to hide their fear and willingly place their lives at risk, not just for 'the cause', but for those with whom they served. That common theme was a bond of mutual respect and unspoken love and friendship forged and tempered through the trials of battle. You realized, once you had fought for them that freedom and life are indeed very special. You no longer took things for granted, you noticed for the first time how really intense and beautiful a sunrise can be and how nice it is to once again feel the warmth of the sun on your face after the monsoons had passed. You no longer 'said prayers', you spoke with God. You now knew the fragility of life and therefore, it became more intense. 

Through all this, we quickly realized what an honor it was to have known and served with men like these and how truly blessed we are to have had them in our lives.

We will remember them always and to our absent companions now say, 'catch the wind good friends, take the lead and soar to the warm light of God, and on your wing...keep watch for us.'' 


I came across your web site and thought you might be able to use some more material to add to the site. At the clip below is a poem entitled "In Memory of Seven Soldiers" that may be of interest to you. I wrote it in memory of the C & C ship and crew that crashed with Major Acre, CPT Morris and others out of CCS during 1969. I was on that chopper just seconds before it took off, but I switched to the insert slick to get a better feel for the teams insertion. If you can use this piece, please reply to this e-mail. Thanks in advance for your time and consideration. A biography listing my published works and other information is available on my web site at

“In Memory of Seven Soldiers”
Dennis W. Lid

They died today,
Those seven men,
Proud soldiers,
But they died.

Their mission was
A risky one
That all knew
Must be done.

Headlong they flew
Into the void
That fate
Prepared for them.

Yet had they time
To think of it,
The same they
Would have done.

A soldier whose
A good one
Asks not
The reason why.

He does his job
No matter what,
Well knowing
He may die.

A soldier is
A mortal man,
And mortals
All must die.

It’s cause for wonder
That they knew,
Yet looked death
In the eye.
But these were soldiers,

Every one,
And that’s
The reason why.

# # #



Dear Mr. Loe,

I found your name on a website when I was searching for information about William Copley. I want to thank you for all of your heroism in the Vietnam War. I was born in 1956, and didn't know very much about the war when I was young--but I knew that it frightened me that young American men were being killed there. I remember feeling very helpless about the war, and wanting to be able to do something. I got a metal bracelet to wear, they contained the name of an American who was listed either as missing in action, or as a prisoner of war. My bracelet had William Copley's name. I wore it for several years--never taking it off. Somehow, it helped me to have this constant reminder of the sacrifice of a young man for the country I loved. My grandfather served in WWI, and my father was a veteran of WWII. I was always very aware of their feelings about war, and have always been very proud of both of them. Both were very upset about Vietnam--they said that we were not giving the soldiers the support they needed from the Government and from the American people. I watched my fathers anger every time they reported the death toll on the news. He had been in Bastogne, and lost many of his close friends. I was very sad that so many Americans were dying to fight against the Communists--but I was proud of their courage, integrity and integrity. We lived in Libya when I was growing up, because my father worked for an oil company. We had to leave in duress because the government had been overthrown, and they were hostile to Americans. My father made me leave my bracelet behind, because he was afraid that it would be interpreted as subversive and would keep up from getting out of the country. I never forgot the young man's name--William Copley--and have always wondered what happened to him. Over the years, I have tried to read and understand what happened in Vietnam, and have had more time in recent years because my children are older. I wish I could have changed the tragedy that you all endured. I am still very sad for the horrors you lived through. But I am very proud of all of you, each and every one, and I wanted you to know that I will never forget. Vietnam is a part of me--even though it seems that I am very 'removed' from it--I didn't have any close friends or relatives who served or died there. But it has been a continued presence in my life, like a traumatic experience you never quite get over. I am an American, and very proud to be one. When we lived overseas, I was so homesick for the USA--and I love my home. I am proud that my country has fought for freedom. I just wish it was not with such a cost.

I hope that your life has been a happy one, and that you have had joy and fulfillment with what you have done. Thank you so much for trying to save Mr. Copley. Thank you for serving our country with your life.

Sincerely,   Judy Vaughan