Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 13

Thread: Proud American Guntruck History

  1. #1
    GA Mafia Imperial 1SG papabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Georgia
    Posts
    13,144
    Thanks
    13,754
    Thanked 15,989 Times in 5,313 Posts

    Default Proud American Guntruck History

    Someone recently asked a friend (more like a brother) why we built the Proud American Guntruck Tribute.

    My only answer is....after reading about how she came to be and meeting some of her crew...we just had to:

    20 February 1971 Richard B. Frazier (right gunner) was killed during an ambush of the gun truck, Satanís Lilí Angel near Fire Support Base Vandergriff, South Vietnam.
    Chester Israel the NCOIC was severly wounded and medically evacuated by helicopter.
    Calvin Bennett (gunner) and Robert Thorne (driver) survived. They were asked by Captain Donald Voightritter (Captain V), Commanding officer of the 523rd Transportation Company, to rebuild the gun truck.
    The Angelís gun box was put on another truck and the work began, with the help of the 523rd welder. There were a few slight changes. With those complete they began gathering

    the ammo and weapons that they would need, Thorne would remain the driver and Calvin the rear gunner. Two more crew members were needed and SP4 "Mac" McDonald was chosen as right front gunner along with SP5 Nelson Allen as NCOIC. With everything in place they again began convoy security operations.
    The truck would no longer be known as Satan's Lil Angel. Calvin suggested The Proud American.
    12 March 1971 a convoy from Khe Sanh returned to Vandergrift, the convoy commander, 1LT Tom Callahan (Tom Terrific), reported to the Battalion Commander, LTC Alvin C. Ellis (Big Al) that they had received fire and in his opinion it would not be safe to run another convoy in that area. Big Al ran the convoy.
    The convoy commander was 1Lt James Baird (Pig Farmer) on the gun truck, Proud American. As expected, shortly after leaving Vandergrift the call went out "Contact, contact, contact". Along with the crew and Baird, the truck also carried the 523rd commander Capt. V. The officers and men of the 523rd were as one. There didn't seem to be the separation between the groups as there was in other units.
    At FSB Vandergriff, 1LT Ralph Fuller (Ranger Ralph) assembled all gun trucks and the crews monitored the radios. 1LT Callahan had told him about the possibility of an ambush. When the call was received there was no holding any of them back. An engineer tried to stop them saying, "There is an ambush up the road". 1LT Fuller on the ĺ gun truck Daughter of Darkness and five 5 ton gun trucks raced to the scene.
    The Black Widow was "dead lined" for having no brakes. Leon Vance the NCOIC was still monitoring the radio and told his driver Mike Eischens. "Letís go! Those boys are getting hit". Mike reminded him that they had no brakes to which Leon said, "We only have to stop once." A lieutenant tried to stop them but was removed from the running board by Leon. There was no way anyone was going to stop them from going to help. Shortly after the 6 gun trucks rolled in and began lighting up the area, the enemy broke contact.
    The Proud American was destroyed only 22 days after being built. The only 523rd Gun Truck never having a name painted on the armor.
    Calvin, Baird, and Thorne are again in a major ambush. At first contact an RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade) hit the truck in the cab on the driverís side. Thorne does not survive. Baird was at the radio behind his driver and sustained major wounds and lost his left arm. McDonald had a wound to his face and Calvin had a wound to his wrist that he never reported.
    Callahan got Baird on a stretcher and Fuller called in a Medivac. The chopper couldn't land on the road. Fuller found a bridge to bring the helicopter close to the ground, and they had to lift Baird up into it. Fuller was heard to tell the Medivac crew to "Take care of him he's a good one" as the helicopter went airborne.
    Chester, when he picked his crew for Angel had picked Thorne for his driver because he was a skilled mechanic, but on this day, the last day of his life, it was far more then those skills that he exhibited. It was his skill and awareness as a driver that saved the crew. In his last breath that he took in this world, a steep bank on one side of the road and a deep ravine on the other, he chose to drive into the embankment, saving the lives of everyone else on the truck.
    Robert Thorne was removed from his truck and was taken to Vandergrift on the gun truck Black Widow. Thorne was from Denver, Colorado and will always be 20 years old.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there is no cure for stupid.

  2. The Following 65 Users Say Thank You to papabear For This Useful Post:

    '48Chevy6 (08-07-2011), 25thIDAirAssault (07-15-2014), 3dAngus (11-04-2013), 73m819 (06-15-2011), ABN173 (02-10-2012), ageregunner (11-05-2014), airbornebandsman (07-15-2014), AMGeneral (06-15-2011), amgeneral72 (11-03-2014), Another Ahab (11-03-2014), baseballump (01-20-2015), bigugh20 (06-15-2011), bones1 (10-12-2011), Crazyguypa (06-15-2011), Danger Ranger (06-15-2011), DavidB (07-15-2014), dougco1 (07-15-2014), Driver523 (06-15-2011), elkhtr (07-15-2014), FormerNewMVGuy (06-15-2011), glassk (11-03-2014), gobsmacked (12-23-2014), gunboy1656 (06-15-2011), historyfanatics (06-16-2011), Hitman (11-02-2014), hndrsonj (06-15-2011), jasonjc (06-15-2011), jeffhuey1n (01-05-2019), kubotaman (01-29-2015), M35A2usmc (09-01-2013), m715mike (11-02-2014), M813rc (06-15-2011), m816 (07-12-2011), marchplumber (10-30-2014), michigandon (11-12-2011), microjeep (01-05-2015), MtnSnow (11-04-2013), muthkw25 (08-22-2015), nk14zp (06-15-2011), OL AG '89 (06-15-2011), phil2968 (11-03-2014), Piper Cub (11-05-2014), poppop (06-15-2011), RAYZER (01-20-2015), Recovry4x4 (11-04-2013), Red523rd (07-16-2014), Robo McDuff (11-03-2014), SCSG-G4 (07-15-2014), sirmrtow (06-15-2011), SLOrazorsedge (11-04-2014), SMOKEWAGON66 (08-05-2011), Squirt-Truck (11-03-2014), Srjeeper (06-15-2011), SteveKuhn (07-15-2014), swiss (07-15-2013), T. Highway (11-04-2013), tigger (06-15-2011), Tin Medic (07-15-2014), Tow4 (10-30-2014), Trailboss (06-15-2011), wadefreedomvehicles (05-15-2017), WarrenD (06-15-2011), wreckerman893 (06-15-2011), wsucougarx (06-16-2011), zout (07-15-2014)

  3. #2
    In Memorial swiss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Oakwood, Ga
    Posts
    2,551
    Thanks
    1,640
    Thanked 2,636 Times in 836 Posts

    Default

    Paid our respects today to Robert Thorne at the Vietnam memorial

    Thank you for your sacrifice and to all the others honored today as our family toured the war memorials.

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1405441092.051017.jpg
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1405441069.185477.jpg
    Last edited by swiss; 07-15-2014 at 17:49.
    Ronald Harris 1945-2019
    https://www.steelsoldiers.com/showth...=1#post2193049


    Georgia State Military Vehicle State Bill signed by Governor Nathan Deal 4/23/14! 10:00 am EST







  4. The Following 7 Users Say Thank You to swiss For This Useful Post:

    25thIDAirAssault (07-15-2014), 73m819 (07-16-2014), atomoros (07-15-2014), jasonjc (07-15-2014), kubotaman (01-29-2015), papabear (07-15-2014), Red523rd (07-16-2014)

  5. #3
    GA Mafia Imperial 1SG papabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Georgia
    Posts
    13,144
    Thanks
    13,754
    Thanked 15,989 Times in 5,313 Posts

    Default

    Swiss, I wish I'd known you were going, I would have sent you this list so you could have seen all the names of the 523rd Trans guys on the wall:
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by papabear; 07-15-2014 at 15:21.
    Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there is no cure for stupid.

  6. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to papabear For This Useful Post:

    73m819 (07-16-2014), Red523rd (07-16-2014), SCSG-G4 (07-15-2014), swiss (07-15-2014), T. Highway (07-17-2014)

  7. #4
    4 Star General sandcobra164's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Leesburg, GA
    Posts
    2,941
    Thanks
    166
    Thanked 2,686 Times in 1,081 Posts

    Default

    I'm trying to find more pictures of this truck. I know it's history and have had the honor of meeting some of the surviving crew members. I've also had the honor of putting my own marks on this truck, namely a white brush mark from where I very lightly bent a wooden fence on the way home from the 2010 GA Rally. I hate that I was in Jacksonville for the GunTruck Rally in Columbus this year but the IFS excused my absence due to "Real World Missions" so we're still on good terms!!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    84 AM General M923 "General Non-Sense"
    85 Chevrolet M1028 CUCV "Sarge"
    05 Silver Eagle M1102 (Sarge's New 4 Wheeler Hauler)

    Gone but not forgotten....
    71 AM General M35A2 "Big Trucks"
    87 Pribbs Manufacturing M105A2

  8. The Following User Says Thank You to sandcobra164 For This Useful Post:

    papabear (10-31-2014)

  9. #5
    Rock = older than dirt
    GA. MAFIA
    Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
    73m819's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    gainesville, ga.
    Posts
    12,212
    Thanks
    11,300
    Thanked 6,383 Times in 2,872 Posts

    Default

    Yep, I put my mark on it by lightly rubbing a white curb with the front tire, TONY was NOT HAPPY is a under statement.
    Ron, AKA , FTF (FIVE TON FIXER), AKA KGR (kinder/gentler Ron)
    Gainesville, Ga.
    vietnam-1/66-8/68
    "Technical Manuals are the path to Illumination...
    Download, Study Learn"---rlwm211
    POOR PLANNING or NOT READING TM on your part does NOT constitute a EMERGENCY on our part.
    RECOVERIES (to a point) WHERE EVER, 703-389-6705, 73m819@gmail.com
    73m819, tractor/wrecker AKA NO LONGER Wrecked Wrecker
    What ever else that can be drug home
    Neutered 6X6s (bobbers) = 10t wheel chocks
    Use CUCVs, a small step below BOBBERS as 5t wheel chocks
    GOD help the MV or LEGO world if I win the LOTTERY
    Long live BIG GREEN IRON

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to 73m819 For This Useful Post:

    papabear (10-31-2014)

  11. #6
    Corporal Red523rd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Levelland,Texas
    Posts
    39
    Thanks
    26
    Thanked 123 Times in 34 Posts

    Default

    sandcobra164,, Here is a picture after rebuild before going on convoy,,,then a few of what she looked like upon return.."RED
    Proud-American-nb.jpgPROUD-AMERICAN-MAR-12-71-AMBUSH.jpgL-W-188.jpg477-PROUD-AMERICAN-12-MAR-71-AMBUSH.jpgFor What It's Worth,,,,,,,,
    Written on right door in the mud....... Thornes' favorite song !!!!! We Gotta Get Out of This Place.... RIP FRIEND....
    Last edited by Red523rd; 11-02-2014 at 16:56.
    Specialist

  12. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Red523rd For This Useful Post:

    73m819 (11-02-2014), cattlerepairman (06-02-2017), papabear (11-02-2014), sandcobra164 (12-02-2014), swiss (01-20-2015)

  13. #7
    GA Mafia Imperial 1SG papabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Georgia
    Posts
    13,144
    Thanks
    13,754
    Thanked 15,989 Times in 5,313 Posts

    Default

    Red, Proud American represented all you guys in fine fashion at the Manchester, Georgia Veterans Parade on 1 November and will do so again on 8 November here in Columbus.

    Danny and Teresa will be here on the 8th and Danny is chawing on that "C GAR" in anticipation!

    GOD BLESS!!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there is no cure for stupid.

  14. #8
    4 Star General glassk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Hampton, GA
    Posts
    1,004
    Thanks
    263
    Thanked 358 Times in 247 Posts

    Default

    Proud American1.jpgProud American.jpg


    Funny the things that catch your Eye, just the detail in that spring pack made me take that picture,...
    12 Volt Trailer Wire & 24 volt Electrical Tape GROVE SM31AS Maintenance Platform M60 60 amp Dist. Box
    M116A1, Mep002A MEP 026D,Fluke 51 K/J Themometer,M116A ,Rothco Military 100 Mph Cloth Duct Tape ,

  15. #9
    4 Star General Another Ahab's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    15,552
    Thanks
    22,714
    Thanked 10,158 Times in 5,954 Posts

    Default

    He didn't run in the guntrucks, but check out the recent post about:

    - MSG Roy P. Benavidez

    These were all of them men of a certain character.
    M35A2 w/Winch SOLD

  16. #10
    GA Mafia Imperial 1SG papabear's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Columbus, Georgia
    Posts
    13,144
    Thanks
    13,754
    Thanked 15,989 Times in 5,313 Posts

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Another Ahab View Post
    He didn't run in the guntrucks, but check out the recent post about:

    - MSG Roy P. Benavidez

    These were all of them men of a certain character.
    Indeed, and the character that made America what she is!!
    Ignorance can be educated and crazy can be medicated but there is no cure for stupid.

  17. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to papabear For This Useful Post:

    73m819 (11-05-2014), Another Ahab (11-04-2014)

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. A History of American Wars
    By kennys@wi.rr.com in forum Upcoming Events
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-11-2011, 18:04
  2. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-16-2009, 09:37
  3. Proud American Gun Truck Xmas lights
    By Uglyranger in forum 5-ton and up
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 12-24-2008, 21:52

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •