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Fiddler's Green - Died After Tour



As the years go by our fellow Troopers are lifted out of the LZ and our lives.   We will post the sad news when we are notified on this page with links for individual personal history, pictures and obituary details. 


Taps for another one of our Brothers

 CSM Rabbit Kennedy

CSM Lawrence Eugene “Rabbit” Kennedy, 93, passed away on Sunday, July 30, 2017 at the Oak Tree Manor in Amory. Rabbit was born to Fred and Edna Hadaway Kennedy on July 5, 1924 in Smithville, Mississippi. On October 9, 1940 at 16 years old, he left Smithville and made the two-day walking journey to Tupelo, Mississippi to join the U.S. Army. Only after drinking a belly full of water and eating a dozen bananas to fulfill minimum weight requirements, he was enlisted and was assigned to artillery until that still used mules. With the outbreak of World War II, Rabbit found himself with millions of other American soldiers in Britain preparing for entry into the European mainland and six days after D-Day, his unit moved ashore. Later, Rabbit became part of the unit that fought the 41-day Battle of the Bulge in which he recalled sharing a foxhole 9 days with a dead German soldier and with diplomatic capabilities; he met with Russians on the Ebb River.

With a short stint in the Korean War, his career elevated him to Command Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army where he was able to testify before congress about Army policies that treated enlisted men unfairly, and also in this role he was able to convince the Army to equip helicopters with ammunition.

In September 1965, CSM Kennedy had the privilege of leading the Army’s 1st Cavalry 9th Division into combat. He had personally overseen the men’s training and development as a unit at Fort Benning. No other unit ever reflected his character and demeanor more than the 1st Cavalry. When his men came ashore in Vietnam, it was CSM Kennedy at the front, proudly carrying the American flag. The time that CSM Kennedy spent in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry would cement his legacy as one of the most respected and trusted non-commissioned officers.

CSM Kennedy could command and move 500,000 troops, and on July 1975, Rabbit retired as CSM of the 5th Army at Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX and came back home to Amory. His career spanned 3 wars which yielded him 4 Legions of Merit, 4 Bronze Stars, 5 Army Commendations, and he participated in 506 airborne jumps. Also, he was the first enlisted man inducted into the Hall of Fame at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum at Ft. Rucker. Much of CSM Kennedy’s memorabilia is on display at the Amory Regional Museum which he would proudly discuss with anyone. Although his career in the Army allowed him to meet many governmental dignitaries and television personalities, his concern was always for the American enlisted men.

A humble man born to a destitute family, he went on to become one of the Army’s most decorated soldiers and loved by all people. He was run out of town for shaking and moving, but 70 years later he was given the key to the city. He was often seen around town in his perfectly starched and pressed denim jeans where he would give his custom greeting of “Ole Soldier.”

His survivors include his son, Michael Kennedy (Joann) of Florida; his daughter, Donna Slangal (Chad) of Wren; his brother, Ira Kennedy (Margaret) of Smithville; grandchildren, Matthew Lawrence Kennedy, Michael Wayne Kennedy, Kim Gray (Randy), and Sinty Griffin (Jeff); great grandchildren, Keeley Kennedy, Winter Brook Kennedy, Brenden Griffin, and David Michael Griffin; a host of nieces and nephews; and friends, Teresa Chism and staff of Oak Tree Manor.

He was preceded in death by his parents; two brothers, David and Clovis Kennedy; and an infant son, Lawrence Kennedy.

Visitation for CSM Kennedy will be from 5 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, August 3, 2017 at the Cleveland-Moffett Funeral Home in Amory. Memories and condolences may be expressed at clevelandmoffettfuneralhome.com



Taps for another one of our Brothers
Larry Wright

September 17, 1946 to December 9, 2013
December 1966
Larry Wright and SGT Mullen trying tohave chow with interruptions Jan 1966


The Kid is Gone 

Matthew Brennan wrote three books about the First of the Ninth Cav.  The first was “Brennan’s War” but the next two were about other men’s wars—compilations of the memories of other squadron veterans, edited and introduced by Brennan.

Tom King wrote about his war in “Headhunters.”  Tom was already a high-time pilot when he reported to the squadron at Fort Benning in July 1965.  He was assigned to A Troop’s gun platoon, and sailed to Vietnam on the USS Boxer.  What follows is from Tom King’s account:


I was originally assigned to fly copilot to the section leader, but I had spent too many years as an aircraft commander and I wanted my own aircraft.  Captain Allen gave me one.  [Dave Allen, the gun platoon commander, would go on to be a general.]  We had an outstanding crew chief, nineteen-year-old Larry Wright, who later won the Distinguished Service Cross.  The door-gunner was a para­trooper, SSG Jim Grady. 


Our first real operation was called Shining Bayonet.  We took in early morning dark, in the rain and clouds.  I lost sight of my lead ship after the first turn to the east and spent the next hour and a half unsuccessfully looking for any ship from our platoon.  Finally, we landed at the Special Forces camp in Binh Dinh province, from where we operated for the next few days.


Stockton [Colonel John B. Stockton, the squadron commander] took all three 1/9th gun platoons during Shining Bayonet into an area called Happy Valley.  He put C Troop gunships in there first, then B Troop, and by the time we got there, “Charlie” was pretty well stirred up.  I could see flashes on the ground and fired a couple of pairs of rockets at them.  Simultaneously, my chin bubble was shattered and Jim Grady said over the intercom, “The kid/s hit!”  Larry Wright was down and wounded.


We didn’t have doors on the gunships, the windows were open, and there was quite a bit of air flowing through the helicopter.  Grady pulled off the kid’s flight helmet and blood flew everywhere.  It covered so much of the instrument panel with small particles of blood that you couldn’t read the instruments.  Wright had a scalp wound.  I flew him to the aid station, and his only complaint was that his head hurt.  There were two bullet holes in his helmet.  One of the rounds had hit at an angle above his right ear, gone around inside the helmet, scalped him on the back of the head, exited the helmet above his right ear, and gone into the bulkhead above my head.


Larry Wright – “the kid” – died on 9 December 2013 at the William Jennings Bryan Dorn VA Medical Center in Columbia, South Carolina, after a long illness.  He is survived by his two daughters, Rebecca Ann Wright (Shai Goldenberg) and Elizabeth Jade S. Dresel (John); his brother, Harry E. Wright, Jr. (Georgia); the mother of his children, Melba Rogers (Gaines) and seven grandchildren, Justin Hamby, Rebecca, Johnathan and J.D. Sykes, Sarah, Emma and Kaiden Dresel. He also leaves behind a large number of fellow Vietnam veterans who came to know him through his tireless work on behalf of the Bullwhip Squadron Association.


The Association was formed in 1997 by veterans of the 1st Squadron, 9th Air Cavalry who trained together at Fort Benning, Georgia, and then “rode the boat” to Vietnam under the command of LTC John B. Stockton, whose call sign was “Bullwhip 6.”  Membership was initially limited to only those who had served under Colonel Stockton, but under the leadership of association president Dave Allen, the man who had been Tom King and Larry Wright’s gunship platoon leader, the decision was finally made to allow new guys to join, and even to assume positions of leadership. 

As new leadership stepped in, a couple of the old guys from the “First Team, First Shift” stepped up.  Al DeFleron  and Walt Titchenell were among the stalwarts who worked hard to keep the association going.  So was Larry Wright. 

Larry served on the Board as Membership Chairman for seven years and was an ever-present fixture at squadron reunions.  From Enterprise and Dothan, Alabama to Columbus, Georgia and Killeen, Texas, you could count on seeing Larry – handing out registration packets in the hospitality room, hauling equipment for the color guard, taking charge of the silent auction, recognizing everyone, and making first-time attendees feel the special bond that exists between veterans not only of the Vietnam War, but of the finest fighting unit to serve there.   

We all noticed Larry’s declining health over the past several years and at the 2012 Fort Hood Reunion Apache Red asked Larry he would Honor the Squadron by giving the commands to Post and retrieve the Colors.   Larry did not hesitate one second and said as he always did, “ANYTHING for THE SQUADON sir”. 

Now, suddenly, Larry Wright, “the kid,” is gone.  He’s going to be missed. 

Larry’s family is planning a celebration of his life, to be held in his home town of Greensburg, Indiana, in the Spring of 2014.  Announcements will be sent to friends, family and his Bullwhip buddies.  

Additional details of Larry’s post-Vietnam life are at this link: http://www.thompsonsfuneral.com/obituaries/Larry-Wright-2/#!/Obituary  There is also an on-line guest book where you can leave you memories of this wonderful man for his family to see.



Obituary for Larry Wright

Larry Dale Wright, 67, of Elgin entered into rest Sunday, December 9, 2013 at The WJB Dorn VA Medical Center. Born September 17, 1946 in Madison, IN, he was a son of the late Harry E. Wright, Sr., and Mary Edith (Davidson) Wright. Mr. Wright had dutifully served his country during the Vietnam War. He was with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) where he served as the Crew Chief of a Huey Helicopter. He received numerous medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross and a Purple Heart. Prior to his illness, he enjoyed taking road trips out west, especially Four Corners and Arizona. Mr. Wright also particularly enjoyed spending time with his former military unit, the 9th Cavalry Division. Following his military service Mr. Wright graduated from Purdue University. He was subsequently hired to work as a Special Agent with the Department of Justice. After eight years he went to work for the Department of Treasury as a Customs Agent, where he worked until he retired. 
Mr. Wright is survived by two daughters, Rebecca Ann Wright (Shai Goldenberg) and Elizabeth Jade S. Dresel (John); his brother, Harry E. Wright, Jr. (Georgia); the mother of his children, Melba Rogers (Gaines) and seven grandchildren, Justin Hamby, Rebecca, Johnathan and J.D. Sykes, Sarah, Emma and Kaiden Dresel.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 P.M., on Friday, December 20, 2013 at Fort Jackson National Cemetery, 4170 Percival Road, Columbia, SC 29229. The family will receive friends following the service at the home of Elizabeth Sykes Dresel and John Dresel.
The family is planning a celebration of Mr. Wright’s life, to be held in his home town of Greensburg, Indiana, in the Spring of 2014. Announcements will be sent to friends, family and all of his military buddies. 




Larry Wright's

Distinguished Service Cross Citation


The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Specialist Fifth Class Larry D. Wright (ASN: RA-16798308), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Specialist Five Wright distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 2 October 1966 while serving as door gunner on the command helicopter during aerial support of combat maneuvers near Hung Lac. Prior to the infiltration of infantry units into this area, Specialist Wright's helicopter surveyed the territory, spotting small groups approaching the village of Hung Lac. An infantry platoon was helilifted into a landing zone to search the village and made heavy contact with a Viet Cong Battalion. Specialist Wright's aircraft quickly flew in and hovered over the friendly unit, enabling him to pour suppressive fire into the enemy emplacements. During the fierce firefight, he spotted several Viet Cong in a trench about to ambush a friendly element. His extremely accurate fire, to within three meters of the friendly soldiers, destroyed the ambush and killed several of the attackers. When confronted with a machine gun position firing directly at his aircraft, Specialist Wright disregarded his personal safety by stepping out onto the skid of the helicopter and destroying that emplacement. Having landed near a pinned down squad, Specialist Wright again ignored the threat of hostile fire which ravaged the zone to race to the side of a wounded man lying in the open. He carried the casualty to the aircraft and placed him aboard just as enemy rounds hit the helicopter's hydraulic system and fuel cell. After the pilot flew to safety 150 meters away, Specialist Wright returned to the battlefield in an unarmed helicopter to rescue two more wounded men. Throughout the battle, he dauntlessly ignored imminent danger to himself to support the infantry forces. Specialist Five Wright's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army, Vietnam, General Orders No. 2497 (May 30, 1967)

Action Date: 2-Oct-66, Service: 

Rank: Specialist Fifth Class

Company: Troop A, 1st Squadron

Regiment: 9th Cavalry Regiment

Division: 1st Cavalry Division 


Names and Dates

Another sad note, Pappy Kuster passed on July 11, 2012 


The internment ceremony was at the military cemetery in Spooner, Wisconsin on Wednesday, July 18th.


I know you wanted to be informed, and I know Dad cherished his association with you guys.     Please inform other Bullwhip Squadron members.  


Bill Kuster 

Another Sad Passing of a Great B Troop Warrior 24 May 2011


From Jim Kurtz:



Forwarded with sadness.  Al “D” DeFleron was one of the First Shift – those who trained together at Fort Benning, then rode the boat to Vietnam together to begin the exploits of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. 



When the Bullwhip Squadron Association, formed by the First Shift in honor of the first squadron commander, decided to let “New Guys” join, Al was the first and foremost among the old guys to welcome us and make us feel like we were all part of the same Band of Brothers.   



D, you are going to be missed, but we’ll catch up with you in Fiddler’s Green.




Al “Big D” DeFleron B Troop 1965

Working on the Bullwhip Newsletter April 2007. L to R: Larry Wright, Al "Big D" DeFleron, Al Tyre and Chuck Ridenour  




  Al "Big D" DeFleron in 2010






It is with extreme sadness that I report the death of MSG AL Defleron.  He passed just after noon today, 5/24/11.  He was the Secretary on the first Bullwhip Squadron Board for 12 years and ran the BWS store.  He was a valuable asset to the Squadron and will be sorely missed by all who knew him. 





We are losing many to the effects of Agent Orange, all to soon.  May God give him peace and the glory of being with Him.  






Loel Ewart 



LTC (Ret) 

former VP of the BWS






Lynne A. “Big D” DeFleron           Guest Book Entries can be made at:  (Click this link)




Mr. Lynne A. “Big D” DeFleron, a resident of Newton, died Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at Flowers Hospital. He was 78.  



Funeral services were held 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 27, 2011 at Byrd Funeral Home Chapel with Rev. Larry Newton officiating. Burial with full military honors followed in Memory Hill with Byrd Funeral Home on West Main Street directing.  In lieu of flowers the family request memorials be made to the American Cancer Society, 2346 W. Main St., Suite 3, Dothan, AL, 36301. 






Mr. DeFleron was born July 13, 1932 in Mobile, AL and lived the early years of his life there. At an early age, he entered the U.S. Army and served 26 years prior to his retirement. A decorated veteran, he served in the Korean War and Vietnam War. He was the recipient of numerous medals including the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star with Cluster and was a 3 time Purple Heart recipient. Mr. DeFleron also boxed for the military and was Golden Glove Champ in New York State in 1954.  






Following his military service he was employed with Paige Aircraft for several years. He later owned his own cabinet shop which he operated for over 20 years. He received his degree from AUM and taught at Wallace Community College for over 15 years. Mr. DeFleron was a member of Goodwater Freewill Baptist Church.




Survivors include 2 sons and daughters-in-law, Barry DeFleron (Helen) of Daleville and Randall DeFleron (Pam) of Slocomb; 5 grandchildren, Mariah Philpot, Ellen DeFleron, Lynn DeFleron, Michael DeFleron and Payton DeFleron; a sister, Eleanor Banks of Eight Mile; several nieces and nephews also survive.



March 4, 2011  -To All:  David Coates Passed On this past Monday and his Bride Patricia has thanked all that have sent condolences and if you want to honor Dave in a way that can make a difference please donate to the WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT

Another sad passing February 28, 2011.


From John Peele, Apache 22,  Greetings Troopers.    I have some Extremely Sad News! Chief Warrant Officer 5 (Retd) Dave Coates passed away this morning around 7:00am. As most of you know, Dave has been battling Pancreatic Cancer. 


Dave did well with the surgery but the Chemo and Radiation Therapy were just too brutal. Dave suffered a Massive Heart Attack this morning 28 February 2011 around 7:00am in his home.


His wife Patricia and his Grandson were with him.  The Medical Emergency Team was called and they transported Dave to the hospital but could not revive him.


Dave did attend the recent Apache Troop Reunion in Florida and has said so many times how important it was to see so many of the Troopers and how important all of you were to him and to Patricia.


 Dave Coates, this is Patricia’s Favorite



Mr. David Alan Coates, 62, of St. Cloud, FL passed away on Monday February 28, 2011 at St. Cloud Regional  Medical Center.  He was the husband of Patricia P.C. (Collins) Coates. David was born in Bluffton, Indiana on March 3, 1948, the son of  Donald and Norma (Hedges) Coates. He served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War as well as the Persian Gulf and Iraq.  David is survived by  three daughters, Tammy Burke of Indiana;  Shannon Duncan of Panama City, FL;  Marnie Duncan of Newman, GA;  three sons David Kris husband of  Joy Coates of Nashville, TN; , James husband of  Martha Coates of Nashville, TN; , James Duncan of Panama City, FL;  He is also survived by 10 grandchildren & 1 great grandchild and  a brother, Kenneth husband of Mary Coates of Indianapolis, Indiana. 

Services for Col A T Pumphrey were held Friday 31 Dec. 2010 at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery, TX


 I was his S-4, then became XO when Nevins took over.  Actually served with Pump on three occasions.  He was a fine officer and will be greatly missed as a friend.  LTC (Ret) William L. "Bill" Potts 


pumphrey_a 3.jpgArmy Aviation Hall of Fame 1983 Induction 

Colonel A. T. Pumphrey, while serving continuously in Army Aviation for 30 years in the grades of Flying Sergeant (World War II) to Colonel, was in the forefront of major advances in air-ground warfare in all three major theaters of warfare known by his generation.

During the early 1940's in WWII, he pioneered the combat employment of the L-5 as a vital observation post for armored forces in Germany. Later he perfected the first aerial patrol along the German-Czechoslovakian border and achieved notable success in detecting Communist troop movements.

In 1950 in the Korean War, he volunteered for and flew numerous L-17 forward air controller combat missions and these greatly facilitated USAF strikes against the enemy. Also, Colonel Pumphrey helped provide aerial surveillance for U.S. forces as they marched on the North Korean capital.

In 1966-1967 in Vietnam, he again distinguished himself as a combat leader while successively commanding an 227th Assault Helicopter Battalion and 1st Squadron 9th  Air Cavalry Squadron.

His other contributions to Army Aviation had significant impact on flight safety, instruction, at the Aviation School, and field training and inspections.


col p 2.jpg 

Retired Army Col. A.T. Pumphrey (right) acknowledges the parade crowd while serving as Grand Marshal in the Terrell Hills Independence Day Parade on Saturday, July 3, 2010. Pumphrey was joined by his wife, Angela, at his side. Pumphrey, 93, had served in Army Aviation from World War II to Vietnam. / San Antonio Express-News




Lou "Rocket" Rochat talking to COL Pumphrey at the 2006 reunion


Another sad passing of one of our Troopers.

Served in A Troop ,  August 1965 to August 1966

From Larry Wright: He was a very young WO-1 in August 1965 when we went over was a Scout Pilot to fly H-13s.

His Obituary can be found at - http://www.harvey-engelhardt-metz.com/obituaries/Dean-H.-Nichols1641404755/Obituary/?sms_ss=aolmail

Dean is survived by his wife, Linda; daughter, Leslie Linette (Timothy David) Alvarez of Fort Myers; three step sons, Lt. Col. Joseph Richard (Jamie) Costello, John Robert Costello and James Ronald (Loni) Costello; two brothers, Dale and Don Nichols both of California and 21 grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Alvin A. Dubin Alzheimer’s Resource Center, Inc., 9470 Health Park Cir., Fort Myers, FL 33908 in memory of Dean.


TAPS for Arthur A “Art” Dockter

A Troop 1969—1970

Arthur A. “Art” Dockter, 59 of Ellendale, ND died June 1, 2010, at his home in rural Ellendale. 

Art served with Apache Troop, 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division in Vietnam during 1969 and 1970. A memorial was held on Friday, June 11 at Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale with Pastor Galen Sylvester officiating. Burial will be at a later date at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery, Mandan. Arrangements by Hoven Funeral Chapel, Ellendale.   Please add to his guest book at the Hoven Funeral Home, Click on this to go to the site. 

From John Allan (Apache 32 – “Tuna”) The three John’s were privileged to be present at this memorial to Art. His family and friends did not know how much the 1/9th reunion group had grown and the significant impact it has had to all involved. I invited Art’s twin sister Sharon McLaughlin to meet us in Orlando this year and I hope Peele would extend the reunion information to her. She is now our sister. I will post her e-mail address for you all to send her your favorite memory of Art. She was very appreciative of your memorials posted on the funeral home’s web site. I was sorry that the trip was not to see Art in person but his memory and photo’s will live eternal.

Tuna, OUT


Looking at the pictures we share there is one thing that John Williams (Apache 38) mentioned the other night - "Do you see a single photo of him without a smile...or perhaps a wee bit of a sheepish grin? Nope, never."  Art kick started Apache Troopers getting together back in 1986/87 and we owe him more than I believe we know.


Art at the 2003 Apache Reunion


Duane ?, Ken Brown, Art Dockter and Chuck Atkinson after a scary mission 16 Nov 1969 where the Crew captured the 12.7 that had shot down Rash 11 earlier in the day.


Art told me Back in 2003 that this was one of his favorite pictures that he took.  He called it " Hot LZ ".


Lou "Rocket" Rochat III,  Apache 16,

is waiting for us in Fiddler's Green


29 May, 2010.  It is with a sad and heavy heart to let you know that Lou passed away earlier today while at home under the care of Hospice and surrounded by family.   

Update 31 May 2010: Fellow Troopers, Rocket's Obituatary can be found here. (click to go to his Obit - writen by, of course, Rocket himself)  

 Burial at Arlington National Cemetary is scheduled for 31 August 2010.

Donations are welcome to help the family and to asist in Rocket's request to be buried with his felow Troopers at Arlington.
The following is from CW2 Lori Gaff, President of the Combat Helicopter Pilots Association.  

If you'd like to donate you may do so by contacting CHPA at 800.832.5144 or you can send a check made out to CHPA with "Rochat Funeral" in the memo field to:


PO Box 15852

Washington, DC 20003


All donations will be tax deductible and will be used to help the Rochat family defray funeral expenses. 

  Click here to go to the CHPA website




Lou 1970 in RVN and at Apache Troop Reunion in 2006


Unknown, Rocket and Jack Hugele, 1970. Picture from Mike King


Bequi Livingston, Rocket, Ann Rochat and Ron Livingston on discharge Day - Jan 27, 2010