To Love Somebody Like 240th Brothers Loved Each Other
Photos From Steve Beckner
Steve Beckner had quite the Vietnam Experience even before he got to the 240th AHC. Steve entered the service on 9/21/66 and was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, Sand Hill Duty and was going for the MOS of 09B00. After basic and on 11/25/66, Steve was at Fort Bliss, Texas, MOS 23P20, and trained for 38 weeks to become a Fire Control Mechanic for Hawk Missiles which he completed in August of 1967. After getting a well deserved leave, Steve shipped out for the Republic of Vietnam on 9/20/67 and was assigned to HHB, 6th, 56th Artillery, USARPAC, RVN, which was located near Long Binh next to Widow's Village. Steve told me he didn't have any particular job, just doing this and doing that or as we say, GOPHER (go for this go for that). In November of 67 he was TDY and assigned to the docks of Saigon where he worked as a stevedore for 3 months, working shifts that were 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, unloading military cargo coming from the States. He returned to the 56th Artillery just in time for the Tet Offensive of 1968 and was pulling guard duty on a guard tower the night the Offensive started. He was with a guy named Fred Meyers and Steve had an M60 and Fred an M79. On May 10, 1968, Steve was again TDY, this time to the 240th AHC with the MOS of 11B2F and was flying as a doorgunner. On the 20th of June 1968, Steve had a PCS and was assigned to the 240th AHC, MOS changed to 67A1F and flew with Greyhound White Flight until he DEROSED on the 20th of September 1968. Steve returned to Fort Bliss, Texas upon getting back to America and with the MOS of 24F20, Fire Control Mechanic and he hadn't worked on the missiles since AIT. As Steve says, "I just pulled crap duty, KP, details and guard duty until he left the Army on September 20, 1969. Nice way they treated returning Vietnam Veterans, as the majority of the lifers there had never been to Nam or seen combat!" The Army did promote Steve to E5 on August 26, 1969, they wanted him to reenlist but Steve said it didn't work! Steve went unto become a Cleveland, Ohio police officer where he currently resides and has since retired from the police force. Ragman lives in Parma, Ohio, right next door to Cleveland for the last 28 years and Steve and Ragman finally crossed paths about 3 months ago! Linda Luther, our webmistress, Frenchy and Ragman, would like to personally thank Steve Beckner for sharing his Vietnam memories with us, especially those of the 240th, and we are proud and honored that he is a part of these websites. Welcome Home, Steve, and thanks for your service to our country in Vietnam and to the community as a police officer of Cleveland, Ohio.
Welcome to THE NAM, Steve! Steve's first unit, 6th Battalion, 56th Artillery. Check out the brown dirt all around. Vietnam, the only place you can stand with mud up to your neck and have dust blowing in your face!
Here's a photo of Steve (on the right) and Terry Goulette, when
they were in the 56th Artillery. The picture is dated February 1968. For
some reason, I guess with the way Steve's steel pot is tilted to one side
of his head, it reminded me of the old Willie and Joe cartoons made famous
during WW2! They certainly don't look like two soldiers the NVA/VC would
want to start any trouble with! This photo of Terry and Steve was taken
just approximately 3 to 4 days after the start of the Tet Offensive.
Another photo of Steve when he was with the 56th Artillery. Just so
happens this picture was taken during the Tet Offensive of 1968! Steve is holding his canteen that what hanging in the guard tower the night the Tet Offensive started and during that night, his canteen was hit by small arms fire and it exploded with water splattering all over Steve. To quote Steve, "When the canteen exploded is scared the ____ out of me, I thought I was shot!"
Naturally the crew chiefs and doorgunners of the Greyhounds, Mad
Dogs and Kennel Keepers had their M60's and M16's they took out in flight,
but many of them also traded for, bought or got at the "5 finger discount
store" over in Vietnam. Here is Steve with a Thompson Submachine gun and he believes this weapon belonged to Mr. Darling. Steve's the real deal,
not a draft dodging actor that avoided military service and then made Vietnam
war movies, if you want to call them movies!
Many times our Greyhound SLICKS were diverted from making combat assaults to performing Medevac missions, picking up American and are Allied wounded and dead. This was a sad day for Steve and the rest of the crew of his chopper, they had to pick up a KIA GRUNT. Steve can't remember if this Hero was from the 9th Infantry, 5th Special Forces or one of the Green Beret's Vietnamese or Cambodian soldiers they worked with in South Vietnam. Rest in peace, Brother, you are our UNKNOWN SOLDIER of 240th AHC Flightline. We render a salute of respect to you, as you paid the Ultimate Sacrifice.
The 240th's UNKNOWN SOLDIER starting his long journey home. We, the men of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, stand at attention and render a 21 hand salute to you, our GRUNT Brother, and although we don't know your name, your unit nor rank, your memory and the memories we have of the other GRUNTS (always capitalized out of respect) that humped the bush in South Vietnam, will always be kept alive by the men of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company.
Our 240th Brother, Marty Begosh, was killed in action on August 18th, 1968 and Mr. Eisenhour and Mr. Faverty were also KIA as they were flying on the same mission. Steve said, "Mr. Eisenhour went in first and was KIA and unable to pick up the LRRP team." According to Steve, Mr. Faverty was KIA on the second attempt to extract the LRRP team, which the Greyhound SLICK was successful in doing and if he isn't mistaken, SP5 Compton killed the VC that ran up to the aircraft and killed Mr. Faverty. Steve and Marty's aircraft were ordered in to the LZ to pick up a KIA casualty that a Colonel thought was an American. This Colonel would not listen to anyone on SP5 Compton's aircraft, the one Mr. Favery was KIA on, that the body was that of a dead VC. Steve's pilot on his and Marty's ship, Lt. Dudley (Ridge) Smith, was also wounded when Marty was KIA. Lt. Smith called the mission that day a FUBAR! Steve said without the support of the Mad Dogs on that mission, none of them would have made it home alive! To the Mad Dogs providing Steve's aircraft fire support on 8/18/68, this from Steve today, THANKS AGAIN, MAD DOGS! Steve was in touch with Marty's family and they sent Steve this picture after their son paid the Supreme Sacrifice for the people of America. The Begosh family had six sons and in order of their age: Andrew Jr., Marty, Phil, Al, Fred and Joe. Four of the Begosh sons are in this photo with their Dad and Mom. The two young men standing in the back of the picture, left to right, are Al and Phil. In front of them is Mr. and Mrs. Begosh, and standing in front, left to right, Joe and Fred. We are truly honored to have this photo of a GOLD STAR FAMILY as a part of this website.
Here's Mr. Darling and another 240th Brother coming out of the bunker after a red alert. Can anyone help us with the name of the second gentleman behind Mr. Darling?
We got the information for the guy coming out of the bunker behind Mr. Darling. Paul 'Frenchy' LaChance, Mad Dog, class of 67/68 said and I quote, "That is Jesse Naul a Mad Dog Aircraft Commander, a great pilot and a good man." Thanks, Frenchy, for helping us out with our request.
Greyhound doorgunner, Steve Beckner, getting ready to do battle with Charlie! Steve's got it together, M16 with clip hanging behind him on the wall, smoke grenades ready and his M60 cleaned and loaded! "Clear right, Sir."