As every one knows that has visited this website, Lt. Bill Cowan, aka Plastic Handle Six, was the USMC Advisor out of Nha Be that the 240th worked with exclusively. Lt Cowan (ret LTC) has been on the Discover Channel, when he rescued American businessmen out of Kuwait City after Iraq invaded during the Gulf War, and he is one of the military analyst for the FOX News Network. Like all of us, he's a little older now, but his opinion, and knowledge is still sought after.|
Here is a patch which was South Vietnamese but adopted by the
American Advisors that worked with the Regional Forces and Popular Forces
(known to Americans as ruff-puffs) in the Rung Sat Special Zone. This gator
patch designated all the various Ruff-Puff units in the Rung Sat, which by
the way, rung sat is Vietnamese and translated means "Killer Forest." The
Rung Sat was of strategic importance because the rivers and canals that ran
through it were the gateway from the South China Sea to Saigon. These South
Vietnamese Forces that fought in this area were courageous fighters that had
excellent leadership, both Vietnamese and Americans like Lt. Bill Cowan. Our
thanks to Lt. Bill Cowan, the Marine Advisor the 240th AHC worked with for 2
1/2 years, for the patch, the historical significance about what the patch
represents and the facts about the Rung Sat Special Zone.
Here's one of the personal patches that was worn by Marine Advisor, Lt. Bill
Cowan. This was his radio call sign, too, at one time. Although we have
forgotten names over the years, some 240th pilots still referred to Lt. Bill
Cowan's handle, "Plastic Handle 6" when we would talk of those thrilling days
of yesteryear and before we once again made contact with him. He wore this
patch when he was Senior Advisor in Can Gio.
This patch was worn by Lt. Bill Cowan when he was
transferred from Can Gio to the Nha Be Headquarters. His call sign was
Hartford 3 or 3a, depending on the operation, when advising the Regional and
Popular Forces. According to Lt. Cowan, the 999 Company was the premier
outfit in the Rung Sat of Ruff-Puffs and their village was located right
across the river from Nha Be. Our Greyhounds picked up the men of the 999
many times at their LZ. Thanks so much, Bill, for submitting the patches and
information for 240th AHC Flightline website.
"Lean, Mean Fighting Machine, Lt. Bill Cowan, aka. Plastic Handle 6,
Hartford 3, Hartford 3A and Gator 24, USMC,
Republic of South Vietnam."