101st Airborne Division
Recondo Platoon of the 2nd Batallion, 502nd Infantry (the
"Oh Deuce"), 101st Airborne Divsion, existed only in Viet Nam - from
1965 to 1972. These are some photos from the Recondo Reunion held
in April, 2004, at Melbourne Florida.
I was with the Recondos from June through October, 1967, when I was
wounded, along with two others, and transferred to a hospital in Japan.
This was my "Fire Team" (half of a squad) - in the front is Bob
Rera (later killed in a firefight). Second row, left to right -
Frank Withers, Jim "Doc" Rizzi, and Richard Cobb. Terry
Stanosheck is standing behind. I had high hopes of almost (with
the exception of Bob) recreating this photo at the Reunion. Terry
and Doc said they were definitely coming, and Frank was a possibility.
These are the old Recondos that made it to the reunion:
It was like coming home to family you did not know you had.
Old friendships were renewed and new ones formed.
There was a much larger Viet Nam Veteran Reunion being held in the
Of the many exhibits and displays, the Agent Orange Quilt was the
touching. This was actually a lot of individual quilts, each made
of 12 inch square panels.
Each panel was an individual contribution. Most were about a
veteran who had died or become seriously ill because of Agent Orange
(Dioxin), which had been widely used as a defoliant in Viet Nam.
The ladies did not sit off quietly by themselves, but soon bonded
into their own lively group.
The most touching and dramatic part of the whole reunion were the
individual testimonials after the banquet dinner. I think few
planned to speak. But having heard others, I think many were
surprised to find themselves standing to pour out their own thoughts
and feelings. Everyone spoke from the heart, and the room was
absolutely silent as each spoke. Every speaker received a hearty
round of applause.
Of course, people are always interested in "then" and "now"
Tom "Beetle" Bailey
Jim "Doc" Rizzi
Some stories are harder to tell
than others. Over the last few years I had some really good phone
conversations with Terry, and I was really looking forward to seeing
him again. He had registered, but he never showed up. I
learned a few days afterwards that he had suddenly died of a 'minor'
heart problem, two days before the reunion. The 'today' photo was
taken awhile back by Beetle. Damn, Terry, I wish I could have
seen you to take it myself.
UPDATE: I enjoyed this reunion (in 2004) so much that I went to another reunion in Atlanta in 2006. The 2nd Battallion
of the 502nd Infantry (2/502 or the O'Deuce) was rebuilding an organization for Viet Nam veterans of that unit (Recondos
were part of the 2/502 Headquarter Company), and were looking for someone to manage the web page. I jumped at the
opportunity, and ever since I have been the Web Guy for
The O'Deuce: http://2nd502.org
It is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Every time someone new shows up, having searched for old
comrades, and then finding them via this web site, it gives me a warm feeling for helping someone "Come Home" again.
For contacts and information on the 101st:
I can be contacted at: Write to Wind Drifter
Wind Drifter Home
(updated April 20, 2015)