Recondo Patch

Recondo Reunion


101st Airborne Division

101st Airborne Patch

The 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.

Fire Team

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:
Reunion Group Photo

It was like coming home to family you did not know you had.  Old friendships were renewed and new ones formed.

Old Friends

There was a much larger Viet Nam Veteran Reunion being held in the park.
Reunion in the Park
Reunion in the Park - 2

Of the many exhibits and displays, the Agent Orange Quilt was the most touching.  This was actually a lot of individual quilts, each made of 12 inch square panels.
Agent Orange Quilt

Quilt Detail
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 Ladies -1
The Ladies - 2

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.
Buffalo Bob
Silently Listening

Of course, people are always interested in "then" and "now" pictures. 

Beetle Bailey
Beetle Today
Tom "Beetle" Bailey

Doc Today
Jim "Doc" Rizzi

Richard Today
Richard Cobb

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.

Terry before he died
Terry Stanosheck

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:
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)