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Last updated on 9/17/22

Site established on 3/22/01

A Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment

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I think it was B Troop that got me started on the platoon patch stuff & maybe the slick drivers had some done up & being a rowdy, somewhat belligerent scout, I couldn't let the bus drivers get the better of me so I stole the idea of the arched LOH from something I'd seen on a gunship company patch elsewhere in country. At the time I was not yet Platoon Commander, just the senior Scout pilot. I took the sketch to the local PX authorized tailor at Camp Holloway who had them embroidered for a modest sum. My memory sux, but I'm guessing we did this late 1970. A Troop call signs had the theme of a Chess game with the CO being King, XO Queen, scouts had Bishop call signs, guns were Knight, slick drivers were Rooks & the poor ole Blues were Pawns...hence the call sign. I took number 13 in a sheer act of bravado-it had been vacated just before I arrived in the Troop by someone who plain old just went home but no one wanted to jinx themselves. I took the fuckit attitude and seized the number and used it proudly for 14 months. The reddish tint to the patch is the Pleiku dust/mud that infiltrated into the plastic, our clothes, our souls....I was cleaning that dirt out from between my teeth for at least 5 years after DEROS.
Image courtesy of Chuck Belanger - Bishop 13

A troop 7/17 pilots - Dec '71

A troop maintenance, Phan Rang
Image courtesy of Steve Shepard

First Sargent Thompson and supply Sgt Monji at Phan Rang, Nov 71
Image courtesy of Steve Shepard

Outstanding examples of a personalized Stetson and scarf! "First off, I threw away the braided band because there was a caste system used for the colors. Next I threw away the little brass cavalry pin, and embroidered the real Cavalry crossed sabres emblem in the hat. Then I stretched the hat taller and put a slanted crease in it. Then I added a fresh flower each day. And if anyone else had done the same, I would have done something more. My CO was distressed, but survived."
Image courtesy of Doug Buchanan, A 7/17

Click here to read Dougs story

Click here to read Dougs Skydiving story

Close up of the end panel on one side of Doug Buchanan's yellow silk flying scarf. "The scarf embroidery was done by a Vietnamese seamstress. It is not a very good job, and I never got around to ordering one to more exact specifications. They were a standard item that each new guy was told to have made. I told the seamstress to change one set of words. But it is good silk." - Doug

"I don't have a good story for the VC helmet. It was just in one of the little hillside villages we raided, or maybe in a hilltop tunnel complex, come to think of it. There was the time we pounced onto a hillside farming area with a potato-like tuber crop that had tall stalks for the above-ground part of the plant. The local farmers, much like peasants anywhere in the world, could not afford to adequately pay off the high-living boys inthe central Saigon authority, so the central authority sent us out to harass the ungrateful lot who would not work harder and send more money. The farmers therefore adapted to the game. They made an interesting array of lashed-together bamboo splits that laid along the ground across long distances. They led to bamboo clackers, so the lookout guy at the top of the hill could pull the chain of bamboo strips, and sound an alarm to the workers in different parts of the field. In the course of our moving through the field, we came upon a cleverly hidden tunnel, and checked it out to see if it was currently being used. I was laying down at the edge of the entrance, moving some cover around to see if it was old or fresh camouflage. I decided that the tunnel was not in current use. I stood up, and there where I was laying was a dead, green bamboo viper that I had crushed to death by rolling around on it. The only reason it had not bitten me was that it was in the process of swallowing a small black snake, much to my good fortune." - Doug Buchanan
Image courtesy of Doug Buchanan

"While I flew LOH's in I Corps for four months, my one & only cav unit was A Troop, 7/17th Scouts (14 months). It has crossed sabers (of course) and my call sign Bishop 13. Lead pilots in my time, and wing pilots who didn't know any better, trailed these out the door to give NVA gunners an aiming point, i.e., the sooner they shot at us they less time we had to fuck around looking for them. Many, but not all, of the observers wore them as well." - Chuck Belanger
Image courtesy of Chuck Belanger, Bishop 13

My first tour with A Trp.7/17 ACR. This photo was taken at the end of my tour mid-dec 1970. I'm looking at orders sending me home for xmas. We were at Phang Rang then.
Image courtesy of G.A.Branigan, Charliehorse 962, RVN 70-71-72, A Trp.7/17th.ACR.1st.Avn.Bde.CE-Lift & D Trp.3/5th.Cav.101st.Abn.Div. Scout/Observer "Xin Loi dude,it don't mean nuthin"

Very personalized A troop flying scarf
Image courtesy of Steve Shepard

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