Viet-Nam Service Ribbon

I  was Sergeant in charge of an avionics repair shop. We maintained radios and other electronic equipment on the U.S. Army’s OV-1 Mohawk aircraft.  It was a 12 hour per day/ 7 day a week job plus emergencies.  I was in the 73rd Aviation Company of the 210th Aviation Battalion in Viet-Nam.  After three years of military service, I returned to civilian life thankful to be alive.

The OV-1 Mohawk is a twin turboprop surveillance aircraft with a crew of two. It operated mostly at night taking radar and infrared photographs. A SLAR (Side Looking Airborne Radar) pod is shown on the second photo of a Mohawk.  These aircraft were last flown, in military service, in the 1992 Gulf War.  They chalked up an impressive record, but were retired shortly thereafter.  The few remaining Mohawks are in the hands of aviation collectors.  Many are still flying.  Some of those are at the American Wings Air Museum at the Anoka/Blaine Airport on the north side of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.  Also see the OV-1 Mohawk Association web page and a history of the OV-1 in Vietnam.

September 2003 Mohawk Association Reunion in Minneapolis
(Click on any photo below to see a larger version)

The afternoon started with a solemn ceremony at the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in St. Paul.

Of the 68,000 Minnesotans who served in Viet-Nam, 1,077 were killed and 43 are still missing.  61 Mohawkers were killed of which 2 were from Minnesota.

The photo at the right is a Mohawk fly-over during the ceremony.  

Mohawkers, at the left, gathered to have their photo taken.  

Taps were played by a U.S. Army Sergeant on the right. 

Click on any photo for a larger view 

Here I am, on the left, with the official emblem of the OV-1 Mohawk Association.  

On the right is Tony Shereck.   His father, James Shereck, was killed while piloting a Mohawk in Viet-Nam.  He wears a tattoo of the Mohawk Association emblem on his left leg.  

Of course, no reunion in Minneapolis would be complete without a long visit to AWAM (American Wings Aviation Museum).  

There I am on the right standing in front of an OV-1 Mohawk in it's Viet-Nam olive drab war paint.  

The newer war paint, just below on the left, is what was used during the 1992 Gulf War.  

Surprise. surprise.  I ran into Bill Anderson who served in the 73rd Aviation Company in 1968 and 1969 when I was there.  We swapped stories about how he was aboard a Mohawk that was hit by a large caliber round and made it safely back to base.  The explosion tore a fist size hole in the fuselage behind the pilot severing a 3-inch diameter wiring bundle.  What a mess.  The pilot was Captain Bruce Blake.

More color guard ceremonies and then a word from Past Mohawk Association Executive Director

Joe DeMaggio.  No, Joe did not play baseball, but he was a darn good Mohawk pilot.

Click on any photo for a larger view  

A photo of those at the gathering who served with the 73rd Aviation Company.  Mohawks were flown by a number of Army outfits.  

On the right is Bill Reeder who was a Mohawk pilot.  He was twice shot down and a prisoner of war for one year.  Bill is an excellent speaker and told the group about his part in making preparations for the 2003 Gulf War.    

Hope you enjoyed the story of the Mohawk Association 2003 reunion.  Mark Persons

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       page last edited 05/26/2012