Canada was not officially involved in the Vietnam War, though about 10,000 Canadians did volunteer to serve there with U.S. forces, and many of them died there.
A friend of mine Rick Warke served in Vietnam with USMC Force Recon and I donated his uniform and kit to the Canadian War Museum. His uniform is on display representing the 10,000 or so Canadians who served in that war.
During that time I served in the Canadian Forces – first in the naval reserve as an Ordinary Seaman, and then in the infantry as an officer. As such we had minor glimpses of the Vietnam war, other than the news broadcasts. In San Diego we tied up next to a ship that had rocket damage to the bridge – apparently sustained while on the Mekong River in South Vietnam. On army exercises, we sometimes encountered Vietnam vets serving in the US reserve military forces. At least two veterans came and joined my regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.
They found it hard to fit in. As a “gung-ho” junior officer, I loved the chance to talk with combat vets, but senior officers often had difficulty understanding the vets. One vet was shell shocked and did not work out. Rick Warke on the other hand was fine, just gung-ho and unconventional (which I loved). He later served in the regular army with 3PPCLI, then the US Navy and eventually as a USMC sniper instructor in Okinawa.
Here are some photographs that I acquired in the 1970s. They were left behind in a house by a Vietnam veteran. I do not know his name. I do not know the exact locations (other than the airstrip) and would welcome any information. One of the photos shows helicopters of the US 282nd Assault Helicopter Company “Black Cats” (their web site is at http://home.earthlink.net/~blackcat27/ ). Some photos show US soldiers of the 101st “Screaming Eagles” airborne division armed with M60 machinegun. Others show ARVN troops carrying M16 and M1 Garand rifles. More photos will be added as time permits. I have 12 colour and 7 B&W.
Any information would be appreciated. Colin Stevens seaforth72 (at) gmail.com
My comments are below each picture. Here is a response from a Vietnam veteran of this unit.
From: “Jeff Nowell” <jeffn123 (at) sbcglobal.net> Reply-To: <jnowell (at) ix.netcom.com>
Subject: Definitely Black Cats
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 2004 17:41:56 -0700 Hi, I served with the 282nd AHC “Black Cats” in Vietnam. … I imagine others might have mentioned this, but the helicopters were *definitely* from the Black Cats. That was our emblem. The four helicopters shown are all “slicks,” used for carrying troupes and supplies. You can see the black M-60 machine gun in stowed position (barrel pointing down) on the left side of the right front helicopter behind the open cargo space. The “gun ships” went by the name “Alley Cats” and had a different emblem on the nose, a black cat with a machine gun, also on a yellow background. Here’s a link: http://home.earthlink.net/~blackcat27/282hist.htm The emblem was adopted in 1967, so the date of the pic was no earlier than that. The black cats served in Vietnam until 1971, so it is no later than that. I don’t recognize the location. The 282nd served throughout I Corps, which meant generally N of Da Nang. Judging from the lack of fortifications, I would say it was someplace remote and possibly temporary.
Thanks for posting the pic, Jeff
The choppers sitting on the LZ in the photo on your website are at what was Camp Reasoner (DaNang), former home of 3rd Recon Bn., 1st. Recon Bn. & 1st Force Recon Co. USMC. I was in country when the LZ was paved by the Seabees. Part of it is sited over what was a cemetery and the graves had to be moved with the attendant ceremonies to another location. Seems like that took a lot longer to do than the paving. Part of Hill 327 is in the back ground and 1st Marine Division HdQtrs would have been to the right, up the hillside and back. If you go to “wardogs.com” click on Photo Gallery and then 1st Marine Division HQ you’ll get a broader perspective of the LZ.