My name is Sam Sours. I was born on August 29, 1947 in Norfolk VA. My father was in the army at that time and was transferred to the Air Force when the old Air Corps was made the Air Force. Shortly after my birth, the family was moved to Cheyenne Wyoming where we lived until I was nine, then we moved to Muncie Indiana, my fathers home town.
I lived in Muncie until I joined the Army on July 20, 1967. I was sent to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky for basic training and Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri for AIT (Advanced Individual Training) for training in supply. I left the states for Vietnam on December 7, 1967 and was a member of the 174th by December 17. I spent my first year with the company working in the supply room for either Mr. Menchner (not sure about the spelling), Mr. (Pappy) Pate, and others.
I later extended to be a door gunner, partially because it was hard making E-5 (Sergeant) when the supply officer was being changed almost monthly the last few months of 1968. The other reason was that I didn't want anything to do with stateside duty. The photo at upper-right was taken of me behind the Shark EM hooch. The weapon was captured by one of the Shark crews (I'm not sure who) when they landed to check some VC or NVA that they had shot. It was kept on the wall in their lounge/bar.
I was assigned to the first platoon in the first week of February 1969 and started flying on Dolphin 68-15223 with Frank Daily. When Frank left, Dolphin 223 was given to Charlie Upton and I gunned for him. On March 23, 1969 I found out what it felt like to stop a Chi-com round, it missed Charlie and hit me in the back. I was sent to the hospital in Chu Lai, but I told the doctors that I wanted Doc Schoolfield (our unit flight surgeon) to take care of me instead of going to Japan. For some strange reason they actually listened to me and sent me back to Duc Pho. The below silhouette of a UH-1H is Dolphin 461, crewed by Ben Kennedy.
A month to the day after being shot, I was given the chance to become a crew chief. I took over Dolphin 67-17419. Larry Whalen was my first gunner. We didn't have 419 too long because on April 25 we crashed it out by San Juan Hill, working for the same people that I was working for wen I got shot. All hands survived the crash, but the transmission and generator played around with my head for a while. I was knocked cold. When I came too there was a lot of red stuff dripping off of a lot of metal around me. It was only hydraulic fluid, but it was still a hell of a sight to wake up to.
After Dolphin 419 crashed I was given 67-17471, and then 223 was given to me in September 1969, which I flew on until my last day flying. On that day we took three hits, no casualties. We were working for the same unit that I had been supporting when I got shot and when we crashed. Do you think some one was trying to tell me something?
I left Vietnam and the Army, temporarily, on March 15, 1970. I got married, was back in the army by the June 12, 1970, and was assigned to Ft. Carson, Colorado. I ran into several of the guys from Nam there. The Army even made MPs out of some of them. The flight section I was assigned to had 14 E-5s and one PFC for four OH-23s. I was the ranking E-5. We had crew chiefs for UH-1s, OH-6s, Cobras, and Chinooks, but nobody knew anything about OH-23s. I was sent to OH-58 school in the spring of 1971.
I came down on a 'by-name' levy for Ft. Belvoir, VA in July 1971. When I got to Davison U. S. Army Airfield, DUSAA, I was assigned to Eagle Flight. They took care of the "little people" (the Army Chief of Staff, Secretary of the Army, and Secretary of Defense). I was given the only OH-6 on the airfield. It had some modifications made to it when Johnson was President. I finally got three OH-58s in September or October of 1971. They had a nice paint job--looked more like civilian helicopters than they did Army.
I spent 39 months at DUSAA and then asked to go to Panama. I was there for 21 months and then went to Ft. Hood, Texas for 24 months with the 2nd Armored Division. I made SSG at Ft. Hood and became a Technical Inspector (TI). My next and last assignment was to the B Troop 3/4 Cavalry at Scofield Barrack, Hawaii.
I left the army to try to save a doomed relationship with my first wife. It didn't work. I went to Indiana Vocational Technical College and got an Associates degree in computer science, and landed a job in March 1983 at the Rock Island Arsenal in Rock Island, Illinois. The Island is in the middle of the Mississippi River. I am still here on the rock.
My likes and habits at this time are:
-- Vietnam Veterans of America - Treasurer/BINGO Chairman
-- Lions Club - Member
-- Cub Scouts - Cub Master
-- Boy Scouts - Help with the troop
Wife - Joy Ann
-- Shanna - 28
-- Samantha - 12 (plays violin, flute and wants to take up trumpet)
-- Michael - 27
-- Anthony - 11 (Boy Scout)
-- Joseph - 7 (Cub Scout)
VVA Chapter 299 - (309) 788-8387
My e-mail address is email@example.com.