174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Biography of

E5 Andrew Kasarda

Specialist 45J20 Armament
July 1967 - November 1968

(Biography as given to Warren Hewetson, January 12 thru 25, 2000,
by letter, phone and e-mail, and printed with Andy's permission.)

Andy Kasarda’s current day activities consist of traveling around to different job sites and giving on-site presentations in job safety, material handing, training, and other Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) related topics. He is vice president of Design Safety Investigations Corporation. Through OSHA, he is also authorized to conduct 10- and 30-hour Construction Outreach training in accordance with guidelines provided by the OSHA Training Institute. This constitutes a good part of Andy's time.

Andy was born in Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Akron Hoban High School and attended the University of Akron before enlisting in the United States Army. He served his country during the Vietnam War from November 1965 until November 1968.

Andy arrived in the 174th AHC in July of 1967. His service to his country earned him many commendations, including the Army Commendation with Valor and Heroism Award, two Bronze Stars, Expert Rifleman Badge, and the National Defense Service Medal. All during his stay with the 174th AHC.

He held the rank of Specialist E-5 (45J20 Armament Specialist) upon his discharge. Andy says, "I really wasn’t a Crew Chief, yet I was a 45J20 armament specialist -- basically a professional doorgunner. I maintained the gun system, the computers, bore-sighting, etc. I even ran the Gun Platoon in July 1967…equivalent to a Platoon Sergeant. Sometimes I would ride in the Peter Pilot's seat of the aircraft during maintenance and test-firing flights (depending on attitude of the AC). My job was basically to insure that when either pilot pulled a trigger, the system would fire and the rounds would impact within the sight-picture.

"This is me and 'da boys', early '67. With me is Baer, Ramey. and Kunelius."

The Shark Platoon nicknamed me "Crash" because of two things: One time all my 2.75" rockets fired at once! (NOT good when the pilots aren't expecting it); and I also wrecked a deuce-and-a-half going after the enemy. Nobody ever told me the "style" to kill the enemy, so I tried by truck.

In this photo, Andy says, "I believe I took this some time in July 1967 from a duece and a half I was driving. Head of the convoy is being mortared by th VC! I used the vehicles as defense against the enemy. At any rate, a body count was a body count."

Sergeant Jim Yokum remembers, "…Crash almost shot me twice with the mini-guns! He was cleaning them and soaking them with LSA when I walked in front of him. He rotated the barrels and sent more than one round between my legs! Crash’s reaction was ‘whoops!’ I got pissed and started after him, and he sent another right between my legs. I thought I’d leave him alone after that!" During times of danger, accidents, and fun, Andy was well respected by his platoon-mates.

Above left, "We're all on gunship standby here...actually I took this from outside my tent in July '67. The flight line revetments were pretty close to our tents." On the right, "This surrealistic photo was taken from my sister ship in a Shark team sometime in early '67. I'm sitting in that door slot. The ship is Shark #428."

Above left, "This is a bad guy they had us pick-up when I was flying as a Dolphin slick door gunner one day in the Summer of 1967. The infantry had filled up the slicks with prisoners! This guy was one 'bad Indian!' Usually they're pretty scared. Not this guy" On the right, "This was me in my 'slick' doorgunner capacity. Notice the bunge cord. No mounted M60s then."

"Here's what we pulled out of a VC 'spider hole' one day. This little cache was pretty much right at the entrance of the hole. No 'tunnel rats' here! This turned out to be a box of food and hospital supplies."

Following an Honorable Discharge in November of 1968, Andy was employed as a Head Brakeman, and as an engineer, for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and Ravenna Arsenal. Following a lay-off by the railroad, Andy pursued a career in law enforcement.

Andy is a veteran of the Akron Police Department. He retired as Sergeant of Patrol Operations on April 4, 1998 after serving for 28 years and 3 months. During his employment with the Akron Police Department he managed upwards of 90 reserve officers at a time. He was assigned to Vice, Traffic, Patrol, and most recently, investigating cult-related crimes in the Detective Bureau. Andy kept current by constantly upgrading his job-related skills through workshops and other types of education. These courses include: Criminal Investigation, Sex Crimes Investigation, Introductory through Advanced Modern Day Cult and Occult Investigation at the Academy of Ohio Peace Officer Training Council in London, Ohio; and a Cult and Occult Investigation course at the University of Akron. Additionally, he attended numerous workshops and seminars sponsored by the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Akron General Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences (specializing in the treatment of trauma-related disorders, including cult and ritualistic abuse). Under the leadership of Thomas Wedge, an area expert on cults and the occult, he completed a workshop of Cults, Occult and Deviant Behavior.

Andy believes in the importance of awareness as the key to prevention, detection, and reduction of cult-related crimes. Denial that these practices exist can result in the inability to recognize factors substantiating a cult-related incident. Through research, writing, and public speaking, he hopes to inform professionals of the growing incidence of occult and cult-related criminal activity.

Below is Andy and his family in 1998. Left-to-right is his son-in-law, himself, his granddaughter, his wife, and his two daughters."

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