174th Assault
Helicopter Company


Some Insightful Notes and Photos from Jim Shrader
the 174th's First Operations Officer in Vietnam
(Plus four photos)

James E. Shrader
(509) 663-3410

October 14, 1997

Jim McDaniel
6904 Loudoun Lane
Springfield, VA 22152

Dear Jim,

I hope you got my E-Mail about the enclosed pictures.

Bernie Cobb gave me a report on the reunion. I really wanted to be there, but, I am president of a company that grows apples here in Washington State and our harvest is from mid-September to mid-October. The remainder of October is taken up with administration relating to the harvest. This being the most important time of the year for us, there is no way I can take off. I would have liked the opportunity to meet you and all the others of the 174th that attended.

I was the first Operations Officer of the 174th. I reported to Ft. Benning in October 1965 along with 22 other majors. I remained in that job until July 9, 1966, when I went next door and became the Commander of the 161st. After a short tenure there (three months), I was about to get promoted, so I moved on to the MACV Combat Operations Center in Saigon.

I have enclosed some pictures and a page of notes on them. If you want to use any of it, please do. If you don't want to - that's fine. From my perspective, the pictures do seem to be a little self-serving, but we all seem to have pictures focusing on ourselves. These are all the pictures I have from Viet Nam. There is no "Kinko's" in this area, nor anyone else that seemed interested in making copies from these old photos. If possible, I would like to have the pictures returned. If it is a problem, don't worry about it.

We all appreciate the hard work you are putting in for us. You do an excellent job and your website is one you can be very proud of.

Best wishes,

Jim Shrader

Both units at Lane Heliport, the 161st and the 174th, supported two Divisions in the Qui Nhon area: the Capitol ROK Division (Korea) and the 22nd ARVN Division (Viet Nam). The 161st provided a Liaison Officer to the 22nd, Major Robert Forsyth. The 174th provided a Liaison Officer to the Capitol Division, Major Al Sarnecki. Each officer effectively represented both Helicopter Companies.

(Photo 1 Below, property of Jim Shrader, 1966)

MAJOR ROBERT M. STUART - Bob was the first Commander of the 174 th. He commanded it during activation and training at Ft. Benning and for the first several months of operations in Viet Nam. (I am aware that you have another picture of Bob lifted out of the group picture provided by Bernie Cobb.) I thought you might want to use this one because of the l74ths Guidon, visible in the picture. Bob's present address is 5523 Powell Road, Huber Heights, Ohio 45424.

(Photo 2 Below, property of Jim Shrader, 1966)

NEW "HOOTCHES" AT LANE HELIPORT: Soon after arrival, tents were replaced with these new buildings, built for us by Major Marty Heuer and some of the troops. The Engineers could not have done better. Note that there are no sandbags or other forms of "mortar protection." That point is discussed further in the next paragraph.

(Photo 3 Below, property of Jim Shrader, 1966)

CHANGE OF COMMAND, CAPITOL ROK DIVISION, JUNE 1966 - Left to Right: Major Walt Payne, Intelligence Officer/Asst. Ops Officer, 174th AHC; Lt. Gen. Chae; Major Jim Shrader, Operations Officer, 174th AHC. On this day, General Chae relinquished command of the Capitol ROK Division, was promoted to Lieutenant General, and became commander of all Korean Forces in Viet Nam. The lady at the left edge of the picture was the wife of the Korean Ambassador to Viet Nam. We had worked and lived with the Capitol ROK Division since arrival in-country. Gen. Chae asked some of us in the 174th to participate in the ceremony.

NOTE: Gen. Chae was a "life insurance policy" to the units at Lane. Almost every night in our part of the country - from Qui Nhon to An Khe and Pleiku - units were being mortared by the VC. During our stay at Lane, which was in the Capitol Division area, not one mortar round landed. Why? Because Chae put word out to the VC, "You had befter NOT do it." Did they have reason to heed his warning? Yes .... if the stories told were true. He warned the villagers in his area of operations not to hide VC in their villages. As one of his units moved through a nearby village, they found residents hiding VC. The village was left destroyed and lifeless. Not a person, not a dog, not a chicken was left alive. The village was wiped off the face of the earth. While that may seem heartless, even barbaric, in the long run it probably saved lives. Is it a true story? I don't know. I do know he told the VC they had better not fire mortars into his Division area - and we never had a mortar round fall on us. We didn't even put sandbags around our buildings.

(Photo 4 Below, property of Jim Shrader, 1966)

MAJ. GEN. HUE, C.G., 22nd ARVN Division presents the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry to Majors Shrader and Payne of the 174th AHC.

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