News Spotlight: Members of the Bird Dog Association of America were hosted and recognized for their service in the Republic of Vietnam during a Welcome Home Ceremony and Monument Dedication on Friday, October 9 at Fort Rucker’s Veterans Park.
Bird Dog unit veterans salute toward the newly dedicated memorial during the playing of “Taps” in honor of their fallen comrades at Fort Rucker’s Veterans Park, Oct. 9. / PHOTO BY JENNIFER CALHOUN, THE ENTERPRISE LEDGER
LTG Kevin W. Mangum, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command deputy commanding general and chief of staff, offered his thanks to each and every Bird Dog in attendance, as well as those lost in combat through the years.
“We celebrate the service and the sacrifice of you and those like you, who did more than your fair share, most on far off lands, serving a cause greater than self,” he said. “We certainly celebrate those who paid their last full measure of devotion … flying the venerable Bird Dog in combat and training, and perishing in that cause.” He went on to say, “Most of you did not get a proper ‘thank you’ when you returned from your fight,” he continued. “On behalf of a grateful nation, one that was too consumed with itself in the day, thank you for your service.”
Mangum, whose father was a Bird Dog pilot with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Germany and Vietnam, noted that pilots who flew the Cessna L-19 and O-1 fixed wing aircraft from 1950 to 1974 during the Korean and Vietnam Wars, did their flying “by the seat of their pants,” unlike today’s Aviators.