.Humorous unfabricated (I swear it's true) story about our beloved brother, Junior Belcher. As I recall, the company was in DongBaThin during October or November of 1969 on standown waiting for the move to BanMeThouit. Now BJ did some social drinking on occasion, and this story is about one of those occasions.
Someone in the company had captured a wild monkey out in the bush, put him in a laundry bag and brought him in to camp. Now BJ was slightly inebriated (Drunk) to us dozer hands. Anyway BJ started a fight with the monkey, the monkey bit him during the scuffle and the monkey was declared the winner, BJ passed out!
The monkey was put back in his laundry bag and tied to a post just below the roof. Big rain that night. Unfortunately the monkey was expired the following morning. Now we were all very concerned about the possibility of our brother BJ being exposed to rabies!! The commanding officer dispatched BJ with deceased monkey in laundry bag to locate a veterinarian. Must not have been to many in Vietnam because he was gone for a week. Monkey getting rank by now!!
BJ finally found a veterinarian, autopsy showed monkey drowned. Although some of us still believe BJ gave the monkey rabies!! by Les Longley
Some Heroes In Our Midst
James Turner Junior Belcher
Pipestone Canyon by:Les Longley
Around sundown one evening, myself and 3 or 4 others were preparing our dinner, C Rations heated up with C-4, suddenly we had incoming rocket and mortar attack along with small arms fire.
I scrambled for cover under my dozer, which happened to be parked near to our 548 with 50 machine gun, with all the explosions and dirt flying, I seen James Turner on the gun returning fire. This concerned me as he had very little protection on the gun so I began screaming for him to take cover, to no avail!!
By this time Marine tanks had fired up and were heading out towards advancing NVA, with Marine infantry trying to outrun the tanks to arrive first , along with one dozer operator from the 687th who will remain anonymous because I don't want every one to know that he is completely crazy. My two buddies are both heroes to me and boco dinky dow.
I was relatively safe and secure under my dozer, watching a bad war movie, and also I had only two weeks left of my tour in Vietnam!! No hero here.
Thank the good Lord they both survived, although never recognized for their actions.
Thank you Brothers!!!
by: Doug Eversole
Hello Brothers & Sisters,
When I first received a call about reuniting the 687th Land Clearing Company, my thoughts were mixed. After conversations with Topps, Harper and Les it soon became apparent their intentions were genuine, so I joined in the search with hope of finding all the members as possible. Within a few days Les phoned me with information on Martin "Gilly" Gilman. Being from West Virginia Gilly and I became best of friends while in Nam, after coming home Gilly asked if I would be best man at his wedding. Gilly and Joan were married in a small chapel in the bend of the road near Lenore, WV their hometown during the day. We stayed in contact for a few years but as family men with careers we lost contact.
Once Les and I finished our conversation I phoned Gilly for the next several hours we talked, joked, cried, and renewed a friendship that will last forever. We then began the search for Bob Loeffel, Larry Sullivan and Michael Dunn. Within a short time frame success again Les and Deb had located Bob.
For years as my career sent me all over the country I searched for my buddies with no luck. Bob and I became close friends in Nam. We spent lots of hours working as mechanics on the dozers and other equipment within the company. The one thing I remember most of Bob is while I spent my time as we moved base camps setting up our work area, Bob was busy pitching our poncho tents for sleeping quarters and digging a fox hole in case of incoming. I have often wondered how many foxholes Bob dug. Our phone conversation lasted for hours that first night again we discussed finding Sullivan and Dunn. I shared with Bob all the information on the other brothers that had been located. Bob and I have visited on several occasions since being reunited. Bob and Nancy have become a special part of my life thanks to the efforts of those who found him.
The search for Sullivan took several months. After all the phone calls I finally found someone in Maryana, Ark who new a person that had kept records on all high schools in that county. My conversation with this lady was at time long but she informed me to call the tax assessor office and tell them of my search. I spent the night restless and as soon as the assessor's office opened I phoned them up. After a short talk with the assessor she informed me that Sullivan had moved some time ago, but there is his sister Bea that runs a local beauty shop and she gave me that phone number for the shop.
I phoned up the shop and asked for Bea. I told her who I was and that I was trying to find her brother. Her first words were I know who your are I have pictures of you and Larry in swimming trunks catching something in the ocean. What a wonderful lady she gladly passed on his phone number and wished us well in our search for others. That was the longest wait form the time I had his phone number until he would be home from work. finally I phoned Sully, of course the conversation goes on for hours pretty much the same as before with Gilly and Bob. I immediately phoned Gilly and Bob and passed on Sully's number. For the next few days all was a buzz between the four of us.
Since all this occurred after the 2005 reunion we three began making plans to visit sully in Memphis. With help from Bea, Bob and I surprised Sully shortly before the holidays in 2005. We spend a couple days with Sully and Sharon and visited Graceland. After thirty seven years it is unbelievable how that tour of duty still today reunites old friends and forms new friendships.
Finding Gary LeMasters and Michael Canfield has almost completed the search for the small band of brothers from Headquarters Platoon, the search continues for Michael Dunn. The most unpleasant moments finding out about the passing of Jerome Schneiders, James Caldwell, Jesse Sheppard, Greg Meek and others.
Gilly, Bob and myself made the trip to Indy to visit with Greg Meek's widow Sheila in 2005. We all were pleased to share dinner with Sheila and Greg's sister Bonnie. We exchanged photos and shared with the ladies our memories of Greg during his tour.. We left Indy pleased having met with Greg's family but sadden that his departure from life came shortly after our first reunion. I'm hopeful that in time Shelia and Bonnie will attend our reunion festivity.
After our first reunion in May 2005 brought back together a Band of Brothers that served under harsh conditions in Veitnam for God and Country. The comrades that attended this event will always remember it as a very special time in their lives. The sharing of memories, photos and story's from our tour for some was the beginning of the healing process long sought by many. For me seeing George Selby came as a real shock for all those years I assumed he had met his fate during the explosion that destroyed his 10-ton. What a relief. Then there is Gabby what does on say about such a humbled person. The wounds from Nam and other life elements may have taken toll on his body but not his good nature and loving heart. it is for the real Heroes like these brothers and others that I want to always be a part of all our reunions.
Our second reunion was wonderful to say the least. There were new faces in the crowd and lots more hugs and tears of joy. What a great experience seeing everyone socialize and freely supporting group of officers in their endeavor to set goals for the organization. Words cannot express my profound gratitude to Les, Charlie, Jimmy and Paula for their outstanding leadership and endless efforts put forth over the last three years. Thank You.
To those that have never attended a reunion I urge you to get involved, be a part of this great Brotherhood. You will find brothers willing to help you with anything. come join in, share your memories, photos and movies of your tour of duty.
In Closing let me say to all you are very special and best wishes for a Great Reunion in 2007.
Welcome Home Brothers
Yours in Brotherhood
Headquarters Platoon (mechanic)
All of us who served with the 687th in Vietnam know that down time was scarce. After our first assignment at BaoLoc and Basar where we had been in the boonies for about three months, we were given down time at Phan Rang. I had purchased some of "natures best" and twisted up a few doobies. I invited a gentleman who I had formed a close friendship with to come down to a spot on the beach and "relax". Well, after puffing on a couple of joints we were really relaxed. Now I am not one to start vicious rumors, but my friend told me that he was seeing an aircraft carrier, to be more specific, the Carrier Enterprise, out in the bay, now that is not a strange occurrence, but he told me the carrier was towing a water skier, and I thought that was very strange. I don't know if the carrier or the skier was there, but I will never doubt that after smoking a couple of joints, he saw something. Now if anyone doesn't believe me, and I'm not saying you should, you can ask the friend of mine who say's he saw such sights, he in non-other than our own beloved friend and president, Les Longley.
Submitted with a clouded memory. BJ
This tale is about one of the very few of our brothers that actually volunteered for service with the 687th Land Clearing Company.
It seems young Sp/5 Jack Gilkerson had good duty with the 589th Construction Battalion in Phan Rang,RVN-what with his own hooch (687th brothers no BIC) hot showers, 3 hot meals per day and lots of night clubs to patronize, the latter being his downfall. Now all Jack had to do was his job, which we know he did, but he also was required to play army in a war zone (wear clothes, shine boots and make company formations.
One morning Brother Jack showed up for company formation in the back of a deuce and half (out all night and running wild). He fell out of the truck (maybe a little drunk?) in front of the entire company standing at attention, and of course his Commanding Officer didn't appreciate this, he gave Brother Jack a choice, a demotion in rank or transfer out of the 589th. So happens the 687th was just coming out of the jungle into PhanRang for stand down and Jack spotted a bunch of long haired, unshaven, half naked crazy GIs. Jack made a hasty decision, we all welcomed him to our outfit, although we often wonder about his mental state at that point in his life.
Chicken Lover------$10,000.00 question
Brother Linely and Brother Gilkerson along with others received an invitation to a local Chief's village for dinner and wine one evening. All were seated after dinner( monkey stew) the Chief presented Don with a live chicken (language barrier). Brother Don was confused, leaned over and asked Brother
Jack what he was supposed to do with this chicken, Jack whispered back "Kiss it", Don DID-- Right on the lips!! Jack and the other Brothers fell over laughing, now the chief is confused!! (language barrier).
I hear to this day Brother Don and Brother Jack still have no idea what was to be done with the chicken. But we don't think kissing is what the Chief had in mind.
Funny how things come to light. Les and I were looking at pictures on the site, studying them, in one picture of a group of guys, one with his back to camera, wearing a red baseball cap, Les said "that's Jesse, I just remembered he wore a red cap". Today we received a picture from Gail of Jesse in his red baseball cap. When I showed the picture to Les he said, " there is his cap"!
.We are in contact with Canfield's son, he can't get his dad to a reunion, I told him today by email he has another year to work on him. anyway, on the Leisure Page on the site, Les and I named the pictures of their tents, houses, whatever they were. lol. We named one Canfield's Castle. Jeremy said he had his mother in law paint his kids play room, two years ago, like a knights relm and named it Canfield's Castle!! The site is only 6 months old, Jeremy visiting it about 3 months ago. He thought that was pretty strange, funny, weird, whatever you wanna call it, seeing his dad standing by his Canfield's Castle 38 years ago.
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After 38 years I need to thank one of my best buddies in the entire world, to whom I owe a great deal and perhaps even my life! Brother Junior Belcher, thank you for dragging me and my dozer through a fire fight and ambush site. Someone decided that it was necessary for us to evacuate the island that we were clearing because of a supposed on coming typhoon, consequently we were convoying 10 o'clock at night (no no in Vietnam). Sure enough VC or NVA seen the opportunity and attacked. My tractor was broke and BJ was towing me in the dark when all HELL broke loose, all I could think about was-BJ, find a higher gear and lets go faster! We got through alright, unfortunately two marines on a tank behind us were severely wounded. How bad can a typhoon be? It rained on us and we needed a shower anyway!! After loading wounded on MediVac chopper, we then camped in a cemetery for the remainder of the night.
Such wonderful memories of days gone by!!
Thanks BJ---we shall always be Brothers. Love ya, Brother Les
Arriving in Vietnam as a 19 year old PFC, I was assigned to C Company 87th Engineers in July 1968. The company was building and upgrading about 4 miles of QL1 between Bangoi and PhanRang, RVN. My job was operating a 290M Earthmover. I became aquatinted with George Gittinger, Danny Perry, Clarence Ryals, Willie Powers, Steve Bishop, Okey Cooper, Jerry Nichols, Larry Fuller, Charles Turner, Willie Clay, James Baumbarger and a few others all of whom were later transferred into the newly formed 687th Land Clearing Company. I recall watching Clarence Ryals welding chains on to the cab of a brand new Cat D-7E Dozer, being of curious nature I inquired as to what he was doing. He proceeded to tell me about this new company he was going to and said that the chains might deflect shrapnel or flying bullets. (Very wise) man). Shortly thereafter my Platoon Sergeant explained that the 87th Battalion was being deactivated. So I had a choice of going with him and our Lieutenant to another construction battalion or go to the 687th, where most of my buddies had already been assigned. Platoon Sargent said the 687th would be tough duty, sleeping in the jungle and probably get shot at quite often, he failed to mention the big snakes, mines, booby traps and C Rations for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Jack, I was warned). Well dummie me, I was one of those few that volunteered for 687th duty also. All my buddies became Brothers after our tour with the 687th, the rest is history!! by: Les Longley