Pilots Celebrate 40+ Anniversary

Pilots of the 8th Helicopter Company flew assault missions and deployed Vietnamese soldiers into combat zones. They slept together, ate together, laughed together and faced life and death together.

“We spent literally 24 hours a day with each other,” said former pilot Jim Walker of Tennessee. “You never forget the guys you experience something like that with.”

More than 40 years after their 1962-63 tour, members of the company had a reunion. Host Jerry Manuel, Lacey, Washington, got the idea after having dinner with Jerry Dyer, former executive officer of the 8th Helicopter Company. It was the first time they’d seen each other since the war. Right then Manuel decided to search for the rest of the guys.

After two years of searching on the Internet, Manuel reached enough officers for a reunion. Camaraderie was quickly rekindled after 40 years.

From a story by Kevin Kalhoefer in The Olympian, Olympia, Washington.