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    Spiders past and present reunite at HAAF

    Spiders past and present reunite at HAAF

    Photo By Sgt. William Begley | The Black Widows of the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, 101st Airborne Division...... read more read more

    SAVANNAH, GA, UNITED STATES

    11.01.2016

    Story by Sgt. William Begley 

    3rd Combat Aviation Brigade

    HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. – The Black Widows of the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, 101st Airborne Division reunited for the first time in over 50 years at Hunter Army Airfield October 26.
    The Vietnam era veterans were hosted warmly by the Spiders of Company A, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade and were shown around an area of operations on HAAF which many had seen long before the current Soldiers were even born.
    Herb Sims is a retired Colonel and was a member of the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, 101st Airborne Division during its deployment in Vietnam.
    “We deployed in April of 1967 to a place called Dau Thieng which was where our base was. We just fell in on a piece of ground there. I have not seen most of these guys in 50 years. After Vietnam we just went our separate ways,” Sims said.
    A lot has changed over the 50 years Sims has spent away from his comrades.
    “Well it’s really unusual. Seeing someone you haven’t seen in 50 years. Some of them you wouldn’t recognize walking down the street, other guys still look pretty close. Some of us have to carry a picture around to recognize each other,” Sims said.
    The commander of the Black Widows of the 188th Assault Helicopter Company, James McWhorter was a major when he commanded the unit in Vietnam. He retired as a lieutenant colonel after serving for 25 years. He described the company which closely resembles a modern day battalion.
    “It was a big company at that time. We had the company itself which was the Black Widows, we had the Gun platoon which was the Spiders, we had our own medical and signal detachments and our own maintenance detachment,” said McWhorter. “We were well over 300 people strong. It wasn’t unusual to have a major as a commander, and sometimes a lieutenant colonel.”
    “We went to Dau Thieng which was a rubber plantation, and all that was there for us was a mess hall the engineers had built. Everything else we had to put up. We used artillery canisters as foundations for tent platforms. Everybody came to do a job and they knew they had to do it themselves or it wasn’t going to get done,” McWhorter said.
    McWhorter said that seeing his fellow Black Widows after over 50 years was a very strong experience.
    “Granted I may have gotten a little old and some of our hair is gone but they’re still the same people and they show the same dedication now by being here as they did when we served back in Vietnam,” McWhorter said.
    Current commander of 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, 3rd CAB, Lt. Col. Jennifer A. Mykins spoke with great pride about the lineage of the Spiders and the ties they have that never break.
    “We talk all the time to our Soldiers and tell them that we stand on the shoulders of those that came before us and their legacy. These individuals, the veterans that are here today and what they represent over the past 50 years, it’s because of them that we are here today,” Mykins said. “This is our way of saying thank you for what they did back in Vietnam. We continue to maintain that relationship into the future. Maintaining that relationship between past and present.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.01.2016
    Date Posted: 11.01.2016 11:46
    Story ID: 213458
    Location: SAVANNAH, GA, US 

    Web Views: 202
    Downloads: 1

    PUBLIC DOMAIN