John "Jay" Lehman SFC, USA
Saigon News NCOIC 1971-72
A couple of short stories from AFVN days about Donald E. White, SSgt, USAF and a SP4, USA who didn't know any better even after being warned. Also some tales of Korea, Japan and Okinawa from the late 1950's through the 1960's.
Donald E. White, Jr. SSgt, USAF News, Saigon 1971
The following was in a message received from Jay on August 5th, 2015
I was NCOIC RADIO/TV 1st Infantry DIVISION, LTC Fred Jenkins was the IO, BRO AKA Big Red One. That copy of TV GUIDE is in the 1ST Division Museum in Wheaton, IL. On paper, Fred was my immediate boss. Operationally my chain of command was the shortest one in Vietnam. It consisted of two persons, MG J.O. Seaman, CG 1ID and me. I was in the division from May 1964 thru April 1966 when I was transferred to IIFFV same bosses, same operational chain of command, except Gen. Seaman now wore 3 stars. Paragraph citing the AUTHORITY for transfer on the orders read as follows: "VO. CG IIFFV confirmed by VO CG 1ID." Gen. Seaman was SLEDGEHAMMER 6 and his Huey was SLEDGEHAMMER. Whenever the General didn’t require its use; that Huey was mine to use as I saw ft. In addition to escorting correspondents whenever they were in our area, I could cover any unit I wanted to. Like someone once said, “ It was the best of times and the worst of times and just about everything in between.” I covered ops with the 1ID, the 25ID, 173ABN, 5THSF and the 11th ACAV all over III Corps. Flew with the 145 AV Bn and hunted sampans on the Song Be and Mekong with the 187th AHC. Among other activities, some of which that I doubt I would ever volunteer for again.
Chester A. P. McNeese MSG, USA NCOIC, Pleiku 1969 / Saigon /
NCOIC, Da Nang 1970/71
Don White was not at AFVN in 1970....he was at an USAF pirate radio station which was shut down by AFVN in late 1971. Don was transferred into News after I replaced Phil Upton as News NCOIC in Saigon. Also, I was at AFVN until 30 January 1972.
Individual Photo Albums & Stories
I was awarded a Joint Service Commendation Medal for my tour at AFVN...an Army Commendation Medal w/ V for Valor when I was assigned to the 1st ID back in 1965 and a Bronze Star with V for Valor at IIFFV in 1966. The latter two awards [were] back when I was dumb and young and figured, "The better the story...the less the risk in reporting it."
Chet McNeese was on Monkey Mountain in late 71. I sent a SP4 up to him and told the young man to ditch the pot he smoked before arriving there because Chet wouldn’t put up with the habit. Shortly after his transfer, I got a phone call from the Replacement Unit in DaNang...It was the SP4 who said McNeese caught him smoking pot and threw him over the sandbags and told him to get off the mountain. I informed 1LT Lipp. Night News & Duty Officer, and shortly thereafter was told to call the SP4 back and tell him that he would be picked up by a 1LT and a SGT from the 1st CAV and wished him well on his new assignment as an 11Bravo [Infantryman].