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Hey, Buddy, here's the story:  Bob Fairchild and I left Vietland in (I think)
July of '67, a few weeks before Fran Olsen reported in, and we flew back to
Travis AFB on the same rickety C-141.  (Years passed before I got back on a
plane after that little adventure.)  Anyway, regarding Bill Steffens: 
sometime in the early spring of '67 (I think), one of our three-man
hunter-killer teams, led by Steffens, went into the woods from the forward
perimeter near the Cateka Tea Plantation.   As I recall, we had no word from
the team for a day or two--then someone from another team radioed in that
he'd heard a quick "Mayday, Mayday" call but nothing else.   We concluded
that it must have come from Steffens' folks  but we couldn't raise them on
the radio.   By the grace of God there just happened to be a Huey idling on
the pad, and since I had a general idea where they'd be, I grabbed my old
Thompson, hopped aboard, and we went looking for them.   Whether they popped
smoke or flashed a mirror, or whether it was just pure chance, we were
hovering over a mixed patch of trees and high grass when three guys burst
into the clear, running for all they were worth, and vaulted into that
chopper like they were Olympic athletes.  Yes, it was our young heroes
Steffens, Francoviac, and Burke, their faces flushed and eyes wide.  They'd
run smack into an NVA platoon and had shot their way out.  The kicker was
that after we got back to the perimeter, the powers above didn't believe that
any such thing had happened.  Subsequently, they had to go back out there
with an impartial Lt.  (Phil _________) and bring back evidence of the
contact.  Based on what they found, they'd gunned down 7 or 8 members of the
opposition, including an officer.   Gen. Peers himself came out to the
perimeter (with an official U.S. Army photographer) to award them Silver
Stars (?).  Plainly I'm hazy on a couple of the details, but I'll never
forget the look on their faces when they exploded aboard that chopper.   I
thought you were with us at the time, but if not, Bill Daniels certainly was
and he'll recall this, I'm sure.  At any rate, this is why I asked if  the
name Bill Steffens rang a bell.   Take care and God bless.        Lou G.,
formerly 1/Lt., Inf.

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