Casper aviation platoon Casper Platoon Story

Caspers in the News

By Ned Costa, Casper Crew Chief

CAPO President Promoted To Executive Director

LAS VEGAS, NV (June 2004) - Co-Founder and CAPO President Ned Costa was surprised and honored at the 2004 Casper reunion when Co-Founder Don Charlton promoted Ned with a field commission in CAPO and promoting him into a newly elected position of Executive Director of this fine group.

"As your Commander" Ned replied, I will enjoy working with you and our slate of CAPO Officers now and in the future.

When Did It All Begin?

It all started in the fall of 2001. However, several of the Casper Pilots had already held mini-reunions at various Vietnam Helicopter Pilot Association (VHPA) reunions throughout the 1980's and 1990's. A Casper directory was created by Jim Revoir and later maintained by Jim Boswell then Don Charlton. During the 2001 VHPA reunion some of the Pilots got together and discussed how great it would be to have all of the Caspers meet each year moving forward. We had a terrific and unique platoon in Vietnam and it's success was made possible by the great working relationships that were formed by the Pilots, Crew Chiefs, Door Gunners, Mechanics and everyone else that was assigned to our unit. So this plan made sense to all. The decision was made and Don Charlton accepted the responsibility of contacting the troops. The Casper directory at that time had plenty of names in it, and had solid contact information for 53 Caspers. However, Don wasted no time in making his phone calls and emailing everyone he could. I was fortunate to have received one of his emails in early October 2001 notifying me of a possible Casper Reunion to be held in St. Louis during the summer of 2002. This news made my day and moreover, made me want to get involved in the project. I called Don and learned that he also lived in California about 20 minutes away in Seal Beach.

When Don and I first met, we had a great time swapping war stories and discussing the possibilities of holding Casper reunions on an annual basis. We thought the easiest and most effective way to bring the guys together again was to simply tie into the 2002 VHPA reunion in Las Vegas. To help reach as many Caspers as possible, I volunteered (famous last words) to create the Casper Website. What I did not tell Don was that I didn't have a clue on how to build a website, but I wasted no time in learning. With our work cut out for us, we had many more intense and long grueling meetings like the one pictured above. Hey, no one said that it couldn't be fun! Things started to fall into place and the website started to look like the real deal, with Casper history, stories, directory and about 100 photos to start. It was a proud moment for me when I launched and published it into cyberspace on January 1, 2002. By now, several other Caspers and volunteers were getting involved, and it wasn't long before we started to locate others.

It was at our first Casper reunion in Las Vegas that we formed CAPO. We elected an Executive Board of Officers and Don Charlton was named as our first CAPO President. Our second reunion was also held in conjunction with the 2003 VHPA reunion in Orlando. It was then we decided to break away from the national group and hold our own reunions in the future. We did just that and held our third reunion back in Las Vegas in 2004. It was a great success with more than 76 Caspers, along with family members and friends in attendance. Over the years, the CAPO group has grown and the reunions have turned into great vacation time for everyone and their families who attend. I strongly encourage you and your family to consider future get together.

Let's keep this tradition going in the future.

Ned Costa:

Don Charlton: DAT

This site was last updated: 2/15/15