Casper aviation platoon Casper Platoon Story

The Ghosts Of Casper - Daring And Dedicated

This site was last updated: 2/15/15


Reprinted from: Fire Base 173 - September 29, 1969

Story and Photos by SP5 RAFAEL SANTOS


LZ English - Casper haunts the area at Landing Zone English where a sign proudly proclaims "Welcome to Ghost Town."

But Sky Soldiers of the 173d Airborne Brigade know that Casper is the brigade's aviation platoon - not the friendly ghost of the famous comic strip.

Having arrived in Vietnam with the 173d in 1965, the platoon is commanded by Captain Stanley H. Streicher of Cincinnati, Ohio, a winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

The Casper Platoon's jobs include re supplying troops, medevac, visual reconnaissance of different areas of operation, close fire support of troops in heavy contact with the enemy, the flying and maintenance of the brigade commander's chopper, and the transporting of V.I.P.s - including occasional entertainer.

Of the men from Ghost Town, Sergeant Leon J. Strigotto of Company B, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry said, "As an infantryman, I have all the faith in the world in the guys in Casper. We depend on them. They get us where we have to go, and just as easily and rapidly they pull us out.

"It's really a comfort to know that no matter what the time of day or night, those "good guys" are just a minute or so away." The sergeant concluded.

A pretty Red Cross girl had this to say about the pilots and crewmen of Casper: "They're angels. Just think, when the men need food in the field, who takes it to them? Letters from the "world" are real morale boosters. How do you think mail gets to the guys in the field? And whenever we make plans to visit camp sites, in hopes of bringing a little cheer to the men on the line, we can always depend on Casper to provide transportation," she emphasized.

"Not only are my men highly skilled, they are also very dedicated to their jobs," commented CPT Streicher. These men are dedicated and motivated because they enjoy what they are doing and they realize just how important Casper's functions are to the individual Sky Soldier."

Whether they are good guys, angels or ghosts, the residents of Ghost Town, 173d Airborne Brigade, are indeed friendly, professional aviators.

(Above photo) COOLING IT - CW2 George Clouse of West Carrollton, Ohio, "ghost" during a break in a flight mission near the fishing village of Tam Quan.

(Right above photo) PFC Douglas Walton of Woodlands, California, a Casper Door Gunner, keeps his chopper clean during a break at LZ English.

(Right below photo) Members of the Casper maintenance crew, SP4 Jack Marshall and SP5 John Mangold install a new transmission into a huey.

(Right below photo) One Casper ship helps another as this huey prepares to "dust-off" a Loach to Qui Nhon for major repairs. Rick Canning attaches the sling.