Mail Call

Mail Call is one of our communication tools for significant events in our Association and individual members’ lives, including notifications of illnesses and Last Flights.
Prior year Mail Call entries have been gathered into annual documents and are found after the current year entries.
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Please Contact Wayne Laessig

if you have a message you want posted in Mail Call. Put Gunship Mail Call in the Subject line. If you want your e-mail address posted so members can contact you, please SAY THAT in your message. (For example: “Please include that I can be contacted at”) Wayne will review and post your message as soon as possible.

Here are the 2021 Mail Calls:

November 17, 2021  Roy Davis just found an obit for  Charles F Apgar, 18th SOS Stinger Pilot and Da Nang Commander who died 10 June 2019.  He had helped his wife Mary battle Alzheimers the last years of her life and days prior to his death Charles said he was going to see Mary soon. Godspeed Brother!!

November 14, 2021 Jim Alvis sadly reports the passing of 71st SOS Reservist Bruce B. Foster on November 10, 2021. Bruce worked for Walt Fritsche in the engine shop at Bakalr and Nha Trang AB. Sincere condolences are extended to Robyn, the Foster family, and friends. 

September 29, 2021 Janis Goryl sent an update on Joe’s visitation and burial arrangements: “We are having visitation on 10/8 from 2 to 4 at Good Samaritan Funeral home on n16 in Denver NC. Burial is 10/12 at 9 am at Salisbury National Cemetery, Salisbury NC. In lieu of flowers we are asking people to make a donation to the American Heart Association.”

September 26, 2021 Ev just got a call from Janis that her husband Joe Goryl, 18th SOS Stinger Gunner,  passed this morning.   R.I.P. Brother. Our prayers go to Janis and family.

September 24, 2021 Jan Goryl sent Ev the following: Good morning Everett. It is with a heavy heart that I need to let you know Joe and I will not make it to the Reunion this year. He was admitted last night to ICU with no covid issues. He is in congestive heart failure. Prayers please. Jan  Our prayers for Joe and Jan.

September 15, 2021 Frank Emma, 71st and 17th Shadow Navigator, passed September 12, 2021. His daughter Sarah Twiddle, informed Ev. R.I.P. Frank and our prayers to Sarah and family.

July 16, 2021 Ev Sprous recently learned of the passing of two 18th SOS Stinger crewmembers. Pilot John McCartney passed on March 8, 2021, and Pilot Dick Ring passed on July 5, 2021. R.I.P. Brothers. Our prayers go to your families.

July 9, 2021  We lost a member and friend to our AC-119 family on June 23rd. Marjorie T Hansen, 85, author of Brave Warriors, Humble Heroes: A Vietnam War Story. Marjorie was the widow of Charles Hansen, 18th SOS Navigator. R.I.P. and thank you for the memories.

July 2, 2021 Julie Goldberg contacted us, “I am so very sorry to tell you that Ronald C Goldberg passed on July 7, 2020.  I’m sorry it took me so long to let you know, but it is so very heartbreaking to write it.  He was the most wonderful husband for 47 years and was always very proud of his military service. 
Respectfully, Julie Goldberg .” Ron was an 18th SOS Stinger IO.  R.I.P. Brother.  Julie, please accept our prayers for you and your family.

June 21, 2021  James Alvis reports with sadness the Final Flight of Byron D. Feather, 71st SOS Shadow Navigator, on April 26, 2021. Byron was a Navigator on Gene Tippy’s Crew #4 at Tan Son Nhut AB. Sincere condolences are extended to the Feather family and friends.

June 21, 2021  James Alvis reports with sadness the passing of 71st SOS Harold Peach Sr. Harold was 1st Sgt of the 71st at Nha Trang AB. Sincere condolences are extended to the Peach family and friends.

June 17, 2021  One of our Association’s Founding Father’s ashes will be placed in his state’s newest National Cemetery.  Fred Graves’ ashes have rested on Karen Graves’ mantle since shortly after he passed on December 11, 2001. Karen knew that being interred in one of our National Cemeteries was important to Fred, but that he also wanted to be forever near her and their home in Idaho.  When the Snake River Canyon National Cemetery opened near Twin Falls, Idaho last year, Karen started the preparations and Fred will be interred there Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 10:00 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time with full Military Honors. The Cemetery is at 1585 East Elm Street (E 4150 N), Buhl, Idaho 83316.  The Graves and Karen’s Popplewell family are feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of this, so if you want to attend and honor Fred at his final resting place, contact Wayne Laessig at 707-592-4492 or He is helping Karen and family to assure Fred’s interment includes everything they want. If you want to send Karen a note, please send it through Wayne as well.  This will be a memorable R.I.P. Brother ceremony in many ways.

June 6, 2021 Joe Grushinski Jr notified us that his Dad, Joseph J. Grushinki, 18th SOS Stinger Gunner, passed away June 4th.  Joe Jr told us that his Dad always told him about our website and fellow gunshippers, and that Joe Jr just wanted us to know.  Thank you, Joe Jr – we know, and we remember. May your Dad, one of our Brothers,  R.I.P.

May 12, 2021 Ev Sprous found Stinger Gunner Tonny Sims, who passed away October 29, 2008; he is interred in the Tahoma National Cemetery. AS we continue to find those we can no longer see in person, it reminds us to try to see each other again, while we can. Brothers forever, and hopefully Brother Together again in Fort Walton for our upcoming Reunion.

May 2021For the Record – Founding Fathers Recognized in Proclamation by President Mike Drzyzga.  Founding Fathers Proclamation

May 4, 2021 Bill Hoover’s son update: There will be a visitation from 1200-1800 followed by a Rosary 13 May 2021 at Horan McConaty of SE Denver/Aurora 11150 E. Dartmouth Rd. Aurora, CO 80014.  Funeral Mass will be held 1000 14 May 2021 at Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 13120 E. Kentucky Ave Aurora, CO 80012. Procession to Fort Logan National Cemetery will follow directly after Mass.  Full Military Honors with Taps will be executed by the Buckley AFB Honor Guard. 

May 1, 2021 Shadow and Stinger Pilot Bill Hoover’s son sent this: Early this morning 1 May 2021, my father Major Bill Hoover passed away. He served as the chief stan/eval pilot for the 14th SOW, 17th and 18th SOS. He began his career as an enlisted missleman in 1950 and was flying C119s in Korea by 1953. He served with the 62nd TCS, 7406 support squadron in Rhein Main flying sneaky pete before joining the 16th SOS and then the 17th and 18th SOS. Any questions, please reply. Thank you, John Hoover USMC. R.I.P Brother.

April 16, 2021 Ev Sprous found two Brothers who passed away. 18th SOS Stinger Gunner Lonny Miller passed away April 15, 1978. And 17th SOS Shadow Nav Daniel Pruitt passed May 31, 2018.  He was on the 1978 MacKay Trophy crew.  No matter how young or old when they pass, our Brothers are missed and we ask you keep them, and their families, in your prayers.

April 10, 2021 Miracles do happen!! We ARE having our Reunion this year, in FWB, Oct 6-10!!! Go to this link to read the Reunion Flyer and register We already have 50 folks who have committed to attend.  We’ve lost too many brothers to miss this opportunity to reunite again.  Join us at FWB!!

March 30, 2021 Roy Davis learned that Shadow Nav and Korean War veteran Bob Bokern passed on January 5, 2018. Bob was one of two people who survived the airplane crash of Shadow 78 at Tan Son Nhut that took the lives of six crewman. Bob helped one crewman out of the plane as it burst into flames. His daughter Susan vividly remembers the day when “the man in the uniform” showed up at the front door with news that Dad was injured and recuperating in Okinawa, Japan. A poignant moment for his family was standing with Bob years later at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC when he teared up as he reached out to touch the names of the six crewmen forever emblazoned on the wall. R.I.P. Hero. “Raising a glass.”

March 17, 2021.  Bill Petrie received several notes from Jim Moore’s daughter: “My Dad fought a hard battle with cancer and his body finally gave out March 12th.  His services are today at Woodlawn Memorial Park, 1 Pine Knoll Drive, Greenville SC  with visitation from 11-11:45;  12 pm service, 1 pm graveside service.”  Jim was a Flight Engineer with the 18th SOS and Bill flew a few missions with him. “He will be missed.  Raising a glass.

February was a tough month. We lost or learned of the loss of several brothers: February 12, 2021 We learned that Stinger Nav Aloysius G. Casey passed away at home on June 10, 2020 from heart complications.  In all he flew 130 combat missions, retiring after 34 years service as a Lt General.  February 8, 2021: Ron Traudt’s spouse Loretta informed Ev Sprous that her husband passed on January 27, 2021. Ron was a pilot with the 18th SOS.  February 6, 2021 Jeff Chrobak informed us that his father in law, Stinger Nav Lt Col Ronald J Benedict, USAF Ret, passed away on 2/5/2021. February 5, 2021 Hello all, My name is Matt Andrews. 18th SOS Stinger Gunner Bob “Andy” Andrews was my uncle.  It is with a heavy heart I must inform you of his passing. He passed away January 18 at Arroyo Grande Hospital. I know he would want me to share this with you all. You were his second family and loved sharing story of his time in the Air Force.  I wish you all well and THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE to this great nation of ours.  January 27, 2021 Bill Petrie learned that 18th SOS Stinger IO Bob Van Abel passed January 20, 2021.  January 25, 2021 SSGT Corney Gene “Barney” Lowe’s son notified us that his father is deceased – Jan 2018. He served under LTC Apgar in the 18th SOS as an IO and FE and earned the DFC on 27 May 1970. January 15, 2021 JoAnn Nyberg, 71st and 17th SOS FE Roger Nyberg’s wife contacted us: Sorry to inform you that Roger Nyberg passed away on December16th 2020. I am sure he would of wanted you to know as he loved airplanes and the service, it was his life.  Sincerely, JoAnn Nyberg- Wife.  R.I.P Brothers and our prayers to your families.

January 13, 2021.  Missy Brooks, 71st and 17th SOS Shadow Pilot Eugene “Gene” Schaltenbrand’s daughter, posted this on our Facebook site: My favorite pilot and dad has flown his last mission. Colonel Eugene Schaltenbrand landed at the gates of Heaven last night 1/12/2021 at approximately 2100 Central. He leaves his wife of 62 years, Barbara; daughter Missy Brooks (Eric); son Stephen Schaltenbrand (Rexine); grandsons Mitchell Brooks, Tyler Schaltenbrand, and 1LT Stephen (Alex) Schaltenbrand – USA Army Aviation; granddaughter Katie Brooks; and his loving grieving yellow Labrador, Snow.  R.I.P Brother, and prayers for your family.

January 6, 2021.  Ev Sprous continues to look for and find some of our members who don’t know about us!! Along the way, he often learns of those who passed before we found them and we don’t get to see them one more time. Please look at our ALPHA Roster to identify ANYONE who should be on our list but isn’t, and if you have contact info for them, use the ALPHA Roster form to send it to us!! Ev recently found that two had passed: 18th SOS Glenn B. Ashworth who passed January 3, 2006;, and 18th SOS Harold W. “Hal” Ayers who passed January 23, 2007;  R.I.P. Brothers.

January 6, 2021.  We sadly learned of the recent passing of Doug Gorsuch, 17th and 18th SOS FE   He will be buried January 8 at Green Hill Cemetery in Union, WV with Military Honors by fellow veterans from the  WV Honor Guard and VFW Post 6723 and American Legion Post 100 Honor Guards.  R.I.P. Brother and prayers to your family. Further details are at

January 1, 2021.   It has been a rough road the past 10 months, coupled with heart breaking losses! Please stay safe and let’s look forward to our 2021 reunion