It has been 36 years since this story began at Saigon with the Shadow Gunships and a remarkable group of mostly young men. For the Stingers in DaNang, a string of 35 years has flown by for an equally remarkable group of young men. What links these two groups of Gunshippers? I link them because I was lucky enough to be Commander of Fighting C Flight for a year and then nine months later as Commander of 18th SOS, Det 1, stationed at DaNang, until the UN monitors verified our departure on 29 March 1973.
After all these years why am I writing these memoirs now? Some former Shadows at Saigon have expressed a desire to know more about the background to what happened there. Call it natural curiosity about events that affected their lives and memories of those events that seem to grow more important as time goes by. Make no mistake about the Vietnam War. It changed all our lives, particularly if we were young and it was the first war we faced our own mortality. I believe that the Stingers will also appreciate the background information to events at DaNang that occurred during the long year of duty there.
hat I am not writing these histories/memoirs for is to toot my own horn or to justify decisions I made or did not make. I just thought it may be useful in this informal format for you to see your experiences from a different viewpoint. I hope that you agree, and that this presentation find you and your families in good health and spirits.
SHADOW MEMOIRS DEDICATION
I would like to dedicate these Fighting C Flight memoirs to Bernard Smith and Larry Fletcher for their outstanding work in keeping Shadow memories alive and colorful, in the hearts and minds of other Shadows down through the years. They certainly kept them alive for me for which I will always be grateful. It is no exaggeration that without the actions of these two stalwart members of Fighting C Flight, these memoirs would not have been written.
Colonel Tom A. Teal
27 Jan. 2007