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Posts posted by WorldWarPatches

  1. Here is one of the original 200


    Thats funny. It's the same exact article I have.I am going to add the whole story.



    History of the Air Commando ZAP Patch

    November 13, 1991

    6083 Rosa Ct
    Chino, Ca 91710

    To: Hap Lutz

    707 Crestwood St Mary Esther, Fl 32569

    Dear Hap:

    I promised you the history of the ZAP patch and I have found and put together things which you should find useful. I had the history in an old SAW Communications Handbook I wrote while at SAWC. The ZAP patch was used as a cover for my book which I sent to the world-1000 copies that went to 5 continents and related US government agencies. Col Sam gave me permission to send out this 234 page booklet and later TAC went through the roof with me over publishing it without their permission. They followed up 9 months later with an almost identical edition. It was pretty good because I received letters from military units in Latin America, Africa, Europe, Asia and others. Even the CIA was using it while I was in Laos-they wouldn't give me their CIA equivalent book but they sure liked mine. They felt that some of the data shouldn't have been published but they wanted me to meet their boss if I was interested in a job with the agency.

    The reason I used the ZAP patch on the cover was to dedicated it to Capt Bob Simpson who was a close friend of mine and who died in a T-28 crash while we were together at Det 2A, Bien Hoa, S. Vietnam. I can remember telling Bob the day before he died, while we were on duty on Sun on the flight line, "someone is going to get killed because they are flying you too much and I hate to say this Bob I think it is going to be a T-28 since you guys are so overworked." Col Miller was the commander at the time. He agreed with me and he was so tired at this time that he didn't seemed to really care. His death made a big impression on me since we were close to each other.

    We were supposed to have a Vietnamese in the back seat because we were training their pilots and not fighting the war-our cover story as you recall. They even went out to the flight line and put some unsuspecting Vietnamese EM in the backseat for the ride of his life. I think that our pilots really had some experience with these young Vietnamese EMs because they got sick or grabbed the stick and held on for dear life etc. I even heard of stories that when the aircraft landed the young, horrified, sick etc Vietnamese took off and never was heard from again because he found grazing buffalo was more to his liking than flying with the Americans. In Aug, 1962 a Vietnamese AF NCO cadre, under the leadership of TSgt Thanh, was setup to fly as backseaters in T-28s and B-26s. TSgt Thanh spoke the best English of any of them and had never been to language school. He was a real great guy and I would like to see him again. He was a very good personal friend of mine. If you know where he is I would like to know.

    I believe that this patch was the first SAW organizational patch made and indicated this in the SAW communication book. If you have a different view/history it would be interesting to print this in the ACA paper. It was designed by Capt Bob Simpson(KIA 28 Aug, 1962 in the Mekong Delta-he was the originator behind the patch), Capt Robert Walker and myself in June, 1962 Bien Hoa Airbase over some beers in the unofficial Det bar which I believe was in (Capt) Secord's tent. It was a patch for the First Air Commando's Detachment 2A. When the design was finished I had the responsibility of getting it made and selling it to the Det personnel. I believe I had 200 made and sold them for a $1.00. The patches were hand stitched by a tailor on base as best as I can recall. Later on someone had this patch made into a small metal pin which I had but can't find it now but would like to buy another. I have the first patch made which is in my Air Commando collection.

    The white elephant tusk and bamboo poles were symbolic of Vietnam. The EBF stood for East Bum F--- which was the unofficial code given to the Detachment in Vietnam. In polite company we used terms like East Bum Force, East Bravo Force etc. You also recall that back in Fla EBF & SBF(Panama) were our daily referrals to these classified locations. The yellow lighting bolt was symbolic of the Tactical Air Command. The bolt with the AP stood for ZAP-the word used to describe shooting up the enemy. The ZAP patch got its name from this. Two Alpha stood for Detachment 2A, 4400 CCTS Sq which became the First Air Commando Squadron in April 1962. The First Air Commando stood for the Squadron located at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The EBF is in a light blue background which represented the heavens-we didn't have any saints in the Sq in those days. The Two Alpha in a background of dark blue represented the USAF.

    I have in my notes that this was the first organizational patch worn by SAW units. It was a patch worn with pride and esprit de corps because of what was required of the wearer and because the Air Commando mission was to "Fly and Fight and don't you forget it."

    I can recall that when our people went to Danang they would have fights over the AC hat with AF(non AC) and Army personnel and Mike Doyle got upset over it and his words were "if you loose you will see me." I wonder if our ZAP patch ever was responsible for starting a brawl. It would be interesting to know if it caused fights?

    I hope you write an article on all our patches. We had a symbolic plaque but no patch in Panama. It had a propeller with the AC hat on one blade and surrounded by stars, olive branches and lighting bolts. Its Spanish motto was CUALQUIER HORA CUALQUIER LUGAR(anytime anyplace). If I can help you on any other data I might have let me know and I'll research it.

    I had a great time at the ACA reunion and my wife really enjoyed it. I was very happy to see you and your wife and the Lao(can't remember his name) again. If you see Freeman tell him I want to see him at the next ACA reunion.

    Sincerely; Eugene D. Rossel




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