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CPTAUSRET
02-06-2004, 13:55
Nick Rowe called Rocky Versace the finest officer he had ever known:

Terry



http://www.homeofheroes.com/profiles/profiles_versace_pow.htm

NousDefionsDoc
02-08-2004, 20:57
Cap,
I believe you have some insight into the Col. Rowe and Capt. Versace story, don't you? Don't be modest now.

CPTAUSRET
02-08-2004, 21:47
Below you will find a small excerpt from the "Rocky Versace Medal of Honor" article:

I participated in a raid to rescue Nick Rowe who was being held in the U Minh forest at the time, either 65 or 66. Maj Ray Nutter was also on that raid, his ship was shot down in the LZ, his co-pilot an ex Navy pilot named Hargrove took one between the eyes, Nutter and his crew E and E'd all night long and luckily were spotted by a helicopter crew the next morning:

Pappy Kittleson CSM SF retired was also a participant, he by the way is the only man to participate in 4 POW raids; Cabanatuan, the one I'm describing, Son Tay, and the Iran hostage attempt:

It seemed that every major operation I was involved in in VN, was compromised in some way or another, so this one was kept very closely held, Caribous, and C-123's airlifted Chinese Nungs into Soc Trang all morning long. I don't believe any Vietnamese troops were involved in the op:

Weather was a problem that day and the slick lead had to vector aroung several thunder bumpers enroute to the LZ; every aviation co in the Delta was involved in this operation, my platoon either provided the initial suppressive fire run down the long axis of the shoebox shaped LZ, or we picked up the slicks on final and provided suppresive fire for them, either way, it was the most intense fire I had ever received, multiple crew served weapons at strategic points dotted around the heavy treeline surrounding the LZ, I spotted at least 4 . 50 cal's (More likely .51 cals) big ass green tracers punching holes in my aircraft. I couldn't even guestimate the number of crew served .30 cals firing at us. My ship took somewhere between 35 and 40 hits, I completed my firing run, pickled off all my rockets, and limped maybe a mile to a mile and a half before I gave up trying to nurse a mangled up ship (which was destroyed in place), and luckily was able to put it doen right side up:

Between 50 and 75 Nungs were inserted into the LZ, not one of them made it off the LZ alive. I dont know how many ships were lost that day, but a lot of lives were lost:

We got close enough that Nick Rowe was able to hear the battle, bu we faild in our attempt to get to him:

Terry


"Shortly after his daring escape in 1968, Major Rowe was invited to the White House to meet with President Richard Nixon and recount the events of his captivity. Colonel Ray Nutter, an Army congressional liaison officer attended the private meeting and recalled:

"Mr. Nixon wasn't really prepared for what Nick had to say. I don't think any of us were. Maybe later, we got hardened to this sort of thing. But in '69, to hear the story Nick told was very emotional.
"When Major Rowe was finished, the President didn't say anything. He was very emotional and moved. He got up and shook the major's hand, gave him a hug and had tears in his eyes. He said it was one of the most amazing stories he had ever heard. He turned to me and said, 'Did you understand what the major wanted?'
"I said, 'Yes, sir.'
"He said, 'Can you take care of this Colonel?'
"And I said, 'After being in here, sir, I can take care of most anything.'"

What Major Rowe had wanted was the Medal of Honor, not for himself, but for the man who's example had so inspired him, and motivated him through five years of captivity. Almost as quickly as the private meeting ended, Major Rowe submitted the paperwork nominating Special Forces Captain Humbert Roque Versace for the Medal of Honor.

In moves that infuriated Major Rowe for the rest of his life, for some reason and in spite of the President's own endorsement during that 1969 meeting, Rocky's Medal of Honor was not to be. The paperwork sat without official attention for two years, and then the award was downgraded to the Silver Star."

NousDefionsDoc
02-08-2004, 21:50
God Bless you for trying Cap.

And God Bless those that didn't make it off the LZ that day.

Team Sergeant
02-08-2004, 21:59
Thanks for sharing that CPT.

Makes me proud to call you friend.

Team Sergeant

CPTAUSRET
02-08-2004, 21:59
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
God Bless you for trying Cap.

And God Bless those that didn't make it off the LZ that day.

I would willingly have given my life in return for a POW's freedom:

That's why I chose to fly guns, I figured every little f-er I sent home in a body bag meant a young American kid had a better chance of making it home to his family:

Terry

CPTAUSRET
02-08-2004, 22:01
Originally posted by Team Sergeant
Thanks for sharing that CPT.

Makes me proud to call you friend.

Team Sergeant

Thanks, Brother:

Terry

CPTAUSRET
02-08-2004, 22:06
I would ask everyone to read the entire "Rocky Versace Medal of Honor" article:

Any man Nick Rowe calls a hero:

Terry

Roguish Lawyer
02-08-2004, 22:12
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
God Bless you for trying Cap.

And God Bless those that didn't make it off the LZ that day.

Here, here.

CPTAUSRET
02-08-2004, 22:28
Thanks, R L:

Terry

The Reaper
02-08-2004, 22:29
Terry:

Thanks for sharing, great story and follow-up.

I knew COL Rowe. Good man, and thanks for him and all the rest.

Your efforts are just as valuable and honorable as if you had gotten him out that day.

God Bless those lost, their loved ones, and those who sacrificed much trying to save them.

RIP, Brothers.

TR

brownapple
02-09-2004, 00:43
There are few words that have stuck with me for so long and made such a difference in my life than the words of Nick Rowe as he told us about his experience and how he kept himself going. There is no question that we should make whatever efforts we can to recover men such as he, no matter the cost.

CPTAUSRET
02-09-2004, 11:15
Originally posted by The Reaper
Terry:

Thanks for sharing, great story and follow-up.

I knew COL Rowe. Good man, and thanks for him and all the rest.

Your efforts are just as valuable and honorable as if you had gotten him out that day.

God Bless those lost, their loved ones, and those who sacrificed much trying to save them.

RIP, Brothers.

TR

TR:

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words.

Terry

CPTAUSRET
02-09-2004, 11:38
Originally posted by Greenhat
There are few words that have stuck with me for so long and made such a difference in my life than the words of Nick Rowe as he told us about his experience and how he kept himself going. There is no question that we should make whatever efforts we can to recover men such as he, no matter the cost.

Concur totally!

A great many in todays world just don't get it, they never will:

Terry

Martinez
02-29-2004, 13:32
.

brownapple
02-29-2004, 18:04
.

The Reaper
02-29-2004, 18:25
Great photo, thanks for posting it!

TR

CPTAUSRET
02-29-2004, 18:43
That is, a nice picture!

Terry

NousDefionsDoc
02-29-2004, 19:17
Great pic! Wonder what he has dummy corded in that shirt pocket? Probably a compass.

CPTAUSRET
02-29-2004, 20:31
Originally posted by NousDefionsDoc
Great pic! Wonder what he has dummy corded in that shirt pocket? Probably a compass. SOI?

NousDefionsDoc
03-01-2004, 07:37
Could be.

Roguish Lawyer
06-20-2005, 20:38
Bump

CPTAUSRET
01-04-2006, 04:11
Time for a bump!

Terry

CPTAUSRET
06-09-2006, 09:15
Bumping this again.

x SF med
06-09-2006, 10:48
If COL Rowe called him a hero, that guy is a hero times three.

12B4S
06-11-2006, 03:44
Great bump..... don't let it ever die.

CPTAUSRET
06-11-2006, 09:36
Great bump..... don't let it ever die.

Thanks, I think we all need to see something like this once in awhile.

It puts things in perspective.

The Reaper
07-04-2006, 13:43
Happy 69th birthday, Rocky!

2 July 1937 - 26 September 1965

You took the worst they could give, and asked for more.

RIP. You will not be forgotten.

TR

CPTAUSRET
07-04-2006, 15:48
Happy 69th birthday, Rocky!

2 July 1937 - 26 September 1965

You took the worst they could give, and asked for more.

RIP. You will not be forgotten.

TR


AMEN!

Thanks for resurrecting this thread.

Terry

Texian
07-04-2006, 18:23
RIP, Warrior.

CPTAUSRET,
If it wasn't for helicopter pilots like you, I might never have known my father. Thanks.

POO
07-19-2006, 10:44
Thanks for sharing CPT.

CPTAUSRET
07-19-2006, 11:19
Thanks for sharing CPT.


De nada. That's why they keep us FOG's around, we tell good stories!

You might check out this one.

http://www.professionalsoldiers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2655

CPTAUSRET
11-01-2006, 11:21
"Colonel Ray Nutter, an Army congressional liaison officer attended the private meeting and recalled:"


I received this in an email a couple of days ago.


"Gentlemen, as some of you already know, Ray Nutter, 76, former T-Bird Chief, Viking 26, and XO of the 121st AHC passed away on Tuesday, 24 October of a heart attack."

FearMonkey
11-01-2006, 13:19
One of our G's at Sage was related to Rocky Versace. I forget exactly what the relationship was (Grandfather, maybe...), but it was really a shocker after the call of ENDEX when we "left" Pineland and they truly revealed their identities. It also explained why he went by the G name of "Rocky."

If my memory is correct he serves as an 11B in a NG unit. Our entire "ODA" thought highly of him during Sage, and after we found out his family ties we all considered ourselves lucky to have served with him. It was one of the many small details that made Robin Sage such a unique and memorable experience.

CPTAUSRET
11-02-2006, 11:11
Peers, comrades remember Aviator
Vietnam veteran always loyal to troops

By Michelle Owens
Army Flier Staff Writer




-- Retired Col. Raymond T. Nutter


Retired Col. Raymond T. Nutter, Army Aviator and veteran whose call sign was “Viking 2-6,” will always be remembered as a good Soldier, leader and friend, according to his comrades and peers.

Nutter, 76, was a resident of Bowling Green, Ky., and he was born Jan. 24, 1930. He died at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 25.

After graduating from Western Kentucky University, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. He graduated from flight school here in 1959.

Nutter served in Soc Trang, Vietnam, with the 121st Assault Helicopter Company from 1966-1967.

“Ray Nutter was a tough Soldier, a good leader and an all around good man,” said retired Lt. Col. Jerry Daly who served with him in Vietnam. “He was very loyal to his troops. He always stuck up for his troops even when we didn’t deserve it.”

While serving with IV Corps in the Mekong Delta, the southernmost military region in Vietnam, Nutter flew a mission that earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the United States’ second highest medal for valor.

He flew with a team of UH-1 Hueys that entered an enemy-filled area Oct. 18, 1966, to rescue wounded American troops. While trying to pick up the wounded Soldiers, Nutter's aircraft was shot down, and his pilot was killed.

He and his crew chief and gunner fought off Viet Cong insurgents and survived through the night. A rescue team picked them up the next day.

“He was effective as a leader during that mission. His quick decisions determined the fate of a lot of people,” said Daly, who also flew in the mission.

During his career, he served in various command and staff positions, was a congressional liaison and the senior advisor for the Kentucky National Guard, according to his friend and comrade retired Lt. Col. John Kennedy.

Retired Col. Harry Harper remembers visiting his comrade in Washington during America’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. Nutter was then serving as a congressional liaison.

“To be a congressional liaison, you have to have a certain personality — likable. He got along with everyone,” Harper said. “He was real outgoing. He didn’t have enemies. He led by example.”

A memorial service was held Sunday in Bowling Green. He will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 6, said Kennedy.

“He was a good man. If you were in a fight, you’d want him on your side,” he said.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I flew with John Kennedy and Jerry Daly, I also flew with Ray Nutter...

Gypsy
11-02-2006, 21:15
RIP Colonel Nutter. Terry, I'm sorry for your loss.

x SF med
11-02-2006, 21:17
RIP COL Nutter.

T- sorry for the loss of your friend and comrade.

CPTAUSRET
11-02-2006, 21:20
Thanks:

Pappy Kittleson passed away about six months ago, and now Ray!

CoLawman
11-02-2006, 21:53
Sorry Capt for your personal loss.

CPTAUSRET
11-02-2006, 22:04
Sorry Capt for your personal loss.


Thanks, brother!

It's a fact of life that career military types usually have serious hurts picked up along the way, so I shouldn't be surprised when colleagues succumb...but I still recall these gentlemen as studly fighting machines!

CPTAUSRET
12-29-2006, 18:42
I'm bumping this, it's a worthy story!

Gypsy
05-20-2007, 22:24
http://content.hamptonroads.com/story.cfm?story=125043&ran=98419

Posthumous Medal of Honor winner honored in Virginia Beach

By DAVE FORSTER, The Virginian-Pilot
© May 20, 2007


VIRGINIA BEACH - Mike Heisley grew up with Humbert "Rocky" Versace, so he knew what the Viet Cong had gotten themselves into when they took his buddy prisoner in 1963.

"I was not surprised that we would never see Rocky again, because I knew that he would never bend," Heisley said.

The Army captain's actions during his 23 months in captivity - relayed by a fellow prisoner of war who lived to tell the story - are the stuff of legend. On Saturday, friends and veterans gathered at Bishop Sullivan Catholic High School, Versace's alma mater, to honor his legacy and keep it alive.

They recognized the Medal of Honor he received posthumously for his deeds as a POW. They announced a scholarship in his name. They marveled at the character of a man who wouldn't quit arguing with his captors to save his life, who sang patriotic songs from his isolated cage to uplift his men, even if it meant another beating.

They tried to understand "why he did what he did," said John Gurr, who graduated with Versace from West Point in 1959.

Before his capture, Versace served as an intelligence adviser near the U Minh Forest, a Viet Cong stronghold. He carried hard candy for children when he made his rounds in the villages.

"They would run toward his jeep when he appeared, calling out "Dai Uy Candy - Captain Candy," wrote retired Marine Col. Don Price, whose account of his time with Versace was read at Saturday's ceremony.

Versace so loved the children there that he planned to join the priesthood after his second tour and return to the country to work in an orphanage.

His daily visits included a school, a midwife facility, a clinic and the local Catholic church. On the way back he stopped at a jail to check on the welfare of enemy soldiers, Price said.

Versace was wounded in an ambush and captured with two other members of a special-forces team in October 1963, two weeks before the end of his second tour.

Versace quickly earned a reputation for challenging his captors and demanding better treatment of his men. He spoke French and Vietnamese and argued with them in three languages.

"Five months later the Viet Cong propagandists classified him as a stubborn incorrigible," Gurr said.

Versace, the ranking officer among the captives, was isolated from his countrymen, who felt that Versace's defiance deflected abuse from them.

"I'm an officer in the United States Army," Versace was known to say during attempts at indoctrination. "You can make me come here, and you can make me sit here and listen, but frankly I don't believe a word you're saying, and you can go to hell."

Near the end of his captivity, villagers reported seeing a prisoner, later identified as Versace, whom the Viet Cong paraded as an example of a humiliated American soldier. The villagers said the soldier spoke to them in their language, disputed his captors' rhetoric and smiled as he was beaten, Gurr said.

Versace was executed in 1965.

"There are no indications that Rocky Versace ever broke," Gurr said.

At Bishop Sullivan, where Versace attended his senior year when it was still Norfolk Catholic High School, students now have two large display cases that will remind them of his deeds.

The collection includes a yearbook from 1955, the pages turned to Versace's photo and his senior quote:

"In arguing too, the parson owned his skill, For even though vanquished he could argue still."


Reach Dave Forster at (757) 222-5563 or dave.forster@pilotonline.com.

NSDQ
05-21-2007, 01:26
Thanks Gypsy for updating this tread. Great story of a great warrior. Thanks also to you CPTAUSRET for your original post. In the telling of the stories is where these great Heroes Live forever.

NSDQ

CPTAUSRET
05-21-2007, 13:14
Gypsy:

Good find! Nice writeup!

FMF DOC
05-24-2008, 12:53
I just found a old POW/MIA bracelet with Rocky Versace name on it

Defender968
05-26-2008, 09:53
I would ask everyone to read the entire "Rocky Versace Medal of Honor" article:

Any man Nick Rowe calls a hero:

Terry

Absolutely Awe inspiring.....especially on this day.

Sir thank you for sharing your part in this amazing story, I am humbled to be able to read about it from the men who were there.

CPTAUSRET
05-26-2008, 10:45
I just found a old POW/MIA bracelet with Rocky Versace name on it



That is a find!

Were it me, I'd put it in a place of honor! Maybe print his story, and place it with the bracelet: Take it out once in awhile to pay homage to those who have gone before and unflinchingly paid the ultimate price to secure our freedoms!

God Bless them!