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Old 03-13-2013, 09:05   #31
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Originally Posted by SPEC4 View Post
I'm not sure WHEN you served, but, the oval patch behind the jump wings matched your assigned unit patch on the beret, in 1969-71.
Unless you were in the 10th or IMA, the oval was the teal blue/gold one for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 8th SFGAs, and the 46th SFC and DetKorea.

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Old 03-13-2013, 11:03   #32
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I stand corrected.

I was going from memory, I'll take a seat in the bleachers.
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:32   #33
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Got to training group Spring 67 just out of Infantry AIT and BAC.

Had to give up the pretty blue cord and brass trim for the plain unassigned stuff of SF.

Lot of us youngsters only had a year or so in and you saw lots of funny things going home on leave that would not have gotten far on the hill.

Hands in pockets were known as Air Force Gloves and would get you 20 likely as not.

Wearing a beret was not a status of training-it was SF or not.
A "terminee" was not authorised a beret.

Some guys flunked out, some screwed up, and some others left for personal reasons.
There was actually a waiting list for 5th Group slots in those days.
Very few went straight to 5th from SFTG. but some did.

I got back in 70 and SF grads were stacked on top of each other in the 7th-5th was downsizing and they were all dressed up with no place to go,
Most had been to every available school, including Ranger, just to keep them busy.
They all had real bad atitudes and it was not a good environment.

Funny remembering that stuff.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:08   #34
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I remember reading about Echanis in SOF magazine in the early 80's. IIRC he killed himself and a couple others by trying to throw a live hand grenade out of an airplane in Nicaragua. He was also one of the people involved in the men who stare at goats thing.
I believe he was killed before the staring at goats thing occurred. I also understood you killed himself with a dropped grenade in a helicopter.

As far as the picture, he is wrong in all ways.
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Old 07-18-2013, 09:21   #35
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Originally Posted by jkirkthomas View Post
Love the hands in the pockets and the porn stache. You old timers had no discipline,,,,,

Us old timers all had porn staches.
In order to give free mustache rides, you MUST have a porn stash!
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:27   #36
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The Rest of the Story...

Photo is of Michael D. Echanis. It was taken by his family the day he left from Casual Leave (1 July 1969 - 28 July 1969) at home (Ontario, Oregon) for Vietnam.

Per his 2-1 Echanis entered service on 12 May 69 and attended Basic Training beginning on 19 May 69 at Fort Ord, California (Co D 3d BDE).

He then attended Advanced Individual Training at Fort Gordon where he was awarded his 11 Bravo MOS (hence the Blue Infantry Cord). He cross-trained at Fort Gordon as an Infantry Direct Fire Crewman, as well.

Echanis then attended and completed ABN School at Fort Benning, GA (4th Student BN (ABN). His ABN Student # was 534.

On 25 October 69 with a Duty MOS of 09B2P he reported to CO D, USASFTNGGRP (ABN) at Fort Bragg. He attended and, as recently learned, SUCCESSFULLY completed Phase One of the SFQC on 21 JAN 1970.

However, Mike's primary goal (as a 19 year old) was to get to Vietnam and try to learn what had happened to his cousin, the CPT Joseph Echanis, whose F4 had crashed in Laos in November of 69.

Upon completion of Phase One Echanis volunteered for duty in Vietnam.

He (and this is where the picture comes in) remained assigned to Special Forces and his 2-1 reads he was now a Replacement assigned to USASFCTNGGRP (ABN).

After Casual Leave Mike arrived in Vietnam as a replacement SF replacement on 3 FEB 1970. He was recruited and assigned to CO C, 75th RGR INF on 23 MAR 1970. His MOS was then listed as 11B1P and his principle duty was that of Scout-Observer.

Echanis took every opportunity to get where he felt he might learn something about Joseph Echanis - and LRP with CO C, 75th INF seemed to fit.

On May 6, 1970, the Daily Log for Company C (RANGER), 75th Inf., Engineer Hill, Pleiku, VN states the following:

"1900 - Company had one truck ambushed today at An Khe Pass. Suffered 7 friendly WIA's. Got four confirmed KIA's. Negative Operations."

Gerald F. Colvin, CPT, Operations, signed the log entry.

Per the August 5, 1970 Company C (RANGER) 75th Infantry (ABN) "Operational Report - Lessens (sic) Learned, Period Ending 31 July 1970, Paragraph B -

"During the month of May, the company conducted 73 operations in twenty-three operational days resulting in 27 contacts, 32 enemy sightings, 34 enemy KIA, and 14 weapons. Friendly losses were 2 US KIA and 14 US WIA.

"The high casualty figure was mainly due to a convoy ambush in the An Khe Pass on 6 May."

The report is signed by Major Donald L. Hudson, Commanding.

In the aftermath of that ambush on May 6th, Mike Echanis was awarded the Bronze Star with Valor Device (General Orders Number 1810, dated 15 July 1970, Department of the Army, Headquarters, 173rd ABN BDE).

His award narrative states Echanis was wounded four time during the ambush but "continued to fight until the beleagured truck was relieved. Specialist Echanis's aggressive spirit and undaunted courage were decisive in preventing the annhilation of the truck and its personnel."

Mike was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallanrty for this action (with Palm Device) and the Purple Heart.

Orders for his and all those others wounded in the ambush were cut on 7 May 1970, the day after the ambush. They were cut at Headquarters, 17th Field Hospital, VN (General Orders Number 104).

The PH for those Rangers assigned to CO C, 75th RANGERS include:

Roberts, Eddie L., SSG (2nd Award)
Carr, Alfred L., SP4
Echanis, Michael D, SP4
Ladeaux, Robert W, SP4
Laughton, Mark E, PFC

The driver and assistant driver of the vehicle, also wounded, were:

Lewis, James H, SP5 (597th Transportation Company)
Baker, Gary L, SPF (597th Transporation Company)

Major Clarence A Martin Jr, Acting Commander, signed the orders.

Echanis was transferred from the 17th Field Hospital on 17 May to the 249th General Hospital in Japan where his lower right leg was saved from amputation.

He was transferred to Letterman Army Hospital on June 3, 1970 for roughly 7 months of intensive in-patient and then out-patient care and treatment.

On 18 December 1970 he was medically retired with a 100% VA disability rating.

Echanis would return to the Special Forces community in 1976 as the senior civilian instructor for the new Hwa Rang Do military combatives program he designed. And yes, I have all of the relevant documentation for that.

On September 8, 1978 he, Chuck Sanders (recently retired from the Army/SF) and Bobby Nguyen were killed in an aviation crash near Lake Nicaragua. I have the US and NIC documentation on that event, as well.

All three were returned and buried / cremated (Chuck Sanders) in Ontario, Oregon.

GEN McMull, then SF CDR at Bragg, directed then MSG Ivan Jakovenko (who was very close to Mike and Chuck at Bragg) and was the Team Sergeant of ODA 594 (SCUBA) -

To provide a formal SF escort / color guard at Mike and Chuck's services.

Jake described this to me himself.

At the conclusion of Mike's ceremony MSG Jakovenko, SSG James Lally, SSG Roger Bascomb and SFC Thomas Powell filed by Mike's casket and placed their berets upon it. These were then buried with Mike. Also a pall bearer was former POW James Jackson, who was very close to Mike at Fort Bragg.

On February 11, 1971, the Echanis Family received a Presidental Certificate from then President Jimmy Carter. It reads -

"The United States of America honors the memory of Michael D. Echanis - This certificate is awarded by a grateful nation in recognition of devoted and selfless consecration to the service of our country in the Armed Forces of the United States."

In 2013, Echanis was inducted into Black Belt Magazine's Hall of Fame as Weapons Instructor of the Year.

In short, Echanis was authorized to wear his beret with crest when reporting for duty in Vietnam as he was assigned to Special Forces as a replacement. He did successfully complete Phase One. He was authorized to wear the blue infantry cord on his uniform (I wore mine when I reported to SFQC in 1980 and thereafter, as appropriate).

He volunteered and was accepted as a LRP/RGR by Co C, 75th INF (RGR) and was wounded with that unit (after saving 6 other members in the ambush per his award narrative) and was awarded the PH by the unit per the orders cited.

SGM (Retired) Jakovenko and selected members of his ODA, as named, paid our community's respects to Mike, Chuck and the families per GEN McMull.

We might agree if Echanis was less than what he clearly was Jake and the others would not have been sent nor left their berets on Mike's casket in honor of him.

And "mercenaries" don't recieve such attention much less a presidential certificate after the fact.

There's much more about Mike and what he really was doing in NIC and for who - but that's another chapter in his Life story that includes then SWC CDR Colonel Charlie Beckwith

Rest in peace, Mike.
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Old 04-25-2014, 09:25   #37
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In short, Echanis was authorized to wear his beret with crest when reporting for duty in Vietnam as he was assigned to Special Forces as a replacement.
I don't think so.

USASFTNGGRP and USASFTG were abbreviations for SF training at Fort Bragg. You wore your Army headgear when reporting, the beret w/SF DUI while in training, and either the beret w/flash/DUI upon completion of the program and awarding of the SQI "S" or the regular Army headgear if not when departing Training Group.

Once he was no longer in the program, he should have worn the overseas cap or garrison hat enroute to his next duty assignment as an 11B1P unassigned which should have been reflected on his 2-1 as something along the lines of "Casual enroute USARPAC" or one of the many variations that were used at the time.

I think he was just 'profiling' when that pic was made - as many did and still do when away from the flagpole and home on leave. We all know how that one works.

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Old 04-25-2014, 23:54   #38
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Richard is correct.
You terminate, you give up your beret, period.
You don't wear infantry ropes with SF Uniform.
I attended the Ft Gordon Infantry AIT course in 1967.
It was oriented for airborne volunteers and run like jump school
The course separated us into 3 groups, 11B riflemen, 11C Mortars, and 11H 106RR shooters. One section each, only.
We were randomly given to one of those sections upon arrival.
When we graduated we were put on busses to Ft Benning.

There was a lot of hi-jacking at replacement centers in VN. I know SF guys with SF orders who ended up in other units-didn't pass go, didn't collect $200.
I'll tell you something about those VN after action reports and enemy casualty reports-don't believe any of them-how do you kill 34 guys and capture 14 weapons?
Charlie did try and recover weapons before casualties, though.
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Old 04-26-2014, 09:14   #39
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And so it goes...

Those are the facts, the documents, the history from FOIA and National Archives.

The from the Echanis Family.

And it explains the origin of the photo posted on this thread.

It's pretty interesting how some only focus on "wear of the beret" or other cosmetics -

Glossing over what the guy's actual combat record and awards / decorations.

Does anyone with the E/C Company Ranger Association know if any of the other four rangers wounded with Echanis are still alive? That would be interesting to know.

I concur with Art Gitlin, long time Sigung and one of the old San Francisco school of martial artists and instructors "back in the day"..

"I never like discussing Mike because it drives me crazy to hear all these people who now claim to have known or trained with him and so on. I've had people mention his name and say, "Ah, he wasn't so tough." Yeah, right. Now that he's dead everyone is willing to say how not so tough he was. It makes me sick, you know what I mean?" - Art Gitlin, February 1996, interview with Michael de Alba/Fighting Knives Magazine

SGM Jake Jakovenko (Retired) and Master Chief Bob Nissley, both who knew Echanis well, would agree.

Little known fact. After an H2H demonstration in Puerto Rico where Echanis and Jakovenko, according to Jake, beat the crap out of each other Echanis later contacted Grand Master Joo Bang Lee, described the event and recommended Jake be promoted to Black Belt in Hwa Rang Do. Which he was. Prior to that Jakovenko was a brown belt in jiu jitsu.

Echanis was tough enough to both earn and give rank when he worked for both our community and Naval Special Warfare (ST2) in '76/'78.

Just a neat historical note.
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Old 04-26-2014, 15:46   #40
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If Mike had PCS'd from SFTG enroute to OCONUS and had not been awarded the SQI 'S' he was 'profiling' in that pic and he would undoubtedly be the first to admit it if he was still around.

As far as 'knowing' him, I only knew him superficially from his short time spent with us (I was in A/2-7th then) on Alamo Field teaching his instinctive combatives style of fighting. When it came to that, he was proverbially serious as a heart attack and harder than woodpecker lips, and we had nothing but respect for his fighting abilities.

May he rest in peace - and so it goes...

Richard
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Old 04-26-2014, 19:01   #41
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Agreed

I believe you have nailed it

In a recent e-conversation with SGM Jakovenko about Echanis -

We discussed the "Q" course question among other things -

He offered, knowing Mike as well as he did, that Echanis wouldn't care one way or the other "S" or tab wise where he was concerned. Those things didn't matter to him as much as they do to others.

Jake also offered Mike never, to his recollection, talked about his wounding or his awards after the fact. He didn't even know that Mike had attended the "Q" course. Mike never said anything.

From what I've learned from Jake, Juan Montes (who knew MDE at Bragg and was instrumental in seeing him hired by Somoza while Montes was Army attache at the US embassy in Managua), Chief Nissley, Master Randy Wanner and others this was pretty much Echanis' style.

His dad and uncles had all fought in WW2...his cousin, Joe Echanis, was shot down over Laos in November of 1969...and he'd met / worked with guys like the above named who he truly respected and saw as far more than he was.

To include his closest friend and fellow Soldier / Warrior, Chuck "Sandy" Sanders. Chuck was instrumental in Mike's successful recovery from his wounds - and was himself a fully qualified "Green Beret" who had been awarded the Soldier's Medal in '77 while on Jakovenko's SCUBA team. I have the citation narrative for that event - he saved the life of one of his teammates during a hign angle climbing accident.

Master Chief Bob Nissley (Ret.), who likewise knew Mike very well and oversaw his, Chuck's and Bobby's return to the States and funerals (to include, at the request of the Echanis Family, viewing the remains once all three arrived safely in Ontario ... this to ensure positive ID) said of Mike -

"He was a Free Spirit. He just wanted to be exactly who he was and do what he wanted to in life. That's why so many were drawn to him."
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Mike's Gravesite.jpg (98.2 KB, 36 views)
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Old 04-26-2014, 19:23   #42
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And so it goes...

Attached is the photo taken by then Major Juan Montes in Puerto Rico just after Echanis and then MSG Jakovenko did their impromptu H2H demo in the field.

The company had been flown down to PR to provide its National Guard with "training and assistance" during a period when Puerto Rican "nationalists", read terrrorists, were becoming a significant problem.

Echanis was invited to go along but because he was then a civilian and because of his leg injury (he would have if they'd let him) he couldn't jump in with the company.

So he air-landed after the jump and caught a ride out to link up with Jake's team.

According to those who were there the demo was pretty amazing. SGM Jakovenko punched Echanis who then smacked him back...then Jake smacked him...then Echanis hit back harder...and pretty soon both were bleeding and giving it all they had.

As Jake told me they got a standing ovation after it was over and Mike saw to it Jakovenko was promoted to black belt ranking in Hwa Rang Do.

In the photo you can see SGM Jakovenko in the background over Echanis' right shoulder.

Of Jakovenko Echanis said in a Soldier of Forune interview he did in '77 - "...when we are talking about individuals, probably one of the toughest hand to hand combat instructors and probably one of the best professonal soldiers I have ever seen is MSG Jakovenko...He was one of the leaders on the Son Tay Raid...He's Special Forces and Ranger Qualified."

Returning the accolade and more it would be MSG Jakovenko who, along with three others from his SCUBA team, who would honor their friend by placing their berets on his casket on September 16, 1978.
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Last edited by Kasik; 04-26-2014 at 19:35. Reason: Photo requires conversion to JPG. Will post later.
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Old 04-26-2014, 21:09   #43
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....The company had been flown down to PR to provide its National Guard with "training and assistance" during a period when Puerto Rican "nationalists", read terrrorists, were becoming a significant problem......
There are a number of stories about the HALO and SCUBA teams and PR during that time period. Don't know it the statute of limitations have run out on a couple of them.

3/5th spent a good bit of time there for about three years.

Some people tend to get time compression over the years. Which is how his time on Smoke Bomb Hill around the mid 70s gets stretched by the posers to all the stare at goat crap from the early 80s. Bam Bam popped up a while back on that thread and straightened all the posers out.

While Mike mostly hung out with Jake's team a few like Bam Bam from Co A were pretty much regulars. Mike did the round robin training around the Hill but I was doing something and missed it.

IIRC Mike had a brother who worked at the Siam Club on the 500 block for a short while. I say that because I was downtown with some of Mike's regulars and we were having a few beers. Some dude pulled a pistol on the bartender and he reached over the counter, took it away from him, jumped over the bar and beat the crap out of him - fast as you could blink your eyes. I said that was pretty slick and one of the guys replied "Yeah, that's Mike's brother." Don't know if it was his brother but that's what the guy said...

That was some weird times for sure.
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:47   #44
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Brother was likely...

Chuck Sanders' brother, Jim Sanders, helped both Mike and Chuck teach at Bragg during that time period.

It is Jim who is shown in a number of published photographs taken during that period - taking punches and kicks from Mike. In the JAN/FEB 1976 issue of VERITAS in an article titled Hwarang Do by Spec. 4 Rick Mullen, the then two-week military Hwa Rang Do instructors course is described. Jim is featured in one photo on Page 19.

Jim was hoping / planning to join the Army and follow in Chuck's footsteps in Special Forces. He got into trouble in Fayetteville, don't know exactly what, and never was able to follow through with enlistment.

In a personal letter home during this period Mike wrote, in part, "I am completing a 6-week film and completing a Army Manual [his first O'Hara book]. I'll be working for the government for the next 5 to 10 years. I feel I have found my profession and I know the military is my home...Chuck was 28 the other day, and Jim turned 23. Jim will soon be in the Army going to Special Forces hopefully."

Chuck was born May 21, 1948 so it's easy to figure out when this letter was written.

Upon Mike, Chuck and Bobby being returned to Ontario Jim, along with Master Chief Nissley, viewed and confirmed his brother's remains.

Jim is still with us and remains in touch with the Echanis Family.

Attached is two part photo sequence taken at Bragg. Mike is demonstrating his version of Bruce Lee's famous "One Inch Punch". Chuck Sanders is taking the hit

Never before seen and one of Mike's favorite photos taken during this period.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf EchanisOneInchPunch2.pdf (410.6 KB, 96 views)
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:52   #45
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One Inch Punch #1

This is the beginning of the punch sequence -
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File Type: pdf EchanisOneInchPunch1.pdf (372.9 KB, 77 views)
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