Australian Centurion tanks, photographed by an American, 1970.
“SGT John Smith, Co. A, sets an azimuth for mortar fire during a search and clear mission. 1970″ [Official US Army photo. ID
Portland gay couple, survivors of Vietnam War, now find peace:
When the Army asked for medevac pilots for Vietnam, Norton volunteered, even as his commanding officer warned it was suicide. During the war, air ambulances rescued more than 900,000 military and civilian casualties, 97.5 percent of whom survived, according to the U.S. Army School of Aviation. The Hueys flew low, just above the jungle canopy, constantly exposed to enemy fire. Thirty-nine medevac crew members died and 210 were wounded over a two-year period.
“SSG Willy Reichelt gives the word to move to crew members of his M113 APC after picking up the ARVN troops who will accompany them. 1970.” [Official US Army photo. ID SC655904]
“Dirty Dozen,” an M110 self propelled howitzer, 82nd Artillery Regiment, US Army, at LZ Dottie, 1970.
Army Strong: A gay soldier’s life of service:
During his career, he served as a platoon leader and a company executive officer in Vietnam. He received two Bronze Stars, one for valor, a Purple Heart and an Air Medal. He was chief of military education for the Army Reserve in St. Louis and an inspector general in California. His final assignment was as an engineer war plans officer at Fort Hood, Texas. After a fire at his home there in 1996, an arson investigation uncovered video that indicated Loomis is gay.
More than 14,000 service members have been discharged in 16 years under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. “That’s enough to form an entire Army infantry division,” Loomis points out.
His case went to Federal Court, and he won by arguing the Army did not follow its own regulations and discharge procedures. “The judge was looking for the easiest way to decide the case,” he says. Nine years after he was kicked out of the military, Loomis got his retirement. He returned home to New Mexico and joined the state’s chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights, of which he is now president. Last year, members marched in the Albuquerque Veterans Day parade for the first time.
Men of 2nd Bn, 1st Marines with their puppy, named Hard Times, circa 1970.
Bell UH-1 Huey at work, 1970