Colorado Western Slope Vietnam Casualities
Janice Rae Pariza
Photograph - Photograph
A photograph I shot at The Western Slope Vietnam Memorial in Fruita, Colorado. The exhibit is amazing and well done.
This is the story of two young Grand Junction men who had a dream. Tom Doody and Marshall Davis. They met when they were Freshmen at Central High School in 1963. There they became best of friends. They joined the Civil Air Patrol. At Walker Field they learned to parachute and fly fixed wing aircraft. They both reached the rank of Captain. Upon graduating in 1967 they started formulating a plan to service the Aspen and Vail Ski Resorts. A very innovative idea for two 18 year old boys. They decided to attend Rangley College (now know as Colorado Northwestern Community College) where they could earn their commercial license by the end of their sophomore year. After they had obtained their licenses they decided that their business would be better served if they also could fly helicopters. Joining the U.S. Army they could also take advantage of the G.I. Bill. This would put all the pieces together and make their dream come true. Tommy is sent to Ft. Wolters for Primary Helicopter School. Marshall joins the Engineering Corp.
In 1970 both men are sent to Vietnam. After flying over 225 combat missions Tom is ordered to ferry troops into Laos. The invasion was called Operation Lam Son 719. On Feb. 8th 1971 his helicopter is shot down and explodes on impact. Several days later a rescue team arrives and finds the remains of 3 American crew members. One man is missing. So our family waited and prayed that he had made it out alive. Tom received the Purple Heart, Air Medal w/ 10 oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, and several others. Upon request from my Mother, Marshall escorted my brothers remains back to Grand Jct. for a military burial. On March 25th 1971 he was laid to rest. While the 21 Gun Salute was taking place, the first Civil Air Patrol plane (a Piper Cub) that Tom had flown passed over our heads. Marshall returned to the war. The last time I saw him was a year later on Feb. 8th 1972. He brought my Mom flowers and visited with her for an hour. Marshall married and had 3 children. He flew helicopters for several companies in the Southwest. Later he moved his family to Pendleton, Oregon where he flew Ambulance. On Dec. 3rd 1986 Marshall died in a helicopter accident when he encountered severe weather.
The first and foremost objective was to find and secure a site for the project. This we did at the Colorado Welcome Center in Fruita, Colorado. The City of Fruita agreed to take on the maintenance and the liability issues. The State has deeded the property over to the City of Fruita. Fruita has incorporate the property into the City's Park System. In agreement with the City we raised $10,000.00 to help cover the cost of continuing maintenance.
The United States Army has donated a UH-1H huey helicopter for static display. The huey was located at Camp Robinson in Little Rock, Arkansas. Bill Martin and I drove out there and the Air Guard had us loaded and out the gate within two hours. The trip home was great. Bill named the huey Columbine which is the State Flower of Colorado. People were honking, waving, and giving us the thumbs up. We even had a Kansas State Patrolman pull us over and asked "where can we get one"! Our groundbreaking ceremony was March 16, 2002. United States Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell was our keynote speaker. The event was a total success with hundreds of supporter's in attendance. Construction began on December 23rd, 2002. Associated Builders and Contractors of America took us on as their 2003 Community Project. FCI was our General Contractor. It is estimated that ABC donated $400,000.00 in materials and labor costs. The chopper was given a new paint job by West Star Aviation before being mounted for static display above the memorial. My brother Tom flew with the 158th/C 101st Airborne. He was part of the Phoenix Squadron. A phoenix was painted on the nose of the Huey which is appropriate since the phoenix rises from the ashes.
Co-Chairmen for our Fund Raising efforts were United States Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell and Former State Senator Tilman "Tillie" Bishop. The Board is comprised of several Vietnam Veterans. Brigadier General Harry T. Hagaman USMC (Ret.), Col. Roger Hagerty USMC (Ret.), Lt. Col. William Martin USA (Ret.), Bob Van Iderstine USA (Vet), and Wayne Telford USN (Vet), Richard Gigliotti USA (Vet). My daughter Jayme Jade and myself also reside on the Board.
Join My Mailing List;
Copyright Janice Rae Pariza producer of Crazy Woman Art
Fine Art American Logo will not appear on your finished product.
Prints of this art are available on canvas, metal, acrylic and gallery prints, framed or unframed, greeting cards and iPhone or Galaxy phone covers . FAA has a large selection of frames, mats and surfaces available for you to create museum quality masterpieces of your original print selections.
IF YOU LIKE MY ART, I would be appreciative it if you would take a moment to favorite, like, tweet, pin to pinterest, google, stumbleupon and facebook . This enables my art and photography to be found on FAA and other internet searches.
I hope you enjoyed this visual journey! Please return often as I upload fresh work quite often! I am grateful for your time!
October 14th, 2013
Viewed 148 Times - Last Visitor from Lake Charles, LA on 04/18/2015 at 6:36 AM