Make your own free website on Tripod.com

YL-37 FLIES AGAIN

Special Events

Home
CodeTalker
UH-34D
Angel Memorial
Pilot's of YL-37
Missions
Events
Special Events
Newsletter
Links

Memories: Narrated by John Daily
                     Point Man Ministries

 

With severe weather rapidly approaching, intermittent rain had already begun falling from a heavy, gray sky. Drops formed like tears on the old war-horse that rested in a parking lot on tribal grounds. YL-37 sat proudly in the misty air, the grass beneath it just beginning to awaken from a long winter's sleep. Her nose cowl pointed out the direction in which Bill Factor's family would, in time, appear. They would see, and they would know, that Bill's "bird" was here. Here, on such a somber day, for a somber occasion; "The Factor Family Memorial Dance" was about to begin.

Family and friends gathered on every side of the plane, gently touching her sides and softly speaking, in reverence. This had been Bill's bird. She had been where the eagle soars. And now, was a flying memorial for the squadron in which she once so proudly served.

As the Memorial Dance began, YL-37's engine roared to life and the bird lifted quickly into the air. She momentarily hovered, turned, and then dashed toward the safety of her nest. She had to get a good lead on the looming storm, which approached with flashes of light in the distance.

Inside, the dance to honor the veterans had begun. The Seminole Nation Color Guard was on hand with a procession of colors, leading the first circle around the drum. It was a time for family, for friends, for healing.

Throughout the evening, members of the Ugly Angel Squadron were given honor upon honor. Our hosts were so gracious, and so patient as we were allowed and encouraged to participate. We were no longer outsiders; We were family, and friends. Friends united in the bonds of hardship and sacrifice, in the bonds of combat and by the brotherhood of the Corps. We all became one around the circle of the drum.

We marveled in awe of the singers, the dancers, and the drummers. It was the circle of the drum that brought it all together, around which there was no end and no beginning, just the rhythmic beat and the singers chants.

Later in the evening, the Ugly Angels were presented with a gift given only to most honored guests … the gift of the Horse. Presented symbolically in the form of a rifle wrapped in a blanket, tied with ribbon for reins and tipped with a warrior's feather, this was indeed a very, very special gift. The presentation was made by a family spokesperson and our group was greatly honored to accept. The gift was held high, carried around the circle of the drum as the names of our fallen warriors were called to remembrance.

As one travels down the pathway of life, there are times when we should pause to think and reflect on what has taken place. It is such a time as this that a memorial stone should be placed along the banks of one's memory to mark the event. Just as Joshua did when crossing the Jordan on dry land, he picked up stones from the riverbed to make a memorial on the other side. This was one of those occasions. The Ugly Angels and the YL-37 group will never forget that special day.

Thank you, to the Factor family and to the Littleman family, for such a high honor and for this unforgettable event.

Gary - Ugly Angel 1967

The Service For Roger Cook

3 FEB, 2003

It was an unseasonably warm day in the San Antonio area. Angels, Friends, and Family joined their hearts together to share the burden of sorrow and to offer their last memories, to honor a great American hero, Roger Cook. The beautifully manicured marble garden sat silently at attention. Thousands of white stones stood at well-tended, measured distances … each marking the final resting-place of another defender of America.

Sam Houston National Cemetery was a fitting final resting place for heroes such as Roger. Only a short distance away is the Alamo where, in 1836, a menagerie of men, knowing their fate, had willingly crossed the line drawn in the sand by Col. Travis to make a stand for freedom.

Beneath the canopy of the open-air chapel on the grounds, the solemn ceremony began with a call to ready for the rifle team to fire the salute. As the report of the volley concluded, the lonely sound of "Taps" being trumpeted loud and clear filled the silence and drifted over the field of stone.

As the notes faded away, the presentation of the flag was made. Then his friends and Marines, both old and new, made personal tributes to Roger. Stories of Roger often brought a tear but just as often, laughter was heard in the crowd as Roger’s exploits were remembered.

Roger’s last flight in an H-34 was on 30 August 2001 when he participated on a mission with the Flying Memorial Group. Roger was 1/8 Cherokee Indian and that weekend with the group, he made a connection with a portion of his culture.

Near the close of the service Ms. Hail gave this tribute which was followed by a tape of Amazing Grace sung in the Cherokee language. It was a very moving and fitting tribute.

TRIBUTE TO ROGER

O si yo - Hello

My name is Lillie Hail and I have the honor and privilege to travel thru out Oklahoma with my husband Gerald, Oklahoma’s treasure the FLYING MEMORIAL YL-37 and the UGLY ANGELS OF HMM-362.

From my Cherokee/Creek mother and great grandfather (who by the way didn’t speak English) but read the Cherokee Bible faithfully. I learned these words.

O-gi-do-da ga-lv-la-di-he-hi

Our Father, (who is in heaven) heaven dweller

We call on you today, our Father to be with Rogers’s family, friends and to all gathered here as we pay our respect and say our goodbye to Roger.

When the call went out to join the YL-37 Group in a special event, he was there.

Be it an interview, visiting a school to share a story like the one we just heard from Jack Lodge or joining a dance around the drum, he was there.

To the various events he was always enthusiastic and had a happy heart.

The last trip to Oklahoma was a special trip for him as it was for us.

He enjoyed going to Tahlequah during the time of the fall festival, where the Cherokee Tribe, young and old come together as a nation of proud people to meet old acquaintances and reminisce about families and times gone by, to play games and dance around the drum.

Roger said he was connecting with his Cherokee Indian roots.

A Cherokee Warriors Memorial is being built in Tahlequah this spring and will have a special brick with Roger’s name.

As we express our sadness at the loss of a special angel may all be comforted in the knowledge that he is but on another journey with you our Father.

Till we meet again in heaven, I will finish by saying

Do Na do go hvi

Until we meet again.

February 3.2003

Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery

San Antonio, TX

 

The Passing of Bill Factor

Under a somber sky, white marble stones stood in silent watch statuesque rows, as events of the day would begin to unfold at the Ft. Gibson National Cemetery. Today, another marker would join their ranks in quiet vigil. Today, something special, an Ugly Angel had passed the torch and crossed over to the other side.

The silence of the day was broken but not violated as the distant whirl of rotors signaled the coming of an UH-34D, YL-37. She settled in on the grassy LZ, reserved for future warriors, and quickly came to rest. She came as a watchman to honor her crew chief that flew and nurtured her more three decades ago.

A hearse slowly made its way into the garden of stone.

The service began with Ugly Angel Ed Tatman delivering an emotionally compassionate tribute to Bill as Angels Larry Pringle, Frank Merryman, and Gary Doss stood watch with the YL-37 Group members. The ceremony complete, family and friends came to marvel at Bill’s bird. Bill had joined the 33 Angels etched on her side.

The engine sprang to life and rotors engaged and YL-37 lifted off again. A slow circle with a low flyby and a tilt of her wing she sail goodbye to Bill. Husband, Father, Patriot, Warrior, Marine, Ugly Angel, and Friend, you will never be forgotten.

Thank you Gerald, Lillie, Jesse and Mike and the YL-37 group for all you do for the FEW, THE PROUD, THE MARINES!

Gary Doss - Ugly Angel 1967 -68

.

WARRIORS MEMORIAL

Having just arrived late on the previous evening and still excited as I reflected on the days events at Coweta Schools I found it difficult to sleep. I had the alarm set for 0400. I knew we had a big historic day ahead of us! Not only were we to participate with a ground breaking ceremony but also several boot camp buddies would meet for the first time since spring of 1966. I tossed and turned in anticipation.

I awoke before the alarm and took care of necessary chores. I no longer worry about my hair; it remains as though I just had my first boot camp hair cut...permanently! The Pathfinder was gassed and ready to roll. The wife was going to tag along she wanted to be present for this presentation. We also planned to be a part of the first Celebrate America fly-in and WWII swing dance to be held at Tulsa's Technology Center the following day and evening before driving home for Sunday services.

The weatherman had promised a reasonably warm day but gusting winds would be with us for the next few days. Of course it was once more an early dawn start. I did not need the noise of the CD player to keep me distracted from the monotony of the road. I had the wife.

Tahlequah is quite some distance from OKC but we would meet the ground support truck at HQ in Inola. The towns slipped past, Wellston, Chandler, Stroud, and Sapulpa before we could see downtown Tulsa shadowed in dawns prelight. Winding through south side, we finally crossed the Verdigris and reached the airstrip once more, just in time.

A Warrior's memorial is planned to be built on tribal grounds just adjacent to Tribal Headquarters. This would be unique in that it would be the first ever memorial conceived and funded by Native Americans to honor Veteran Warriors of the ages. Rogan Noble, Tribal Veterans Representative and in country Marine radioman, and my old friend Richard Allen had been instrumental in the development and bring YL-37 as part of the historic occasion.

When we arrived the area was already stirring. A camera was in place on the roof and a crowd was beginning to gather to see YL-37 make her appearance. We planned to sit the bird down near the tennis courts. Her rotary wing would cover the earth prepared for the groundbreaking ceremony, which would take place later during the day.

"How about you ground crew?" a voice from the hand held radio asked. We responded with instructions and soon she was making a circle of the area, much to the crowd's delight. Only after the aircraft was down could the stage be set up and seating for the band, choir and visitors placed. She settled in gracefully while pushing away leaves with her rotor wash that had already fallen from nearby trees. The rotor was disengaged and engine was shutdown. Member of the Cherokee Nation soon surrounded her.

George Smith, Richard Allen and me, Gary Doss, had left OKC for San Diego in February of 1966; we met together for the first time November 8, 2002, the day of the ceremony. We had hoped that two more of the Oklahoma squad living reasonable close by could also attend.

Band, Choir, Color Guards performed each portion of their program intertwined with speeches and a poem. It was certainly a most notable day. At 1500, Principal Chief, Chad Smith, arrive to deliver his dedication address.

It was time to "dig in." Each participant in the ground breaking was given a shovel similar to those carried by men in combat, the famed "E-Tool," to dig into the earth. While veterans of WWII were apart of the ceremony, many more were Marine Vietnam Veterans. With the Flying Memorial, YL-37, as backdrop the soil was turned marking the beginning of a new day of remembrance.

YL-37 fired up and was airborne once more. With another circle of the site and a tilt of her rotary wing, she was homeward bound.

Gary - Ugly Angel 1967