Operation Show the Colors
YL-37 MAKES 9/11 FLY OVER FOR SCHOOLS AND
CITIES - CHEOTAH, CONNORS STATE COLLEGE, WARNER PUBLIC SCHOOLS, WEBBERS FALLS PUBLIC SCHOOLS, GORE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PORUM PUBLIC
SCHOOLS, AND CHECOTAH MARSHALL ELEMENTARY.
Dateline: 2 September, 2005
OPERATION: HONOR THE CHEROKEE WARRIORS MEMORIAL
At 1000 on 2 September, 2005, the Cherokee Warriors Memorial was dedicated! Members of the YL-37 Group Foundation and crew
were there along with tribal dignitaries and other guests including Medal of Honor recipient Jay R. Vargas of the Department
of Veterans Affairs.
The event was kept short as a warm September sun illuminated the granite memorial stone which overlooked a circular design
with the names of honored veterans etched in stone. YL-37 was depicted on a granite block near a brick honoring Roger Cook.
It was a moment of both pride and sadness as we stood reflecting on our lost warriors.
As the ceremony closed, Marines were drawn together in the shade of the memorial and began reminiscing, sharing colorful
combat stories. Coincidentally, Jay was reunited with an 0311, (Marine Corps Rifleman) Dr. Tom Holm. As fate would have it,
they were in the same battle but assigned to different units. I listened as they reflected on their memories of the fight.
In my mind’s eye, I returned with them ... recalling the sounds of heated warfare, but always with the noise of the
rotors in the background and feeling the G-Force as we would drop into a hot zone.
The Colonels award reads as follows:
The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting
Medal of Honor
VARGAS, JAY R.
Rank and organization: Major (then Capt.), U.S. Marine Corps, Company G, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 9th
Marine Amphibious Brigade. Place and date: Dai Do, Republic of Vietnam, 30 April to 2 May
1968. Entered service at: Winslow, Ariz. Born: 29 July 1940,
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity
at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as commanding officer, Company G, in action against
enemy forces from 30 April to 2 May 1968. On 1 May 1968, though suffering from wounds he had incurred while relocating his
unit under heavy enemy fire the preceding day, Maj. Vargas combined Company G with two other companies and led his men in
an attack on the fortified village of Dai Do. Exercising expert leadership, he maneuvered his marines across 700 meters of
open rice paddy while under intense enemy mortar, rocket and artillery fire and obtained a foothold in 2 hedgerows on the
enemy perimeter, only to have elements of his company become pinned down by the intense enemy fire. Leading his reserve platoon
to the aid of his beleaguered men, Maj. Vargas inspired his men to renew their relentless advance, while destroying a number
of enemy bunkers. Again wounded by grenade fragments, he refused aid as he moved about the hazardous area reorganizing his
unit into a strong defense perimeter at the edge of the village. Shortly after the objective was secured the enemy commenced
a series of counterattacks and probes which lasted throughout the night but were unsuccessful as the gallant defenders of
Company G stood firm in their hard-won enclave. Reinforced the following morning, the marines launched a renewed assault through
Dai Do on the village of Dinh To, to which the enemy retaliated with a massive counterattack resulting in hand-to-hand combat.
Maj. Vargas remained in the open, encouraging and rendering assistance to his marines when he was hit for the third time in
the 3-day battle. Observing his battalion commander sustain a serious wound, he disregarded his excruciating pain, crossed
the fire-swept area and carried his commander to a covered position, then resumed supervising and encouraging his men while
simultaneously assisting in organizing the battalion's perimeter defense. His gallant actions uphold the highest traditions
of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
I was pleased to stand in for the Squadron once more at such an event.
This was also the opening of the Cherokee Holidays and I took full advantage of the trip. Visiting the Cherokee Heritage
Center and grounds filled with Indian Arts and Crafts. I returned to the Tribal Complex where I found a few items for purchase,
to return home with me.
Later, it was to the gospel singing, much of which was in native language. Then more crafts. I watched a basket weaving
demonstration given by our own, "Oh" (Lillie) Hail. Next came the powwow. The arena was filled with colorful dancers and guests
from as far away as Russia, Holland and even veiled Middle Eastern ladies all participating in the Grand Opening.
The following day, I attended the State of Sequoyah Convention, which was quite an informative history lesson.
Did I tell you, I was honored to be "Sequoyah" in the Parade?
Mark your calendars for November 10 and be on hand for the Grand Opening of the Cherokee
Warriors Memorial at Tahlequah, Oklahoma!
Gary Doss – Ugly Angel 1967
FORT SCOTT, KANSAS YL-37 returned to Ft. Scott to attend
their annual fly-in. The weather was perfect for the airshow featuring the aerolbatics of Doc Baldwin. YL-37 was
once more in the air where she belongs pleasing crowds and sharing her history. The crew was on hand with the traveling
pictorial museum and representing the squadron. Don Martin, Larry Pringle, and Gary Doss.