This Web site started its existence about December 1998 when I signed up for a personal page at xoom.com, and later at GeoCities (geocities.com), and uploaded just a few pages over a 28.8Kbps modem. At the time, I was using a little known, HTML editor called CuteHTML. There was no such thing as Dreamweaver and the like. Using this HTML editor, everything had to be typed, one character at a time. I quickly learned how to make templates and how to copy, cut, and paste to make things go a little faster. The whole process was somewhat painful in the beginning, and still is sometimes, but I kept plugging away and soon ran out of content, what little I had, to publish on the Web site.
About this time, Dave Eckberg, medical doctor and Colonel retired U.S. Army, found the Web site and left a message on the guestbook or emailed me. I can't remember which. He told me he had a huge collection of slides made from pictures he took while in Vietnam and wanted to know if I could use them. Dave was the Medical Platoon Leader and S3 Officer(Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs) for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment from 1970 to 1971. Therefore, he was well acquainted with Hill 4-11 and the grunts who served on it. I met Dave a week or so after our first contact, we both lived in the Denver, CO area at the time, to discuss what to do with all the slides, documents, and other memorabilia he had saved over the years. I suggested to Dave that with all the slides he had we could probably put together a Virtual Tour about Vietnam, or at least get a good start on one, and put it on the crudely developed Web site I had setup on Geocities (I may have moved it over to a US West homepage by this time.). So, Dave started sorting his slides and creating captions for them, and I began to transcribe the articles from his documents (newsletters from Vietnam) that were related to the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment. As Dave started grouping his slides into logical chunks, we started scanning them to my computer. Within a couple of months or so, we had published or posted most of his material on the Web site.
Along the way during the first few months of being on the Web, a few other Vietnam Veterans who served in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry and other units such as D Battery, 6th Battalion, 11th Artillery and E Troop, 1st Cavalry found their way to Fire Support Base Hill 4-11 on the Web and started contributing material: Carl Caputo, Dean Hendrickson, Skip Fahel, Phillip Tinkle, James (Sparky) Conkwrite, Terry Copt, Hank Vasil, Jim Thomas, Huey P. Fautheree, and Dr. Kenyon Kugler. Over the next few years more Vietnam Veterans contributed material, sometimes a lot, sometimes a little. But no matter the size of what they contributed, material kept showing up to be posted on the Web site. And it all has made the Web site a lot better. Contributed material came in from all over the country, from Hawaii to Alaska to Florida, and even Germany. Material including photos, stories, maps, and names for the rosters, Memorial, Remembrance, and the Purple Hearts pages came in from many other Veterans: Joe Martin, Michael Morgan, David Pena, Ron Benzing, COL George V. Ellis, William G. Ross, Bruce Nugent, Greg King, Steven "Doc" Knuboff, Ronald J. Sheldon, Tom Petty, James Patrick Casey, John Keen, Robert Hartman, COL Les Stottle, COL Al Vitters, Floyd W. Barty, Charlie Mankin, Dan Kelly, John Caudron, Jerry Mays, Larry Barnett, James R. Wood, Robert Yawn, Roy F. Almony, Gary Koppen, Rod Watkins, Dale E. Wilson, Lou Tarantino, Glenn Dickinson (his daughter), Top Elfego Gomez, Bob Corsi, Steve Liberti, Michael McQueen, Ron Majeors, Louis Bohn, Douglas Frederick, Dave Cross, Allan Miller, Michael Wilkins, Robin Benton, and Leslie Hines.
Then in 2006 things slowed down, and I became disinterested in updating and maintaining the Web site for personal reasons. Changes to the Web site were few and far between. However, I did save emails from everyone who submitted input for the Web site during that time. In fact, I have probably saved all the emails I have received since 1999.
In July of 2010, I renewed my interest in the Web site and challenged myself to do a better job of maintaining and updating it on a more regular basis for myself, my family and friends, for all veterans of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, for the Hill 4-11 Association, for you, and for future generations. Because if we don't tell it now, who will later? Probably nobody will! The history of our individual sacrifices in the Vietnam War will most likely disappear, if we as individuals don't do something now to ensure our stories will be told or our pictures will be shown later when we are gone. I'm willing to do my part to preserve our Vietnam history, and I'm hoping you are willing to do yours, if you have not already done so.
You may be asking yourself, what can I do? Here is your challenge:
You may also be asking yourself what is Charlie Wood going to do? I pledge to do the following: