The Back Pew - June 2021

Submitted: Ernie Isbell, VLOA Chaplin

Linda and I hope that this newsletter finds everyone in good health and making plans to gather in San Antonio in September. We will be there and we are bringing our daughter Cheryl, a child of the Viet Nam era, now age 58.

 She and her older brother were ages 1 and 2 when the Outlaws and Mavericks and others deployed from Fort Benning in August /September 1964. When I came home the following September, I arrived at the house unannounced (remember, cell phones did not exist back then) to find the kids in bed and my in laws there for a brief visit. Thought they would never leave. I had other things on my mind. My mother- in law finally prevailed in getting my father- in law to leave. He was a retired Navy Commander with a mischievous streak.

 After they left I was walking down the hall to our bedroom when Cheryl, now a year older, got up for a bathroom visit and saw me. She grabbed me around the knees and would NOT let go. Finally, she yelled to her brother, got him up, and they joined us in our bed. They finally went to sleep and I carried them to their beds.

How many of you have similar stories? Come to the reunion and let’s all share our memories of those days long ago.  

Another subject is regarding Agent Orange. On January 1, 2021, Congress passed the William M. Thornberry National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021. Part of this act added bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and Parkinsonism to the list of ailments that are presumptively associated with exposure to herbicide agents i.e. Agent Orange and others.

If you are suffering from any malady that can be tied into your service in Viet Nam, please file a claim with the Veterans Administration. You are owed this care and compensation but you’ll not receive anything unless you apply and get an Agent Orange assessment. Take care of yourself and get the benefits that you are entitled to receive.

That is all I wish to cover for this edition of the Chaplain’s Corner. May God Bless you and your family.


With warmest regard’s,

Ernie Isbell


What can the Chaplain do for me?

My primary job as Chaplain of the V. L. O. A. is to conduct the Sunday morning worship service at our reunions. In addition, should you have the need to talk with someone who has "been there, done that," I am available to listen.




Outlaws Devotional - February 2021



Pain Is Not Forever


2 Timothy 2:3

Accept your share of suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.


About 11 years ago, I began having pain in my shoulders that grew progressively worse as the months past.  Along with the shoulder pain, pain began building in my hips and soon matched the level of shoulder pain.  Surely this was just the process of aging, and would soon subside and go away.  Over the counter medication helped marginally, but wasn’t enough to divert my mental concentration on the pain. Finally, the pain progressed to the point that it limited my ability to function well, especially in getting dressed and caring for myself. 


It became clear the pain was not going away by itself.  Over the next four months, I was evaluated by two general practioners, a neurologist, and an orthopedic surgeon, none of which could identify the source of the pain even after an MRI, two CT scans, two sonograms, and numerous blood tests, but all had their own solution to mollifying the pain.  Finally, my wife said that both of us had had enough of the pain, and found a rheumatologist who gave me an emergency appointment.  He reviewed all the medical information, and diagnosed the problem as polymyalgia rheumatica.  Prescribed medication relieved the cause of the pain in less than a month, but weaning me off the medication took another 11 months.


One night during the midst of my pain, I realized that my pain was insignificant compared to the pain and suffering Jesus Christ experienced during the 24 hours leading up to dying on the cross. We should never forget the earthly, physical pain Jesus felt in giving his life in atonement for our sins.

Submitted by Frank Estes



Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you: Jesus Christ and the American G.I.  One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

      Source Unknown


Standing Prayer Request:

While most Prayer Requests will remain on the page for 30 days, here is a request that will remain as long as we have uniformed men and women stationed abroad. Please repeat this short prayer often and ask you friends and family to include it in their daily prayers:
Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.
Protect them as they protect us.
Bless them and their families for the selfless
acts they perform for us in our time of need.
I ask this in the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Savior.   Amen.

Prayer Requests: (as of 07/11/2021)

While updating the Outlaw Membership rolls it was discovered that the following Outlaws have taken their final flight. Our prayers are with their families.

Gill Procter, Deceased September 2005
Koeppelle, James A, Deceased October 2011
Lowie, William P, Deceased September 2012
Jones, Launie, Deceased January 2013


Robert J. Wegner

Jet-pilot and golfer, Robert J. Wegner, has died at the age of 71. He was born to Helen and Donald Wegner on October 7th, 1949 in Queens, New York, where he matriculated until leaving for active duty at 19. Bob Wegner’s aviation career began with The United States Army, as a helicopter pilot during The Vietnam War in South East Asia. During his service, he was shot down several times; not only did he survive but he saved the lives of several other service men in the aftermath.

The Army Commendation Medal and The Distinguished Flying Cross were awarded to him for, “single acts of heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight.” He began a nearly fifty year marriage to Terry Monica Kraus at a Long Island celebration hall in 1973. They had two children together, Nicole and Zach. Although the family spent the majority of their lives as residents of Gaylordsville, CT, Bob was a man of the world, travel- ling to almost every continent during his storied career as a jet pilot for Time Magazine and The Rockefeller Family’s Wayfayer Ketch Company. He flew Gulfstream jets for decades and later became one of the NetJets company’s pilots. In his early forties he began his jour- neyman pursuit of golf: a sport which he mastered up to a 4 handicap.

Many in the New Milford community knew him as a carpenter, a handy-man, chef, and baker, notably through the abundance of loaves of bread and “to die for” chocolate croissants baked for friends during the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic. His handiwork lives on in The John Pettibone School’s wooden playground and backdoor patios across the tri- state area. An avid learner, reader and seeker, Bob often reminded those around him that, “Nobody ever learned anything while they were talking.” For almost thirty years he led a life of sobriety, and shepherded many others to do the same in the meeting spaces of Alcoholics Anonymous. Some of the local men in recovery are said to have never missed a meeting helmed by “Bob the Pilot.” Ever since his October diagnosis he fought to live against the growing metastasis with the same passion he had done everything. Only in his final months could he ever be observed lying down.

He left his body on Wednesday June 22nd, 2021 after the 10-month battle with esophageal cancer had ended. He is survived by his daughter Nicole, his son Zach, his wife Terry, his mother Helen, and his brother-in-arms Joseph Sheeran. Bob will be honored next to the 18th hole in a celebration of life at The Club at River Oaks at 2 Evans Hill Road, Sherman, Ct on July 11th, 2021 from 1-5 pm.

Rodney Allen Huff

On June 9,2021, Rodney "Sam" Huff loving husband, father of two children and granddad of two, lost his battle with cancer at the age of 72.
Rodney was born on March 12, 1949 in West Virginia to William "Bud" and Edith Huff.

He served in the Army in Vietnam as a member of the 175th Outlaws. He was in law enforcement for over 35 years and retired as a Sergeant with Brownsville Police Department. On January 8,1972 he married Irma Morales. They raised one son, one daughter, and have two grandchildren. He loved his career and was a real cowboy at heart.

Rodney was preceded in death by his father William Howard Huff, mother, Edith Huff, and his hunting buddy, father-in-law, Hugo Maya. He is survived by his brother, Patrick F. Huff, wife, Irma M. Huff, daughter, Jennifer A. Huff, son, Christopher M. (Belinda) Huff, grandchildren, Makayla and Kaitlyn Huff, along with his loving mother-in-law Aurelia Maya, and numerous nephews, nieces, brother-in-laws and sister-in-laws.

A celebration of his life will be held Wednesday, June 30,2021 at 10:30 A.M. to 12:00 Trinity Funeral Home in Harlingen, Texas. He will then be placed to rest at Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission, Texas at 1:00 P.M.

In Lieu of flowers please donate to The Oral Cancer Foundation


Michael D. Thompson, Sr.

Dec. 2, 1948 - June 12, 2021

QUEENSBURY/lTICONDEROGA - Michael D. Thompson, Sr., 72, of Queensbury and formerly of Ticonderoga, passed away on June 12, 2021 in the loving arms of his son and family by his side.

Michael was born on December 2, 1948 to Chandler and Frieda (Winkler) Thompson, Sr. in Mount Kisco, NY.

Our beloved father joined the Army on December 2, 1966. Whereafter, he completed his Army training, he served two Active-Duty Tours with Outlaws 175th AHC. Michael was the Crew Chief on helicopter Outlaw 22 at Vinh Long Airfield, IV Corps, South VietNam.

Michael later met the love of his life, Shirley (Waters) Thompson and he married her on September 26, 1970. They spent the next 51 years together raising their children and making many memories.

Michael had many years working in the logging industry. He continued his love of logging with Finch Pruyn. Whereafter many memories and years he retired.

Besides his love of the woods, the most important thing to Michael was his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. When he was not with them, he could be found spending time with his brothers and sisters.

Michael made friends and memories everywhere he went. To say he was loved is an understatement. He was looked up to and cherished by all who were blessed to cross his path. Michael's laughter and stories will be missed by all.

The family would like to thank the Washington Center for Rehabilitation & Nursing for the great love, care, compassion, and support during his stay. The faculty became more like family than staff, as witnessed by the family.

He was predeceased by his parents, and step-mother, Helen Thompson, brother-in-law, Roy West, sister-in-law Bonnie Thompson, and brother-in-law, Bernie Potter.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley (Waters) Thompson; his children: Jenny E. Thompson, Michael D. Thompson, Jr., Nicholas (Jessica) Thompson and Tara Thompson; his brothers and sisters: Stephen Thompson, Lois (Dale) Hammond, David (Marica) Thompson, Charles McCarthy, Emmaline Nolan, Chandler (Crystal) Thompson, Jr., Emmitt (Shelly) Thompson and Sarah Potter; his grandchildren: Ashlee Thompson, Lee Beckwith II, Jordan Van Ness, Aryan Thompson, Blair Thompson, Nicholas Thompson II, Sarah Mc Cray and Jeremy Danahy, Jr.; and his great-grandchildren: Hannah LaBelle and Maddox Wright. He is also survived by in-laws; and many nieces, nephews, cousins; and many friends.

A Memorial Service with Military Honors will take place at the family plot of the Valley View Cemetery of Ticonderoga on June 26, 2021 at 12:30 p.m.

A Gathering for family and friends will take place following the services at 155 Cronin Road, Queensbury.

Michael's final wish was that no one double dips the food.

Donations in Michael's memory may be made to your local Veteran's office.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Wilcox & Regan Funeral Home of Ticonderoga. To offer online condolences, please visit


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