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 09/01/2021)

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

Steve Brooks, 74, of Walton, KY, passed away suddenly on August 25, 2021. Steve was born on June 27, 1947, to Campbell and Hattie Bell Brooks in Cardinal, Kentucky. After graduating from Bell County High School in 1965, Steve joined the United States Army. Specialist (SP4) Brooks was a member of the elite 175th Assault Helicopter Company—Outlaws Mavericks—as a door gunner, serving in Vietnam. A true war hero, the U.S. Army recognized Steve for his honorable service with the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, a Marksman badge, a Purple Heart, and an Air Medal—awarded for acts of heroism while participating in aerial flight. Steve maintained many friendships with members of his unit and greatly enjoyed participating in Outlaws reunions across the country. After Vietnam, Steve returned home and continued working in the meat industry, which led him to Heringer Meats. It is there he met his bride-to-be, Mary Catherine Heringer. They wed in 1979, and in 1981, gave birth to their first son, Steve Vaston Brooks. They welcomed their second son, Troy Tyne Paul Heringer Brooks four years later. Their family was completed in 1990 when they welcomed daughter, Olivia Catherine Lee Heringer Brooks (Hughes). Steve and Mary Catherine celebrated 42 years of marriage this past July. Having both worked in the meat business the majority of their lives, together, Steve and Mary Catherine built Brooks Meats, providing "Nothing' But the Best" and serving Northern Kentucky for more than 30 years. Steve was a force of nature, determined to provide for his family and give them the life he felt they deserved. His family meant more to him than anything else in the world, something he talked about often. Anyone who knew him knew that he was the most loving father and husband a family could ask for. He was unendingly proud of Vaston, Troy, Olivia, and Mary Catherine, and always tried his best to support them. Steve was a man full of integrity with a larger than life, charismatic personality, a quick wit, and he'd never turned down a plate of biscuits and gravy. Steve was a devout Catholic and attended All Saints Catholic Church in Walton. He was active in church and was a Fourth Degree in the Knights of Columbus. Steve was preceded in death by his mother, Hattie Bell Brooks, father Robert Campbell Brooks, sister Betty, brother Robert Charles, sister Ina, brother Billy Joe, sister Mary, and sister Debbie. He is survived by wife, Mary Catherine Brooks, Vaston Brooks (Kim), Troy Brooks (Kassie), Olivia (Brooks) Hughes (Corey) and five grandchildren: Cecilia, Tyne, Gus, Cullen, and Arlo; with grandchild number six expected in March 2022. Steve is also survived by his brothers Troy (Crystal), Delano (Kathy) and Dane (Norma), and sister Bebe. Steve was well-loved with numerous nieces, nephews, extended family members and close friends. Visitation will be held Friday, September 3, at Stith Funeral Home in Florence, KY, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at September 4, 11 a.m. at All Saints Church in Walton, KY. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Online condolences may be left for the family at: