Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

TONY GEISHAUSER

 

 

 


ANTHONY J. (TONY) GEISHAUSER

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (ARMY, Vietnam) Article Sept 2001

 

A helicopter pilot delivers breakfast to a company of paratroopers, 35 years late, and the troops love him for it anyway.  Who else but Tony could pull off something like that.

 

In 1966, Anthony J. Geishauser was a helicopter pilot in Company A, 82nd Aviation Battalion. That company, better known as the "Cowboys", was the UH-l "lift" company supporting the “Sky Soldiers” of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, homebased in Bien Hoa. From the way those guys flew, the paratroopers they served thought those cowboy "huey" pilots were very aptly nicknamed, and they were proud to have them around.

 

Early on the morning of March 16th, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, on Operation "Silver City" in War Zone "D", had just over-nighted in dense jungle. At 7 AM Tony flew in right on time and brought his helicopter to a hover above the tiny little hole in the high canopy that had been cut to make the company's LZ. He was delivering mermite cans with a hot A-Ration breakfast, the first hot meal scheduled for the paratroopers in two days. But, just as Tony started the tricky maneuver of easing his helicopter straight down between the trees, a tremendous burst of fire from an NVA heavy caliber AntiAircraft gun shattered the morning calm and shot up his aircraft, destroying the tail assembly. The rotor of the out-of-control UH-l chopped through limbs and vines on the way down as it crash-landed with Tony thinking, "I just knew the transmission was coming through the cockpit". But, it didn't.  An instant later and the men of Company B had reached the crash site. They quickly got Tony's crew out of the wreckage and hustled them back inside their defensive perimeter. Just then all hell broke loose.  Nobody even thought about breakfast from that point on.

 

A large combined force of NVA and Viet Cong had moved up surrounding Company B during the night and were preparing to launch a coordinated attack at 7:30, but Tony's morning breakfast flight spoiled things for them by coming in a half-hour before they were ready. That tipped off the paratroopers and gave them a few valuable minutes to prepare for the fight. The fight lasted all day. After hours of intense close combat, many fighter-bomber strikes, much supporting artillery fire, pass after pass of helicopter gunships coming in firing, and "Cowboy" pilots under fire dropping cases of ammunition into the perimeter for troopers on the ground that were starting to run out of ammo; the enemy was repelled and withdrew. More than 600 enemy dead littered the battleground and the trails leading away from the area, while the paratroopers sustained nine dead and scores of others wounded. That engagement would be recorded as one of the major actions of the 173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War.

 

On Ju1y 6, 2001 at the Reunion of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Fort Worth, Tony Geishauser, former "Cowboys" pilot was guest speaker at an event that included his induction as an honorary member of 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry.  Because he had been shot down in an unsuccessful attempt to deliver breakfast 35 years earlier; Tony, in turn, presented the battalion members present with 250 gift certificates for a hot breakfast from McDonald's. Many of the "Sky Soldiers" present had Tony autograph their breakfast gift certificates and kept them as souvenirs of the reunion and of that battle years before.

 
 

Tony's Huey helicopter

(AFTER CRASH LANDING)

 

Tony and the retired Lieutenant General Walter Ulmer

Tony Geishauser visits with former boss, retired Lt. General Walter Ulmer.

Tony was his PAO and did Ulmer’s photo on the cover of 1984 Newsweek Magazine.

2007 Photo

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