"We fight with the memory and pride of those who have gone before us, for they loved to fight, fought to win, and would rather die than quit."
The final stanza of the Night Stalker Creed embodies the spirit felt Friday, when current members of A Company, 4th Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), hosted a reunion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord honoring the original members of the Guns-A-Go-Go 53rd Aviation Detachment.
A Company adopted the lineage of the Vietnam era Guns-A-Go-Go in 2006, modifying the original patch and using the unit name.
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Brian Edwards, the company standards instructor pilot, attended the reunion less than 24 hours after returning from Afghanistan. "The lineage of this company is incredibly important," he said. "It is absolutely an honor to meet these guys who were doing it before we were."
Both units are unique for flying modified Chinook helicopters. The original Guns-A-Go-Go was tasked to develop, test and employ armed/armored ACH-47 Chinooks, and flew in combat during Vietnam. When it activated in 2005, A Co., 4/160th was tasked with completing the final operations test and evaluation of the special operations variant MH-47G, deploying to combat in Afghanistan.
Company Commander Maj. Gabe Wolfe explained other similarities while presenting coins and certificates to the Vietnam Veterans, saying "throughout the existence of the Guns-A-Go-Go, you all exhibited every trait that embodies a Night Stalker to this day. Your contributions set the example for the Regiment in every aspect -- rapid contracting, research, development, test and evaluation of highly modified equipment, and deployment to combat. You consistently demonstrated an unwavering dedication to the ground force and to mission accomplishment."
Events for the day included a command overview brief with currently deployed unit members video teleconferenced in, a tour of the hangar and aircraft, and a mini-gun demonstration.
Sentiments were shared both ways. Ralph "Doc" Holloway, an original warrant officer pilot, said to the group, "there's not anything that honors us more than what you guys are doing, using our call signs. Our lives, our history, continue on through these guys."
Sergeant 1st Class Rick Young, an A Co. platoon sergeant, explained that "it's an honor for us, but I think it's also showing these guys the respect and recognition they didn't necessarily receive."
Before the event moved into an informal barbeque where members and families could exchange stories old and new, Wolfe ended the formal portion by stating "we are proud to carry on your traditions and to call ourselves Go-Gos, and we will continue to serve with the memory and pride of those of you who came before us."