Letter from Shaderick May (Brother of David May)

Chief Warrant Officer
Jon Eric (Jake) Reid

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Captain
David M. May

We Will Never Forget!

 

CW2 Jon Eric (Jake) Reid, Captain David M. May, SFC Randolph L. Johnson, and SSG Robert J. Acalotto were listed as Missing in Action (MIA) when their Huey gunship (UH-1C-66-00700) was shot down by anti-aircraft fire on Feb. 20, 1971 in Savannakhet Province, Laos during the operation known as Lam Son 719.

The remains of CW2 Jon Eric (Jake) Reid, and Captain David M. May were recovered from the crash site in October 1999.

SFC Randolph L. Johnson (Crew Chief) and SSG Robert J. Acalotto (Door Gunner) are still listed as Missing in Action.

CW2 Jon Eric (Jake) Reid, and Captain David M. May were given a military funeral service and burial at Arlington National Cemetery on January 14, 2000.

 

The day was clear, but bitterly cold. Most the Bluestars and family members gathered at the Days Inn and caravaned to the Old Chapel. As the time for the church services neared the crowd swelled.

Major General Cody, Major General Putnam (Ret.), Colonel Mar (17th Group) and many other former commanders arrived.

The church was probably two-thirds full when the service started with the Reid Family on the left side of the church, the May family on the right, and Bluestars everywhere. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

Click here to see the Official Order of Worship

As expected Jon's remains and the majority of Dave's shared a single coffin. This was a major service and had the same honors that senior officers receive.

The Army Chaplain, LTC Richardson, was awesome and a real fan of Army Aviators. His upbeat, yet sincere message was heartwarming.

Rick Lester did a superb job delivering the eulogy. Unfortunately Ken was so consumed by emotion at the time that he was unable to take a photo. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

Thank you, Rick. You have represented all BlueStars eloquently.

Click here to see Rick Lester's Eulogy

After the 40 minute service the casket was moved by the honor guard to the waiting caisson for a full military honors movement to the grave site. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)
The caisson was most impressive. As the crowd braced for the cold and high winds, they assembled outside in preparation for the procession. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)
This is a view of the procession formed up looking back towards the Old Chapel. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

The Reid and May families faced the chilling winds and walked behind the caisson to a site just short of the burial plots. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

 

Following the honor guard and the pall bearers across the rise, the crowd assembled beside the burial plots.

Here, we were told that a flyby would be enroot as soon as National Airport got the last airliner out of the way. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

 

Three television news crews covered the funeral. They were placed respectfully away from the family and mourners. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

You can see the BlueStar Wreath which was prepared special for this funeral. (Thanks to Bobby Schulze for getting the wreath done).

 

It is truly a beautiful spot on a gently sloping hillside that has a view of all of Washington to the North and the pentagon to the East. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording) (Note the BlueStar Wreath)

 

The sound was instantly recognizable. The four VIP UH-1s were in close diamond formation down low and swiftly followed the sweep of the terrain as they suddenly appeared to the left of the crowd. They quickly flew up the sloping terrain from the river up the hill towards the Pentagon and flash low over the assembled mourners. Immediately after crossing overhead they began a sweeping turn to the left following the lower ground as if on a tactical mission and quickly disappeared behind the buildings of Arlington, VA. (Look hard, there are hueys in the trees). (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)
This is another view of the Huey Flyby. The gentleman standing in the left foreground with the digital camera in is hand is Ken Bording. (picture & narrative by Larry "Matt" Matthews)

The Huey has become the symbol of the Vietnam War. These photos above show three Hueys in a missing man formation. They are passing overhead and then fading away in tribute to our fallen BlueStars. (pictures by Mike Sloniker)

In the center is Mike Reid, Jon's brother. (picture by Mike Sloniker)

 

The Pall Bearers are preparing to fold the flag. (picture by Mike Sloniker)

 

   
   
   

 

 

Pall Bearers folding the flag that draped the coffin during the combined ceremonies Friday morning. (picture & narrative by Larry "Matt" Matthews)

The First of the Third "Old Guard" color guard presenting the colors. (picture & narrative by Larry "Matt" Matthews)

21-Gun Salute rendered during the afternoon ceremony for David May. (picture & narrative by Larry "Matt" Matthews)

The lone guard at the gravesite after the presentation of the flag to the May family. (picture & narrative by Larry "Matt" Matthews)

These nearly thirty year old photographs were on display in the Chapel. (picture by Mike Sloniker)

Jon Reid and Dave May in Vietnam. (picture by Rick Lester)

Following the graveside services, the families and all attendees were invited by to Spates Hall by the Bluestars for an informal reception and luncheon. Warm coffee helped everyone shake the chill. Family members, dignitaries, and Bluestars had a chance to chat and exchange remembrances of Jon and Dave. Family members of the still missing crewmembers were also in attendance. After a buffet luncheon, Bob Bunting, CO of the 48th during Lam Som 719 spoke to the group and presented the Bluestar flag cases to the familles. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording) (Thanks to Ken Bording for having these BlueStar flag cases made)

After the presentation Karen (Jon's sister) and Barbara (Dave's widow) spoke to the group in a very emotional moment. (Note the BlueStar etchings in the flag cases).

It is quite evident that all the families were profoundly affected by the support shown by the entire Army and the Bluestars in particular. The families were most impressed Bluestars were present and all others were following events via the web.

We are all forever linked.  Jon and Dave share a beautiful hillside overlooking the Nation's Capital. The families are forever linked due to past events. Bluestars and family are linked by the loyalty shown. They had no previous appreciation for the strength of the bonds of combat. Now they know.

Let us not forget that more Bluestars remain to be found and returned to their rightful resting places. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

These are the BlueStars who dropped everything and came from as far away as Alaska to honor our fallen brothers. (picture by Mike Sloniker)

The night before the funeral we chartered a private bus for transporting folks to and from Outback restaurant. This really proved to be particularly handy for those who had a toddy or two. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

Almost all Bluestars arrived on time, with Bob Bunting due in at 1130 but unseen at this point. Huge crowd settled in at the Days Inn. To compensate for closure of hotel bar, we invaded a neighborhood bar across the street. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

Outback did a good job of accommodating all of us. Rick and the guys arrived from the visitation with many members of the Reid and May familles who joined the Bluestars for dinner. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording) (How did Ben Gay get up front in all these shots?)

Many Bluestars bused to Murphy's' Grand Irish Pub and enjoyed the music and the company. (picture & narrative by Ken Bording)

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