A group of nine Vietnam War helicopter pilots gather this weekend for their 49-year reunion at the home of retired Army colonel Gary Elliot in Jones. The unit began with 49 Texas flight school graduates in 1968. Col. Elliot says more than a dozen of the original pilots were killed during just the first year.
“We were basically kids over there doing a man’s job," says Col. Elliot. "Our average age was twenty, twenty-one at the most.”
In 1987, Hollywood made the movie “Hamburger Hill,” based on the experiences of some of these men. John Ross says the helicopter he was flying was shot down on the way to Hamburger Hill.
“(L)uck had a lot to do with it," Ross says. "You know, some of us said, 'sometimes, you’re better off lucky than good.' But the best is to be both."