Remembering an Old Buddy -- Peter "SUPER" Hooper

Written by: Stephen Greene

Warrant Officer Steve Greene was a Pilot in Casper Platoon from early 1967 to 1968. In his story, Steve recalls the honor he had to share the sky with Peter, sometimes as his wingman, sometimes with Peter flying my wing. After a distinguished tour in combat, Peter died in Texas.




That's "Super" on the left with the omnipresent Kool cigarette dangling from his lips. Unfortunately, this is the only shot I have of Peter. The picture shows one of the many poker games we had in our tent at a place in Vietnam called Dak To. We seem to be playing on someone's bunk. The other guys from left to right are: Super with the smoke in his mouth, partially hidden Larry Edlefson, Jim Sickler and Hank Echols writing his Mom a letter, I guess. Thanks to Tony Bolivar for the new copies of the picture and the positive ID of the folks in the photo.

We often played cards and used boxes of M-16 ammo for chips. We were very remote and seldom had beer or anything harder, so the games were not as rough and tumble as soldiers' games depicted in movies. We looked bad walking in from our aircraft in flak vests, with a wide assortment of guns and ammo strapped to us. That is we looked as bad as teenagers and early 20-something kids in combat can. I guess it has always been that way, except in the World War II movies we grew up on as kids, where all the soldiers looked like grizzled old guys.

Peter and I often flew together. Sometimes in Casper Hueys, most often with Peter in one "H-13" and me on his wing. We flew low and often slowly, partly because the H-13 did not fly very fast. We were "Hot Stuff" aeroscouts. If you remember the old Calvary movies where they would send out the scouts ahead of the main force to reconnoiter the area for bad guys -- that was us. We just happened to do it in little helicopters as you see in the opening shots of the TV show Mash.


Pretty fragile looking, huh? The H-13s looked that way but were actually quite durable and reliable. You did feel awfully exposed with the big glass bubble, lack of armor, and doors removed.

We flew around our AO (area of operations) until we knew it like our old baseball gloves. Peter and I flew around in the Dak To and Tuy Hoa areas. Neither one of us had that cold killer quality that I saw some guys with, mostly the occasional gun ship pilot. We just flew from morning 'till night doing our jobs.

Peter and I spend a lot of time together on the ground. As memory serves me, he was married but I do not recall where he was from. I would like to meet his wife or family and tell them about a guy that left us way too early. Or at least tell him about that part of Peter that I got to know when we came of age very quickly.

Peter left Vietnam in late '67 as I recall, only to return a short time later when his unit, the 82nd Airborne, was activated and sent over. I remember he was furious that he got sent back only a few weeks after he left. As fate would have it, he was sent home again, this time to Fort Wolters. Peter distinguished himself in RVN only to die on 9 July 1968 when as I understand, his aircraft came apart in flight. I still miss him.



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This site was last updated 05/16/06