THE SPRINGFIELD 50 PROJECT
March 7, 2004
I saw your inquiry on the Virtual Wall.
I knew John Kozach. I served with him in HHC, 198th Infantry Brigade. He was
assigned to us on temporary duty from 9th Support. We served together in the
maintenance platoon. I was probably the last person to talk to him before he
If there is anything else that you wish to know, I will try to answer it.
March 8, 2004
I was a mechanic in the maintenance platoon in Headquarters Company, 198th
Infantry Brigade. We were a part of the Americal Division (23rd Infantry) Johnny
was with B Company, 9th Support Battalion. That unit provided logistical
support to the 198th and was part of the brigade. We were short of mechanics and
Johnny was temporarily assigned to us until we received replacements. I don't
recall exactly, I think that he was with us for a couple of months, maybe a
little more. Always said that he wanted to go back to his own unit. We never did
get replacements until the following summer.
Johnny's cot was next to mine. I liked him. He liked to laugh and have a good
time. His favorite expression was "Don't be a bring down" because he
that nothing should be taken too seriously. He didn't talk much about home. Said
that he was a carpenter or at least studied to be one in school. Had a
brother. Not much else that I remember. We worked together repairing the
trucks and jeeps and pulled perimeter guard together on several occasions.
Johnny did his job.
Was killed when a chopper went down. Three men. Awful waste. I missed him.
He was a good soldier and a decent person. Tell the people of Springfield
that they should be proud of him.
March 9, 2004
It was so long ago. I can't remember why it was that Johnny got on that
chopper. They were another way that we got around. We had small units scattered
over the AO and sometimes had to go out to them. Some of the firebases could
only be reached by air.
We were at Landing Zone Bayonet. It was in the foothills near Chu Lai. That
was where we lived and worked. As I recall, it was late in the afternoon. I
remember that Johnny came back from the chopper pad saying that the bird took
without him. We talked for a few minutes and it came back. God's will. He ran
back to the pad and I never saw him again. The chopper was a Huey. I don't
know where it went down.
He didn't come back that night and the next morning the motor sergeant told
us that he was dead. There were no survivors. I didn't know the men that died
with him. I think that they were from the Brigade's aviation company. By the
time that we had heard about it, they had already located the wreckage, flown in
infantry, set up a perimeter, and recovered the bodies. That afternoon, the
captain and the first sergeant collected his personal effects. There was a
memorial service and that was all. These things happened every day and it was
good to dwell on them.
I thought to write his family but I didn't know the address and the Army
would not tell me. Just as well. I don't know what I could have said.
I often wondered how he ended up. I guess that his parents are dead now. I
somehow imagined a forgotten grave. From what I saw on your website, that's not
so. Good. Someday I shall make it a point to look him up and leave a cold can
Sorry to go on like this. It has been so many years.
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(page last revised 07/03/2004 06:56 AM -0400)