A Note from The Virtual Wall
On 23 May 1970 a Huey (UH-1H 68-15628) from B Company, 158th AHB, was shot down south of Khe Sanh. The aircraft was struck in the tail boom by a rocket-propelled grenade. Six men died in the incident:
Major Soldato was the Commanding Officer of Det B-52 (Project Delta), a combined training and operational unit which specialized in reconnaissance operations but was capable of fielding a battalion-size force for conventional operations. He was described as follows by another Special Forces officer who encountered him at 5th SF Group headquarters, Nha Trang:
- Aircrew, B/158th AHB:
- WO George F. Barry, Dorchester, MA, pilot
- CPT Eugene S. Miller, Warren, MI, copilot
- SP4 Stephen J. Perkins, Overton, NV, gunner
- SGT William H. Vaught, Indianapolis, IN, crew chief
"The only other individual having coffee at that time was a young Major. I had watched him come in, and he was now filling up his cup at the urn. It had been Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and the 82nd Airborne Division since I had seen fatigues with that much starch in them. "And where the hell did he get all those patches", I thought. From the Ranger Tab on his shoulder to the Pathfinder patch on his pocket, he had about every qualifying badge and/or patch the Army awards, and had them all on his freshly starched and pressed fatigues.
"In a land of crinkled tiger stripes and sterile fatigues, you couldn't help but notice this guy. Even at the head shed, where they wore a patch or two, and had started using starch, he stood out. If his cardboard uniform didn't grab you, then all those multi colored patches would. Then too, that uniform stuck to his 150 pound frame like he was poured into it. He got his coffee and strutted toward the table. I was about to meet Shane Soldato, the new commander of Project Delta."