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Info Sheet - 1LT Oscar G. Castillo


My Vietnam Tour, 1971-1972:

I arrived in Long Binh Vietnam on November 30, 1971 and was assigned to the 135th Assault Helicopter Company that had just relocated to Dian from Lai Khe. I assumed the duties of the Company Admin Officer.

The Company was deactivated in January 1972 and I was reassigned to F Troop (Air), 4th Cavalry that had just relocated to Long Binh, III Corps. I was assigned the duties of Troop Admin Officer working directly for CPT James Elder, Troop XO.

In March 1972 the Troop was assigned OPCON to the 1st Cavalry Division, I Corps and the main body was fully deployed north to Camp Eagle during April 1972. A Troop Rear Detachment remained in Long Binh to continue to submit administrative reports, award recommendations, and process personnel orders through the HQ, 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade.

CPT Elder remained in charge of the Rear Detachment which included CPT Richard Fargo and 1LT Castillo. We were also responsible to clear some of the accountable equipment listed on the Troop Property Book. We took advantage of excess equipment available at the Materiel Depot located in Long Binh.

In May 1972, CPT Elder went north to join the main Troop unit. In June 1972, the Rear Detachment personnel moved north to join the Troop that had just relocated to Tan My. The Troop could now submit all reports, award recommendations, and personnel actions through the HQ, 11th Aviation Group in I Corps.


On July 22, 1972 a Troop “Hunter Killer Team” disabled an NVA APC by blowing off a track. The NVA personnel quickly abandoned the disabled APC. An NVA flag was attached to the radio antenna on the APC. CPT Elder and I were flying the UH-1 chase bird for the Team. I landed the helicopter next to the APC and proceed to remove the flag from the antenna on the APC. With the assistance from other crew members we also detached and removed the 51 caliber machine gun mounted on top of the APC. We loaded several items onto the helicopter and took off. Cobra gunships and LOHs were circling above to ensure area was secured. The following day MAJ John Spencer presented the 51 cal machine gun to the CO, 11th Aviation Group.

Somehow the NVA flag was taken and I requested that it be returned to me. Several days passed and CPT Dan Lott brought the flag to the Troop Orderly Room. He told me that the flag had to be washed several time before giving it to me. I asked why it had to be washed and he responded “You do not want to know!” I kept the flag and for years I wondered what CPT Lott did not tell me. Recently I saw a video, posted on this website, of Bruce Anderson and Harry Rodgers, that explains why the flag was washed.

In March 2021 I donated the NVA flag to the National Vietnam War Museum located in Mineral Wells, TX.

In October 1972 MAJ Kermit Larson assumed command of the Troop. On Dec 15, 1972 I got my last UH-1 ride from Tan My to Da Nang, boarded a C130 to Long Binh, and then into a chartered airplane flight back to San Francisco.