New Members
Third-Party Stuff
Other Contributions
In Memorium
Old News
Change of Address

National VHPA Site









This site will be rerouted to the VHPA National Site in April. Please contact the 2016 officers for details. No further updates are planned on this site.



To enhance and accredit the cohesiveness, esprit de corps, and traditions of valor of rotary wing aircrews that flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam Era. To seek out, using whatever means available, individuals who piloted rotary wing aircraft in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era and inform them of the existence of the VHPA and encourage all eligible individuals to become members.

Membership is open to all helicopter pilots who flew in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era (1961-1975).

Next Meeting

Events Calendar
November 4 Veteran's Day Parade and Chapter meeting.

This link leads you to a number of chapter activities including the UH1 restoration project, special events and other interest projects.




    Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Memorial       

The effort to place the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot and Crewmember Memorial within Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is accelerating and needs your help. Please support the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) Legacy Committee and other volunteers who will walk the halls of Congress November 29-30 to encourage representatives and senators to support the Vietnam Helicopter Crew Memorial Act (H.R.4298 and S.3447). The list of those cosponsoring H.R. 4298 grew dramatically during the month of September and currently stands at 70 (October 30, 2016) but it needs far more support to be passed.

This groundswell of support is the direct result of VHPA members reaching their representatives, a formal hearing before the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee on September 8, and a dramatic article written by Time Magazine reporter Mark Thompson.

Senate companion bill S. 3447, introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan (AK) and cosponsored by Senator Tammy Baldwin (WI), is a strategic victory.

Many bills are introduced into the House, but if a Senate bill matching the language and intent does not emerge, the house bill goes no further even if passed by a house vote. The senate companion bill added vital energy to this important legislation. Without doubt, this action has ANC management concerned that the memorial will find a place in the cemetery despite their priority to deny any further memorials within the cemetery grounds.

How you can help:

Contact your legislator and both senators and tell them why they should support the legislation. Start with a telephone call to the Washington, DC offices (easily found with a quick Google search).

Two links for finding your legislators:



Speak with the individual who deals with veteran issues, get their specific email address and explain why they should support the bill.

(Note: if you are sent to voicemail, don’t wait for a return call, but rather call again the next day. Repeat calls from constituents get attention). Advise them Vietnam Veteran helicopter pilots and Gold Star Families support this cause, and they should too.

Share the story of the memorial project and encourage your friends and neighbors to participate. The more constituents who contact their representatives, the better.

Finally, consider joining in the effort! If you can travel to Washington, DC and participate, excellent! The Legacy Committee will provide you with informational folders and a briefing on what to say.

Although we cannot reimburse your expenses, the costs of travel can be deducted as a donation to the VHPA, a non-profit veteran’s organization. You will be part of a team actively meeting those who make legislation happen, and we guarantee you will find the experience rewarding and worthwhile.

The success of the November 29-30 Congressional Hall Walk will depend on everyone getting involved, veteran pilots and crewmembers, gold star family members, everyone. Whether you attend in person or challenge your representative and senators in Washington by phone and email, your actions will have impact.

A great deal of coordination is happening to ensure our brief mission in the Capital is effective. The effort is magnified in value if we can tell the representative/senator that their constituent—YOU--sent us to speak on their behalf.

Please contact Bob Hesselbein, VHPA Legacy Chairman, for more information regarding the November 29/30, 2016 Vietnam Helicopter Crew Memorial Act Hall Walk. bobhesselbein@vhpa.org 608.628.9024

Member Profiles


Colonel Bruce P. Crandall (Ret.), husband, father, explorer, pilot, Vietnam War hero, engineer, civic leader and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, addressed Antioch University Seattle’s (AUS) 2015 graduates at the university’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 21 at Town Hall Seattle. He shared insights about demonstrating social courage and the inner determination to choose the right path, which may not always be the safest or easiest route.

“Colonel Crandall exemplifies the definition of courage and bravery, not only because of the extreme danger that he faced during his military service, but also because of his willingness to face danger in pursuit of helping others and at great personal risk,” said AUS president Daniel Hocoy. “Standing up for one’s beliefs is difficult enough – doing so in the most extreme of circumstances is the true mark of a courageous leader and hero.”

The local chapter of the VHPA is proud to include Col. Crandall as one of our members.

Chapter Profile

The Washington State Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) was founded in September, 2000 by Jack Salm, Jr. It holds regular meetings in Washington state including sites on both sides of the Cascades.

What's New?

Check out the VHPAWA Gear page to see our new Chapter Challenge Coin.


Check out the pictures and videos that show what aviators and their crews experienced in Vietnam.

The Washington State Chapter of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA) is a totally separate, independent entity and is not authorized to act as an agent, or representative, of the VHPA or any of the other chapters.

2016  Officers

President: Dave Saunders  360-456-6322 dave.maryann.saunders@gmail.com
Vice President:   Jim LaPenske 206-714-3283 jimlep3@comcast.net

Members at Large

Mid Term: Mel Latham 360-890-1798 mclatham84@hotmail.com
Senior: Dave Eck 253-447-4993 david@lighthousefg.com
Junior: Hal Thornton 509-829-0737 hnbthorn@aol.com


Secretary:  Bill Lyons 509-829-0737 hnbthorn@aol.com
Treasurer: John Schafer 253-874-1306 johnshafercpa@comcast.net
Web Master/Photos: Bill Vaughn  425-869-7411 billva@betav.com
Quartermaster: Bill Lyons 509-829-0737 hnbthorn@aol.com
Sgt at Arms: Jim LePenske 206-714-3283 jimlep3@comcast.net
Parade Coordinator Pat Staeheli 253-859-4185 pgstaeheli@yahoo.com
Chaplin: Padre Francis Jeffery 253-588-3478 fjeffery@aol.com
Photos: Dan Fox 253-531-8242 two-foxes@msn.com

Past Presidents

2000 Jack Salm Jr. Founder,  National VHPA President (2009)
2001-2002 Tom Wie   (had to drop out, Jack Salm reelected)  
2002-2003 Jack Salm Jr.
2004 Pat Staeheli 
2005 Dave Rosenkranz 
2006 Dick Glasgow   (Died Feb. 21, 2007)
2007 Chris Farwell 
2008 Paul Fleming
2009 David P. Eck     
2010 Frank Jones (Health issues Feb. 2010)
2010 Bob Brown
2011 Mark Hansen
2012 Mark Hansen
2013 Don LeMaster  
2014 J C Combs
2015 J C Combs

Electronic mail
    Webmaster: William Vaughn (Redmond, WA)
Please note: This website may contain information that the webmaster, VHPA or VHPAWA considers proprietary and confidential. Information contained herein shall not be used for commercial solicitation purposes, or any correspondence related thereto. Correspondence relating to commercial purposes or solicitations can be sent to the webmaster whereupon it will be forwarded to the appropriate VHPA or VHPAWA representative or discarded as they see fit.
Send mail to the webmaster billva@betav.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Portions Copyright © 2003-2016 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association Washington State Chapter
Portions Copyright (c) 2003-2016, William R. Vaughn
Last modified: 02/12/2016 10:12:07 -0800 (Zulu)