Very sad news to report that we've lost a good friend
'Don Taylor' to cancer (4-30-09). This photo of him was
just taken last year (2008). He will be deeply missed.
Phan Rang AFB - Gray Eagle Period 1965-1966
Don in front of his office in the bomb
dump munitions storage area. (1966)
A photo of Don standing in the front door to his hooch.
The hooch housed seven junior officers at that time. (1966)
The two photo scans above are a few of my favorite photos
of Don back during that 'Early base "Gray Eagle" build-up
Period' at PRAB (65-66). Don and I had first gotten in
contact back in only March of 2004 when I had first contacted
him from David Foote's PRAB guest book site. I was really
amazed on how the man had such recall on remembering in such
detail those days at PRAB during his early tour in '65-'66.
After a short while Don wanted to have his page up at my site
to share his many memories of his tour as the Munitions Officer
there, with the F4s before they moved up to DaNang. While we
were communicating, VIA the phone and Internet, Don would send
me information to post on his page. It was amazing on what all
I would find out about those early days in comparison to PRAB
during my tour in '68-'69, only a few years later. Don was very
proud of his work he did at PRAB, which one can see in his
writings at this site and Don's own 'Tripod' web site.
Below this scan Don writes: "A photo of six lieutenants and a cat.
Left to right: 'Colonel' the cat, 1Lt Bart Surat (seated), 1Lt
Bill Clark (standing), 1Lt Jerry Linton (seated), 1Lt Ray Partain
(seated), 1Lt Bill Sparks (standing), and 1Lt R.G. Cade (seated).
Note no road up to the top of Nui Dat yet. (1966)"
Don was a great communicator and again had great memory of
our old stomping grounds which would keep impressing me. In
an early email to me he sent me the above modified '68 image of
mine to show the where-a-bouts where he and Jerry Linton lived
in their hootches during those Gray Eagle days in'65 and '66.
This photo of Don was taken March of 2006.
The above two scans are of Don and Chuck Adkins.
In the years I knew Don we had not had the chance to meet but I was
making plans to visit with him in Dayton the following summer. Still,
Don and I got to know each other pretty well with our many emails and
phone conversations. He had become a pretty good friend of mine and I
think he felt the same. He will be deeply missed.
A short three months before his passing on 4/30/09, even while he was
fighting cancer, he was showing his concerns to my worries of my surgery
I was going to have in a couple days. He was a great friend I strongly miss.
Below is an email Don Taylor sent me on 1/23/09:
Mike, hang in there buddy and relax. Concentrate on keeping your
self from getting exciting and make sure you get lots of rest. My
BP pressure is really running high also but it's due to the anxiety
I am gong through now with this cancer. I try not to think about it
and keep myself calm. I have studied and practiced Buddhist and
Taoist meditation and try to spend some real quiet time with
myself daily...just relaxing and meditating...clearing my wondering
monkey mind which drives us all crazy with worrying. I have a
great attitude according to by doctors and should be able to
beat it or let it remain treatable over time. I plan on
whipping this disease. Go slow my friend and you will do good.
Don will be greatly missed by quit a few of us who knew him.----Mike Vogel
"As to a tribute to Don my thoughts go the way of how resilient he was
.........getting wiped out by Katrina.........having to start a new life
elsewhere without a whimper.........and then dealing with cancer with much
courage. Here was a proud American who served his country well.........he
will be missed by those who had the privilege of knowing him."---Jerry Linton
"While I never knew Don or had the opportunity to meet him, I knew him
through his photos, commentary and the common bond we had serving at Phan
Rang. His tour was before mine, but through his efforts he laid the groundwork
for those who followed. Don was one of the good guys and will be missed."
I had the pleasure of meeting Don twice. Once for dinner in Dayton,
and again when I visited him at the new home he had built. We talked
about the early Gray Eagle days at Phan Rang AB and life in general.
I'm sure that I rode shotgun on a supply convoy to Cam Rahn Bay that
Don commanded. He had a wonderful sense of humor and a genuine love
for his country. A true patriot, he will be missed by all who knew him.
Click on Drive-In photo to return to PRAB home page.