Valor honored

Vietnam vet Nohl recognized with Quilt of Valor by Women’s Club
by Verla Peichl Review Correspondent


U.S ARMY VETERAN Allen Nohl received a Quilt of Valor from the Plymouth Women’s Club after he recounted his experience of survival in the Vietnam War at a recent Memorial Day luncheon held at The Depot. Plymouth’s Women’s Club President Janice Curtiss was the presenter. — Review photo by Verla Peichl U.S ARMY VETERAN Allen Nohl received a Quilt of Valor from the Plymouth Women’s Club after he recounted his experience of survival in the Vietnam War at a recent Memorial Day luncheon held at The Depot. Plymouth’s Women’s Club President Janice Curtiss was the presenter. — Review photo by Verla Peichl PLYMOUTH — Memorial Day has passed, but the personal accounts while in Vietnam, given by Veteran Allen Nohl at the GFWC Plymouth Women’s Club luncheon held at The Depot, will be an inspiration to all in attendance for a long time into the future.

Veteran Allen Nohl is a survivor from the Vietnam war and his story reminds us all that war is hell and freedom is not free, but given the chance survivors can continue to inspire and motivate all who hear their stories and they encourage us to never give up.

“Just a little background of myself,” said Nohl, “in 1964 I was confirmed by Reverend Graf at Saron United Church of Christ, and in 1969 I enlisted into the United States Army and I was given orders to serve in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam as a Huey Helicopter mechanic. I had been in Helicopter Maintenance School and because of what happened on May 6, 1970 I received a Purple Heart.”


DuWAYNE WIECK presented U.S. Army veteran Allen Nohl with a Purple Heart pen at the recent Plymouth Women’s Club Memorial Day luncheon. — Review photo by Verla Peichl DuWAYNE WIECK presented U.S. Army veteran Allen Nohl with a Purple Heart pen at the recent Plymouth Women’s Club Memorial Day luncheon. — Review photo by Verla Peichl “We all make choices and sometimes our choices don’t turn out the way we think or want them to, but we make them and do the best we can with the results,” said Nohl.

Veteran Nohl then elaborated on those events. He explained how he decided on the maintenance school because that meant he would be working on the Huey Helicopters. The living quarters were small and he had a locker with his flight helmet.

“Doing the maintenance on the helicopters meant you really wanted to do your very best and get it right,” said Nohl, “because you did the maintenance and then you would be the one on that copter after you did it, so you wanted to do it right. That helped to instill the need of perfection.”

Nohl explained that a Huey Helicopter was used to fly over the jungle and it had smoke grenades, with color, to mark a landing zone. Because of these missions they needed to wear the proper gear because of the type of gas used to mark the areas.

He explained that a Smokey was a UH-1H Huey fitted with a perforated ring around the exhaust pipe of the gas turbine engine of the helicopter. The exhaust of a Huey, in normal flight runs approximately 500 degrees centigrade, so when the aircraft approaches a hot landing zone, the crew starts a pump which forces oil through the ring of perforations. This creates a large billowing cloud of smoke. In theory, this is designed to hide the landed troops and the helicopters from enemy eyes.

Because the Smokey ship is flying fast, for a Huey, and very low, it was deemed to be a relatively safe flight for a troop insertion or withdrawl. Smokey did not land and was therefore much safer than the aircraft landing and taking off from a Landing Zone that is potentially under fire.

“On May 6, 1970 we were opening up a new fire base,” said Nohl. “This is a base camp set up in a remote area to put troops out with artillery and cannons. The bases are always close to one another to support each other and suppress the enemy and it’s a way to cut off the supply line of the enemy.”

“We were flying a formation,” said Nohl, “and because the other copter flew into our tear gas, the skids of the other Huey hit our rotor blades. This was a normal operation, to have two copters, and for whatever reason, and no one knows whose fault it was, we were involved in a midair collision.”

Nohl became teary at this point. The events of that day, though long ago, still weigh heavy on him. Nohl was the only survivior out of two Huey crews. Nohl survivied, while seven of his friends, brothers, were lost.

“I was the sole survivor,” said Nohl. “I was in the lead copter and we crashed about noon. My copter was on fire and when I was able (to) I got out. I had released the harness and got to the ground.”

Nohl was a door gunner, and after he made his way out of the copter he knew he had some bruising and was burned, but when he looked up he saw another copter above him.

“Because the pilot was afraid of the gas, in the air, they dropped a rope down to me,” said Nohl. “So as they hovered, they lifted me up and out of the area. I was below the helicopter for about 15 to 16 miles and then we got to a fire base.”

“If you have ever watched MASH then you know how that base looked,” said Nohl. “It was just as seen on the show. There were three nurses and a doctor that greeted me. It was a field hospital and it was over capacity and it was not a secured area but I was there for four days and because of the burns there was a possibility of infection so I was taken on a helicopter to a hospital in Japan.”

“It was a real hospital and I was there for 45 days and after I was recuperated I was stationed in Okinawa where I went into the computer room,” said Nohl.

Nohl’s story is far more complicated with intricate details, however, he truly believes that he is still here because “of an act of God” and because of that he has become involved with the Sheboygan County Veteran’s Memorial and is now the chairman.

“I have found the pilot that rescued me,” said Nohl. “I did a search and have learned that Ted Phillips was the pilot of the copter that day.”

Nohl took questions from the group and was asked why some veterans do not talk about their experiences but he does. He also noted that in July 1970 he received a Purple Heart.

“I think talking is a healthy thing to do as a statement of faith,” said Nohl, “because when I was on the ground all I could think of was ‘O God take me out of here’ and there was a rope to help me. I’ve talked to other veterans and have heard that it’s hard for them to talk because they are afraid they will say something that you won’t understand.”

However, the story doesn’t end there.

Nohl, being the chairman of the Sheboygan County Veteran’s Memorial, was instrumental in organiz- ing the re-dedication of the memorial last summer for the 20th anniversary. He also was able to bring a refurbished Huey helicopter to the event and give rides to all those that were interested in learning what it was like to be inside a real piece of history.

Nohl and his wife, Sue, spoke with the pilot, and he told the pilot who he was and that after 45 years he would take a ride in the Huey.

“The pilot told me that this time there wasn’t going to be anybody shooting at us,” said Nohl. “So after 45 years I went up into that Huey.”

Club President, Janice Curtiss, then told Veteran Nohl that the club had something special for him. She then presented him with a Quilt of Valor.

“The mission of Quilts of Valor is to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace, and remembrance to those who serve in harm’s way to protect and defend our lives and freedoms. Quilts of Valor are made by the loving hands of countless volunteers who wish to thank those who have served so that they know their sacrifices are appreciated.”

Veteran DuWayne Wieck from Post 243 was in attendance and he presented Nohl with a Purple Heart pen.

The day was complete after Dan Krueger, uncle of Amy Krueger, who was killed in the shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, spoke about his niece and acknowledged the fallen.

“There are many heroes among us,” said Krueger. “All the honorees are not victims, but victors and their sacrifice will go beyond the day of honoring.”

“There will always be heroes among us, to do what they are asked to do,” said Krueger. “Their sacrifices are a re-affirmation of what this country was founded on. Faith and a Trusting God.”


Most recent cover pages:
















Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505