Since Nov 1995, Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crewmember Network has been 
instrumental in linking daughters, sons, mothers,fathers, sisters  and 
brothers, with pilots and crewmembers we flew with in Vietnam, but sadly 
they did not return.  Usually, the involvement is linking family members 
with folks that knew the ones that did not return.   The following story 
is unusual, yet normal for the net in its ability to come to closure with 
a concern.

Joe Vad's Ring

Hugh Mills, the scout platoon leader of D/1-4 Cav in 1969, and author of the book, Low Level Hell learned some bad news. "In May of this year Lisa Vad's apartment in Halifax, Nova Scotia was burglarized and along with his loot, the slug took a flight school ring, class 68-31, with the inscription, Joe Vad, inside. Joe was aka Darkhorse 09, D Troop 1/4 Cav. 1st ID and was KIA along with SP5 James L. Downing in November 1969. Lisa is Joes daughter and was born before Joe was to come home and she had never known her father. She had pictures that I had given her of her father, but this was his ring, he had worn it, and it was returned to his widow after his death. Lisa's mom was Canadian and they moved from NYC back to Nova Scotia after Joe's death. Lisa grew up away from the details and friends but a cousin happened to go into a book store in ATL one day and bought Low Level Hell , and called her when he saw the mention of her father. I got a call one night in 1993 with a "You don't know me, but my name is Lisa Vad." Well, I very well did know her and we had a great talk. She came down in 1994 to go with my wife and me to visit Bernise and Kenneth Downing (Joe's crew chief's family) in Green City, Mo. and it was great. Then this week I see the post about the ring. LCDR Tim Tocci, USN, a P-3 driver assigned to Halifax as an exchange officer with the Canadians, was advised that a person had turned in the ring to the US consulate in Halifax. The person did not identify himself, but just said,"I found it on the ground in Halifax this week, when I got out of my car." The consulate called Tocci, the only American military officer in the area, who saw the ring and knew it was US Army, wasn't sure about the 68-31 (class), and energized the puzzle palace. I suspect there is a horn and flashing light that goes to Roush and Sloniker when this stuff comes in. Anyway, it made this net and we got the handoff. Gary Roush e-mailed, Mel Canon e-mailed, Darkhorse Dave's contacted me, the net came up and reported "mission ready!" Today at about 1100 hrs, LCDR Tocci walked into Lisa Vads Halifax office, in full uniform, and after insuring her identity, returned her fathers ring. He got pictures for VHPA and will e-mail me his thoughts. He will get an autographed copy of LLH(Low Level Hell) so he can know Joe and she will get a better hiding palce for the ring. She will not put it in a bank box because she wants it with her. This net is the reason that this has happened. The ring was the only item stolen that could not be replaced. I would not be ashamed to admit that I believe that Joe himself had his cantankerous hand in on this! No bastard thief was going to take his flight ring from his daughter! Lisa damn near fainted, cried alot, and loves you guys for being here. She wants to be on the Darkhorse newletter list(BC later Dave), will send me her words later for your review, and doesn't really believe that there is a person named Rocket. She does believe, however, in guardian scout pilots (flying low cover in OH-6's)! Joe, you got your hands all over this one! RIP my brother. We'll watch out for the girl." Lisa Vad sent the following message to Hugh Mills: "I would like to thank everyone who played a part in bringing my Father's ring back to me. It was taken when my apartment was robbed in May and I was heartbroken by its loss. My Father died in Vietnam in 1969, when I was only two years old, and I had a special attachment to that ring. I thought that I had lost it forever. But thanks to a wonderful group of people, from Nova Scotia to Kansas City and beyond, the ring and I were united again today. Thank you so much to everyone who took an interest in this situation and helped along the way. I am forever changed by this outpouring of human kindness and I am awed by the greater powers that must have been orchestrating this from above. Thank you!!!!!!!" Lcdr Timothy J. Tocci, USN, an exchange officer with the Canadians in Nova Scotia, P-3 Driver, and great American sent the following message to close the loop: The rough history of the return of CW2 Henry Joseph Vad's ring to his daughter lisa is as follows. 16 July the ring was turned into the United States Consul General office in Halifax Nova Scotia. Uncharacteristically, no details were obtained on the man who gave them the ring. He had just stated that he found it at a gas station on the ground. I received a call from the consulate on the 17th and was asked if I could help locate the owner. (I am the senior military person in the region). To be honest I did not think that the chances of finding the rightful owner were very good as area attracts a lot of tourists this time of year. That night I checked the local newspapers lost and found sections but came up with nothing. Friday morning I started doing searches on the www for anything pertaining to US Army aviation of the era indicated on the ring (I assumed the 68-31 was a class number) In my search I came across several vet organizations which seemed to meet the connections close to what I was looking for. I chose a dozen email addresses from these organizations and started the search going. By monday morning my initial email must have been fairly widely circulated and I was receiving email from people who were trying to find information for me. I was aware then that I had tapped into some fairly large organizations who were truely concerned and interested in helping me. Tuesday morning, 22 July I receiver an email from which gave me the name of Mr Gary Roush and a work phone to contact him. When I called Mr Roush and gave him the details found on the ring he was able to come up with a SSN and told me that through this he would be able to get a name and possible address. He was concerned however about my validity and of giving me the address if found of the owner of the ring. We then agreed that if he could come up with an address, I would send the ring to him and he would see that it was passed on. At that point I thought that we had found "Joe Vad" and would soon be returning his ring to him. Wed 23 July I opened an email from Mr Roush which contained a file which described the circumstances in which CW2 Henry J. Vad was KIA. He asked me how I would like to procede. I told him that I was at a bit of a loss since this would now become quite a sensitive item and asked him for any recommendations. The emails kept coming and I received one from a contact group which deals in these kind of matters who were trying to run down NOK. On thursday morning I received the call from you. I have a gap here because I am not quite sure what route brought the email to you that prompted the phone call. I left it in your hands to contact Lisa since you knew her. When I got off the phone with you I called Mr Roush to verify your credentials (sorry). I received a call back from him shortly after indicating that you were valid. (editors note:I may or may not be valid but this guy checked us out and it was the right thing to do-there are nuts out there that would be a danger for Lisa or anyone else.) Friday morning 25 July I received a call from the Consulate telling me that Lisa Vad had contacted them, had properly identified the item and had left her work and home number for me to contact her. I was amazed to learn from them that the ring had in fact been stolen from Lisa Vad's home in May of this year. I was able to contact Lisa and arranged to meet her at her office to return the ring. I then drove out to the airport and at about 1315 after verifying her identity was able to return "Joe Vad"'s ring to his tearful daughter, two days before she is departing for a vacation. That is how thing unfolded from this perspective. That is by no means though the whole story. There are a lot of people behind the scenes that made this possible. I did get a few pictures which I will send to you, however I forgot to get your address when we talked last. Could you please forward that to me when you get a chance, or I can scan the pictures and send via email if you like. First I would like to thank you in advance for sending me an autographed copy of your book. I can not describe the joy that I felt when I was able to hand Lisa the ring. Her love for that piece of her father was truely evident in the honest tears slipped out. I was just so very proud that I was able to be a part of this wonderful success story. With all of the pieces to this which fell into place so easily I almost feel like it was all being directed by someone. For example if her cousin in Tx had not seen the dedication in your book and established the link between the two of you a few years ago we might never have found her. Had the ring not been returned to the consulate (many items found never are returned) and so many other links in this chain which had to be in place for this to come to closure. It is almost like Joe Vad was returning the ring to his daughter. Anyway, I feel like I have been touched by his life and very much look to reading your book. It will provide such a wonderful memory for me. I have also talked to Lisa about getting together when she returns from here vacation so she can tell me about her father. This would not have been possible without your help and I want to thank you and all the others who made this possible. Timothy J. Tocci Lcdr USN