Team: Chili Pepper

Email from Larry E Sparks <> 4/8/2019 2:15 PM

Hi Floyd

Sent a message to Tim... I do not know him. He told me that I was not the point man for the team Chili Pepper. When I got into country a Marine named Joel (Forgot last name) was point man. I worked with him for just a short period of time then I took over point. We later change the name Chili Pepper to Wage Earner. My Team Leader was Sgt Jim Atkins. When he returned states-side... I took over as Team Leader.

Tim stated as follows...

" Point man for Chili Pepper was Dave Delozier. Ironically, Davy was killed in ladder extract with Team Rush Act a couple of months later. Very tragic thing. Theory was chopper pilot suffered vertigo, pulled whole team on spie rig through jungle, pulled chopper down into jungle, killing all team members, chopper squad, including Col. Bill Leftwich, company commander who was on board for extract. If you google Team Rush Act you should be able to come up with additional info. Semper Fi Tim Luhrs"

In a message dated 4/6/2019 2:37:59 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

As far as me wanting to google the event, no need. My team under the direction of Sgt Jim Adkins was selected to go to the site of the crash. Team Wage Earner walked point with the Mission Impossible following behind to the crash site. In capacity as Point-Man along with Sgt Adkins (Team Leader) were the first to enter the remains of the helicopter where Our Col., Col Leftwich, and others were located. With that said... I frankly want to forget the rest of events that took place during that recovery...

You have another Marine on your site named Ski who might be able to provide whatever Tim needs/requires. Ski was a member of my team... Wage Earner and was on the recovery mission as well.

Dont really know what Tim is wanting... maybe Ski can help.

Thanks ....


It's not any trouble. I'll make the changes for you today. You will see the changes the next time I publish the website.

Look for the time stamp at the top of any webpage on our site, the date & time will change from time to time with new updates to our website..

Thanks for replying to my email from Timothy Luhrs - Delta Company - Team Chili Pepper.

Thanks for updating your Info, and thanks for keeping your contact INFO up to date..

1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association Reunions will be held at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, this year 1st Recon reunion events will be August 7th-11th, 2019.

Additional reunion details will be posted on this website, soon as they become available.


Email from Larry E Sparks <> 4/8/2019 8:13 AM

Hi Floyd

Hope you do not become upset with me... I think I made an error on my tour of duty. I looked on my Form 214 and it showed 1970 - 1971. I thought i arrived in Nam during late December of 1969. I know you have better things to do then make corrections.

In a message dated 1/31/2019 7:10:44 PM Eastern Standard Time, floyd@weststpaulantiques.comwrites:

Thanks for the update. Will update web site with your Info soon.




On January 31, 2019 at 10:41 AM 1st Recon Battalion Association <> wrote:

Name: Larry E Sparks
Address: 3227 Algus Lane Cincinnati Ohio 45248 United States
Phone Number: 513-347-7055
Subject: Team Chili Pepper & WageEarner 1970
Message: FYI .... Team ChiliPepper / WageEarner 1969-1970

Tim Luhrs <> 4/7/2019 5:37 PM

Floyd, Thanks for reply. I think if you were to google "team chili
pepper leatherneck magazine" and scroll around you'll find a pretty
definitive article about mishap. It's pretty accurate, not to a tee,
but I think you'll have a good idea what went happened. Semper Fi
Tim Luhrs
FYI Google "Grunts,Docs, and Pilots Dan Kellum" This guy wrote a
great 2 volume book on Recon and Recon Marines in the Nam.

On Sat, Apr 6, 2019 at 1:38 AM floyd <> wrote:

Thanks for the email "from November 14th, 2018" I'll complete and update the website today by 5pm CDT with your Info. I'll send a copy of this email to Larry E Sparks from Delta Company Team Chili Pepper 1970-1971. Can you send me more Info on the ladder extract that went bad for your team Chili Pepper.

I'll post your Info on our website. Thanks

I apologize for the delay "Over 4 Months" in this update to our website.
Thanks for your time and have a great day.

I hope Larry Sparks can help you on the remaining members of your team.

1ST Reconnaissance Battalion Association Reunions will be held at the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky, August 7th-11th, 2019.

Floyd Ruggles
Membership Director

Email sent 4/9/2019 11:32 AM

Email sent 4/9/2019 11:05AM


Thanks for all the Info. I'll check out google and the leatherneck magazine on team chili pepper. I will also look around on the internet for more Info in a day or two to see if I can fine more Info on Chili Pepper. If you can send me a photo or two I'll do a webpage on Team Chili Pepper for our members of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association some time soon.


“Mission Impossible”
in Vietnam

How Many Recon Marines
Does It Take to Put an
NVA Regiment to Flight?

By Michael Dan Kellum

The First Reconnaissance Battalion’s
Teams Chili Pepper and War Cloud
Mission Impossible encountered loss
and luck in the Que Son Mountains southwest
of Da Nang on 1 Sept. 1970. The result
was that one seven­man team suffered
the accidental deaths of two Marines and
two seriously injured while the other fourman
relief team put to fight an estimated
regiment­sized North Vietnamese Army
(NVA) outft.
Team Chili Pepper was inserted by a
Sea Knight helicopter on Hill 995 at 0852
Sunday, 30 Aug. 1970, and began patrolling
the mountainous terrain for any enemy
activity. The team consisted of Sergeant
Dale E. Rowley, team leader; Hospital
Corpsman Third Class M. J. McKinley;
Lance Corporal Timothy J. “Tim” Luhrs;
LCpl Jimmy Ray Holkem; LCpl David F.
Airaghi; LCpl Dale Allen Pennington;
and LCpl David V. “Dave” Delozier. The
team was operating over steep mountains
with 50­ to 60­foot tree canopy and with
a secondary growth of 8­ to 10­foot­tall
vines, small bushes, bamboo, elephant
grass, boulders, thorns and thick bushes.
Two klicks (kilometers) and three days
into their patrol, Luhrs spiked a 103­degree
temperature, and Holkem broke his ankle,
resulting in the whole team needing extraction.
In the fading light toward the
end of the day on 1 Sept., a 120­foot fexible
aluminum ladder attached to a CH­46
Sea Knight was dropped to the team. The
men were to snap link onto it from the
harnesses they wore. Unfortunately, an

unstable tree in the landing zone (LZ) fell,
knocking three of four men off the ladder.
Holkem and Pennington were killed, and
Rowley and “Doc” McKinley were
Also, the team’s two radios were either
inoperable or sent over the mountainside,
and most of their weapons were missing.
They had no way to communicate with
the helicopters to bring them back to their
position after they waved them off.
As they waited for the Sea Knights to
return later that night, Airaghi directed
them to split their watches with two men
up and one sleeping. Luhrs remembered
the night as being “just black.”
Marines from 1st Recon said the Sea
Knight helicopter that had tried to extract
Team Chili Pepper returned to Camp
Reasoner’s LZ, and, in the darkness, all
they saw was the eerie sight of no Marines
snap linked onto the ladder and two M16
rifes dangling from it spotlighted by the
helicopter’s landing light: an ominous
sign that the team was in deep trouble in
Indian Territory.
At approximately 2200, the Recon Bn’s
reaction team was alerted that a Recon
team was down and needed help. Gunnery
Sergeant Terrence L. “Terry” Moore was
team leader of War Cloud Mission Impossible,
seasoned Marines from the battalion’s
Headquarters and Service Company.
Joining Moore were Staff Sergeant John
F. Hare, SSgt D. M. Mushett, Corporal
R. J. Ravelo, a Navy corpsman and one
other Marine.
A Sea Knight picked the team up from
Camp Reasoner after being equipped with

for more on Team Chili Pepper check out the

Leatherneck Magazies December 2013

Click Here

Book II Marines & Other Personnel Cited - Grunts, Pilots & “Docs”

Correspondence & Emails

Correspondence & Emails

Larry Sparks  <> April 9, 2019 at 7:56 PM

Hi Floyd

If your planning on doing something in reference to the attempted rescue/recovery of our fellow Marines etc., Chili Pepper to my knowledge did not exist. I was with Chili Pepper when I first arrived at 1st Recon. Prior to the recovery etc., members of our team changed the name from Chili Pepper to "Wage Earner". It should be noted that each man on team Wage Earner to my knowledge received a "Meritorious Combat Promotion,"

I have attached a photo of an old team pic... I will see if I have anything else.

Larry Sparks



In a message dated 4/9/2019 12:25:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:


Thanks for all the Info. I'll check out google and the leatherneck magazine on team chili pepper. I will also look around on the internet for more Info in a day or two to see if I can fine more Info on Chili Pepper. If you can send me a photo or two I'll do a webpage on Team Chili Pepper for our members of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion Association some time soon.


floyd<> April 9, 2019 at 9:49 PM

To lsparks299 Copy




Thanks for all Info & thanks for the great  photo. I'll update the website with your photo and Info on Wed. 4/10/2019 by 5:00 PM CST

Check it out tomorrow and send me your feedback. Have a great day Marine.


Re: 1st Reconnaissance Battalion: Team Chili Pepper / Wage Earner

Part 2

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