“I Planned To Go To West Point For As Long As I Can Remember”: A ’67 Graduate In Vietnam And Berlin

Louis B. "Buzz" Trevathan


Louis B. “Buzz” Trevathan, Jr., grew up in an Army family, and he later reunited with several of his childhood friends at the Military Academy. He had “planned to go to West Point for as long as I can remember.” As a Cadet, he experienced the Army – Penn State pep rally that got out of hand in the Mess Hall and contributed to the Army football victory over the Nitany Lions. He also remembers the assassination of President Kennedy and the death of General MacArthur. He branched Field Artillery, but was also selected for aviation (within the artillery branch), and he learned to fly helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. He deployed to Vietnam with the 212th Combat Aviation Brigade and was assigned to the 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company in Hue Phu Bai, flying the O-1 Bird Dog and U-6 Beaver. He flew spotter missions and adjusted artillery fires for units on the ground. Additionally, while airborne he operated as a FAC (forward air controller) and called in naval gunfire. Frequently he flew in tandem with another aircraft, one flying high and the other low. His scariest experience in Vietnam was flying through an Arc Light strike. After returning from Vietnam, he served in the Berlin Brigade for four years. He spent two years as a pilot, one on the general’s staff, and one as an artillery battery commander. During his next assignment to Ft. Carson, Colorado, he decided to leave the military, having become “fed up” with the Army of the mid-1970s and the bureaucracy. After leaving the Army, he and his wife purchased an art gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Near the end of the interview, he reflects on the importance of West Point.


conflicts Vietnam War Cold War
topics Leadership Teamwork Camaraderie War in the Air Military Family Military Techniques West Point History Life After Military
interviewer Patrick Jennings
date 24 January 2009


name Louis B. "Buzz" Trevathan
institution USMA
graduation year 1967
service Field Artillery / Aviation
unit 212 Combat Aviation Brigade; 220th Reconnaissance Airplane Company; Berlin Brigade 94th Field Artillery Regiment
specialty Fixed Wing and Helicopter Pilot
service dates 1967 1976