This website is dedicated to the men who served with Dusters, Quad 50s, Searchlights, Vulcans, and HAWKs in Vietnam. It is managed by the National Dusters, Quads & Searchlights Association, Inc. which endeavors to share their stories and provide meaningful venues for bonding together in honor of our shared service.
Together Then – Together Again.
Our common bond is that we served in U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery units while in Vietnam, though only the HAWK battalions were actually deployed in a classical air defense artillery role. Our 14 different units served from the DMZ in the north; along the coastal plains; throughout the hills, valleys, and rivers of the Central Highlands; and into the Mekong Delta region in the south. The Dusters, Quads, and Searchlights served in small detachments with as few as two men in the case of a Searchlight crew, or 4 to 6 men for a single Duster or Quad 50.
We were widely dispersed and protected Army, Marine, Navy, and Air Force units; Republic of Korea forces, Australian and New Zealand forces; and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) forces. Our duties in Vietnam covered a broad spectrum of services. At facilities and firebases, we provided counter mortar and counter rocket protection. Against ground attacks we would be located at the most likely avenues of enemy approach. We would also be tasked to participate in sweeps, counter attacks, and reaction forces. During convoy missions, we acted as a deterrent capable of quickly responding to ambushes and as ready reaction forces capable of breaking up bunker complexes with accurate fire. Our high volume of penetrating fire and the ability of Searchlights to “own the night” were in high demand and much appreciated.
Whether protecting from a high point; operating from barges during riverine operations; accompanying ground infantry operations in the bush; or protecting Special Forces camps, we were there. “First To Fire,” the motto of ADA, was our call to arms.
The National Dusters, Quads & Searchlights Association, Inc. (NDQSA™) is the original organization for U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery veterans who served in Vietnam. NDQSA is the only organization of Vietnam ADA veterans officially recognized by the Air Defense Artillery Association headquarters in Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. It holds the longest, continual, and official annual reunion for Vietnam ADA veterans.
NDQSA is an IRS 501(c)(19) non-profit veterans’ organization and is incorporated in the State of Indiana.
As a tribute to the memory of the 212 ADA warriors who lost their lives during the Vietnam War, NDQSA members have funded, constructed, and dedicated a magnificent monument in the Memorial Park at Ft. Sill.
NDQSA was founded in 1981 by John Huelsenbeck and others and grew to a strength of over 4350 members. Even though time and health complications attributed to service in Vietnam have taken many from our fold, it still has over 400 active members with a directory of more than 2,200 ADA Vietnam veterans and supporters.
We welcome and encourage all ADA veterans who served in Vietnam to join NDQSA and to share the fellowship, mutual support, and continued service to our Nation on behalf of all military veterans and active-duty personnel.
Dave McCray began his Vietnam tour with C/4th/60th (Dusters) then was transferred to E/41st (Quads). Upon discharge he finished college and obtained degrees in biology and accounting. Much of his career was spent in accounting and he was a vice president in the accounting firm Cole & McCray, CPAs. He joined the NDQSA in 1998 and attended his first reunion in 2000 with several of his NCOCC class members. He has previously served on the board as director, secretary, and 2nd vice president.
Joe Belardo has been a dedicated member of NDQSA since it originated and has always been a board member. After a year of its existence, he became the historian and news editor, and created the original KIA – MIA name list. His ’67-’68 Vietnam tour was with C/1/44 ADA attached to the 3 rd Marine Division’s mobile combat fighting team along the DMZ. After discharge, he founded Support Systems, a custom metal fabrication company. He has devoted his life to helping veterans and educating the public.
Rick Liebendorfer trained in mos 16F at Ft Bliss in the spring of 1969. He arrived in Vietnam July 3, serving 18 months during ’69-70 with C/1/44 ADA, performing Duster tasks along highway 9 and the DMZ then supporting Americal Division near Chu Lai. He was squad leader on Track C221. After a career in the ceramic tile industry in Colorado, he did a stint as a corrections officer with the State of Missouri. He returned to Vietnam in 2017, and visited former areas of operations along Highway 9 as well as FSB 4-11 outside of Quang Ngai. He is the NDQSA.COM webmaster and assist in the preserving of our history and heritage.
Richard Burmood served 1971 with C/1/44 ADA at Chu Lai and then the BN HQ at Red Beach, primarily in administrative positions rather than tactical duties. After returning stateside, he attended OCS and ended up serving 29 years in the Army, retiring as a LTC in logistics with the last ten years supporting Special Operations. After retirement he worked for a defense contractor as an embedded planner in a rapid deployment military headquarters supporting the federal response to domestic disasters.