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219th Aviation Company (Recon)


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Headhunter Emeritus

  Major Arlie Deaton was assigned to the 219th Aviation Company on two separate tours.
  1.  His first tour was in 1966-1967 where he commanded a Flight Platoon
  2.  His second tour was in 1970 where he was Company Commander

To all who knew Arlie Deaton, he was a true friend.

To all who served with Arlie Deaton, he was a true professional.

To all who served with the 219th Aviation Company, Arlie  Deaton was a true Headhunter.







  Arlie Deaton passed away  November 19, 2011. Here is his obituary published in the Augusta (GA) Chronicle.

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Mr. Arlie Deaton, 71, died Saturday, November 19, 2011 at home. Mr. Deaton was born in Kentucky and had retired in Augusta, with 20 years of service in the US Army. He was very proud of his service to his country and maintained a close bond with the friends and brothers, in service and life, of the 219th Aviation Company (Recon). He was a Vietnam Veteran and served in Germany. After retiring from the military, he served 13 years as a civilian employee until retiring with physical disabilities He was a member of Mann Memorial United Methodist Church where he served in many capacities. Arlie enjoyed a coffee group in Evans and looked forward to their meetings daily. His proudest accomplishments in life was his family He loved his family, his church and his country. Survivors include his wife, Marsha Hooper Deaton, two sons, Arlie Kelvin Deaton(Julie), Christopher Doyle Deaton (Debra), and two daughters, Tanya Michele Toth, Charleston, SC, Keelie Monteen Kitchens, four sisters, Janice Sanchez, Riverside, CA., Rebecca Baird (Bob), Greenville, SC, Maryanne Wallace (Jeff), California, Catherine Lovell(Doyle), Cincinnati, Ohio, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Polly Deaton, a brother, Jackie Deaton, and a granddaughter, Jennifer Amber Deaton. Major Deaton donated his body to the Medical College of Georgia. A memorial service will be held at 3:00 o'clock on Sunday, November 27. 2011, at Mann Memorial Methodist Church. The family will receive friends after the service in the Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Mann Memorial Methodist Church

  Arlie's memorial service was held Sunday November 27, 2011 in Augusta, GA.

The weather was perfect!

The church was overflowing. The pastor stated that in his 30-year experience, this was the largest memorial service he had ever conducted.

Including many from Arlie's family, there were people from every phase of Arlie's life both military and civilian.

Six people represented the 219th Aviation Company on behalf of all those who served with the unit and on behalf of all those who wanted to but who could not attend. The six people were - Bob Segal, John Meyers, Chas Slimowicz, Clarence Duckworth & his wife Caron, and Bob Brewster. (Click on names above to read comments about Arlie & his Memorial Service)

The pictures below were taken at the church of the displays showing Arlie throughout his life.

  GUESTBOOK (Augusta Chronicle)

Comments from individuals who served with or knew Arlie in the 219th Aviation Company  are shown below -

Arlie will forever be part of our lives. For my wife and I, it was Arlie who in 1970 helped bring us together while we served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam and while he was the Commanding Officer of the 219th Aviation Company "Headhunters". I was a pilot in 219th and Ruth was a nurse in Pleiku. We have been happily married for 41 years and will always be eternally grateful to Arlie for his extra act of caring. We will miss seeing him and talking to him. May God Bless his soul and may God Bless Marsha and the family. - Arlie's Friends, Bob & Ruth Brewster Bob (HH37) & Ruth Brewster, Port Orange, Florida

To all who knew Arlie, He was a fighter. When he returned from RVN 41 years ago, he was told he only had a year to  live (cancer)). Not only did he live but he brought us a whole new Deaton family who are god loving patriots, My heart goes out to you all. - Bill Hutter HH36

Aloha. I had the privileged of serving with Arlie on two different occasions, Once when he was a Platoon leader serving in Kontum Vietnam (66-67) and I was also there when he took Command of the 219th Headhunters (70). It was Arlie that gave me my last promotion to SSG (E-6). a great personal to I have ever known...God Bless you Arlie, Aloha for now. Rance Pinao Rance Pinao, KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii

Arlie Deaton, Headhunter Emeritus. Arlie is one of those rare understated larger than life individuals. Those of us that took the time to know Arlie felt that he was special in so many ways. This man could motivate a rock and to get us to fly missions that no one else would feel compelled to do. It is through Arlie's way that we owe our lives to come back alive through his teachings. It has been a distinct honor to know Arlie, Marsha and his siblings. You have made Arlie's life and extended his presents on earth an additional 20 years. God bless you and thank you for everything you have done for this great man !~  Bob Jackson HH 19, Solana Beach, California

I never had the privilege of working for Arlie as I went to the Battalion Staff just prior to his taking command of the 219th. As a Bn. staffer I did have the opportunity to get to know him and work with him. I heard nothing but great things about him from all my "Headhunters" buddies. I can easily picture that infectious and mischievous smile he always presented. ~ Dick Baker HH 46

Sorry for your and ours, he will be missed. VP ~ Maj. Vince Principe, Pleasant Hill, Missouri

A difficult morning. Arlie Deaton, such an important part of my life, has died. He demanded my best and inspired me to give it to him. He believed in me and insisted that I believe in myself. He instilled in me the notion of honor and that I never betray my honor. He protected the boy that I was and helped me hone the man that I am. I love you Arlie.
Fly safe, Deaton! Fly safe.
~ Francis Doherty, SPAF2, Headhunter 45 Norwalk, Connecticut

Marsha, I first met Arlie in 1970 He was my Company Commander, as well as my friend. He was one of the finest men I ever knew. I was honored to call him a friend.
My prayers are with you. God Bless you and your family.
Clarence Duckworth HH33

To Marsha and Family, I met Arlie in 1969 when he was on staff with the 223 BN HQ. he later became Commander of the 219th. Even though Arlie and I are the same age he helped me get through a prolonged adolescence and in large part is the reason for a successful career. He was truly a caring brother. I think you can be very sure that he is now celebrating with the LORD and is healed. GOD bless you all during this time of grieving, but this two shall pass. - John V. Meyers

Marsha, Camille and I are keeping you and the Deaton family in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time. Arlie and I were room mates as young Captains at Holloway, Pleiku in 1967. I will never forget this dedicated and professional Army Officer.  -  Jimmy Morris HH4

When Arlie was the CO of the 219th, I rarely had contact with him, but when I did, he had that rare characteristic of being a officer that could positively influence you. Luckily, I was able to thank him for this in later years and get to know him better. What a fine officer and man he was. We are all fortunate to have known him. God bless his family, and God bless him in the hereafter. -  John Estill, HH46

Arlie was the XO and I was a company commander for Ev Greenwood (3d Bn @ Ft Gordon) in the mid 70's. Even in the most trying of times, Arlie's little crooked smile and "down to earth attitude" would soothe ruffled feathers. Although he was a higher ranking officer, he was a friend first and that endeared all of us to him. It's a privilege to have served with Arlie and his memory lives on in our hearts. He is certainly one of America's best.Earl Tingle, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Deaton Family and Friends, Major Arlie Deaton was one of the most loved officers in the entire Army. I have not the words to describe the influence he made in my life. Not only for the six months I had the privilege to serve under him in the 219th but for many years after. He will be truly missed by us all. ~ Charlie Liffick,  Carefree, Arizona

I am a little late in offering my thoughts on Arlie's passing but he would understand. Arlie was one of those who will make in impression regardless of how briefly we spent time together. I certainly will never forget that he sent me to Kontum because of my less than stellar volleyball performance. And in Kontum I met Frank, Phil, Doug and Gus. We loved you Arlie.~ Jerry Ford, Battles Wharf, Alabama

I am very sorry for your loss. I first met Arlie at the 07 reunion. Arlie had a smile that was intoxicating. He was a class act,very out going. He will be missed by all who had the honor of knowing him.  Edward L McCarty, Hamburg 14075, New York


Maj. Arlie Deaton was my commanding officer for part of my tour with the 219th Aviation Co. Although Arlie was at Pleiku and I was based at Kontum, I learned so much from this fine soldier during my visits with him. I found him to be very professional and patriotic, as well as down to earth and understanding. He was a true leader. On the wall in my office, there is a small note pinned to the wall that reads: WWAD? The translation is.... What Would Arlie Do? By asking myself this question many times over the years, I am confident that my actions and decisions as a broker, manager, and friend have had a positive influence on the lives of others. Although I worked with Arlie for a short time, knowing him has enriched me for a lifetime! I will think about him often. He will be missed by many. ~Phil Phillips, Albuquerque, New Mexico


Comments from individuals who signed 219th Aviation Company website guest book

Arlie Deaton came to Kontum during the second half of my tour and was our platoon leader. as the senior officer I followed him on an orientation flight soon after arriving. It was short in duration ---his engine seized and he had to force land in the Jungle. We were close to base with much support and rescue was swift. For Arlie it was another day at the office!!!!!! For the rest of us it was hair raising experience!!!! Arlie was funny, folksy and a great drinking buddy. I now realize that he was just a few years older, but for me he was a seasoned and experienced officer who had a real capacity for leadership. I will never forget Arlie and my year with the 219th. - Ron Garfunkel, HH24 Kontum '66-'67

I note the passing of a comrade in arms. Arlie Deaton and I were room mates as young Captains at Holloway, Pleiku in 1967. I will never forget this dedicated and professional Army Officer. - Jimmy Morris, HH4, Camp Holloway '66-'67

A great group of guys to work with - Many wonderful memories.
Arlie was in our "Hooch" - A good friend, we will miss him. - Robin O'Brien
, HH16, Pleiku

Aloha..I had the privileged of serving with Arlie on two different occasions, Once when he was a Platoon leader serving in Kontum Vietnam (66-67) and I was also there when he took Command of the 219th Headhunters (70). It was Arlie that gave me my last promotion to SSG (E-6). a great personal to I have ever known...God Bless you Arlie, Aloha for now. Rance Pinao , Crew Chief, '66-'67, Kontum & Pleiku

A difficult morning. Arlie Deaton, such an important person in my life, died Saturday. He demanded my best and insisted that I give it to him. He believed in me and inspired me to give it to him. He instilled in me the notion of honor. He protected the boy that I was and helped me become a man. Fly safe, Arlie. Fly safe... Francis Doherty, HH45, SPAF 2 '69-'70

We lost a very good friend November 19, 2011. Arlie Deaton was a very special person. My wife, Ruth, was an Army nurse in Pleiku. I was in flight school at Ft. Rucker, AL. As commanding officer of the 219th, Arlie gave Ruth all the names of the right people for me to contact so that when I arrived in RVN, so I could go directly to the 219th. This kindness allowed Ruth & I to be close to each other. Sure, there was a war going on but that did not stop Arlie from thinking of other people. We have been married 41 years and without Arlie this probably would not have happened. Thank you Arlie and thank you to the Deaton family for sharing him with us.  Bob & Ruth Brewster, HH37, '70-'71 Pleiku, Qui Nhon, LZ English & PhuCat

These are my memories of a loyal friend, fellow officer and charismatic leader: Arlie Deaton. In 1963 Arlie and I were instructor pilots in the same L-20 instrument flight at  Cairns Field. Major Eucie Spencer (former 219th CO) was flight commander. Our little children played together.  Arlie was a great family man and instructor.We next were assigned Infantry Advanced School ar Ft. Benning Ga. Our families stayed at Ft Rucker and we commuted to home weekends.  I will long remember the 100 mph early Monday morning drives to make classes on time. In school Arlie detested "Springers" (classmates that constantly showed off to hear themselves heard).  He had a great dislike for elitists.  He analyzed tactical problems  and spoke with humor and dynamic common sense.  Very rare at Ft. Benning.  The next time I met Arlie was after I took command of the 219th Aviation Company.  I was very pleased to find that my friend Arlie was the number one advisor to my battalion comander.  He kept me well informed also.  One day he called to tell me he had been approved to be the 219th commander when I rotated. Wow!  It was sad to leave the 219th but glad to leave it in such good hands. So Arlie old friend,  wonderful memories from a group of grateful warriors.  David Naumann HH 6

Penny & I send our condolences to Arlie's family on his passing. I regret that I didn't have the opportunity to serve, under Arlie's command, in the 219th - our tours with the company didn't coincide. I am honored & thankful to have gotten to know him while attending our Headhunter reunions. Arlie lives in our hearts and Penny & I look forward to how we honor him at the next reunion. Goodbye for now, Arlie. Dave Miller, HH45

Arlie Deaton, Headhunter Emeritus. Second coming to Pappy Boyington and his Black Sheep squadron. Arlie's way of life was simple. Step up and be a man, fly like a bird, hunt like an eagle and say what you mean. This man could motivate a rock. There may be more noteworthy individuals with better recognition in the world. But I don't know of many that could hold a candle to this man's mantra. Arlie, you have touched so many of our hearts and soles during our time together. Indeed, you have given us a crash course in staying alive, doing our job well and becoming to know what life is really about...... I am beyond proud to have had the pleasure of serving under your command and later becoming your friend ! Bob Jackson, HH19, Pleiku

Knowing Maj. Arlie Deaton and serving under him was an honor and a priviledge. He had ALL the qualities of a great leader, including patriotism, high professional standards, a strong work ethic, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor. I learned so much from this man. I will continue to think about him often. Phil Phillips, HH31, 21m SPAF 3

We are saddened to hear of Arlie’s passing. We are especially sad that we were not at the last reunion to see him one more time. I guess we have to quit saying that there will be the next one. I always enjoyed Arlie’s sense of humor. Due to the O, EM barrier, I didn’t get to know him that well at Holloway. I do remember him to be a down to earth guy with a great sense of humor. Since we started to attend the reunions, we got to know him a lot better and always looked forward to seeing him again. We used to joke about who had the best job in the company. I told him he had the best job and I had the second best job.
He will certainly be missed. Steve Cihasky, SP/5, Pleiku




Bob Segal Comments -

I am now back into my “normal” life in Virginia, having bid farewell to my companion of the three previous days, Chas Slimowicz, late yesterday afternoon.  We were fortunate to be able to join Headhunters John Meyers, Bob Brewster and Clarence Duckworth at Sunday’s Memorial Service for Headhunter 6.  While there was certainly pleasure in spending time again with fellow Headhunters, (especially about 17 hours driving with Slim!), the feeling of loss was heavy upon us all and, I am certain, all those, Headhunters and others, whose paths have sometime intersected with Arlie Deaton’s.

 I was so pleased that more than 300 people crowded into Mann Memorial Church.  The cross section of folks in attendance was remarkable.  I only knew Arlie, the Headhunter.  I was introduced to Arlie, the beloved family man and neighbor.  It was not surprising to learn that Arlie “ran” the golf outings for his friends, was president of the bridge club (bridge club!), and was active in Scouts and kid’s sports, including starting the local T-Ball League.  I would have been surprised to learn he was NOT in charge!   

What was so important for me was to have Arlie’s lovely wife, Marsha, and both of his sons and his daughter-in-law, all separately tell me how important the Headhunters were to Arlie.  We all know that, but I admit it sounded wonderful to hear it reinforced.  Even more remarkable, Arlie’s first wife Dee Deaton was there, also, (she and Marsha are very good friends!) and clearly still under that intoxicating Arlie Deaton influence.   

A particular highlight for me was a story one of the ministers shared with us.  It seems that one day, during Masters Week, Arlie found himself in his favorite coffee shop and noticed that across the room, Phil Mickelson was sitting with his young daughters.  Arlie walked over to Phil’s table and, where most of us would have said something about how much we admire Phil’s play or wish him luck or ask for an autograph, Arlie, instead, complemented Phil on finding time to spend with his daughters, father-daughter time, even with all the pressure and associated responsibilities of The Masters.  As the minister concluded, how wonderful it must have been for Phil Mickelson to receive such an unsolicited and unexpected complement on his skills as a father, not a golfer.  That most certainly paints the picture of the Arlie Deaton I knew, who had such an unselfish commitment to those around him, way ahead of himself.   

All of us can point to people who have made significant impacts upon us as we have developed as people.  I am fortunate to have three such people:  my Dad, who was also my very good friend; Jerry Policastro, my business partner and dear friend; and Arlie Deaton.  What is interesting, at least to me, is I knew my Dad my entire life, and I have worked with Jerry for 16 years and counting.  But, regarding Arlie, I served under him for only six months in Vietnam, during which time he permanently changed my life, but completely lost touch with him for years thereafter.  In fact, someone told me around 1980 that Arlie had died of cancer in the late 70s.  Then, in 2004, he called me out of the blue to tell me he wasn’t dead!  And we reconnected again.  I spent a few days with him at the reunions in 05, 07, 09 and this year and was a guest at his home a couple of times.  In reality, I spent a very small part of my life in Arlie’s presence, yet he played such a huge role in my life (and still does!).

I am most certainly looking forward to our next reunion in Boulder, but also dreading it a bit, too, knowing we will be one short.  I was blessed to have Arlie Deaton in my life, and I miss him.  - Bob Segal

Bob Brewster Comments -

Both Ruth & I very much wanted to be at Arlie's Memorial Service but only one of us could attend. We both felt very fortunate that we had spent time with him at the reunion this past October. Now he was gone. So, I represented both us at his Memorial. I cannot say I was surprised to find the church full of people but I must admit I was  in awe when I took my seat and there was standing room only. This was a special time for everyone there, especially Arlie's family. As Headhunters, most of us  had experienced a portion of Arlie's life while we were in Vietnam either before, with or after him but very few of us knew much about Arlie's personal life unless it was shared at one of the reunions. Yet, here we were together with his family and friends who had experienced much of Arlie's personal life but who knew little about our individual experiences as Headhunters with him. That these two groups would come together now was a very fitting tribute to a man that had lived a full life. I first met Arlie in late September 1970 some 41 years ago but the feelings Ruth and I had about him were like we had know him our whole lives. Now, sitting in church during this final farewell, I was very proud of the fact that we had been a part of his life and that he had been a part of ours. Standing tall with my fellow Headhunters while the honor guard folded the American Flag and as we listened to taps, I knew we represented all Headhunters this special day and I also knew that Arlie was there with us all . - Bob Brewster

Chas Slimowicz Comments -

Here are my thoughts about Arlie. It was just a week ago that we came together to honor him. Arlie Deaton was our commander, leader, mentor, and friend that melded the talents of all Headhunters who served for and with him.  

He commanded with a sense of strong purpose and mission accomplishment, always encouraging our endeavors and never belittling our mistakes. Headhunter 6 strengthened the unit by using the abilities of his men and by minimizing our weaknesses. Arlie built esprit de corps and relationships with each individual and as a group especially our times in the "Doghouse". 

Arlie loved life because he was life and pursued it with purpose, zest, humor, and kindness. His spirit and bearing will always be with and in us. I will always treasure my days under his command and leadership, the moments talking with him over the telephone, and the time being with him at our Headhunters reunions. 

There will always be just one Headhunter 6, Arlie Deaton!  - Chas Slimowicz 




  © 2007 Eagle Team Publishing Group. All information on this website is the property of the brave military personnel who sacrificed their time and well being by putting themselves in harm's way in the service of their country. This website is dedicated to those 219th Aviation Company Headhunters personnel & their families who made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives in this service. Permission for the use of any content on this website is reserved for use by any person who served on active military duty with the 219th Aviation Company . All others must obtain written permission in advance by contacting