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Subject: In July, 1968, two members of a Rock band touring Vietnam for a USO tour were killed

Here's the story...
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Date Posted: Sunday, July 21, 04:18:15pm
In reply to: Football player, killed in the Vietnam War 's message, "Archive: Bob Kalsu, July 21, 1970" on Sunday, July 21, 04:13:26pm

From "The Independent Star-News" of Pasadena California July 7, 1968



SAIGON (DPI) -- Survivors of an ambush on a California pop-music quartet said Saturday they played dead to escape highwaymen who killed two teen-aged performers and wounded a third and a soldier in a hail of gunfire. It was the first time American entertainers had been killed in Vietnam. One who lived through the attack 18 miles east of Saigon said he thought the four assailants were Viet Cong. But a spokesman for the quartet said he asked military authorities to investigate the possibility South Vietnamese troops may have been involved. The ambush hit a truck carrying the Los Angeles troupe known as "Brandi Perry and the Bubble Machine" friday night as U.S. soldiers were escorting the young people from Saigon to Vung Tau on the coast 40 miles from the South Vietnamese capital for an appearance. An American sergeant in the escort was wounded.

The Americans who were killed were identified as Phil Pill, 17, a piano player, and Curt Willis, 18, a drummer.

The surviving members of the troupe giving details of the ambush were Paula Levine, 20, a singer whose stage name is Brandi Perry, and Jack Bone, 18 a bass player. John Savlescn, an American who identified himself as the Saigon booking agent for the group, said the attack occurred 100 yards from South Vietnamese troop compound and that one of the four highwaymen was wielding a U.S. M16 automatic rifle.

Bone said that South Vietnamese militiamen had turned the group back before the attack, saying darkness made it too dangerous to complete the drive to Vung Tau along the lonely highway. Bone said a burst of automatic weapons fire suddenly blazed out of the jungle, hitting one of the musicians in the elbow and forcing the pickup truck to roll over in a ditch. "We stopped to see if it was our side by mistake" Bone said. "The girl remained inside on the floorboard while the others got out, put up our arms and said, "We are Americans." There are four guys standing five feet away. They were in civilian clothes, and they stopped firing. They took our ID cards, wallets and a couple of suitcases in the rear of the truck. They had all our instruments with them and then they left. Bone said the attackers returned about 30 minutes later and opened fire again. The three of us that were still alive, played dead, Bone said. Miss Levine and Bone told what happened in an interview with UPI photographer Nik Wheeler.

"I don't think they even saw me," Miss Levine said. "I was propped up against the door on the floor under the steering wheel. We just waited until some Thai soldiers who were patrolling the road picked us up." The quartet arrived in Vietnman on June 12, 1968...

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He was originally thought to have been the only pro football player to die in VietnamThen in 2005, Don Steinbrunner was found to have died thereSunday, July 21, 06:53:32pm

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