LTC Hilbert "Bert" H. Chole was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 11/26/2016 at the age of 80.4
Orlando, FL
Flight Class 67-6
Date of Birth 06/16/1936
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with B/1/9 CAV 1 CAV in 67-68, E/1/9 CAV 1 CAV in 70, HHT/1/9 CAV 1 CAV in 70-71
This information was provided by Jim Kurtz

More detail on this person: LTC Hilbert Helmut "Bert" Chole, 80, went to be with his Lord, Saturday, November 26, 2016. Born in Garske, North Dakota to Helmut August and Ida (Bender) Chole on June 16, 1936. Bert heard his Country's call at a early age and dedicated most of his life to the United States Army. He enlisted in the Washington State National Guard in 1954 at the age of 18. Approximately a year later he transferred to active duty as an infantryman and served in the enlisted ranks. In 1964 he graduated from the Infantry Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as an Armor Officer.

His last assignment in the Army was as the Squadron Commander for the 1st Squadron (Air), 17th Cavalry (Airborne) of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1978 after 24 years of military service. Bert was a member of 1st CAV Association, VHPA, Bullwhip Squadron, MOAA and the American Legion. He was inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame, and his combat decorations include the Silver Star (2 awards), Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross (4 awards), Bronze Star (4 awards), Air Medals (34), Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (4awards), and other service awards. He was also awarded the Senior Aviator and Parachutist badges, the Airmobile Badge and the Army General Staff Badge.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 33 years Barbara Eileen Chole, who were always known together as "Bert and Eileen". Bert is also survived by the children of his heart: Lance Newkirk (Susan), Valerie Olsen (Rodney), Lucy Slaughter (Lloyd), Julie Presley (Doug), April Whitmire (Keith), Lori Manuel (Russ), Sue Cellini (Kevin), Charley Salsbury (Grace) and Krista Alba (Henry), 23 grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren and Sister Miriam Ames (Bud). Bert is predeceased by his son Hilbert H. Chole, II, brother Raymond Chole and sister Lillian Sedlor.

A Gathering of Friends for LTC Hilbert Helmut "Bert" Chole, USA Ret. is scheduled for Friday, December 2nd, 2016 form 4:00 to 6:00 PM at the Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, 2811 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, Florida 32806. A Celebration of Life service will follow immediately the gathering beginning at 6:00 PM, with a continuation of stories and memories with the family with a reception in the funeral homes event room. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Wounded Warriors Foundation, PO Box 231464, Montgomery, AL.

Last Saturday, 26 November, we lost Bert Chole, a two-tour veteran of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry. At age 80, with a history of heart, lung, and kidney problems, his systems just wound down, and Bert refused to be placed on life support. His wife Eileen reports he said, "I'm ready. Let me go home to heaven." You can bet that on arrival there, Bert started looking up old friends.

Bert was Saber White (the B Troop Scout Platoon leader) on his first tour, and wrote Flashing Sabers as a memoir of that time. On his second tour, he commanded Echo Troop, a provisional unit formed as part of the in-country "Air Cavalry Combat Brigade" experiment. He later caused to be published the 9th (Air) Cavalry Brigade (Provisional) Combat After-Action Report - a document whose original drafting he oversaw.

Later Bert was the squadron executive officer when the 9th Cavalry re-entered Cambodia, in support of ground forces of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. That's where I got to know him, when he chaired the "MIA Board" for a soldier A Troop lost in Cambodia. When it came time for the squadron to come back to the United States, Bert commanded the detachment that brought the colors back to Fort Hood. At the time of his death, he was at work on a third book, intended to be a comprehensive history of the 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, from its formation at Fort Benning and deployment to Vietnam to its return to the States.

I first reconnected with Bert in 1999 or 2000, when I saw the name "Hilbert Chole" in a long string of email addresses and figured there could only be one of those in the whole entire United States Army. I sent him a note, asking if he was the same Bert Chole who'd been the XO of the 1-9 Cav. He responded immediately with a hearty "Welcome Home" and an invitation to join Bullwhip, the squadron association. I accepted the invitation, and looking back now it is hard to imagine the time when we all kept our Vietnam experiences bottled up inside. Thanks to Bert, I've reconnected with old friends and made new ones.

There will be a gathering in Bert's honor this-coming Friday in Orlando. Details are at the funeral home website: He will be interred with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery at a date to be determined.

You may post a message to Bert's family at the website link above, or you may send regular mail to Eileen at the address below:

Eileen Chole, 12267 Pescara Lane, Orlando, FL 32827

Those who knew Bert probably remember some of his more "colorful" expressions, and one of them, slightly cleaned up, seems a fitting way to end this sad message:

Bert, you were a rare thing of beauty.

Rest in peace, Old Soldier.

This information was last updated 11/30/2016

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