Chase Rescorla Scholarship Fund
Heroes Building Heroes
through Education
 

St. Augustine Record Article

Two Soldiers, United by War and Death, Inspire a Foundation

By Peter Guinta
peter.guinta@staugustinerecord.com
Publication Date: 06/28/06 - used with permission

The story of two American soldiers -- Leo C. Chase of St. Augustine and Rick Rescorla of Cornwall, England -- is an unusual tale of men who never met but whose lives entwined as they fought a historic battle in 1965 and later were connected through the terror of Sept. 11, 2001.

Their stories will be told Sept. 30, at Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, when the Chase Rescorla Foundation hosts a dinner to fund scholarships that will enable low-income students to further their education.

Speaking at the dinner will be Dan Hill of St. Augustine, Recorla's best friend; Bill Franklin of Melbourne, Chase's company commander; and Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald Bailey of St. Augustine.

St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar will serve as master of ceremonies.

Ann Lawton, of the St. Augustine Police Department and a member of the foundation's planning committee, said these scholarships will help local students who might not get stellar grades or qualify for other grants and loans.

"But they still want to attend college, the police or fire academy or trade school," she said. "Education isn't cheap."

The foundation aims to raise enough to start an endowment so it could help more students, she said. It already has collected about $1,000 and will accept donations at Properity Bank earmarked for the "Chase Rescorla Foundation."

Both served as soldiers of the Seventh Cavalry Regt., 1st Airborne Division, and in November 1965 were part of a helicopter-borne force sent to Ia Drang Valley, Vietnam.

Recorla, a lieutenant at the time, was one of the leaders at LZ X-Ray and then came back to the vicious fighting to save other soldiers' under seige at Landing Zone Albany. He survived that battle but was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, after he had led 2,700 employeed of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter out of Tower Two, then went back in to save others.

Now, both soldiers' names will be combined forever in St. Augustine with the launch of the Chase Rescorla Foundation on Sept. 10.

Chase, 21, part of the Seventh Cavalry, stuck to his machine gun during the intense Battle of the Ia Drang Valley and was killed with most of his squad when a battalion of Viet Cong ovverran his position.

Rescorla, then a lieutenant with the 7th, also served at the battle, leading his men bravely and cheering them on when the battle seemed darkest. He made it out alive.

More than 30 years later, however, Rescorla -- now chief of security for Dean Whitter of New York -- came to the Catillo de San Marcos to get married, with his best friend Dan Hill os St. Augustine serving as best man.

When the terrorist aircraft hit the Twin Towers, Rescorla got all of Dean Whitter's 1,200 employees outside, but was killed when he went back inside to help any stragglers.

Chase, 21, was killed with his squad at Landing Zone X-Ray when an overwhelming Viet Cong force overran their lines.