10 July 1970

Fifteen men waited excitedly for the Chinook to arrive and carry them to the rear. Five were leaving for R & R to join their wives in Hawaii for a week of relaxation and fun. Three had complete their tour and were heading back to process out and go home. The Chinook finally approached with its crew of five. This would be the last mission for one of them. He was also going on R & R to meet his fiancée.

Their families back home would shortly be waking up. It was a Friday. The last day of work before the weekend. Unbeknownst to them, life would never be the same.

They picked up the fifteen passengers and began the short flight back to the base camp at Cu Chi. But a last minute call came in to stop enroute and pick up some empty fuel blivets from navy river boats that had been refueling all day. As they flew in the VC were waiting. Rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire brought the helicopter down. In the ensuing fiery crash nine would eventually lose their life.

The families back home had no idea when was happening thousands of miles away.

This is the true story of the men involved in this crash and their families from their beginnings to today. The wounded and the dead. The families of those who survived and those who did not. Everyone involved life’s changed that day. We veterans of the Vietnam War never had the luxury of mourning our dead. We were forced to move on. But, it never left us. For the families it lingered the rest of their lives.

This is their story.