COL Lowell Erskine Austin was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 06/07/2021 at the age of 81.5 from Alzheimers
Bellevue, WA
Date of Birth 12/21/1939
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps
Served in Vietnam with VMO-2, MAG-39
This information was provided by Seattle Times July 2021 Popasmoke

More detail on this person: Lowell Erskine Austin, December 21, 1939 - June 7, 2021 On Monday, 7 June 2021, Col L.E. Austin, Jr, USMC (ret), loving husband, father of three, and a proud Marine, passed on to Heaven at the age of 81. Erskine was born on December 21, 1939, in Altus, Oklahoma. He was the eldest of four siblings raised in Altus, Denver, Colorado, and Sargent Nebraska before his family settled in Oregon. He graduated from Oregon State University in 1962 where he was president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Upon graduation he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps via the Naval ROTC program. On June 10, 1962, he married Melinda Rickson Austin. They raised two daughters, Julie and Katherine, and a son, Eric. Erskine served 28 years as an active-duty Marine aviator. His career included two full combat tours in Vietnam, command of Marine Observation Squadron 2 as a Lieutenant Colonel, and command of Marine Aircraft Group 39 as a Colonel. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism for leading a flight of two OV-10 aircraft that supported the evacuation of twenty-four wounded Marines under fire in the Quang Tri Province of Vietnam in adverse weather conditions. Erskine retired from the Marine Corps in June of 1990 and settled in Bellevue, Washington where he worked for the Boeing Company for seven years, then served as the Chief of Staff and an Executive Pastor at Washington Cathedral in nearby Redmond, Washington. Erskine was a man of strong faith, a servant leader, a committed family man, a doting grandfather, and quite the storyteller! He lived a life of service during which he had an outsized positive impact on many. It has been said that once you met him, you could not forget him. He was a tremendously talented woodworker who loved to make gifts for friends and family that many will prize for life. He was a "piece of work" and will be missed. Erskine was preceded in death by his father Lowell E. Austin, Sr, and his mother, Mildred. He is survived by his loving wife of 59 years, Melinda, by their daughters Julie Austin, and Katherine Saffell, her husband, John and their three children, Emma, Jack and Lindy, and by their son Brigadier General Eric Austin USMC, his wife Laura and their sons Bryce and Marshall. He is also survived by his sisters Nancy McCoy and Martha Wahl, his brother, Laurence Austin, their families as well as wonderful cousins, nieces and nephews. A celebration of Erskine's life will be held at Washington Cathedral later this summer followed by interment of his ashes at Willamette National Cemetery in Portland. The family has asked that donations be made in Erskine's honor to Washington Cathedral ( or to the Alzheimer's Association ( in lieu of flowers. Published on June 12, 2021 in The Seattle Times

This information was last updated 08/17/2021

Please send additions or corrections to: VHPA Headquarters

Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list

Return to VHPA web site

Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

Copyright © 1998 - 2024 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association