LTC John "Doc" C. Bahnsen was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 02/21/2024 at the age of 89.3
New Cumberland, WV
Flight Class 57-3FW
Date of Birth 11/08/1934
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 118 AVN in 65-66, ACT/11 ACR in 68-69, 1/11 ACR in 69
Call sign in Vietnam THUNDER HORSE 6

More detail on this person: ROCHELLE, Ga. _ U.S. Army (retired) Brig. Gen. John C. "Doc" Bahnsen Jr., 89, died Wednesday, Feb. 21, in Rochelle, Ga., of heart failure, with his wife, family and friends at his side. Bahnsen was a U.S. Military Academy graduate ('56) and one of the nation's most highly decorated combat veterans. During two tours of service in Vietnam, "Doc" earned a reputation as a fearless leader. A brilliant strategist, he developed armor and air tactics the Army adopted as doctrine. He was born Nov. 8, 1934, in Albany, Ga., the elder son of John C. Bahnsen Sr. and Evelyn Williams Bahnsen. His brother Peter Frederick Bahnsen III, who survives him, was also a West Point graduate. "Doc" Bahnsen grew up in Rochelle and Americus, Ga., graduating from Marion Military Institute. He was married to the late Patricia "Pat" Fitzgerald in 1956, and was father to Jon Christian "Chris," Bradley Duncan, LeeAnne and James "Jimi" Fitzgerald. Another son, Minh, immigrated from Vietnam. Bradley Duncan Bahnsen predeceased his father. Initially selecting the Army's Infantry Branch, "Doc" transferred to Armor and became an instructor in armored and air cavalry tactics. During his first tour of Vietnam, 1964-65, as a major he was commander of "The Bandits," an attack helicopter platoon at Bien Hoa. In actions supporting a Marine unit he was awarded the first of his five Siver Stars. He became operations officer for the 118th Aviation Company, was promoted to major and was assigned to the 12th Combat Aviation Group. After two years at the Pentagon, "Doc" returned to Vietnam in 1968-69, assigned to the "Blackhorse" 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment under Col. George S. Patton IV. He commanded the Regimental Air Cavalry Troop and later the 1st Squadron, which saw more than 300 combat contacts over 13 months. "Doc" was selected for early promotion to lieutenant colonel and assigned to command a tank battalion in Germany. In 1974 he married Margaret "Peggy" Miller. In 1976 she was direct commissioned by the Army as a first lieutenant, retiring 22 years later as a lieutenant colonel. They were assigned together throughout the U.S. and overseas. "Doc" developed Army joint air-armor tactics and evaluated readiness of U.S. and allied forces. His last assignment was Chief of Staff for 3rd Corps at Ft. Hood. In 1998 the couple retired to Peg's family farm at New Cumberland, W.Va., residing there until the recent move to his family farm in Georgia. Most of his 18 awards for valor resulted from his second tour in Vietnam. Awards included the Distinguished Service Cross, five Silver Stars, four Legions of Merit, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, four Bronze Stars (three with a V for valor), two Purple Hearts and 51 Air Medals. He was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame, the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame, was selected an "Eagle" for the USAF Staff College "Gathering of Eagles," was selected by the Armor Association for the Gold Medallion of the Order of St. George, and in 2016 was named a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Military Academy. Surviving him are: son Chris (Wendy) Bahnsen, their children, Lauren (Chris) Duncan, Wilson, Derrick (Emily) and John Bradley "J.B."; son Jimi Bahnsen; daughter LeeAnne Bahnsen, her children, Lana Harvey, Andrew Wall, Bradlee Wall, Lea Harvey Brown and her son Brooks; and son Minh Nelson (Linh) Bahnsen and children John Sen, Apsara and William. "Doc's" ashes will be buried on the Georgia farm. Memorial celebrations in Georgia and West Virginia are to be arranged.

This information was last updated 03/05/2024

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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