More detail on this person: From smoke
inhalation in a house fire. His trailer caught
fire with him in it. His autopsy indicated he
died of smoke inhalation. There were two state
Fire Marshall's who came to the scene. They
concluded that a contained unit, electrical space
heater malfunctioned in a crawl type space under
the trailer, smoldered, then probably had a "V"
flash fire, into the trailer wall, at the top of
the 3 stairs into his trailer, thus blocking his
escape route. His body was found in the kitchen
area near a tiny kitchen table with a window above
it. There was nothing left of his trailer except
a small corner of a wall, the frames of the built
in appliances, the trailer frame itself. They
believed the fire started around 5 am on Saturday
morning. His pick up truck was also totally
engulfed and demolished. Only the basic frame is
left. Pretty much all that was left were
As most of you know, Bill had become an alcoholic and many people- friends, family, and caring people-offered their kindness, their support, their help in hopes he could/would help himself. And I am grateful to all of you who extended that care, concern and help.
Jack and I had recently taken Bill to his Viet Nam helicopter troop reunion in late August. It was one of the most awesome experiences of our lives. These men who fought the war, saved each others lives, and depended on one another daily have a brotherhood like nothing we have ever seen, felt, or experienced. Bill came alive again for the 4 days that we were there. His trooper buddies had already formed an "Intervention Team" and were waiting for him. The loved him as he was, but they also worked constantly with him while there and in the two weeks that he spent with us following our return from the reunion. He had promised his Intervention Team, and us, that he would go for a complete VA physical, including testing for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Agent Orange, and a nerve disorder. One of his "A" Trooper team buddies was to be at Bill's this very week, and another would have been there next week to assist him in getting his medical life in order. Another one of his Trooper buddies on his Intervention Team told me that Bill had told him on Thursday before the fire that he would go for help with his alcoholism.
So as you can guess, we are very saddened by his accidental death, when we thought he might just have a little window of hope for a different life.
We are truly in shock with this terrible and tragic situation. My husband Jack and I have found your caring, love, support and concern very uplifting. You are providing us with the sanity to go through what we must yet accomplish. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. My brother, Bill, loved you and "The Troop" meant everything to him. I thank you on his behalf.
From: Bill's sister, MaryAnn
I flew Bill's front seat in the Cobra and Scout Recon underneath him. He was one of the coolest and best pilots I ever flew with. At least I got to see him again at the Montana Reunion after 35 years. I saw him as though it was 1970 again rather than the wearing down with age that life hands out to us all.
The 9th Cav Apache Troop Headhunters do not leave anyone behind or alone. And that includes the last day when one of us is above ground.
From: CW3, US Army Retired, Louis J. "Rocket" Rochat, III Apache Red X-Ray, Apache 16
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
Please send additions or corrections to: HQ@vhpa.org VHPA Headquarters
Return to the Helicopter Pilot DAT name list
Return to VHPA web site
Date posted on this site: 09/21/2017
Copyright © 1998 - 2017 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association