CW2 Deley "D" P Graham was a potential VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 07/21/1971 at the age of 27.1 from A/C accident
Flight Classes 66-5W and 66-5
Date of Birth 06/14/1944
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 1 CAV in 66-67
This information was provided by Bill Springer


I worked in Alaska for several years in the 70's I know of three Vietnam vet pilots who were killed/died during that time. First was DeLand Graham, "D" I remember him from flight school and believe he was in 66-5, at least he was ahead of me in 66-7. His home was Wichita Falls Tx. he was married and living in Wolters Village. He worked for Utility Helicopters and did a hitch in Argentina where he picked up a local wife. I don't think there were any children from either marriage. We double crewed a Bell 206B for Anchorage Helicopter Svc. working with core drillers on the Alaska pipeline in the spring of 1971. He was on nights and taking off from the highway about 5 miles east of Fairbanks. Hit some wires, which severed the push-pull tubes. The A/C spun into the trees throwing D out, He hit his head on (a tree) and died instantly. The A/C burned and the other 2 pass didn't get out. I believe this happened in June 71. Second is Mike Tinker. I was in B flight at wolters with Mike in 1967-68. I think he was in a class ahead of me also. He was flying a Bell-47 with 2 geologists in central alaska in the spring of 1970 or 71 for Anchorage Helicopters. He had just started work for them and this was his first flight, probably less than a week. They were missing for several days and all died in the crash, I think engine failure was the cause. They rolled down a hill quit a ways. He had worked for Cascade or Columbia heli in Washington the prior season. I think that was his home. Last and saddest is Art Stratton. He worked for Anchorage Helicopters in the early 70's. Probably in a class in 68/69. Lost his job due to a drinking problem. What little history I remember there was talk about him getting the silver star after being shot down and Eand Eing out for several days. Maybe early PTSD that went untreated, back in those days that was more common than we'll ever know. He died in an alley in Fairbanks I think in 1974. He was working as a drummer in a band but I lost track of him in 73. I've never seen these names in the directory and if you need more info try Jack Audiss or Frank Heffernan.

From: Bill Springer,

Here is D Grahams report, In fairness to D, his passenger knew of the wires but never warned him, it was his first day/night in that area. NTSB Identification: ANC72AA001 event occurred Wednesday, July 21, 1971 at FAIRBANKS, AK Aircraft:BELL 206, registration: N7893S

I was married to him (wife #1) when he was going through flight school and during his tour in Vietnam. We lived in Wolter's Village as you said while he was in flight school. After Vietnam we returned there. We divorced a year and a half after his return. We had a child, a son.

We were divorced at the time of his accident and he was married to a woman from Argentina. No children in that marriage.

I had always wondered what happened with the crash...his mother never showed me the newspaper articles....I did get his death certificate and it said he died from massive injuries from the crash. I had heard rumors that his head had been cut off by rotor blades. the original death certificate had his heighth, color of hair and eyes incorrect and had to be corrected. I am sure this is because of the head injury.

You may use this to update your information.

Thank you for having this because like I said, his mother would not give me any information.

From: Barbara G. Colley

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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Date posted on this site: 03/10/2024

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