CW4 William "Willie" T Hargrove was a VHPA member who died after his tour in Vietnam on 03/17/2011 at the age of 81.2 from Heart failure
Jefferson, GA
Flight Class 55-Q
Date of Birth 01/15/1930
Served in the U.S. Army
Served in Vietnam with 151 TC 71 AHC in 65-66, HHC 1 AVN BDE in 68-69
Call sign in Vietnam MG William's pilot
This information was provided by COL Gwendolyn H. Ruff (daughter)

More detail on this person: CW4 (Retired) William Thomas Hargrove, Sr. died on March 17, 2011. A native of Jackson County, he graduated from Union Baptist Institute (Athens GA) in 1950. He received his Associates Degree from Troy State University in 1982 and his Bachelor's Degree in Business Management from Troy State University in 1983. As a young man, William always dreamed of flying and he accomplished that dream while serving as a pilot for the United States Army. He began his illustrious military career as an enlisted soldier in 1951, served as a combat engineer in Korea, and was a 1955 graduate of "Camp" Rucker's 12th Warrant Officer Candidate class. He served as an YH-40 test pilot, rotary-wing instructor, aircraft maintenance officer, Presidential support pilot, Vietnam combat aviator, and VIP pilot. After being awarded his Army Aviator wings and Warrant Officer rank, he was trained in the CH-34 helicopter and assigned to Fort Rucker's Aircraft Test Activity where he flew flight tests on many evolving Army aircraft, including the "Huey" series (YH-40, HU-1A, HU-1B, HU-1D). Following Warrant Officer fixed-wing qualification in 1960, he was stationed with the Southern European Task Force (SETAF) where he attended the Italian Army aircraft ski-school and was awarded the Italian Army Aviation Badge, serving as a helicopter mountain flying instructor pilot for Italian Army aviators and a trainer for other UH-1 qualified Army Aviators in SETAF. During Presidential visits, CW4 Hargrove flew support for Mrs. Kennedy in Greece in 1961 and for President Kennedy's 1963 Italy trip. In 1963, he piloted one of the SETAF rescue helicopters when the huge landslide forced a deluge of water over the Vajont Dam in the Piave Valley killing more than 2,000 people. His numerous mercy flight missions, high in the Italian Alps earned him the Air Medal, the Sikorsky "Winged-S" air rescue emblem and the Italian Government Bronze Medal. Vietnam called CW4 Hargrove in 1965, where he flew Hueys and was a Field Maintenance Officer with the 151st Transportation Detachment. Returning to Fort Benning in 1966, he gained additional aircraft maintenance experience as a Detachment Cdr. Back in Vietnam in 1968, William flew as UH-1 Aircraft Commander on all missions flown by MG Robert R. Williams, CG of the 1st Aviation Brigade. From 1969-1974, assigned again to Fort Benning, he was an aircraft maintenance Shop Platoon Leader, flew the stars during the filming of "The Green Berets" and served on the Officer's Club Board of Governors.

Upon his retirement in 1981, CW4 Hargrove left Army Aviation a "legacy of duty" as Master Army Aviator, with 7200 accident-free flying hours, 1200 combat flight hours, and 22 aircraft type qualifications and in 1998 was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame. His more than 50 medals and awards include the Air Medal w/28 Oak Leaf Clusters and service ribbons and decorations from Korea, Italy and Vietnam. In 1986, William returned to Athens, Georgia where he immediately became involved in community and civic activities, serving as a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Eta Iota Lambda Chapter, assistant Boy Scout Leader (Troop 350), and from 1996 - 2003, he served as the President of the Athens Area Human Relations Council, Inc. He was a member of the Union Baptist Institute Alumni Association, Masonic Electric City Lodge Number 322 (Columbus, Georgia), a 32nd Degree Mason and a Shriner, a Life Member of the United States Army Black Aviation Association, Life Member of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association and at the time of his death, served as a Deacon at Mount Sinai Baptist Church in Bogart, GA.

In November 1992, he married Annie Jones and he leaves to celebrate his life and carry on his legacy four children (from a previous marriage to Alberta B. Hargrove) Thomas Hargro, Jr., Cheryl Hargrove Barnes, Gwendolyn Hargrove Ruff and Timothy J. Hargrove; two sisters, Luradine Timberlake (Queens NY) and Linda Guion (Brooklyn NY); ten grandchildren, two great-granddaughters, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, close friends and family. The late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, "Life's most persistent and urgent question is, what are your doing for others?" William chose to answer that call and live his life to serve others. He was a faithful servant and beloved child of God who loved his family, fought for our nation, and embraced his community. Of all his awards and accomplishments, William's greatest joy was proclaiming his personal experience in power of prayer and his faith in God. William will be dearly missed by the many lives he touched and all those who were blessed to know him.

This information was last updated 05/18/2016

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Date posted on this site: 06/10/2022

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