Name: MAJ William Edward Adams
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 05/25/1971 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 31.9
Date of Birth: 06/16/1939
Home City: Ft Collins, CO
Service: FA branch of the regular component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: A/227 AHB 1 CAV
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Service: FA branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 03W-054
Short Summary: Shot down while trying to rescue SP5 Littleton from Firebase 5. Received the Medal of Honor.
Aircraft: UH-1H tail number 69-15704
Call sign: CHICKENMAN 6
Country: South Vietnam
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 07/06/1970
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
The initial status of this person was: missing in action - interim
Length of service: *
Location: Kontum Province II Corps.
Military grid coordinates of event: YB980170
Additional information about this casualty:
Medal of Honor citation for: ADAMS, WILLIAM E. RANK AND ORGANIZATION: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. PLACE AND DATE: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971. ENTERED SERVICE AT: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo. CITATION: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machineguns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U.S. Army. See Frank Tierney's feature article in the August, 1995 VHPA Newsletter
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died while missing
married male U.S. citizen
Religion: Methodist (Evangelical United Brethren)
Burial information: FT LOGAN NATIONAL CEMETERY, DENVER CO
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
This record was last updated on 06/07/2016
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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021
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