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Name: WO1 Gary William Butler
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 09/17/1971 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 20.0
Date of Birth: 09/25/1951
Home City: San Jose, CA
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 61 AHC
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 71-17/71-15
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 02W-018
Short Summary: Shot down while inserting a ROK LRRP team. Crashed inverted and burned trapping Butler. Other three crew members rescued.
Aircraft: UH-1H tail number 67-17318
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100B = Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
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: 07/29/1971
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
The initial status of this person was: missing in action - P I D
Length of service: *
Location: Quang Ngai Province I Corps.
Military grid coordinates of event: BS630330

Additional information about this casualty:
Butler, Gary William WO1 KIA 09/17/71 UH-1H 61st AHC, 1st AVN BDE "Lucky Stars"? Place: An Loa Valley. Unit staged out of LZ English (Bong Son), Quang Ngai Province . Butler was killed after being shot down by a sniper while at high hover out of ground effect over a hillside. They were conducting a ladder insertion of ROK LRRP troops that were to start probing and paralleling NVA movements on this mission. CW2 James Jordan (from Florida) was A/C and Gary Butler was co-pilot when they attempted to insert the LRRPs into this hillside LZ that was really just a square patch of clear cut (logged) area that still had a few trees standing helter-skelter. When Jimmy Jordan was struck in the neck and shoulder by the sniper, it caused him to jerk the flight controls and subsequently the tail rotor struck a tree and the helicopter crashed inverted and erupted in flames. It landed on top of the LRRP team and killed all 10 of them instantly. Jimmy Jordan, the gunner and crew chief miraculously got away from the burning craft. Gary's legs were stuck in the wreckage and he couldn't get free. The two crew members ran towards Gary to help but there was another explosion and fire. They both were badly burned over most of their bodies; Gary burned to death. The remaining crewmembers were subsequently recovered by a brave C & C non-aviation major who went down personally on a jungle penetrator and brought each individual up one at a time since the crew were so shocked that they just stood and looked at the device and made no attempt to use it in their confused state. The LZ went from bad to worse with stray rounds cooking off everywhere and we were forced to back off due to this fact and also due to other NVA activity. Gary's remains were recovered two weeks later on a special mission after the fighting quieted down a bit. Contributed by Marc Charbonneau at VHPA 1998 115111 Mission Oak San Antonio, TX 78232-4611

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Methodist (Evangelical United Brethren)
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: warrant officer
This record was last updated on 07/25/1998

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021

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