Name: 1LT Douglas James Cavin
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 09/21/1968 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 26.0
Date of Birth: 10/04/1942
Home City: Corpus Christi, TX
Service: AT branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: B/9 AVN 9 INF
Major organization: 9th Infantry Division
Flight class: 68-2
Service: AT branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 43W-052
Short Summary: While hovering trailing aircraft rockets were set off by lighting causing rocket to go through Cavin's seat. DOD says ground casualty.
Aircraft: UH-1C
Service number: O5425558
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Rocket Accident
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: weapons
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: passenger
Started Tour: 05/04/1968
"Official" listing: ground casualty
Length of service: 02
Location: Bien Hoa Province III Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
As we headed into monsoon season there we got the Delta thunderstorms. In Pleiku and up to Dak To they appeared to be faster moving storms with fewer breaks but the Delta version could be outwalked if they came towards you. Well this afternoon was like any other with the storms slowly coming towards us. The difference was it was a very low roll cloud and pitch black downpour. Just then from under the edge a slick appeared. We all commented on how lucky they were to have made it under the squall line. As they hovered past us to their revetment they then rotated 180 to slide into their assigned revetment. Just before they got into position they were about a foot off the ground. I was watching them try to get into the revetment before the storm broke when a bolt of lightening hit the radio antenna on a Charlie model heavy hog sitting in the middle of the field in back of them. The strike salvoed the rockets and one out the right side did a momentary hang fire and then went to the left but then bounced off of one out of the left tube and then went hard right finally disappearing into the tail boom of the hovering ship. Meanwhile all the rest of the rockets came flying in a wide spray straight down the airfield. We unassed the bunker as rockets passed by on both sides. As we went over the side we saw the guys in the bunker straight at the end of the field go out the front and down the perimeter as the rockets took out their bunker. On the perimeter road some poor GI that was doing nothing but driving a 3/4 ton had his life pass in front of his eyes as he dove out the door of the still rolling truck and slide face first in the mud as the truck took some rocket hits. After all was over and done I looked up the field and the blades were still slowing down on that ship that had been hovering into the revetment but something was not right. Several guys ran across the field as we headed up the field. The rocket had gone through the tail boom and had hit the pilots seat. LT Doug Cavin of the 9th Aviation is listed as just another Non Hostile loss but he is not forgotten. Don Armstrong, 604th Trans / 52nd CAB, Pleiku, Apr / July 68, D Troop 3/5 Cav, Bearcat /Dong Tam , July 68 May 69 Lt. Cavin died at the 9th Division base camp, Bearcat (or Camp Martin Cox). I was an air traffic controller that morning and witnessed the event. Both aircraft were on the ground at Bearcat when lightning struck the rotor mast of the UH-1B behind Lt. Cavin's helicopter. As I recall, three rockets fired from the rear helicopter. One struck the tail boom of Lt. Cavin's helicopter and exploded in the cockpit area. The other two rockets bounced down the staging area and hit the defense berm. Larry Dickstein, Lone Jack, MO, 315th ASD, Bearcat, RVN

Reason: other causes
Casualty type: Non-hostile - died of other causes
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: non-battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
This record was last updated on 11/25/2016

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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