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Name: 2LT William Bayles Cawthorne
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 06/30/1964 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 25.7
Date of Birth: 10/08/1938
Home City: Marietta, GA
Service: IN branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 52 CAB
Major organization: other
Flight class: 63-7
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 01E-056
Short Summary: Shot down 5 miles east of Hiep Duc. Died of chest wounds. CPT Rodney Turner & PFC Peino Salinas survived, PFC Freddy Dodson KIA. Memo.
Aircraft: UH-1B tail number 62-01879
Service number: O5315457
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: weapons
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 02
Location: Unknown Province

Additional information about this casualty:
The following was contained in two different letters from LTC Daniel C. Prescott, CO 52D Aviation Battalion to Mrs. Earlene G. Cawthorne: 28 July 1964 - On the morning of the 30th day of June, Bill was aircraft commander on an armed UH-1B helicopter. He was providing protection for unarmed helicopters which were resupplying ground troops near a little grass-hut village called Phoun San, which is about thirty-five miles south and west of Danang, Vietnam. Bill was hit through the right shoulder and chest by an enemy bullet. The aircraft then crashed. He was not further injured in the crash and he assisted one otheer crew member, who had been injured, from the aircraft. A fourth crew member did not survive the crash. Bill then sat down, collapsed and was pronounced dead upon arrival at the United States Marine Corps, Medical Dispensary at Danang. The evacuation of Bill and the two surviving crew members was accomplished within minutes after the crash, by a Marine Corps helicopter, which was in the near vicinity. 17 August 1964 - To answer your questions, while Bayles was piloting the helicopter he was wounded through the shoulder and chest. Despite this mortal wound he assisted other members of the crew from the crash which caught on fire shortly after impact. While helping Captain Turner he was reported to have said, "Come on, Come on", but I have no indication of other words being spoken by him. Your son's gallantry in action has been recognized and we have recommended him for decoration. Captain Turner is doing excellently, however operations on his left leg have shortened it by two inches which may end his military flying career. PFC Salinas was returned to full duty three days after the crash, having received minor injuries whle also assisting the other crew members.

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married 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: officer
This record was last updated on 08/20/1995

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021

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