Name: 1LT Leon D. Flanders
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 06/17/1966 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 23.6
Date of Birth: 10/30/1942
Home City: Fairfield, SC
Service: IN branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 281 AHC
Prior Unit: 145 AIRLIFT PLAT 65-66
Major organization: other
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 08E-056
Short Summary: Killed by a 'friendly' mortar round while eating in a mess hall at a Special Forces camp. 1st man killed in 10 Bn. See Bows book
Service number: O5322792
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Ground Casualty
Compliment cause: artillery or mortar
Started Tour: 11/06/1965
"Official" listing: ground casualty
Length of service: 02
Location: Unknown Province

Additional information about this casualty:
The airfield at Dong Ba Thin was named Flanders Field. Vietnam Military Lore 1959-1973 by Ray Bows. Leon Flanders was a lift platoon lieutenant in the 145th ALP/281st. He was on a mission to the Special Forces Camp in Ban Me Thuot. While there on a solo bird mission, he went into the camp team house. The camp took mortar fire that afternoon and he was hit by a frag from the mortar and died in the camp. No one else was injuried. His best friend was Willy Wilson, then Ricky Bouck. The majority of the unit was on a special forces support operation near Cheo Reo that day. He was the second pilot killed in the 145th ALP. The first was a Lt Thorne who was killed before I arrived in July 65. That's about all I remember. From Joe Thurston, March 2000. Leon Flanders never transferred to Bn that I heard of. I'd estimate that he was with us for 6 months or more. Within a couple weeks after Griffith took command of the unit from me, I was giving classes and updating my critiques of the different operations, training, and lessons learned for the "new guys". You should have attended some of those classes. At any rate, that was when Leon bought the farm. He was flying ash and trash to an A team, when one of the perimeter guards got excited over some incident and set off the alarms and started shooting. Leon and his co-pilot were drinking coffee in the mess when this thing kicked off. One of the A Team memdbers told them where the shelter was, and they were headed there, in the open, when one of the camp mortars shot a short round. An approximately 2" piece of shrapnel from the short round hit Leon in the neck, completely severing his juglar vein. Griffith, pleading that he didn't know Leon, insisted that I write the Company Commander letter for him. I did. As I recall, Griffith signed it. He was the CO!!! Jack, I wrote this thing up before for the 281st, can't remember who for, but it was shortly after you got me started. Not sure, but think I was responding to a request from Steve Mathews for info on lost members. Last time I looked (long time ago), the info was not posted on the home page. I've never told anyone about this before, but the medic from the camp ran me down in Nha Trang and proceeded to tell me the whole story, including his frustration at not being able to get Leons juglar repaired enough to keep him alive. This guy was bawling like a baby by the time he finished "apologizing" for not saving Leon. Tough duty! Kevin Murphy, March 2000

Reason: misadventure
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Baptist - other groups
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 11/07/2002

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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