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Name: WO1 David Robert Kink
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 07/21/1969 while performing the duty of Pilot Passenger.
Died 13 days later on 08/03/1969.
Age at death: 19.7
Date of Birth: 11/11/1949
Home City: Middleton, WI
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: C/1/9 CAV 1 CAV
Major organization: 1st Cavalry Division
Flight class: 69-11
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 20W-092
Short Summary: During recon by fire a camoflauged target turned out to be a 250 pound U.S. bomb and it blew up.
Aircraft: OH-6A tail number 67-16566
Service number: W3165018
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100B = Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: fire or burns
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: observer
Started Tour: 06/16/1969
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - non-aircrew
Location: Phuoc Long Province III Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
WO1 David R. Kink was the only survivor on OH-6A 67-16566 when it was hit by a secondary explosion and burned on 21 July 69. He was transferred to the 106th General Hospital where he died on 8-3-69. From Julie Kink, David's sister: There were many mix-ups in the Army's communications with my family, and this caused a lot of pain to my mother who tried desperately to find out exactly why my brother had died. I am including what follows not to bore you, but because you said you too had questions about my brother's death. I hope you don't mind my sending it along. This is part of a letter from Brig. Gen. Spurgeon Neel, the Acting Surgeon General. "Warrant Officer Kink was injured on 21 July 1969 when his helicopter crashed and burned in Viet Nam. He suffered burns of his face and extremities, a fracture dislocation of the right hip and a fracture of the left little finger. At the 93rd Evacuation Hospital in Viet Nam, the burns were cleansed and covered with an anti-bacterial preparation. In addition, antibiotics were given by mouth. The hip dislocation was corrected under general anesthesia. Th e following day he was evacuated to the 106th General Hospital in Japan in good condition. "Because of the nature and extent of his injuries, he was placed on the seriously ill list as a matter of course. At this time there were no life threatening complications. "The hospital course from admission at the 106th General Hospital until 27 July 1969 was one of satisfactory progress. During this period his kidney function was found to be somewhat impaired but this showed improvement. On 23 July the burned area of bothlegs was incised to promote better circulation and relieve swelling of his feet. "During the day of 27 July 1969 your son was doing well and a chest x-ray taken on that date was normal. It was felt Mr. Kink would benefit from specialized burn therapy at Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and he was scheduled to be evacuated to that facility on 4 August 1969. However, his temperature rose and he developed respiratory difficulty. By 28 July 1969 he had developed pneumonia and went into shock and respiratory arrest. At this time he was placed on the very seriously ill list. Mechanical respiration, intravenous fluids and antibiotics brought about a temporary improvement. "However, on 1 August 1969 he had an episode of massive hemorrhage from stress ulcers in his stomach. Blood transfusions were immediately given but he developed shock and his heart stopped. Emergency external cardiac massage was begun. Attempts to restart the heart with drugs and electrical shock were unsuccessful. After a surgical procedure to open the chest to perform open heart massage, his heart began to beat with a normal rhythm. "By the next day, 2 August 1969, his condition was somewhat stabilized and there was no evidence of further bleeding. He remained in this tenuous state until the early morning of 3 August when he again had a cardiac arrest. Resuscitative measures were not successful on this occasion and he was pronounced dead. "The clinical course which followed Mr. Kink's initial injuries is not rare. The development of pneumonia following burns, especially those involving the face, is a common complication. Stress ulcers of the stomach frequently develop as a result of severe physical stress, particularly severe burns. The cardiac arrests suffered by this patient were not due to primary heart disease but were a result of the toxic effects of infection (pneumonia), a blood loss and the general stress of his initial injuries. Stating that the cause of death was due to cardiac arrest was correct in the sense that this describes the final mechanism of death. Stating that death was due to burns was also correct inasmuch as the events following initial injury were directly related to the injury." My family was told that the explosion was an enemy ammunition dump they fired at, which was much larger than anticipated - but at least he died saving American lives, as the munitions were meant for "our boys." Last April, I received the incident report from a member of the VHPA, which told me that it was a 250 lb. U.S. bomb that had failed to explode on impact and was camouflaged by VC or NVA in hopes that the U.S. would do exactly what they did - investigate and blow it up. This knowledge took me about a day to get used to, but I am glad I know about it, and in fact one of my new "big brothers," Lou Rochat of A/1/9, told me last Nov. that American lives were still saved as the VC used to dismantle those bombs and use them against us anyway. It doesn't matter to me so much whose weapon it was, but knowing the truth about this gives me peace. It was hard telling my mom about it, though, as she is more emotional about it than I am. I also learned that David was burned on the back and legs from a willy peter grenade that detonated as he was crawling away from the aircraft, however I did not share this with my mother. My search for people has brought me into contact with 5 guys who knew David in flight school and one person who remembered him from Vietnam - John Powell who said he flew Cobra cover while the plane was being recovered. I talked with him last December. And although he wasn't in the unit when David was there, Walker Jones has become very special to me as he and I are on somewhat the same trail, trying to find people from that time and place long ago. I am going to be attending the VHPA reunion in Orlando next week, so will have a chance to meet Walker and two of David's buddies from flight school, Jon Harris and Dave Fry. It will be the first time I meet face to face with anybody who knew my brother! Now it is me who has gone on forever! I hope you don't mind the length of my letter. I just want to thank you so much for writing to me, and I really appreciate your comments about the superiority of the troop you were with. I agree completely, and I have a great respect for you and what you did. Now, I have another new big brother. I will stay in touch - will let you know how it goes in Orlando. I'm leaving Monday 6-30 and returning the following Monday. Thanks again, Bob - and a big welcome home. Julie Kink sister of WO1 David Kink C/1/9 June to July 1969 224 N. Harriet St. Stillwater, MN 55082 612-439-2268 home 612-439-2446 work

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Lutheran (Missouri Synod)
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 08/03/1997

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021

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