Name: WO1 David Alen Lape
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 11/27/1967 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 23.2
Date of Birth: 09/28/1944
Home City: Cordova, AK
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 336 AHC
Major organization: other
Flight class: 66-19/66-17
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 30E-097
Short Summary: Ground casualty. Killed by mortar round while trying to get to his gunship at Soc Trang. MOS 062b
Service number: W3154856
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 062B = Helicopter Pilot, Utility and Light Cargo Single Rotor
Primary cause: Ground Casualty
Compliment cause: weapons
Started Tour: 06/10/1967
"Official" listing: ground casualty
Length of service: 01
Location: Ba Xugen Province IV Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
I need to correct a discrepancy. The start of tour date for Dave Lape I know is not accurate. He was one of the people that extracted me out of the wreckage on 19 May. He was flying in Vietnam well before the 10th of June 1967. I suspect the error may have something to do with the fact that either he or his twin brother who was also there originally spent time in another unit at a different location. The Army deliberately assigned them to different places because they did not want to take a chance of both brothers being lost at the same time. I don't know for certain if it was Dave or Doug, but there had been a crash and hospitalization of one of them earlier in the year and they may have "restarted" his tour clock when the brother was transferred to the 336th. I know they had found a way to engineer being assigned to the same unit despite Army policy. I even know they managed to fly a couple missions together which would have gotten a lot of leaders in trouble if something had happened. The Department of Defense was and is very sensitive about simultaneous siblings' combat deaths since WWII and loss of all five Sullivan brothers on the navy Cruiser Juneau in 1942.

I well understand the Army policy and I also understand why the twins did their best to get around it. The unfortunate part is the date of Dave's death is accurate.

Dave at that point was flying gunships. He was on standby that night. The T-Birds hooch's were the closest ones to the ramp where the alert gunships were parked.

There was a mortar attack during the night that was more accurate than most and seemed to be targeting the gunship ramp. Dave had apparently just jumped out of bed and was at the door of his hooch heading out for his helicopter when a round hit and exploded right in front of him. The rest of the gunships launched and the attack was quickly over. We were all in shock when we learned that Dave had been killed. He was our first mortar fatality that year.

I believe his twin brother had rotated home at the end of his tour around three weeks prior to this incident. Just to make the loss a little bitterer, we knew Dave had a wife and two little kids.

From: John A. Lambert

Reason: artillery or rocket
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: warrant officer
This record was last updated on 09/02/2013

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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