Name: MAJ William E. Lemmons
Status: Body Not Recovered from an incident on 06/18/1967 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Declared dead on 06/12/1978.
Age at death: 25.4
Date of Birth: 01/12/1942
Home City: Pocatello, ID
Service: FA branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: HHC 196 BDE 23 INF
Major organization: 196th Light Infantry Brigade
Flight class: 66-20
Service: FA branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 22E-007
Short Summary: Disappeared while flying recon for a marine unit out of Ka Ha, about 5 miles north of Chu Lai. Additional info from Fred Startz.
Aircraft: OH-23G tail number 64-15194
Country: South Vietnam
Primary cause: SVN-BNR-OW
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: unknown or not reported
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: passenger
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 01/13/1967
"Official" listing: fixed wing air casualty - non-aircrew
The initial status of this person was: non-hostile missing - bonified
Length of service: *
Location: Unknown Province
Military grid coordinates of event: BS310100
Additional information about this casualty:
William (then 1LT) Lemmons was a very devout Mormon and senior deacon in the church at Chu Lai. We were both members of HHC, 196th Light Infantry Brigade. He came to me on June 17, 1967 and requested I switch misssions with him so he could attend all services on June 18,1967 (Father's Day). We both had three (3) OH-23 missions supporting 2/14 Infantry (Golden Dragons) that Sunday so I agreed to change with him. Our aircraft were assigned based on maintenance requirements so we switched aircraft with the missions. The following day as I was departing 2/14 Infantry helipad after completion of my last flight of the day, I noticed William taking off from the artillery helipad on his last mission of the day. His mission was to fly a new Battery Commander and 1SG on a local recon of our Area of Operations (this is a change for your database update from Fred Startz, also an aviator in our section, he stated that the pax were Marines). I noticed that William was flying directly out of the Area of Operations (a definite no-no for a single ship OH-23 in our area). I attempted contacting him on all available frequencies, including emergency channels, to no avail. We shared a mess and heliport with the Marines at Chu Lai so while I was chowing down, the call came in that we had a missing, presumed downed aircraft so we mounted a search and rescue mission until dark and then again at first light the next day. We did not locate the aircraft but I heard after I returned to CONUS that the aircraft was later found, submerged and booby trapped in a river. Apparently, William had escaped but his two pax bodies were recovered. The aircraft had an engine failure right in the middle of a group of VC as there were many bullet holes penetrating in an upward motion. Another report I received was that our troops captured an NVA truck that had Lemmons spelled out in the dust on the rear bumper. I received some confirmation as to the condition of the OH-23 from a very good friend of mine, Luis Gallegos. We had been friends since attending the Infantry Officer Advance Course in 1969 and had never talked about our Vietnam experiences (typical of a lot of us). One Saturday two years ago, he and I were B.S.ing while our ladies were shopping. His unit of which he was the CO was the one who found our aircraft months after it went down. He specifically remembered finding Lemmons sunglasses with his name on the frame in embossed tape. I was Operations Officer and Assistant Brigade Aviation Officer for the 196th Light Infantry Brigade Aug 66 - Aug 67. James L. Yoho, 12 December 1995.
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Non-hostile - died while missing
married male U.S. citizen
Religion: Latter Day Saints (Mormon)
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 06/06/1996
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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