LUKENS DONALD GLEN

Name: WO1 Donald Glen Lukens
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 05/25/1970 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 20.0
Date of Birth: 06/09/1950
Home City: Moline, IL
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: B/7/1 CAV
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 69-49
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 10W-098
Short Summary: Flying right seat in C & C aircraft near Nui Coto Mtn south of Chilang in Delta, took one 50 cal round through right door and armor.
Aircraft: UH-1H
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100B = Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
Primary cause: .51 Caliber
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: co-pilot
Started Tour: 03/30/1970
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: *
Location: IV Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
WO1 Donald Glen Lukens Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 05/25/70 while performing the duty of Pilot. Details provided by fellow Dutchmasters Don Clarke While I did not know Don Lukens well, he was relatively new [55 days in country the day he died] and I was in the 9th month of my tour. I do remember the mission very well. I was the lead Cobra pilot for the Dutchmasters on the mission. There is a small cluster of Mountains in the Mekong Delta we referred to as the Seven Sisters. They are located at 10 degrees North by 105 degrees 30 minutes East about 7 Nautical Miles Southeast of the Cambodian Boarder at Tinn Bien. see mapquest http://www.mapquest.com/atlas/main.adp?region=vietnam . There is not great detail on this map but if you locate the Gulf of Thailand and then look to the right you will see Long Xuyen. Chi Lang was 15 Nautical Miles Northwest of Long Xuyen. There is a more detailed map of the area reference ONC K-10 1:1,000,000 At the base of the largest mountain there was a small airfield adjoining the US Special Forces camp. The base and airfield were know to us as Chi Lang - The airfield is now identified as That Son on map ONC K-10 referenced above. B Troop 7/1st Air Cavalry was operating from that airfield. The site of the enemy engagement on May 25 was only about 1NM Southeast of Chi Lang. It was a typical Dutchmasters visual reconnaissance (VR) mission so there were two Scout Helicopters, two Cobras above covering the Scouts and the Command and Control (C&C) Helicopter orbiting above the Cobras directing the activity. On May 25th we were performing a VR of the lower eastern section of the Mountain just south of Chi Lang. I remember the mission was difficult to cover because the Scouts were performing their VR right at the base of the mountain. That meant on my normal left hand orbits as I passed close the mountain, it would push my red team closer to the Scouts than the normal angle I would use to roll in if the scouts received fire. I remember being irritated by being forced out of the normal offensive position over the Scouts but there were just no good alternatives. Don Lukens was flying right seat in the Dutchmasters C&C aircraft. Captain James B. Sauer was the CO of B Troop and was the Mission Commander and Aircraft commander. Cpt. Sauer was in the left seat and Don Lukens was in the right seat and likely on the controls, as Sauer would have been directing the mission and working the radios. As per normal SOP for the Dutchmasters the C&C was turning left hand orbits 500-800 feet above my red team. Therefore the orbits of the C&C also brought it close to the East side of the mountain on the West side of the orbit. The C&C received fire from somewhere on the Mountain. Only one 51 caliber round hit the aircraft but that round hit the sliding armor plate of the right front pilot seat, penetrated the plate and hit Don in the chest cavity. None of the other aircraft were hit. As the enemy fire came from above the Cobras and I was looking down at the Scouts below, I could not tell where the enemy fire came from. C&C reported being hit but saw no tracers or source of the fire. The Mountain is 2,300 feet high with heavy vegetation and was well known to be honeycombed with caves used by the Viet Cong. Normally in these instances where we could not pinpoint the enemy, we would call in an Air Force air strike in the general area where we believed the fire to have come from. That is exactly what we did on this occasion, we called in general coordinates of the suspected position and Air Force bombers came in and pounded the position. Cpt. Sauer flew the C&C directly to Chi Lang and ordered my red team returned to refuel and rearm. Arlene Sherwin (Don's girlfriend) had a brief phone conversation with Cpt. James B. Sauer who remembered the mission. He remembers turning to the Vietnamese "back seat" in the C&C when the round hit the aircraft. A piece of shrapnel or a bullet fragment hit him in the lip. For those of us who have seen the power of a 51 caliber armor piercing round it would seem highly likely that if WO Lukens had not properly positioned the sliding armor plate on the right seat, that the round would have likely hit and disabled Cpt. Sauer as well and the fate of the aircraft and the crew and the American and Vietnamese "back seats" would certainly have been in jeopardy. The following email accounts submitted by CWO Chuck Johnson, Dutchmaster 28 in response to an email from Don Clarke 10/05/02. I do remember Donald Lukens, he was only with us for 6 weeks. I was the slick platoon IP so I was the one who gave Don Lukens his "in country" check ride. And he did a lot of right seat flying with me in the lift platoon the first few weeks. I remember him as a tall quiet fellow. He was rather lanky and we dubbed him "Goose"! The slick platoon seemed to have a nickname for almost everyone. I remember Don bunked on the second floor about halfway down on the west side of the hooch. I can't remember who was his roommate was however. My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact dates but I remember that he and I had flown together for about 3 days straight leading up to May 25, 1970. I was at the max on flight time for that 30-day period and wasn't going to be in the AO on May 25. I also remember that the evening of May 24. I posted the roster on the board in the TOC and then went by Dons' room to tell him he would be flying with Cpt Sauer in C&C. Don had been studying the Bible. It was small and looked like the New Testament that the Gideon's distribute. He seemed a little uneasy about me finding him reading the Bible. I told him not to be concerned as I also read it regularly in my private time. I remember being stunned at the report as it came in on the radio, I was in the TOC doing operations work when it happened. I remember that it was a 51cal., armor piercing with no tracers. The enemy often used no tracers as to not give away his own position. We figure that the enemy probably wheeled it to the mouth of a cave or bunker on the side of that mountain and sprayed the aircraft. Only one round entered the ship, through Donald's armor seat from right to left, exited the aircraft and wounded Captain Sauer tearing his upper lip as it did so. I am sorry, I don't remember what the tail number was or any of the crews name other than the pilots. I do remember one other thing regarding Donald "Goose" Lukens. I think he got an Air Medal with V device for flying with Roger Marcum on 18 May 1970. I know you remember that day well............it was the day that WO Crouch was killed and we teamed up with the Aussies. (EMUs) I remember Donald being in the awards ceremony on the basketball court with us. I have memories of Rich Thompson, Roger Marcum, Donald and myself being involved from the slicks, as well as Goldie and Crouch. Now looking back on that thing, Goldie was the A&D officer, and he must have pushed those awards right through. Because it was only 1 week later that Donald was killed. CWO Richard Maxwell, UH1H A/C commander. I have a vivid picture in my mind of Don laying in the morgue with that 51 cal hole in the side of his chest about 5 ribs down. I don't remember too much except he was flying with the Mission Commander as co-pilot. They were flying parallel and close to one of the Seven Sisters Mountains when a gook popped out of a cave and got off a lucky shot. We (slicks) were still on the ground waiting for something to develop. From: Don Clarke The following email accounts submitted by CWO Chuck Johnson in response to an email from Don Clarke 10/05/02. I do remember Donald Lukens, not in as much detail as Arlene would probably like, as you mentioned he was only with us for 6 weeks. I was the slick platoon IP so I was the one who gave Don Lukens his "in country" check ride. And he did a lot of right seat flying with me in the lift platoon the first few weeks. I remember him as a tall quiet fellow. He was rather lanky and we dubbed him "Goose"! The slick platoon seemed to have a nickname for almost everyone. I remember Don bunked on the second floor about halfway down on the west side of the hooch. I can't remember who was his roommate was however. My memory is a little fuzzy on the exact dates but I remember that he and I had flown together for about 3 days straight leading up to May 25, 1970. I was at the max on flight time for that 30-day period and wasn't going to be in the AO on May 25. I also remember that the evening of May 24, after I had posted the roster on the board in the TOC, I went by Dons' room to tell him he would be flying with Cpt Sauer in C&C. Don had been studying the Bible. It was small and looked like the New Testament that the Gideon's distribute. He seemed a little uneasy about me finding him reading the Bible. I told him not to be concerned as I also read it regularly in my private time. I remember being stunned at the report as it came in on the radio, I was in the TOC doing operations work when it happened. I remember that it was a 51cal., armor piercing with no tracers. The enemy often used no tracers as to not give away his own position. We figure that the enemy probably wheeled it to the mouth of a cave or bunker on the side of that mountain and sprayed the aircraft. Only one round entered the ship, through Donald's armor seat from right to left, exited the aircraft and wounded Captain Sauer tearing his upper lip as it did so. I am sorry, I don't remember what the tail number was or any of the crews name other than the pilots. Chuck Johnson Dutchmaster 28 10/06/02 I do remember one other thing regarding Donald "Goose" Lukens. I think he got an Air Medal with V device for flying with Roger Marcum on 18 May 1970. I know you remember that day well............it was the day that WO Crouch was killed and we teamed up with the Aussies. (EMUs) I remember Donald being in the awards ceremony on the basketball court with us. I have memories of Rich Thompson, Roger Marcum, Donald and myself being involved from the slicks, as well as Goldie and Crouch. Now looking back on that thing, Goldie was the A&D officer, and he must have pushed those awards right through. Because it was only 1 week later that Donald was killed. Chuck Yes I was flying that very long and tragic day. The action began the night before when the VC overran the village and assassinated the province chief. The Red Team was awarded DFC's for that action. From: Donclarke32@aol.com Sent: Friday, October 04, 2002 9:45 PM To: Rmax44@hotmail.com CWO Richard Maxwell, UH1H A/C commander Subject: do you remember Don Lukens? Don was a new guy slick pilot (6 weeks) who was flying C&C at Chi Lang with Captain Sauer on May 25, 1970. C&C and Don took one 51 cal round through the right door that killed him. His loved ones have contacted me. I was lead Gun on that mission and have told them what I know. Do you remember him? best, BOUF Dutchmaster 32 BOUF Absolutely, I have a vivid picture in my mind of Don laying in the morgue with that 51 cal hole in the side of his chest about 5 ribs down. I don't remember too much except he was flying with the CO. as co pilot. They were flying parallel and close to one of the seven sisters mountains when a gook popped out of a cave and got off a lucky shot. We (slicks) were still on the ground waiting for something to develop. Richard C. Maxwell October 6, 2002 Arlene Sherwin (a family frient) had a brief phone conversation with Cpt. James B. Sauer who remembered the mission. He remembers turning to the Vietnamese "back seat" in the C&C when the round hit the aircraft. A piece of shrapnel or a bullet fragment hit him in the lip. For those of us who have seen the power of a 51 caliber armor piercing round it would seem highly likely that if WO Lukens had not properly positioned the sliding armor plate on the right seat, that the round would have likely hit and disabled Cpt. Sauer as well and the fate of the aircraft and the crew and Vietnamese "back seats" would certainly have been in jeopardy. Don Clarke, donclarke32@aol.com

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
Burial information: SWAN LAKE MEMORY GARDENS, PEORIA, IL
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 03/15/2005


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