Name: 1LT Fred Omar Pratt
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 08/26/1968 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 27.0
Date of Birth: 08/17/1941
Home City: Columbus, GA
Service: IN branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 155 AHC
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 68-4
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 46W-032
Short Summary: Small arms fire during gun run near Duc Lap. Pratt Hall the flight simulator building at Ft. Rucker is named in Fred's honor.
Aircraft: UH-1C tail number 66-15232
Service number: O5338702
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Small Arms Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 06/03/1968
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 08
Location: Quang Duc Province II Corps.
Additional information about this casualty:
Pratt Hall, Building 4901, at Ft. Rucker, AL is named after 1LT Fred Omar Pratt. Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 155th Assault Helicopter Battalion. Place and date: 23 August 1968, Duc Lap, Vietnam. Entered service at: 13 October 1958 ---. Birth: Not available. Information: First Lieutenant Fred Omar Pratt enlisted in the Army in 1958 and was honorably discharged in 1967 to accept a commission. He was a distinguished graduate of his Infantry Officer Candidate School class. He qualified as a Ranger, then Army Aviator. He distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous action as pilot of a UH-1 helicopter gunship. On 23 August he piloted his gunship to a support friendly forces under attack by an enemy regiments near Duc Lap. Observing a tree line where a large enemy force was concentrated, he attacked despite intense ground fire. His aircraft sustained multiple hits, wounding him in the face. He continued to attack until the aircraft was shot down. Though wounded in the arm and back, he survived the crash. The crew was immediately taken under fire by enemy mortars and automatic weapons. First Lieutenant Pratt directed his concern to his crew chief, who was bleeding heavily. Carrying the crew chief, he led the party up an open hill under constant enemy fire. Gaining the outer perimeter of the compound, he exposed himself to fire to summon aid for his crew. Once inside, he aided the crew chief and refused aid for himself. On 26 August, despite being shot down and wounded a few days before, he insisted on participating in an operation to support friendly forces under heavy attack. Arriving in the area, he began to attack a large enemy force, from which he drew intense fire. Incoming fire shattered his windshield, and he responded by placing a heavy volume of fire on the enemy positions. During the exchange of fire, he was fatally wounded. His aggressive response allowed the rest of the crew to escape without serious harm. Awards: Silver Star (Posthumous), Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumous). Air Medal (7 Oak Leaf Clusters). National Defense Service Medal. Vietnam Service Medal. Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Source:. Memorialization files. Fred Omar Pratt was born 17 August 1941, was the son of Vern Hose Pratt and Edwin M. Pratt Sr. of Moorefield, WV. He enlisted in the Army on Oct. 13, 1958, and served a tour of duty in Japan and Korea. During his training he was distinguished graduate of Airborne School. He was a Ranger in the 101st Airborne Division Vietnam in 1962. Omar volunteered for special forces and returned to the US for training. After winning the Green Beret, he was appointed to Officers Candidate School at Fort Benning. Lt. Pratt was elected to the honored position of Council of President of the Battalion and was named distinguished graduate of his class. He then attended the Army's rotary wing school at Fort Walters, Texas, and returned to Vietnam 02 June, 1968 as a helicopter gun ship pilot. The events surrounding his death were printed in the Columbus Enquirer: It was 24 August 1968 in the thick of fighting in DucLop South Vietnam, a Special Forces camp. On that eventful day, 1 LT. Fred Omar Pratt was wounded. He was a gunship pilot in combat with the Green Beret forces at DucLop, which had been surrounded and under siege form the VietCong for more than two weeks. From the award of the Silver Star comes the continuous explanation of events. 1 Lt. Fred Omar Pratt distinguished himself by exceptionally and valorous actions while serving as pilot of a UH-1 Huey helicopter gunship supporting friendly compounds in the vicinity of DucLop that had come under attack by an enemy regiment. Observing a tree line in which large enemy force was concentrated, he began to attack the enemy force, his aircraft sustained numerous hits, wounding him in the face. Undaunted, he continued his fierce attacks until his aircraft was shot down by the intense anti- aircraft fire. Though wounded in the arm and back, 1LT. Fred Omar Pratt survived the crash. The crew of the downed aircraft was immedieately taken under fire by enemy mortars and automatic weapons. His concern was for his seriously injured crew chief with him. Gaining access to the outer perimeter of the compound, he again exposed himself to enemy fire to summon aid for his crew. Upon reaching secure area, he gave aid to his wounded crew chief refusing to be treated himself. The events of 26 August 1968 are found as follows taken was the award Announcement of the Distinguished Flying Cross. Although he had been shot down and wounded only days before he insisted that he participate in the mission (the enemy had captured half the camp). Arriving in the area, he began to attack a large enemy force form which he drew heavy fire which shattered his windshield. He responded by immediately placing a devasting volume of fire on the enemy positions. During the fierce exchange of fire, 1 LT Fred Omar Pratt was fatally wounded. His courageous and aggressive response enabled the rest of the crew to escape without serious harm. He received the Silver Star for gallantry in action, the Distinguished Flying Cross for herorism,l and Air Metal with Seven Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart twice, and two of the highest Vietnamese awards for bravery presented by the Vietnamese government. Although he was credited with killing 600 Viet Cong on the day of his death alone. In June of 1974 the US Army dedicated their new Flight Simulator Building at Fort Rucker Alabama in honor of Omar by naming it Pratt Hall. It housed the most sophisticated flight simulating equipment used in training Army aviators. My Uncle Omar left behind a wife and three young sons. He was born in a small town called Moorefield, West Virginia where the rest of his brothers and sisters now reside. From: Joye (niece)
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
married male U.S. citizen
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
Burial information: FORT BENNING POST CEMETERY, GA
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 03/14/2007
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.
Return to the Helicopter Pilot KIA name list
Return to the KIA panel date index
Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017
Copyright © 1998 - 2017 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association