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Name: 1LT Howard Jon Schnabolk
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 08/03/1967 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 23.9
Date of Birth: 08/22/1943
Home City: Sea Bright, NJ
Service: MS branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 498 MED
Major organization: other
Flight class: 66-20
Service: MS branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 24E-074
Aircraft: UH-1D tail number 64-13642
Call sign: DUSTOFF
Service number: O5021031
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: A/C Accident
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: fire or burns
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 12/24/1966
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 02
Location: Unknown Province

Additional information about this casualty:
Howard J. Schnabolk's bags were packed for him to go on leave when he volunteered for one more flight to pick up the wounded in the jungles of Vietnam on Aug. 3, 1967. It would be his last trip. On the return, Schnabolk's Huey helicopter was hit with enemy fire and he lost radio communication. As he took the helicopter over the last clearing, Schnabolk's attempt at a landing was obstructed and he tilted the aircraft onto its side. Schnabolk and the co-pilot died in the crash. The wounded lived.

At Forestburg Scout Reservation, Forestburg, NY (which supports the scouting activities of the Boy Scouts of Monmouth County, NJ) the Jewish Chapel there is dedicated to the memory of Howard. On one side of the chapel is a Marble Plaque honoring him and on the other side a posted outline of HowardĂs Live encased in plastic. The posted outline had been damaged by water and it is a project of the Frostburg Scout Reservation Staff Association to replace that outline. We would like to add a Picture of Howard which you said you could email to me for this project.

Below is a revised copy of the proposed outline which we will add the picture.

I will be sharing this information and his picture with HowardĂs High School (Long Branch High School, Long Branch, NJ), The New Jersey Vietnam Era Educational Center and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.

John J. Cesar First Lieutenant Howard Jon Schnabolk

Eagle Scout and Veteran War Hero

First Lieutenant Howard Jon Schnabolk, was born on August 22nd, 1943. He was a life long resident of Monmouth County and gradated from Long Branch High School in 1961. He was an Eagle Scout in Troop 58, Monmouth Council, BSA.

Howard graduated from Alfred University and received an Army commission through the ROTC in 1965. In the Army, he became a helicopter pilot and was assigned to the Medical Services Corps. He attended Medical Service School, Helicopter Pilot School, and the Combat Flying School. In 1966 he volunteered to become a medical evacuation helicopter pilot and was sent to the Republic of Vietnam. In Vietnam he was assigned to the 489th Air Ambulance Company, 44th Medical Brigade.

In six months of combat flying, Howard saved the lives of many American soldiers. In combat, Howard piloting his helicopter ambulance usually under hostile fire extracted soldiers from the battlefield and transported them to field hospitals where they would be cared for. In the difficult terrain, extraction of was usually accomplished by cable winch from the hovering aircraft. This method required a high level of pilot skill and was very dangerous for Howard and his crew. The hovering aircraft was an easy target for enemy weapons. For his many successful rescue efforts, Howard was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bonze Star Medal and numerous awards of the Air Medal.

Howard lost his life On August 3rd, 1967 when the helicopter ambulance he was piloting crashed while bringing a load of wounded soldiers to a field hospital. As a very skilled pilot Howard saw that the crash was about to happen and knew that if the aircraft had crashed on itĂs side, then the wounded soldiers inside the helicopter stood a chance of surviving the impact. Realizing that his personal chances would be slim, Howard still purposely controlled the helicopter making it crash on its side killing him instantly, but saving many on board.

Howard gave his life in the best traditions of the Eagle Scout. He gave in serve to others so that they may live. ˘A SCOUT IS BRAVE÷. We will not forgot him.

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Non-hostile - died while missing
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Jewish
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 07/31/2008

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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