Name: CPT Gerald Clifford Swayze
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 12/30/1969 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 28.7
Date of Birth: 05/05/1941
Home City: Wilmot, SD
Service: IN branch of the regular component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: C/229 AHB 1 CAV
Major organization: 1st Cavalry Division
Flight class: 68-16/68-26
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 15W-112
Short Summary: Hit by ground fire in the head and died about an hour later.
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 07/27/1969
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 10
Location: Tay Ninh Province III Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
We were scheduled to fly "yellow 2" , as I normally did getting artillery clearances on an extraction mission. I was going to have Gerry fly left seat, as I was to determine his being moved to an Aircraft Commander. We were scrambled on an emergency one ship extraction medivac mission for a unit in contact under fire. I chose to fly left seat for that mission , and told Gerry we would switch seats after our return to TayNinh. However, our flight was sitting on the flight line waiting for us, so we joined in second slot and left immediately. Gerry was to fly the entirety, and we would switch seats at the first re-fueling. On the first approach for sortie 1, the windshield popped and my face was sprayed with plexiglass. I reached my hand up thinking I was hit, when we suddenly were nose down. I glanced at Gerry, realized he was shot in the head, grabbed the controls; and had to actually grab cyclic with my left hand and grab the back of his collar with my right to pull him off the cyclic. I remember making a radio call -- "yellow 2 breaking left fire received from 2'o'clock 1/2 click; co-pilot shot, heading to Tay Ninh hospital." As I flew low level, I instructed the crew chief and gunner to pull the seat pins, tilt his seat back and try to clear his airway, as blood flowed from his mouth. I had the tower contact the hospital of our arrival and flew top speed to the pad there. The waiting medical team quickly got him out and into the facility. I was told his head wound would have caused immediate death . 13 years later, at a small reunion of us pilots from C co.; I was told that while I was wrestling for control we had actually dropped below tree level in a small opening before I pulled up. I hope this aids you for whatever closures were needed on Captain Swayze. From: Dave Hoadley "Catfish" & "Yellow 2" C229th 69-70, the aircraft commander for this flight.

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Presbyterian
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 06/19/2018

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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