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Name: CW2 Carl Jeffrey Wanka
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 10/14/1970 while performing the duty of Aircraft Commander.
Age at death: 23.0
Date of Birth: 10/27/1947
Home City: St Paul, MN
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: D/229 AHB 1 CAV
Prior Unit: B/4 AVN 4 INF 70
Major organization: 1st Cavalry Division
Flight class: 69-7
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 06W-001
Short Summary: Crashed into the Saigon River after skids hit the water while flying low level. Co-pilot WO1 Curtiss was in the back seat.
Aircraft: AH-1G tail number 68-15211
Service number: W3164493
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100E = Attack Helicopter Pilot
Primary cause: A/C Accident
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: vehicular accident
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: aircraft commander
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 07/01/1969
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - other aircrew
The initial status of this person was: no previous report
Length of service: *
Location: Bien Hoa Province III Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
C.J. Wanka, died after being transferred to D/229. CW2 Carl Jeffrey Wanka served most of his tour with B Co, 4th Avn Bn, 4th Inf Div. He was my friend, mentor and hootchmate (when I finally followed the unit to the Golfcourse). He was the best Snake charmer I ever flew with or know of! I don't recall if he transitioned to Snakes stateside or in-country; I do know that I taught him that front seat could take control (it was an object lesson,, and neither he nor I were cowboys). I loved the front seat because; I was the best with the turret, knew who was in control. I was pleased to fly with a pro. Our Scorpion team (2 LOH, 2 Gun) was dogging a NVA regiment+ moving South toward Vinh Tahn? (Hard Times). We snooped a command position on a high flat with a pinnacle; the lead LOH spotted big radios at the base of that peak. All hell broke loose. Our guns flew Close support, and I would have been out of position if not for CJ's expertise. I was so intent on the MG fire positions that I shot the skid cap off the lead LOH before I realized that CJ had us crabbing at 90. Our 4 (snake wingman) was out of position and CJ was taking up slack/maintaining cover. I'd seen him fly the pecker out of mosquitoes; I'll never forget that ride! I wish I could remember the rest of my tour as vividly!? CW2 Wanka saved my ass and my sanity. He talked me out of trashing my wings after the Cambodia incursion FUBAR. He saw my pain and slack attitude, and slapped me straight. I was off playing Army when he was reassigned. I never had the opportunity to thank my brother. I'll spend my days setting the record straight! CJ flew as a Gambler Gun! James Marsh, Gambler 19, B Co, 4th Avn Bn, 4th Inf Div

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Non-hostile - died of other causes
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: non-battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: warrant officer
This record was last updated on 08/28/2002

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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