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Name: CPT William Lee Whitmore
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 07/28/1970 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Died 13 days later on 08/10/1970.
Age at death: 22.9
Date of Birth: 09/18/1947
Home City: Sherwood, OR
Service: IN branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: A/2/17 CAV 101 ABN
Major organization: 101st Airborne Division
Flight class: 68-522
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 08W-102
Short Summary: Died at Camp Zama from wounds received a few days before.
Aircraft: OH-6A tail number 67-16168
Call sign: ASSAULT 16
Service number: O5350958
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 6120
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: vehicular accident
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 03/06/1969
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
The initial status of this person was: no previous report
Length of service: *
Location: Quang Tri Province I Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
On July 28, 1970 Capt. Lee Whitmore was piloting his Oh-6A scout bird, tail # 67-16168 along with his observer, SSG Gerald Vetrano, as part of a pink team. He was flying above the jungle southeast of Khe Sahn and just north of an NVA road in an area that had produced many contacts with the NVA. As was their practice, the NVA had at least three .51 cal machine guns strategically placed and waited for Lee to enter their kill zone before they unleashed devastating fire. As he screamed that he was taking fire, his aircraft exploded into a huge ball of flame and smoke and fell into the jungle. It took quite some time before our Cobras were able to cool down the area in order to put in our Blues. There was no doubt in any ones mind that neither trooper had survive such a catastrophe. The Blues were inserted and miraculously; Lee had gotten out of the bird and had dragged himself into a small stream for comfort. Lee had a habit of flying with his nomex sleeves rolled up and his face shield in the up position. He was severely burned, but the Blues were able to get him on the medivac and back to the Surg. His observer had died from the hail of bullets and/or fire. What determination it must have taken for Lee to drag himself from the burned-out bird and into the water of the nearby stream. Unfortunately, the severity of the burns were more than Lee could take and he died in the burns unit of the hospital in Japan on August 10, 1970. from Mike Inlow, November 2003.

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Friends (Quaker)
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 11/13/2003

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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