Name: WO1 Michael Richard Wilson
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 07/27/1968 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Died 15 days later on 08/11/1968.
Age at death: 19.7
Date of Birth: 12/15/1948
Home City: St James, MO
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: 118 AHC
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 67-503/67-23
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 49W-049
Short Summary: Survived aircraft crash into Saigon River south of Saigon. Inhaled JP-4. Died of chemical pneumonia in Japan.
Aircraft: UH-1C tail number 65-09564
Service number: W3159923
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 062B = Helicopter Pilot, Utility and Light Cargo Single Rotor
Primary cause: A/C Accident
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: unknown
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 04/03/1968
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Location: Phuoc Long Province III Corps.
Additional information about this casualty:
Today we remember and honor WO Michael Richard (Dick) Wilson of St. James, Missouri who died 50 years ago this date, August 11, 1968, of injuries sustained from the crash of his helicopter near Tan An, Vietnam, south of Saigon. Dick graduated with WOC Class 67-23 and was assigned to the 118th Assault Helicopter Company, the Thunderbirds, arriving in-country on April 3, 1968. Soon he transferred to their "guns" platoon, the Bandits, flying the UH-1C gunship. On July 27 while supporting a combat assault Dick's gunship was shot down and crashed in flames in a rice paddy. Another bandit gunship landed to find the crewchief and gunner, SPC4 John Acosta and PFC John Young both KIA. Both pilots survived the crash. The Aircraft Commander Mark Asplund had been thrown from the helicopter. Dick, flying as Pilot, was trapped by wreckage around his legs and was burned. The other Bandit crew freed Dick then loaded he and WO Asplund into their gunship. The bodies of the other two crewmembers could not be removed from the wreckage at that time but were extracted a short while later. The Aircraft Commander of the rescue Bandit gunship was then-Lieutenant Tom Easton. He flew to a military hospital in Saigon. A few days later Dick and Tom were medevac'd to a hospital in Japan. Dick died there on August 11, 1968. Mark Asplund died two days later. Dick's funeral was held at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in St. James on Thursday, August 22. Interment was just down the road at Catholic Cemetery. During the graveside portion of the service a flight of UH-1 Hueys from nearby Ft. Leonard Wood did a flyover. It was a sad day for our little town, and still is. (story with the permission of the family.)
From: Dick Elgin 11 August 2018
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
single male U.S. citizen
Religion: Roman Catholic
Burial information: CATHOLIC CEMETERY, ST JAMES MO
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: warrant officer
This record was last updated on 08/12/2018
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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