Bien Hoa Air Base DisasterPosted on 7/30/15 - by email@example.comOn November 1, 1964, Viet Cong squads shelled the airfield at Bien Hoa with mortars. The attack was effective as 27 aircraft were hit, and four U.S. and two Vietnamese were killed. Further Viet Cong mortar attacks led General William Westmoreland on February 19, 1965 to release B-57Bs for combat operations, including raids into North Vietnam. As the B-57 mission continued to increase it became an around-the-clock commitment. This forced the weapons storage facility at Bien Hoa to deliver ordnance well ahead of the frag orders. This resulted in bombs being stored underneath the wings of the B-57s sitting on the tarmac. The ordnance consisted of 250, 500 and 750-pound general purpose bombs, many armed with time-delay. There were also 750 lb. of napalm stored on the ramp. The pre-positioning of this ordnance was the basis for one of the "worst disasters in Air Force history". On May 16, 1965, while waiting to takeoff on a mission, a B-57B exploded on the ground. The B-57 was started with a black powder cartridge that fired when the pilot hit the starter switch, causing a small starter turbine to spin. These turbines sometimes spun loose and flew out of the starter housing. On this day, a loose turbine hit the fuse of an armed 500 lb. bomb, setting off a whole chain of secondary explosions. Five 50,000 gallon bladders of JP-4 jet fuel went up in smoke. When the explosions finally ceased, ten B-57s, one Navy F-8 Crusader and fifteen A-1Es were destroyed plus several ground support units. Twenty-seven men killed, including the following: SSGT Jesse R. Acosta, SSGT Jose R. Aragon, TSGT Secundino Baldonado, MAJ Robert G. Bell, SSGT Brian D. Brown, TSGT Claude M. Bunch, SSGT James M. Cale, SSGT Robert L. Clark, SSGT Edgar S. Donaghy, A1C Terence D. Engel, TSGT Aaron G. Fidiam, CAPT Charles N. Fox, CAPT Vernon L. Haynes, SMS William D. Hicks, CAPT Arthur C. Jepson Jr. CAPT Andrew M. Kea, CAPT Ernest McFeron, TSGT Charles W. Rachal, A1C Clifford H. "Hal" Raulerson Jr. TSGT Donald J. Seaman, CAPT Billy E. Shannon, TSGT Gerald A. Snyder, MAJ James E. Underwood, 1LT Lee C. Wagner Jr., and A1C Hayden E. Weaver. Over 100 were wounded. The most severely wounded were evacuated to Clark AB. After the explosions, a great number of generals and their staffs came to Bien Hoa to see for themselves what had happened. General Westmoreland along with retired General Maxwell D. Taylor, Ambassador to Vietnam, came to see the extent of damage so they could brief their superiors. General Westmoreland said that Bien Hoa looked worse than Hickam Field after the Pearl Harbor Attack. The Bien Hoa Air Base Conflagration/Fire Accident Investigation Board concluded the accidental explosion of a bomb on a parked B-57 at Bien Hoa triggered a series of blasts. The aircraft and the ammunition were stored too close together which allowed the fires and explosions to propagate. The accident investigation board recommended improvements. In the face of such experience, engineers initiated a major program to construct revetments and aircraft shelters to protect the valuable assets. [Taken from wikipedia.com]MORE
I was therePosted on 1/2/12 - by Noel firstname.lastname@example.orgI was one of the last people to see Major Bell alive. We were not used to seeing Navy aircraft at Bien Hoa so I set and watched as Major Bell parked and disembarked from the aircraft. I didn't realize at the time he was an Air Force pilot. He was on his way to operations when I departed the area. There was a sudden explosion in the immediate area of Major Bells plane. I didn't know he had returned to the aircraft and didn't find out about this great aviator for several years. May he and the rest of the men that gave there lives that day rest in peace.MORE
But for the grace of God there go I that day.
We RememberPosted on 9/30/11 - by Robert Sage email@example.comRobert is buried at Oakwood Cemetery, Cisco, Eastland County,TX.
If I should die...remembrances for MAJ. Robert Graham BELL, USAF...who made the ultimate sacrifice!Posted on 12/27/05If I should die, and leave you here awhile, be not like others, sore undone, who keep long vigils by the silent dust, and weep...for MY sake, turn again to life, and smile...Nerving thy heart, and trembling hand to do something to comfort other hearts than thine...Complete these dear, unfinished tasks of mine...and I, perchance, may therein comfort you.MORE
Bien Hoa, 1965Posted on 3/10/02 - by MicheleYbarraI believe Major Bell my have died at Bien Hoa at the same time my Father was killed there. My father was Captain Ernest McFeron. I am looking for information on what may have happened at Bien Hoa. If you are interested in contacting me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am sorry for your loss. Michele McFeron YbarraMORE
The Wall of Faces
Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.
All of these photos will be showcased in The Education Center at The Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. To learn more about the effort to collect these photos and ensure their faces will never be forgotten, visit www.buildthecenter.org.