Last Mission of U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-46D tail number 153360Posted on 3/23/13 - by email@example.com
This aircraft was downed by heavy automatic weapons fire enroute to Khe Sanh on a recovery mission. The helicopter crashed, rolled down a mountain, exploded and burned. There were no survivors. The crew included aircraft commander MAJ Edwin G. Meixner, pilot CAPT Robert L. Sevell, crew chief CPL Alfredo Benigni, and gunners CPL Danny D. Gard and SGT Marc W. McCabe. The aircraft was also carrying 18 passengers: CPL Kenneth R. Bradley, LCPL Ronald S. H. Christman, CPL Donald N. Cooper, LCPL John A. Thotland, SGT John P. Toth, CPL William O. Turner, BU1 Charles O. Spillman, CAPT Jay W. Stull, PFC Emmett C. Stanton, SGT Charles E. Parsons, SGT James H. Mikels, CAPT John P. Ellis, LCPL Matthew M. Dwyer, CPL Ronald L. Dempsey, LCPL Kyle J. Coles, CPL Robert E. Caldwell, PFC David Z. Balades, and HN Donald A. LaBonte. The HMM-262 Command Chronology reports this CH-46D incident as follows: 'One (1) aircraft was shot down by enemy fire while enroute to Khe Sanh, (XD916522) all twenty three (23) occupants on the aircraft were killed.' The 3rd Marine Division operations log February 28, 1968 entry 154 at 1315H says: 'From 4th Marines: At [1229H] one CH-46 aircraft proceeding from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh with crew of 4 and 19 other personnel was downed by enemy fire in grid square XD9453 ... ' Entry 155 says 'Platoon from 39 reached downed aircraft. One survivor reported badly burned not expected to live.' Entry 175 says in part 'Lima 39 platoon inserted as reaction force moved bodies and survivor to LZ 100 meters from crash site. Extraction completed at 1650H. 22 dead, 1 medevac.' It is clear there were 23 men on the helo, 22 were killed, and 1 survived the crash but was not expected to live. However, there is no known 'Died of wounds received in helo incident' between February 28 and March 31, 1968 inclusive. There are two possibilities: DD1300 for Donald A. LaBonte, 6857405 HN (E3) USN. LaBonte is in the CACCF as A2-D-7, died of wounds, small arms fire, ground. However, the DD1300 is specific in saying LaBonte was 'Killed in action February 28, 1968 in the vicinity of Khe Sanh Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam as a result of wounds sustained when aircraft was hit by automatic weapons fire.' The CACCF is correct in saying LaBonte died of wounds, but it is wrong in classifying his death as due to small arms fire in a ground engagement. Looking at it from a different direction, we have documented all personnel KIA on February 28th except LaBonte, as well as one WIA who died May 28, 1968. It seems clear that he was the badly burned survivor from 153360 (From Ken Davis) [Taken from vhpa.org]
I wish I could remember youPosted on 2/28/13 - by firstname.lastname@example.org
I was only a baby when they took you from me .I love you and miss having you in my life your daughter Donna
Dearest FreddiePosted on 2/27/13
I will never forget you, I will always carry you in my heart, with much love, your sister in-law, Maria.XO
We RememberPosted on 10/6/11 - by Robert Sage email@example.comAlfredo is buried at St Peter & Paul Cemetery,Broomall,PA.
You took my place...Posted on 5/27/11 - by Kellan Kyllo...crewchief HMM-262 Echotango2@aol.comMy dear friend, my dear Marine friend, I'll always remember you. Semper Fi.
Thank you Corporal Alfredo BenigniPosted on 2/28/04 - by Donald Lytle firstname.lastname@example.orgI want to thank you Alfredo Benigni, for your courageous and valiant service, faithful contribution, and your most holy sacrifice given to this great country of ours!MORE
Your Spirit is alive--and strong, therefore Marine, you shall never be forgotten, nor has your death been in vain!
Again, although we never met personally, thank you Corporal Alfredo Benigni, for a job well done!
REST IN ETERNAL PEACE MY MARINE FRIEND
The Philadelphia Inquirer-March 12, 1968Posted on 2/8/04 - by Jim McIlhenney email@example.comCpl. Alfred Benigni, 20, of 402 Waverly terrace, Rutledge.MORE
Cpl. Benigni wrote his parents, Livio and Dinah Benigni, of 445 Sylvania ave., Folsom, on February 24 that their prayers "must have been answered. No one in my copter has been hurt. We are thankful for that because we have had a lot of trouble," he said.
COPTER SHOT DOWN
On February 28, he was among 22 serviceman killed when their transport helicopter was shot down near Khe Sanh. He was a crew cheif in the aircraft. He is also survived by his wife, Theresa, and their 17-month-old daughter.
Upper Darby High School Vietnam ProjectPosted on 2/4/04 - by Dave Tatum Davetatum@aol.comAlfredo Benigni was a young man of a quiet character, a warm smile a good sense of humor, and a trusting nature. Fred graduated from Ridley High School in 1965. After graduation he joined the Marines. He joined because his older brother, Leo, had joined earlier. Fred looked up to his older brother and wanted to be just like him. While in the USMC Fred married Theresa and while he was in Vietnam she gave birth to his Daughter, Donna Marie. Fred and his daughter never met.MORE
Fred was crew chief on a CH-46 Sea Night helicopter. On February 28, 1968 during the Tet Offensive he was on a mission to recover three damaged aircraft at the Marine base at Khe Sanh. The base was being attacked by 40,000 NVA troops and was involved in a horrific struggle. As Fred helicopter was passing the Rock Pile along Highway 9 the pilot radioed that they were taking automatic weapons fire. There were no further communications. The aircraft then turned to the right and started to descend towards the valley at a high rate of speed.The CH -46 hit the valley floor at full speed. Fred and all aboard were killed.
One of Alfredo’s last conversations about his wife and daughter was on the day of his death. Friends asked why he continued to fly dangerous missions instead of getting a safer job which was possible for him. He simply said that he felt it was his duty and that if he did not contribute, someone else would have to bare the same responsibility.
Corporal Alfredo Benigni had been in South Vietnam for seven months and was expected to return home in August of 1968. His courage and devotion to duty in the face of hazardous flying conditions were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps. His exemplary conduct, leadership, and singular determination to do every job well were qualities that all of his friends in Vietnam respected. Alfredo Benigni is an honored fallen hero who will never be forgotten. Semper Fi brother and well done.
Thank you SoldierPosted on 10/22/03 - by Kristin Butikofer firstname.lastname@example.orgHello, my name is Kristin Butikofer and I attend Gridley High School in Gridley Illinois. Although we have never met personally, I would like to thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice. You left many things behind, but the most important thing you left was your life and this country. I respect you greatly. You will never be forgotten. Thank you so much and God bless.MORE
Not Be ForgottenPosted on 10/20/03 - by Justine James email@example.comMy name is Justine James and I go to Gridley High School and I am writing remembrances for a project in our U.S. history class. Thank you for the sacrifices you made in the name of freedom and our country. Your bravery and patriotism will not be forgotten. It is greatly appreciated.MORE
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.