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is honored on Panel 12W, Line 120 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Leave a Remembrance


  • Not a Day Goes By When I Don't Remember and Mourn

    Posted on 10/14/18 - by Beverley Brackett
    When you died I was 9, and absolutely devastated. Daddy got time off from OTS to go to your funeral with Aunt Lynn. I wanted to go so badly and didn't understand why I couldn't. I worshiped the ground you walked on, and you were so kind to your adoring niece. Rest in peace, sweet son of Iowa. We'll meet again in the place where no sorrows dwell.
  • I served with Ed.

    Posted on 7/19/18 - by Dave Wood
    Ed was stationed at Atsugi Naval Air Station in the early 60's. He was one of my best friends. He always spoke about never being a "lifer," wanting to return to Marshalltown, and going to college. I learned several years ago that he was killed in this crash. I'm not one to weep, but I cried for a long time. God bless you Ed. I'll Never forget our favorite laugh moment ... "Tight ass and tight jaws."
  • VFW Post 10249

    Posted on 2/14/16 - by VFW Post 10249
    Established 8 Jan 1972, AFTN Memorial VFW Post 10249 in Udon thailand, is named in memory of the nine airmen killed on duty when a battle damaged RF-4C Phantom aircraft crashed into the Armed Forces Thailand Network (AFTN) Udorn Radio-TV Station on 10 Apr 1970. - See more at:
  • Ground Casualty

    Posted on 11/20/15 - by
    An early afternoon reconnaissance mission was scheduled to check out a line of communication in northwestern Laos on April 10, 1970. While maintenance crews prepared their RF-4C Phantom (65863), pilot MAJ John L. Leaphart and navigator CAPT Joseph C. Bernholtz attended the intelligence and weather briefing at 0930 and the mission meeting at 0955. Take-off was scheduled for 1255. To gain additional information, MAJ Leaphart spent time conferring with other crews who had flown into the target area earlier. At 1302 they were airborne and soon pointed toward their target across the Mekong. Leaphart and Bernholtz easily pinpointed their target while zipping along at 480 to 540 knots at 4500 feet with at least five miles visibility. Neither observed any ground fire while on the target run, as they continued on a climb-out to the southeast to head back to Udorn. Suddenly at approximately 1330, a master caution light illuminated indicating the PC-2 hydraulic system had failed. CAPT Bernholtz observed a three to six-inch hole in the right wing in front of the spoiler. Ethan Control was contacted and an emergency was declared. Bullwhip 17 was vectored by Ethan Control to catch up to Falcon 34 to help assess the damage and check for controllability of their Phantom. Bullwhip joined Falcon 34 about 20 miles east of Udorn. Despite the discovery that the Utility Hydraulic System also failed, they determined that Falcon 34 was controllable and would attempt to lower the landing gear and arresting hook. Bullwhip confirmed that the gear and hook were down and prepared for a no flap landing and barrier engagement on runway 30. MAJ Leaphart was able to position the Phantom on final approach at 185 knots as ground observers less than a mile from touchdown, described the approach as straight and controlled. Suddenly, with less than one half mile to Udorn, Falcon 34 rolled to the right. MAJ Leaphart fought to counter the roll with full left stick and rudder. The controls had no effect on the aircraft and it continued to roll and drift to the right. Falcon 34 attempted a go-around but the right roll was unstoppable and continued at more than 175 knots. As the F-4 reached 45 to 60 degrees of bank and a nose high attitude, controls had no effect on the flight. The crew bailed out. MAJ Leaphart landed on a building and subsequently fell from it fracturing a bone in his right foot. CAPT Bernholtz also landed on a building, suffering a cut over his right eye. The crippled Phantom crashed into the housing area on base, turning the entire area into a blazing inferno. Nine USAF men perished in the crash. Most died as the pilotless Phantom plowed into the base radio and television studio. They included TSGT Jack A. Hawley, SSGT James T. Howard, A1C Andrew C. McCartney, SSGT Alfred N. Potter, SGT John C. Rose, SGT Frank D. Ryan Jr., SSGT Edward W. Strain, TSGT Roy Walker, and A1C Thomas L. Waterman. Flames destroyed nine buildings and one trailer. Property loss was estimated at $147,000. Following the crash, COL David S. Mellish, 432th TRW, compiled vital information in a 48 Hour Mishap Report which was transmitted to 13th Air Force at Clark AB in the Philippines. MAJ Leaphart had flown for 13 years, 3465 hours of which 1361 were in RF-4C. Capt. Bernholtz had flown for nearly 10 years, 2659 hours with 372 in RF-4C aircraft. The crew was medically qualified to fly the mission and had adequate food and rest 48-hours prior to the accident. Nothing was found which could impair their ability to perform the mission. A maintenance analysis of aircraft forms indicated there were no contributing factors due to maintenance performed or possible systems failure due to past history. Commander Mellish reported that Falcon 34 was hit by an unknown number of rounds of hostile AAA fire which caused the loss. [Taken from]
  • Remembering An American Hero

    Posted on 12/14/13 - by Curt Carter
    Dear SSGT Edward W Strain, sir

    As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

    May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

    With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

    Curt Carter
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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.