ROBERT A BAETZEL
VIEW ALL PHOTOS (1)
HONORED ON PANEL 29W, LINE 95 OF THE WALL

ROBERT ALLEN BAETZEL

WALL NAME

ROBERT A BAETZEL

PANEL / LINE

29W/95

DATE OF BIRTH

02/28/1947

CASUALTY PROVINCE

HUA NGHIA

DATE OF CASUALTY

03/21/1969

HOME OF RECORD

CHICAGO HEIGHTS

COUNTY OF RECORD

Cook County

STATE

IL

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

WO

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR ROBERT ALLEN BAETZEL
POSTED ON 10.19.2016
POSTED BY: Lucy Conte Micik

Remembered

DEAR WARRANT OFFICER BAETZEL,
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AS AN UTILITY LIGHT & CARGO SINGLE ROTOR HELICOPTER PILOT. PEOPLE ARE DECORATING AND PREPARING FOR HALLOWEEN. IT IS BECAUSE OF YOU WE CAN. REST IN PEACE
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POSTED ON 2.2.2015
POSTED BY: wkillian@smjuhsd.org

Final Mission of WO1 Robert A. Baetzel

MAJ Riley dispatched eight (8) UH-1 troop ships at 2130 hours for Bearcat with crews scheduled for mission of March 21, 1969. The eight ships departed Bearcat in two flights, one of six and one of 2 ships at 2130 hours. The flights landed at Blackhorse, by 2230, March 20, 1969. All eight aircraft were shut down in "l" revetments. Between 0445 and 0505 hours on March 21, 1969, the crews were awakened. At 0518 hours Alpha lead called Blackhorse tower for instructions for a flight of eight. Alpha lead received instructions, acknowledged them, and moved out to his position on Runway 11. Chalk #2 and #3 of Alpha flight moved out in order and took up their positions. Aircraft #380, belonging to Bravo flight from the position assignments of March 20, 1969, moved out in front of Bravo lead to assume the position of Chalk #4 Alpha flight. This move was challenged by Bravo lead, but aircraft #380 remained Chalk #4 Alpha flight. Bravo lead then assumed the fifth position, and Alpha lead. Tower frequency was unaware that he now had a flight of four. At 0522 hours, Blackhorse tower cleared Alpha lead and a flight of eight for takeoff to the east of Runway 11. Alpha lead initiated his take off and climbed out, followed by chalks #2, #3, and #4 of Alpha flight, still unaware that he had four ships. At approximately 200 feet above ground level (AGL), Alpha lead experienced a thin wisp of cloud or haze and noticed low hanging clouds to the northeast, or to his left. At this time he executed an abrupt right turn using approximately 25 degrees of bank and transmitted to the flight to "Come up a loose, loose V of 8". Alpha Chalks #2, #3, began to turn and move out of their formation positions. Chalk #3 could partially see a hazy running light on Alpha lead. However, as he slipped left, to the east, to gain his position in the "v", he also experienced IFR weather conditions intermittently and did not break clear completely until he reached 2000 feet indicated. Chalk Alpha #4, moved to pick up his position centered behind lead to form a diamond. He did not begin a climb and attempted to descend below the level of the clouds until his pilot & crew members yelled "trees!", and at a position believed to be not more than ten feet above the tree tops, began a normal climb, remaining in and out until 2000 feet altitude indicated. Simultaneously, Bravo flight took off with a separation on Alpha lead of approximately 30 seconds. The sequence of radio calls, after Bravo lead turned right is as follows: Bravo lead: "Flight, stay loose, loose trail, carry it out for separation to the east." Bravo Chalk#2: ā€œChalk #2, I'm in trouble, watch me." Unidentified: "Doing a one-eighty." Alpha lead: "Continue turning to a westerly heading." Bravo lead: "Chalk #3, are you in trouble?" Alpha Chalk #3: I'm not in trouble." Alpha lead: "I'm aware of that, stay off the air." While these transmissions were taking place, Alpha flight was in and out of clouds from 1000 to 2000 feet indicated altitude in a right turn to crosswind and downwind legs. Bravo flight was in trail formation carrying out to the east for separation. Bravo lead initiated and maintained a climb of 1000 feet per minute, 40 pounds of torque, 60 knots (knots in air speed). Bravo Chalk #2 aircraft 354 and Chalk #3 and trail continued on this ground track in a 3 ship staggered right formation. Aircraft 354 was climbing slowly at a rate less than 300 rpm and Chalk #3 aircraft 928 was following him. When 354 transmitted, "I'm in trouble watch me," he was most probably encountering, unexpectedly, the same IFR conditions all five previous ships had entered, but failed to identify or warn about it over the air. Approximately 1 minute 30 seconds after liftoff, aircraft 354, while attempting to climb out slowly and turn right to a westerly heading as instructed by alpha lead, flew directly into the side of a 1260ā€™ hill. The entire crew perished in the crash, including pilots WO1 Robert A. Baetzel and 1LT Harry H. Gibson, crew chief SGT Ted D. Mills, and gunner SP4 Albert O. Krausser. A passenger in the aircraft survived. [Taken from vhpa.org]
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POSTED ON 9.13.2014
POSTED BY: Catherine Rogers Sarabia

My childhood friend

Today I visited the Traveling Viet Nam Wall and found him. One of 58,300 - one of the brightest and the best. The night he piloted his helicopter into a storm and crashed into the side of a cliff, killing him and his crew, was a night when the world stopped turning for many people in his life. I remember so many laugh-filled days and nights, playing board games, shooting pool, swimming in the river at my grandparents' cottage, hot dogs and hamburgers, and grabbing for soda pop from the icy water in the cooler, with my brothers and his sister, while our parents partied in some other room, leaving us to enjoy our time together. And every leap year on February 29, HE is the one I think of, because he helped me answer a homework question about why we needed a leap day. He was my friend, my hero, my first crush. God bless you, Bobby, you will forever be in my heart. #VietNamWall
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POSTED ON 2.1.2014
POSTED BY: Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net

Remembering An American Hero

Dear WO Robert Allen Baetzel, 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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POSTED ON 7.14.2013

Fellow Vietnam Pilot

It's been so long, but it feels like yesterday. Bob and I were pilots in the same company (335th AHC), same platoon (1st-Ramrods). I'll never forget the morning of March 21st, 1969, when word came back that two aircraft, 8 people, were lost taking off in early morning fog from Blackhorse. Such a tragedy. I distinctly remember Bob as a real gentleman and one of the best, smoothest pilots that I had ever flown with....may you RIP.
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