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POSTED ON 1.7.2021
POSTED BY: Dennis Wriston

I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

Lance Corporal Thomas Fred Hankins, Served with Company E, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Third Marine Amphibious Force.
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POSTED ON 3.21.2019
POSTED BY: Lucy Micik

Thank You

Dear Lcpl Thomas Hankins,
Thank you for your service as a Rifleman. The war was years ago, but we all need to acknowledge the sacrifices of those like you who answered our nation's call. Please watch over America, it stills needs your strength, courage and faithfulness. Rest in peace with the angels.
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POSTED ON 7.20.2017

Final Mission of LCPL Thomas F. Hankins

On October 11, 1968, two Marine helicopters, a CH-46 helicopter (#151917) from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM 265), and a UH-34 (#148802) from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362 (HMM 362), were involved in a mid-air collision near Ha Nha along the north bank of Vu Gia River, 7 miles northwest of An Hoa in Quang Nam Province, RVN. Fourteen personnel were lost in the incident. The following is a personal account of the collision by Frank Powell: I was standing near the top of Hill 52 at the 3/7 CP. The CO and SGT MAJ of the arty battalion supporting us had gone down the hill to catch a ride on CH-46 (#151917) which was in the LZ just below. As they ran up the back ramp, the crew chief on the CH-46 motioned for them to get off. They turned around and departed the aircraft. I watched as the CH-46 took off, without any passengers, and began climbing out in a steep ascent with its nose pointing south toward An Hoa. It was a clear, sunny day with a few scattered clouds high in the sky. At about 800-1,000 feet, the CH-46 came up underneath a UH-34 (#148802) which was flying overhead on a similar heading. It appeared that each helicopter was in the other’s blind spot and that no visual contact had been made between them. I don't think the two fuselages actually collided, but they chewed off each other’s rotor blades. An orange fireball and black smoke erupted from the rear of the CH-46. A series of quick clacking sounds and a muffled explosion reached us on the ground as the blade parts were sent flying in every direction overhead. The two aircraft momentarily just hung there. Then the CH-46, its aft end burning and smoking, began tumbling end over end toward the ground. The UH-34 simply nosed over, the weight of the big radial engine in its nose causing it to plunge straight down like a dart. Clearly visible, standing at the open forward hatch of the CH-46, a crewman somehow managed to keep his position as the aircraft somersaulted downward. As the UH-34 hurtled down, I saw three passengers dive out the starboard loading hatch. One of them assumed a spread-eagle position, like a free-falling skydiver. The others just tumbled. Thunderous noises echoed across the valley floor as the aircraft impacted on a sandbar which extended out into the Vu Gia River. Thankfully, it was on our side of the river, the other side belonged to Charlie. The UH-34 hit first, sending up a towering eruption of bellowing fire, white smoke, and streaking shards of red flame. The CH-46 quickly followed, close by on the same stretch of sand. The aft section, with the engines, split away from the forward half of the aircraft and was a burning heap. Black greasy smoke plumed high into the sky. The forward section did not catch fire. I ran down to the crash site and found Marines from Mike Company, 3/7, pulling the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot, crew chief, and crewman out of the CH-46. Three crumpled bodies, those who dived out of the UH-34, rested on the sand in the immediate vicinity of the UH-34 wreckage. The Mike Company Marines spoke of a fourth individual who had dived out and had landed in the river. I could not verify it. The UH-34 was burning white hot, so intense that it was impossible to get near it. Within a few hours, the wreckage was reduced to a surprisingly small mound of gray ashes, making the retrieval or identification of human remains virtually impossible. This remains one of the sadder days in my life. (By Frank Powell, taken from The lost crew of the CH-46 included pilots 1LT William T. Hale and 1LT Jeffrey W. Rainaud, crew chief SGT Marvin Wesley Jr., and gunner CPL Gary D. Kemski. The lost crew of the UH-34 was comprised of aircraft commander 1LT Peter E. Schryver, pilot CAPT Steven W. Martin, and crewmen LCPL Lantie L. Harris Jr. and LCPL Lawrence C. Kleinhans. Passengers on the UH-34 included LCPL Willie C. Ferguson Jr., LCPL Thomas F. Hankins, LCPL Brian T. Heaver, HN Ivan L. Heller, CPL Benny J. Hicks, and CPL J.D. Walters. [Taken from,, and]
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POSTED ON 10.4.2013
POSTED BY: Curt Carter

Remembering An American Hero

Dear LCPL Thomas Fred Hankins, 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 4.11.2012

For LCPL Thomas Fred HANKINS, USMC...another of Puittsburgh's bravest of heroes, who gave his all!!!

He loved us so.
Every day, in a hundred ways, he told us so.
In honesty, in affection, he told us so.
He loved us so.
Every day, in a hundred ways, he showed us so.
With loyalty and bravery, he showed us so.
He was our defender, and he kept us free!
He took an oath to guard us, and fought for liberty!
He loved us so, and we should know.
For we loved him so.
LCPL Hankins, you have given all that mortality can give! You had been there and done that! Your bravery and courage will be remembered and told and retold for uyears and years to come. You brought honor to not only the Corps, but also to Pittsburgh, the home of HEROES BRAVE AND TRUE! the city where three rivers the home of the BUCS and the STEELERS! Your name and fame are the birthright of EVERY American citizen! You had lived up to the code of conduct and chivalry of those who guard this beloved ideal SO NOBLE that it arouses a sense of pride and yet, of humility. I believe that Jill Corey, whom Avonmore (her home town) and Pittsburgh (where she got her start) can claim as one of their own, and whom I admire as one of my three top favorite fabulous songbirds, along with Julie Andrews, who's from England, and Dusty Springfield, also from England, though she passed on some years before, would be very proud of your servidce to America, and the sacrifices you made to protect and defend the Constitution and our country, keeping us free! Well done, Marine! Be thou at peace. SEMPER FI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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