God Bless you Bill Michel
Bill and I shared an R&R together in Australia in January '70. He had just been promoted to 1st Lt and the job of General Casey's pilot. I questioned him as to why he extended his tour but he figured he'd be sent back to Nam sooner or later. Plus he was the AC and
the General was the peter pilot, so Bill figured he had everything under control.
DIVISION COMMANDER KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH
DIVISION COMMANDER KILLED IN HELICOPTER CRASH
The 1st Cavalry Division suffered a tragic loss
early in July when the 1st Cavalry Division
Command Helicopter, piloted by Major General
George William Casey, enroute to visit wounded
Skytroopers, crashed in a remote area in
South Vietnam / Laos.
Six members of his personal staff perished with him:
John Alexander Hottell III
William Frederick Michel
Command Sergeant Major
Kenneth William Cooper
Division Sergeant Major
William Lee Christenson
Ronald Francis Fuller
Vernon Kenneth Smolik
Aide & Stenographer
General Casey took command of the
1st Cavalry Division, considered the
Army's best, in May, while the division was
engaged in the operation against the communist
sanctuaries in Cambodia.
He served as the Task Force Commander in that
The Division, the Association, the Army, and
the Nation, lost a dedicated and gallant leader.
As one of the youngest Major Generals in the
United States Army, General Casey was an outstanding
soldier with a bright future.
In the names of the men,
the Association extends deepest sympathy.
Transcribed from -
Published by and for Veterans of the Famous
1st Cavalry Division ( Airmobile )
Volume 19 - Number 4
July / August 1970
The following is an excerpt from,
THE CHANGING WAR IN CAMBODIA, 1969 - 1970
The 1st Cavalry Division operation in Cambodia far exceeded all expectations and proved to be one of the most successful operations in the history of the First Team.
All aspects of ground and air combat were utilized-air cavalry, armor, infantry, and mechanized infantry.
The U.S. Air Force reconnaissance, tactical air, and B-52's performed yeoman duty throughout the campaign there.
This team effort, spearheaded by the airmobile flexibility inherent in the 1st Cavalry, carried the war to the enemy and defeated him in his own backyard.
Major General George W. Casey had taken command of the 1st Cavalry on 12 May from Major General Elvy B. Roberts.
General Roberts, who had been scheduled to turn over command of the division on 3 May, had been extended until 12 May in order to plan, organize, and command the initial phases of the Cambodian operation.
On 6 July 1970, he wrote a letter to his troops summing up the 1st Cavalry's part in the Cambodian Campaign.
Excerpts from the letter are as follows:
The results are impressive. You killed enough of the enemy to man three NVA Regiments; captured or destroyed enough individual and crew-served weapons to equip two NVA Divisions; and denied the enemy an entire year's supply of rice for all of his maneuver battalions in our AO. You captured more rocket, mortar, and recoilless rifle rounds than the enemy fired in all of III Corps during the twelve months preceding our move into Cambodia. And, perhaps most important, by working together in an airmobile team, you disrupted the' enemy's entire supply system, making chaos of his base areas and killing or driving off his rear service personnel.
Only time will tell how long it will take the NVA to recover, but of this you can be sure—you have set the enemy back sufficiently to permit President Nixon's redeployment plan to proceed with safety while assuring that our Vietnamese Allies maintain their freedom. This is your achievement. This is yet another demonstration that you of the 1st Cavalry Division deserve—and have earned again—the accolade of the FIRST TEAM. It is my honor to have served alongside you during this crucial and historic period.
The following day on the morning of 7 July, Major General George W. Casey was enroute to Cam Ranh Bay to visit wounded Sky Troopers in the hospital.
Flying over the rugged mountains of the Central Highlands, General Casey's helicopter entered a thick cloudbank and disappeared from sight.
In the late afternoon of 9 July, the wreckage of the General's helicopter was found.
General Casey and all the officers and men aboard had been killed instantly in the crash.
George had served with me as my Chief of Staff during 1967.
Prior to that he commanded the 2d Brigade under Major General John Norton.
His death was a great personal loss to me and everyone who had served with him.
Major General George W. Putnam, whose 1st Aviation Brigade had been doing a fantastic job in supporting Army of the Republic of Vietnam operations in the Parrot's Beak to the south, was ordered to take command of the 1st Cavalry Division.
27 November 2001
Slip off that pack. Set it down by the crooked trail. Drop your steel pot alongside. Shed those magazine-ladened bandoliers away from your sweat-soaked shirt. Lay that silent weapon down and step out of the heat. Feel the soothing cool breeze right down to your soul....and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.
From all your "Band of Nam Brothers"