Crash Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-00909
On November 30, 1967 a helicopter from 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Air Cavalry Division was on a night flight, returning from a briefing in Bong Son to An Khe. The poor weather caused the flight crew to switch to IFR. At 2100 hours the aircraft crashed into a mountain top near Doc Pho in Quang Nam province. The crash killed pilot MAJ Stephen R. Porcella and crew chief SSGT Kenneth D. McKee. Co-pilot 1LT Griffith B. Bedworth reportedly survived the crash and lived 1-2 days before dying of exposure. A passenger, CAPT F. Harold Kushner, also survived the crash. Kushner was an Army Medical Corps Flight Surgeon and had broken a tooth and sustained a wound to his shoulder when the helicopter crashed. He was subsequently captured by the Viet Cong. During his captivity, his wife, Valerie, became active in the effort to end the war, believing that was the only hope her husband had of returning home. Kushner became ambivalent about the war himself, and when held in North Vietnam, made propaganda tapes until informed by the more organized prisoners captured and held in the North that it was prohibited. Kushner was released March 16, 1973 from North Vietnam. [Taken from vhpa.org and pownetwork.org]
Remembering an American Hero
Dear Major Stephen Richard Porcella, sir
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for the ultimate sacrifice that you 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. And please know that men and women like you have stepped forward to defend our country yet again, showing the same love for country and their fellow Americans that you did- you would be proud.
With respect, and the best salute that a civilian can muster for you.