THOMAS R PURSEL
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HONORED ON PANEL 63E, LINE 16 OF THE WALL

THOMAS RONALD PURSEL

WALL NAME

THOMAS R PURSEL

PANEL / LINE

63E/16

DATE OF BIRTH

09/17/1948

CASUALTY PROVINCE

THUA THIEN

DATE OF CASUALTY

05/19/1968

HOME OF RECORD

YAKIMA

COUNTY OF RECORD

Yakima County

STATE

WA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

ARMY

RANK

WO

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Contact Details

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR THOMAS RONALD PURSEL
POSTED ON 3.5.2014
POSTED BY: Ms Janet L Weston

Climbing High

When we were children in garden park champaign Illinois I can recall as a little girl living next door to the Pursels. They were indeed Christian people. Tom let me follow him around until one day he climbed a very tall tree in his back yard he went to the very top and would not come down-guess he decided being up high in that tree was a great thing.
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POSTED ON 5.5.2013

Final Mission of WO1 Thomas R. Pursel

I met WO1 Thomas R. Pursel in the 15th Med BnMedevac. He was a great pilot and I got to know him very well. We were so close that he even let me fly his helicopter in A Shau Valley while he manned my M-60. While I was flying low level LZ Stallion was been mortared in broad daylight. We flew thru the hell of A Shau Valley during April and May of 1968. We were brought back to Camp Evans by our Platoon Leader Major Goodman. On the day of May 19, 1968 we had had a late lunch. We were discussing what we were going to do together when we finished our tours. We received a mission south of Quang Tri. There were open rice paddies and the ground unit was behind a dike facing west. We came flying in to land on the dike. I was clearing right for Mr. Pursel to land our medevac to pick up the wounded. All of a sudden the ground unit began firing. I thought at first they were putting out suppressive fire. I cleared right again and then come on the voice of MAJ Norris saying, 'Oh My GOD, Pursel has been shot in the head!” I looked over from the right side to his left seat and saw blood coming out behind his head. A rage came thru me like I had never felt before. The sniper shot had come from the left side. I had to wait until the aircraft turned almost 120 degrees around. I started shooting at the trees about 900 feet away. My bullets hit the rice paddy. I fired again and the bullets hit farther out on the rice paddy. The 3rd time I was placing the rounds into the trees where everyone else was shooting because the helicopter had leveled out. I kept shooting as we were leaving. MAJ Norris said give it up seargent. I just kept on shooting. I felt like my whole family had died. The hurt was terrible and I finally stopped shooting my M-60 when the target was out of sight. It has been over 39 years and the memory of Thomas Pursel is still vivid in my mind as if it was yesterday. I write this with tears in my eyes. He will always have a place in my heart. I know if it was me I would have taken that bullet for him. Everyone one in Medevac loved Mr Pursel. Being so close to him as a friend, buddy, crew member on a rescue helicopter was great, but losing him when you have acquired this is a great sadness for me and others who loved him as a great person, friend, pilot and comrade. Forever remembering you, Murray Gibbs, October 2007. [Taken from thewall-usa.com]

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POSTED ON 6.2.2010
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Thomas is buried at West Hills Memorial Park in Yakima, WA. PH
HSC 15th MED BN 1st CAV
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POSTED ON 2.26.2006
POSTED BY: Bill Frederic

Hard charging aviator

Tom and I went to basic training and flight school together in 1966 and he was a good friend. He loved flying, came from a loving family, and died way too early; but he died doing what he loved and for a country he truly loved.
Four of us gathered at Tom's home in Yakima on our way down to Ft Polk after Christmas of `66. His parents slaughtered a steer and fed us all huge steaks, then we loaded into my VW Bug and drove non-stop to Ft Polk from Yakima in the winter. Tom was the organized one and wouldn't sleep at night on the trip. He did very well in flight school and was assigned to a unit different from mine. I miss Tom and visit him at the Wall on my trips to D.C. All of my attempts to contact his parents have failed, so if you read this, please know that Tom is far from forgotten.
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POSTED ON 3.1.2002

Thomas Ronald Pursel

A man from my hometown of Yakima who died on my 8th birthday. How strange to think about, that while I was celebrating life he was losing his in a place not of his choosing. Now I am older than he, strange again to consider. I wonder if he lived in the same part of town that I did or enjoyed some of the same things I did. I feel the brevity of life looking at his information.
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