Crash Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 65-10040
On April 14, 1968, this aircraft from the 116th Assault Helicopter Company had just finished refueling at a POL area and was attempting to lift out when it had a tail rotor failure. The aircraft suffered a hard landing which bent the skids. The gunner, SGT Stanley R. Stellmach Jr., exited the aircraft on the right side and came into contact with the main rotor blade, which was tilted as result of the collapsed right skid. He suffered fatal injuries. No other crewmen were hurt in the incident. [Taken from vhpa.org]
"If you are able, save for them a place inside of you....and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go.....Be not ashamed to say you loved them....
Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own....And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind...."
Quote from a letter home by Maj. Michael Davis O'Donnell
KIA 24 March 1970. Distinguished Flying Cross: Shot down and Killed while attempting to rescue 8 fellow soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces.
We Nam Brothers pause to give a backward glance, and post this remembrance to you, one of the gentle heroes lost to the War in Vietnam:
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 your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers
The Philadelphia Inquirer - April 18, 1968
Sgt. Stellmach was fatally wounded Saturday when hit by a helicopter blade during a combat action, the Defense Department said in a telegram to the family. A helicopter gunner, he had written his family that "I feel like I am doing something for my country."
He attended Woodrow Wilson High School in Levittown. Surviving, in addition to his parents, are a brother, James Anthony, and seven sisters, Martha, Maryann, Elizabeth, Irene, Ann, Florence and Geraldine.
Stan - Our Friend
I think of you often. You were like a brother to me. My daughter Cyndi
remembers you, even though she was only 2 1/2 years old when she last
saw you at Christmas in 1967 riding her tricycle in our apartment. We all had great times growing up. Those memories will never go away. Ironically, my son Sean became best friends with your nephew, Justin while they were in high school.
He looks just like you. We all miss you so much.
Stephanie (Rowan) (Loewy) now Barone.