District Of Columbia








POSTED ON 8.26.2018
POSTED BY: James William Rosenberg,MD

One of the Best

Was an Intern with Richard 1968-1969. He was a caring and great doc as well as a wonderful man.
LT James W Rosenberg,MD,MC,USNR
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POSTED ON 8.3.2017
POSTED BY: Jim Reece

Burial Information for this Vietnam Veteran.

King David Memorial Garden, Idylwood, VA
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POSTED ON 1.31.2017
POSTED BY: Justin Parks

High School Reunion Spech for Richard Aaron

Below is the tribute I wrote for Rich which was read at his high school reunion.
I took the picture of Rich that you have all likely seen. It was taken in our dispensary just before his death. I made a mistake in the tribute indicating that he had died in 1970. It was actually 1971.

I hope that you are all enjoying your high school reunion. Old friends and faces, looking different but they’re the people with whom you spent an important four years of your life.

One of your classmates was Rich Aaron and I had the good fortune to be his roommate during the last months of his life in early 1970. Rich graduated from Cornell and then from medical school at Georgeton. Via internship and residency, he was an internal medicine specialist. As you likely already know, Rich was killed in a helicopter accident February 1971. All of his fellow passengers were also killed.

Rich arrived in Chu Lai, Viet Nam in late 1970 and we lived together in a shack or hooch affectionately known as Silver Lake Estates. Rich was assigned to the Americal Division, the largest in Viet Nam. The Americal headquarters was best know for being just a few miles from the infamous My Lai where American troops committed what was probably the worst atrocity of the war.

Silver Lake Estates was made of scrounged wood with a tin roof. The sides were covered high with sand filled barrels bags to protect the hooch from anything but a direct hit. The roof was held down by sandbags to protect it from the fierce winds of a typhoon. One room had a sink and a rudimentary shower. The rest of the bathroom was just outside the front door. An outhouse…. It was a one-holer with cut-in-half oil barrels as the receivers. Each day, a Vietnamese worker would pull out the barrels, mix the contents with kerosene and light them. As you can imagine, the smoke was dreadful. That was our home.

Just before Rich arrived, the dispensary in which he would work took a direct hit from a Soviet made 122 rocket. Its warhead contained 15 pounds of high explosives and seven medics were killed in the explosion. I was wounded.

When Rich arrived, the dispensary had been rebuilt. In addition to Rich, the dispensary was staffed by two other MD’s, a dentist, a 1st Lieutenant (me) and about 30 medics. We were also responsible for a half dozen medics who were assigned to firebases distant from the headquarters area.

My memories of Rich are very positive. A quiet, brilliant man and good friend, he was very dedicated to helping both the US soldiers and Viet Nam civilians. The Americal Division had one of the worst drug problems of all the divisions in Viet Nam. Very high quality heroin from the infamous Iron Triangle was easy to obtain and very inexpensive. It came to the Americal Division mostly through local civilians and the South Vietnamese Army. Our allies.

Many of the enlisted medics who worked in our dispensary were addicts and the problem was even worse with the support troops who relied upon the dispensary for medical care.

Upon arrival, Rich immediately set up a drug rehab program consisting primarily of evening group meetings with the addicted troops willing to participate. The problem was that the higher ranking and non-medical officers wanted to know who was attending the sessions, as drug abuse was serious problem. However, Rich knew that identifying the participants would lead to their persecution. It was also likely that the evening meetings would have zero attendance. In his soft but forceful way and at considerable risk to himself, Rich prevailed and the participants were able to remain as anonymous as possible. I worked with Rich at the meetings and can honestly say that he was remarkable in helping the addicts.

The morning of Rich’s helicopter crash, he tried to pull me out of bed to join him. We had only one half day off a week, so in spite of his insistence, I was lazy and stayed in bed and that’s the only reason I can write these words.

Rich was a hero to me and should be to all of you as well. He died a senseless death. He was a dedicated doctor who helped many and died in the process. Please remember him as the hero of your class.
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POSTED ON 12.22.2016

Final Mission of CPT Richard A. Aaron

Final Mission of CPT Richard A. Aaron
On February 6, 1971, a U.S. Army Chinook helicopter CH-47B (tail number 67-18493), call sign Boxcar 20, from 178th Assault Support Helicopter Company, was flying support missions hauling water, munitions, and supplies to various LZ’s (landing zones) when it crashed on approach to LZ Siberia in Quang Tin Province, RVN, with the loss of five crewmen and two passengers. The lost crew included pilots CPT Michael J. Kerl and CPT David L. Alexander, flight surgeon CPT Richard A. Aaron, crew chief SP4 Curtis L. Williams, and gunner SP5 Robert J. Rogers. The passengers were SP4 Robert P. Jacques and CPL Kenneth W. Bonestroo. The following is a summary of the accident: Aircraft 67-18493 was initially launched from the 178th ASHC ramp at Chu Lai East Airfield at 1245 hours, February 6, 1971, to work missions for Northern Division Artillery. The aircraft had originally been scheduled for a 0730 hours takeoff, but it was held down due to weather in its area of operations. Aircraft 493 arrived at Hawk Hill at 1302 hours and departed at 1313 hours. This would have been sufficient time to top off with fuel; however, this could not be verified. Aircraft 493 carried a load of Class Five to LZ Siberia arrived back at Hawk Hill at 1345 hours with a backhaul of water blivets (bladders) from LZ Siberia as recorded on the backhaul sheet, then departed Hawk Hill at 1352 hours with another load for LZ Siberia. After dropping off the load at LZ Siberia, aircraft 493 flew to Tien Phuoc and picked up a water trailer from the 3/16th Arty and took it to LZ Siberia. After dropping off the load, it departed for LZ West and picked up a backhaul of an empty water trailer. After dropping the water trailer at Tien Phuoc, it was flown to Hawk Hill, arriving at 1440 hours. Aircraft 493 was at Hawk Hill for thirty minutes, allowing time to refuel and shutdown for a maintenance check although there is no confirmation that this took place. The POL (fuel) operator at Hawk Hill stated that POL was up the entire day. Aircraft 493 departed Hawk Hill at approximately 1510 in route to LZ Siberia. The RTO (radio telephone operator) at LZ Siberia stated that he received a call from Boxcar 20 saying he was inbound with a load of water blivets and a generator. The RTO stated that nothing was indicated to be wrong during the conversation. At 1525 hours, February 6, 1971, aircraft 493 made an approach to LZ Siberia. It was at a slow airspeed and at an altitude of approximately 150-200 feet AGL (above ground level), when a change in the normal tone of a Chinook on an approach alerted personnel on the ground toward the aircraft. The nose of the aircraft dropped down to the right. The aircraft impacted slightly nose low on its right side along the perimeter line on the west side of the LZ. The aircraft, hitting on a ridge created by the perimeter trench line, broke in half allowing the weight of the aft section to carry that section slightly downhill. The front section of the aircraft was not destroyed by the ensuing fire. The aft section slid down hill and was consumed in fire as the forward section lay on its right side free from the fire. The left forward landing gear was just forward of its normal position indicating some forward airspeed or a slightly nose low attitude; however, the right forward landing gear was buried in its proper position relative to the aircraft. It was bent inboard indicating movement directly to the right which was directly downward. A seeming change in rotor RPM is indicated by a tape recording made approximately one hundred feet away from the crash, the condition of the blades and their position relative to their point of impact with the ground also indicate a possible low rotor rpm. Additional statements by witnesses indicate a slowing of the rotor blades. It is assumed that LT Kerl, sitting in the right seat, was flying since CPT Alexander had been the one who called Hawk Hill for departure. It is unit standard operating procedure that one man flies and the other pilot makes all the radio calls for an entire load and then the process is reversed. The pilot in the left seat, CPT Alexander, was alive when removed from the wreckage, but he was dead on arrival at the Hawk Hill medical facility. Ground elements called for a dustoff (medical evacuation by helicopter) and notified their higher elements who in turn called the 123rd Aviation Battalion and the 178th Operations. [Taken from]
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POSTED ON 8.22.2016
POSTED BY: Lucy Conte Micik


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