CWO Larry Woods
I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans
Remembering An American Hero
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice 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. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, Sir
Final Mission of U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17841
SP4 Edward P. K. Wong was a door gunner on a UH1H assigned to the 57th Assault Helicopter Company. On March 27, 1972, he was in his position on a mission to rescue the crew of a downed Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) helicopter which had crashed at a landing zone in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. The other members of the crew were pilots CW2 Larry J. Woods and 2LT Ngo Binh Quan (VNAF) and crew chief SP4 Dennis A. Hannon. Also on board as passengers were CAPT Lyle R. Rhoads Jr., a U.S. Army advisor and CAPT Nguyen Duc Phuc, ground commander of the ARVN 3rd Battalion, 47th Regiment. Wong's UH1H was identified as tail #67-17841. Accompanying gunships made an attack pass to suppress enemy fire in the area, and Wong's helicopter descended to make the rescue attempt. As the aircraft was landing, it received heavy automatic weapons fire, crashed, and rolled down a hill, coming to rest upside down. The two passengers exited the helicopter. CAPT Rhoads stated that he saw both pilots and the crew chief get out of the helicopter, but did not see SP4 Wong leave the aircraft. SP4 Hannon said that after exiting the helicopter, he had seen SP4 Wong heading uphill and that he had a cut on his head and both legs were bleeding. CAPT Rhoads asked the ARVN ground commander about the other Americans. He indicated the location of the crew chief, and said that the other crewman was down the hill, and the American pilot was still in the area of the aircraft. Later, when the ARVN unit on the LZ was preparing to walk to Fire Support Base Charlie, an estimated 2 kilometers to the east, CAPT Rhoads talked to the crew chief and saw the poncho linerstretcher on which SP4 Wong allegedly was lying. CAPT Rhoads did not see him, but saw his right hand holding the litter pole. On his right hand was what appeared to be a class ring. The ARVN unit and surviving Americans were joined by a relief company from Fire Support Base Charlie, and proceeded to walk out at about 1600 hours on March 27. At some unspecified point along the trail, the litter bearers and the litter supposedly carrying SP4 Wong were seen by SP4 Hannon to be resting along the trail. This is the last time that this litter was seen by the surviving Americans. At about 1830 hours, back at the LZ, an orbiting gunship saw one individual wearing black clothing standing on the landing zone waving a piece of white cloth. Fifteen feet away from this man were four or five individuals wearing black or dark clothing, and hidden in a bush hedge. The gunship questioned CAPT Rhoads by radio about the location of friendly forces, and after having been assured twice that all friendlies were off the landing zone, opened fire with rockets. The gunship pilot reported that he hit the group. Upon reaching Fire Support Base Charlie, casualties were loaded into two VNAF and one U.S. Army medivac helicopters. At that time, it was reported that SP4 Wong had been loaded on one of the VNAF helicopters by mistake. Searches were made in the ARVN hospital that had received the wounded and dead from this incident, but Wong was not found. Efforts were made on March 28 and 29 to search the LZ and the trail taken by the survivors, but enemy action prevented this. Wong was never seen again. [Taken from vhpa.org]