LARRY JAMES WOODS
LARRY J WOODS
11/10/2022 at 10:54pm
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]
From Larry's brother Jim
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Frye – 1932
"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 hero’s 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 heros lost to the War in Vietnam:
... and rest forever in the shade of our love, brother.
From your Nam-Band-Of-Brothers