Case, Orson Howard, Cpl

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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
Last MOSGroup
Primary Unit
1965-1966, 1st Marine Regiment/2nd Bn, 1st Marine Regiment (2/1)
Service Years
1960 - 1966


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Home State
New York
New York
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by GySgt John Rush (MTWS Asst Chief Admin) to remember Marine Cpl Orson Howard Case.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Jul 15, 1966
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Ferndale Cemetery - Johnstown, New York
Wall/Plot Coordinates
09E 021

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 Unit Assignments
1st Marine Regiment/2nd Bn, 1st Marine Regiment  (2/1)
  1965-1966, 1st Marine Regiment/2nd Bn, 1st Marine Regiment (2/1)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)/Operation Hastings
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (1966-67)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
UTM grid reference is YD038649
CH-46A 152500
Died 3dMed.

MAG 16 SITREP 152101H to 162100H July 1966: MAG 16 SITREP 152101H to 162100H July 1966) The picture of a flaming CH-46A (one of the most famous pictures of the war) is the subject CH-46A after it caught fire and was trying to get to the ground. It was filled with 12 USMCR troops and its crew of four. Other crew members of the aircraft were Sgt Gary Alan Lucas, gunner (second and third degree burns-face and arms), Capt Thomas C. (TC) McAllister, pilot, and 1stLt George Richey Jr., copilot. Personal Narrative: Ronald Cutlers and Jim Reid who were members of Company B, 3rd Engineer Battalion that was attached to H&S/2/1, killed on EP-171. I was an Engineer assigned to the Engineer detachment with 2/1 and was also TAD to HQ CO 2/1 since leaving San Diego with 2/1 in August of 65. Prior to that, I was one of the instructors at the Division Demolition Land mine Warfare School at Pendleton and was sent to join 211 at the docks in San Diego the night before we sailed. Once we eventually were sent to Phu Bai. I was attached all over the place wherever 1 was needed and in late June, I was sent up to Cam To with E Co. to support an artillery Battery. I believe it was called "Task I Init Charlie". In the early morning hours of June 28th we were heavily mortared and nearly over run That morning, after the stet rose, I received a rather cryptic radio message to return to Dong Ha to catch a flight back to Phu Bai and was sent with a lone driver in a M- all the way back Dong Fla to catch the flight. Upon landing, and the ramp of the plane lowering, I saw my replacement Cpl. Jim Reid, a young African American that I knew to be a real nice guy, Coming down the ramp and briefly told him what had happened the right before as we passed on the ramp. I heard later while at Chu Lai, that Jim and those I was up there with were all lost in that burning Crash on July 15th, that appeared airborne and in flames on the Cover of "Stars and Stripes". While I knew it to be true, and after several emotional aborted attempts, over a period of several years, to find Jims name on the wall in DC, I recently overcame those demons and located his name on the mini traveling wall that was visiting my hometown. It was a fellow instructor from the Division School al Pendleton, who had arranged for me to come to Chu Lai and give the classes at the VC trail he was setting up to train new arrivals in detecting and avoiding VC mines and booby traps, that pulled me from the operation on the DMZ a full month prior to my anticipated rotation dale and of Course ultimately saved me front the horrible fate my replacement met in that aircraft only 15 days later. Submitted by Mike Shinkle, Comment on Incident: July 15, 1966: Michael A. Cunnion, quarterback on the Holy Cross [Worcester, Mass] varsity football team, is Killed in Action along with 12 other Marines when his helicopter is hit by Viet Cong fire and crashes in Quange Tri province. Submitted by Wally Beddoe, POPASMOKE Webmaster Official USMC Source: "After Marine jets and artillery prepped to two initial assault LZs for operation HASTINGS, 24 CH-46s from HMM-164 and HMM-265 brought the first wave of Marines from 3d Battalion, 4th Marines into LZ Crow, about five miles northeast of the Rockpile starting at 0800. The 24 CH-46As were divided into six divisions of four aircraft each since LZ Crow appeared large enough to accommodate four aircraft landing together. Each CH-46 carried 14 troops plus a crew of four. Since numerous automatic weapon positions were located to the northeast, the final approach heading was generally southeast, which caused the terrain to slope downhill to the zone. There was a tailwind of about 5 knots. The first two divisions landed in Crow without incident. HMM-265's EP-155, in the third division, overshot the landing point and hit a tree line, causing strike damage plus minor injuries to the crew and passengers. It came to rest to the right, outside and the zone and was smoking. HMM-164's YT-15, flown by MAJ Tom Reap, was the fifth division leader. The second ship in the fifth division was HMM-164's YT-18, flown by CPT W.J. Sellers. HMM-265's EP-160, flown by CPT R.O. Harper, was the third ship and CPT L. Farrell in EP-174 was the last ship in the fifth division which approached the zone in a free-trail formation. In the report of aircraft mishap, MAJ Reap stated he believed he was slightly high and fast on final. Rather than flare and place his wingman in an awkward position, he picked a clear area about 75 feet east of the LZ. He came to a hover and the crew helped him avoid a small ridge already occupied by Marines. He started losing rotor RPM as he pulled power to move over the ridge. The CH-46 dropped the last 8-10 feet to the ground and landed hard. Sellers was about four rotor diameters behind Reap and a little higher. He flared to about 20 degrees nose up to get rid of this airspeed and moved abeam of the leader as he came to a high hover. Some trees near the stream, a stand of 20 foot bamboo, and troops already on the ground limited his touchdown choices. He started losing RPM in the hover and set down to the left of Reap. Both CH-46s were on uneven ground. YT-18 was only on the ground about four seconds before it meshed aft rotors with YT-15, which had already lowered its ramp and troops were leaving. Both aircraft began to shake and vibrate violently; then broke at the splice just forward of the aft pylon. The pylon dropped, injuring some men inside. YT-15's blades killed two Marines who had just left the aircraft. At 1815, while inserting a reaction company to guard the three CH-46s in LZ Crow, HMM-265's EP-171, flown by CPT T.C. McAllister with SGT R.R. Telfer as crew chief, was hit at 1,500 feet by 12.7mm fire. Photos taken from the ground show smoke coming from the cockpit windows and flames from the rear of the aircraft. When they tried landing on Crow, smoke filled the cockpit so no one could see. They overshot the LZ and crashed on the edge of the battalion's CP and 81 mortars. Thirteen Marines died and three were injured in this incident. Thereafter, the Marines referred to the Ngan River Valley as "Helicopter Valley". Comments: COL Hall, Richard; CO MAG-16; ; MAJ Reap, Tom; HAC HMM-164; ; CAPT Sellers, W.J.; HAC HMM-164; ; CAPT Harper, R.O.; HAC HMM-265; ; CAPT Farrell, L.; HAC HMM-265; ; CAPT McAllister, T.C.; HAC HMM-265; ; SGT Telfer, R.R.; CE HMM-265; KIA; The source for this information was USMC H 1966, P 164-165; mishap rpts
Service number 1894238
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