Underwood, Reginald Courtney, Capt

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 Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary MOS
7509-Pilot VMA-AV-8B Qualified
Last MOSGroup
Pilots/Naval Flight Officers
Primary Unit
1990-1991, 7509, USS Nassau (LHA-4)
Service Years
1982 - 1991



 Last Photo 
 Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Cpl Randy Styner to remember Marine Capt Reginald Courtney Underwood (Woody).

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Lexington, KY

Casualty Date
Feb 27, 1991
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Gulf War
Location of Interment
Lexington Cemetery - Lexington, Kentucky
Wall/Plot Coordinates

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Gulf War Fallen
  1991, Gulf War Fallen

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 Ribbon Bar

Pilot Wings

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1982, Officer Candidate School (Quantico, VA)
 Unit Assignments
VMA-331USS Nassau (LHA-4)
  1990-1991, 7509, VMA-331
  1990-1991, VMA-331
  1990-1991, 7509, USS Nassau (LHA-4)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1990-1991 Gulf War
 Colleges Attended
University of Kentucky
  1976-1980, University of Kentucky
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Laid down at Lexington Cemetery, Lexington, KY Semper Fi.

Underwood died on the final day of the Persian Gulf War when his AV-8B was hit by a heat-seeking Iraqi surface-to-air missile.  He left a 5-month-old daughter he had never met.
  "He said he would fly even if he was not paid for it," said his widow, Donda Hill Rhodes.  "It was his passion.  The Harrier was a challenge and you could not fly it unless you were at the top of your class."  Underwood grew up in Lexington, Ky., and had flown since he was a teenager.  He graduated from the University of Kentucky and then joined the Marine Corps.  His squadron went to war and he flew nine combat missions before his final one.  On that day, he was flying in formation with three other planes after taking off from the amphibious assault ship Nassau.  The mission's target was a convoy of military vehicles traveling north toward Basra.  The pilots decided to fly beneath cloud cover at about 8,000 feet to get a clear view, making their Harriers easier targets.  When the missile hit, the commanding officer of Underwood's squadron was flying 1,000 feet away.  In retrospect, says Lt. Col. Jerry W. Fitzgerald, it was a mistake to be flying so low.  The plane crashed in a huge fireball.  Underwood's body was later found in the wreckage of the plane just inside Iraq.  Underwood was 33.
AV-8B pilot. His squadron was attached to the USS Nassau from August 17th, 1990 and returned April 18th 1991.  Capt Underwood was shot down by SAM fire on the 27th of February.  He safely ejected and was killed on the ground.  His body and aircraft were found two weeks later in the southern Iraqi desert. Captain Underwood also held a civilian commercial pilot certificate with a glider rating.  He is Survived by his wife, Donda, and a daughter he had never met, Anne.

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