Louis John Clever
Technical Sergeant
United States Air Force
Westmoreland City, Pennsylvania
July 24, 1936 to February 05, 1969
LOUIS J CLEVER is on the Wall at Panel W33, Line 61

Louis J Clever
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27 Feb 2007

If I close my eyes it is not hard to still see the dark blue sedan parked in front of our house even after all of these years. For those who doubt whether a six-year old boy can feel death in the air, then let me put any questions to rest: yes he can.

The last words my father said to me over thirty-eight years ago were "You're the man of the house now. Take care of your mother." He turned, walked through the gateway, and that was it.

Growing up without a father is hard for children, but there is a particular sense of confusion when the father is killed in a war. "Where is your Dad?" has a new meaning for an unaccompanied boy at a Boy Scout function. "My Dad and I are going to play ball. Do you want to come along?" is a generous offer and a knife in the heart in the same moment. When everything seems normal is when the realization of how abnormal things are comes crashing in.

I actually had surrogate dads. There was a member of the Veterans of Foreign War that taught me how to fish. There was the Korean War Veteran that took me to work with him and taught me about fixing cars. There is no doubt in my mind that these men never considered how important their influence was in my life. My father would have been broken-hearted and grateful for their contribution to his son.

The information about the importance of my father's work in Vietnam is starting to filter out now. His was the first EC-47Q lost in the war. Many of my blank images are being filled with pictures published on the net by very considerate veterans. I have seen pictures of the insides of various EC-47 aircraft and read about other veterans' missions. Like so many other children of Vietnam KIA, I have never spoken to a person that knew my father in SEA.

If anything should be memorialized here, then I don't think that my Dad would consider himself worthy of the opportunity. Funerals are for the living and not for the dead. Take this moment instead to consider the living; the ones left behind. Every war has its silent victims: these unknown people that were a part of their Unknown Soldier. Each person is carrying empty places in their mind and in their heart. Each person filling-in various events of the past with surrogate faces and surrogate voices just to feel normal.

My entire family gave Dad to this country and we were proud to do it. We are still Americans that understand freedom is not "free". We are the character and legacy of Technical Sergeant Louis J. Clever.

From his son,
Paul D. Clever


A Note from The Virtual Wall

The venerable C-47 "Gooney Bird" was flown in a variety of roles in Vietnam, as a transport, gunship, and electronic warfare platform. On 05 Feb 1969 EC-47Q tail number 45-1133 departed Pleiku on a radio direction finding mission over Laos - and disappeared. Search and rescue efforts were begun when the aircraft failed to land at Hue-Phu Bai as scheduled and continued for six days without result. The ten crewmen aboard the aircraft were classed Missing in Action and the war continued.

In October 1969 the wreckage of a C-47 was found near Ban Phan, Laos; it proved to be 45-1133. Human remains were recovered from the site and repatriated for burial in a communal grave at Site 347, Section 81, Jefferson Barracks, Saint Louis, Missouri. The ten crewmen were

  • Flight crew, 362nd TEW Sqdn, 460th Tac Recon Wing
    • LtCol Harry T. Niggle, Bloomington, IN
    • Major Homer M. Lynn, Elmwood, IL
    • Major Robert E. Olson, St Paul, MN
    • Capt Walter F. Burke, Flushing, NY
    • MSgt Wilton N. Hatton, Fort Worth, TX

  • Collection crew, 6994th Security Sqdn, 460th Tac Recon Wing
    • TSgt Louis J. Clever, Westmoreland City, PA
    • SSgt James V. Dorsey, Washington, DC
    • SSgt Rodney H. Gott, Miami, FL
    • Sgt Clarence L. McNeill, Warsaw, NC
    • TSgt Hugh L. Sherburn, Vancouver, WA

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