Howard Brisbane Comer, Jr

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
04 June 1945 - 24 November 1969
Jacksonville, Florida
Panel 16W Line 115


UH-1 Huey

Howard B Comer

Army Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Howard Brisbane Comer, Jr

29 Jan 2002

To Howard:

You are the uncle that I never knew
yet I feel so very close to you
every day you're in my thoughts.
I can only imagine sleeping on those cots
the horrors that you daily faced
no wonder so many came home spaced.
I hate what they did to you guys
and the government's endless lies.
So many gone, we'll never know why -
all I can do is stand and cry
I face the wall made of black granite.
There's nothing worse on this planet
then having to live under a government
that has very bad judgement.
You died selflessly
just so we could have freedom, hopefully.
I can't ever repay you for what you did
I just take one day at a time and try and live.
Despite this I am proud to say
that even now I support the U.S.A.
There's so much I wish I could tell you -
how because of you I have a life that's brand new,
one where I don't have to worry about all the strife
because you bravely gave your life.
There is no end to this unforgetable war
and never again will people just shut the door
on those who served with all their might
and chose to never give up the fight.
You are the uncle that I never knew
I just wish it was the alive you.

I wanted to tell you how much you've influenced my life even though I never met you. I can't explain in words how your willingness to fight for all that is good changed the way I see things in my life. I love you even though I never knew you. It's as if you were always there, and you still are. I know that I can make a difference if I tried, but I could never make an impact the way you did. You are my hero. I am proud to be related to someone who paid the ultimate sacrifice. And I wanted you to know that your faithfulness to your country did not go unnoticed. You will never be forgotten, let's just hope that all the others aren't either. You are never lost in the thoughts of the every-day hassles, I always think of you at least once in the day, and I have much to remind me of you. Your name hangs on my wall as a reminder of exactly how much the military pays in services to our country. Also the men of the 187th whom you served with keep close correspondence with us in celebration of all that you guys did in the paddies & hootches of Nam. I will never forget! Forever I Love you!

Howard B. Comer Jr. was finally brought home and was buried this past year on July 2, 2001 in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. He was the only MIA of the 187th AHC. We are glad that after 32 years he has finally come home. In honor of him and all he has done for this nation.

I want to include a link Howard's Company website because they have all been great friends and have aided me in knowing who my uncle was.
I love you guys!

From his niece,
Amy Lee Comer

187th Assault Helicopter Company

08 August 2002

I wrote this before I took my first trip to DC to visit the Wall and Arlington where you now rest.

I Love You, Uncle Howard.

In Search of You, I Find Me

I never knew you while you lived.
That opportunity was never given to me.
I have so many questions and yet so few answers.
Would we have had anything in common?
Could I relate to you at all?
Would you have encouraged my dreams,
And calmed my fears?
Would I have found in you what has been missing in me?
Would you still have been my Hero?
In my search for you, I found the Brotherhood.
Somehow, you are there with them.
I feel you in the midst of my new found family.
Are you the one that led me Home?
Is it you that reaches out to me through them?
Have I finally found you in the Brothers that love and miss you?
Will you be there at the Garden of Stone returning our Salute?
Will you be watching when I earn my wings?

I may not find the answers to these questions,
But, on my quest to find you, I began the journey of finding myself.
I've found that I can be proud of who I am, and who I want to become.
I've found that in times of weakness, in me there is strength.
I've found that no matter how dark the day seems,
the light is just on the other side of the clouds.
I can lift my head, now ... no more hiding behind a mask.
I know who I am and I am not ashamed.
Thank you for giving me life, even in your death.

In Loving Memory of my Uncle:
Howard B. Comer Jr.
187th Assault Helicopter Company

And to honor all who served our Great Nation

Christy Comer

Notes from The Virtual Wall

A UH-1H (hull number 68-15564) belonging to the 187th Assault Helicopter Company had been on a routine combat support flight for MACV Advisory Team 90. Before returning to Tay Ninh, which would have completed the 5-1/2 hour flight, the Aircraft Commander elected to fly over the Naval patrol base at Ban Keo. During a low pass over the patrol base, with the Aircraft Commander at the controls, the aircraft impacted the surface of the Vo Co Dung River, pitched forward, and sank inverted in approximately 50 feet of water.

Three of the six men aboard died in the crash:

  • W1 R K Heier, Aircraft Commander - survived
  • CW2 Howard Brisbane Comer, Jr, Pilot - died
  • SP4 Laurence Atwood Young, Gunner - died
  • SP4 James Randle Jones, Jr, Crew Chief - died
  • E7 J Picht, Passenger - survived
  • E7 G Fredette, Passenger - survived
The bodies of SP4 Young and Jones were recovered from the wreckage, but CW2 Comer's body could not be located. Since there could be little doubt but that he had died in the crash, he was not classed as "Missing" and instead was declared dead. His remains were repatriated in December 1993 but were not positively identified until early in 2001. As noted above, he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


The above account is taken from the summary of official reports as collated by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association; the accident summary as contained in the VHPA data reads in part
"The Aircraft Commander and the two passengers are the only three known survivors. The crew chief and gunner were recovered dead, and the pilot is still missing."
The 187th AHC site, linked above, states that Chief Warrant Officer Comer was the Aircraft Commander and contains the following:
"I was the aviation safety officer and the S3 of the 269th Aviation Battalion from Oct 69 - May 70. (Parent battalion of the 187th at that time). Re: your entry 24 Nov 69 AC UH-1H 68-15564. I investigated the accident. Warrant Officer Ronald Heir was the only survivor, the rest of the crew and all passengers were killed."

Jeff Thomason, Lt. Col, US Army (Retired)

Neither "J. Picht" or "G. Fredette" are listed in the casualty database.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his niece,
Amy Lee Comer
29 Jan 2002

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index C
FL State Index . Panel 16W
187TH AHC Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 05/24/2005