Donald Richard Cook

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
19 August 1946 - 26 October 1970
Unicoi, Tennessee
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Army Aviator

Air Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Donald Richard Cook

03 Dec 2005

CWO Don Cook of the 498th Medical Company (Dustoff) lost his life on the night of October 26, 1970 at Fire Base Washington while piloting an Army medevac helicopter to rescue or "Dust off" a seriously ill or injured U.S. soldier of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Don was the aircraft commander with the call sign Dustoff One Two and was based at nearby LZ Uplift in Binh Dinh province of northern II Corps. He was my friend in flight school and in the 498th and I will forever remember him.

Don received the urgent Dustoff request and he with crew of four were airborne from LZ Uplift within two minutes. They departed in night poor weather conditions with low cloud ceiling, rain and fog and shortly arrived in close vicinity of FSB Washington. He instructed the ground unit to send up aerial illumination flares to give him artifical light to see by. He then attempted to hover his UH-1 from tree top to tree top up the side of the mountain to the FSB on top in the clouds. As was common, and tragically so in this case, one of the mortar flares was a dud and failed to ignite thus causing instant total darkness in the fog and clouds. Don's helicopter caught a landing skid in the trees, flipping the aircraft into the trees and mountain side. Don, his copilot, and the medic were thrown clear of the aircraft and died instantly. His crewchief was trapped inside the aircraft and died. A medical officer of the 173rd from FSB Uplift was thrown clear and suffered injuries.

The aircraft caught fire and burned. Prior to this horrible accident Don was shot down twice on Dustoff missions supporting the 173rd, known as the "Herd". After his death the 173rd wrote a nice article about Don in their Fire Base 173rd November 1970 newsletter, Vol III, No. 24. Don always placed the welfare of others ahead of his own and his tragic death is a great loss to this nation and his fellow man. He upheld the finest traditions of the Army medevac (Dustoff) crews. "So that others may live".

WO1 William C. (Bill) Perkins

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The four men who were killed in the crash of UH-1H tail number 67-17765 were
  • CWO Donald R. Cook, Unicoi, TN, pilot;
  • WO Charles F. Smith, St Charles, MO, copilot;
  • SP4 Dennis E. Reese, Wilmington, NC, crew chief; and
  • PFC Karl L. Reineccius, Paris, AR, medic.
1LT Walter J. Mitchell, a medical officer with the aid station at FSB Uplift, survived the crash.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a flight school classmate 69-41 and fellow 498th Dustoff pilot,
WO1 William C. (Bill) Perkins
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
03 Dec 2005

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 12/07/2005