Michael Lloyd M De Bolt

Private First Class
Army of the United States
06 April 1950 - 22 November 1969
Los Angeles, California
Panel 16W Line 109


Army Aircrew

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael Lloyd M De Bolt

18 Jul 2008

I was the acting Company Commander of a Medical Evacuation Helicopter Detachment stationed in Chu Lai, RVN during the summer of 1969. Specialist Michael DeBolt and Specialist Victor Glover wanted to try their hand at surf boarding. The unit was located very close to the coastline of the South China Sea.

According to Glover, they each had a surf board and had paddled aboard them away from shore, when an undertow grabbed them both and began to drag them into a strong current leading away from their departure point and in a generally southernly direction. Glover reported that DeBolt's board overturned spilling him directly into the strong current. Glover, who had a more muscular build, was able to cling to his board and stay with the surf board as it was pulled several hundred yards south. He stated that DeBolt vanished from sight.

Other men in the unit observed their distress and alerted the Radio Telephone Operator and directly reported the accident to me. I was not assigned to fly, but with every minute counting, I opted to take the first up ship to look for DeBolt. Not long afterwards the second up, or standby ship, joined in the search. We saw no sign of DeBolt and saw a surfer, several hundred yards south. That surfer may have been Glover. We did not fly over to see because we were determined to aid DeBolt, had he been visible in the water.

After a couple of hours in an ever-roughening sea, in which I suspect our sister unit, the 254th Med Det joined in searching, we concluded that all was lost. We made the appropriate reports.

Several weeks later we were told that partial human remains had been found and that the dental work confirmed that it was Specialist DeBolt.

Though I sent the mandatory form letter through channels for a soldier missing in action, I do not remember exactly which mid-western state DeBolt's family lived in. By necessity the letter is vague, allows for the possibility of the soldier rejoining the unit and spares the family any details of what actually occurred.

The family of Spec. DeBolt need to know that he was a good soldier and a very pleasant young man. He worked with me as the unit's Supply Clerk. I was also the Unit's Supply Officer. He was supervised by a Sgt. Boynton, who liked him and guided him well into the role he fulfilled.

His loss was mourned by the unit and we would have done anything to prevent it, had we known of his plans or been alerted of their distress any sooner.

His name does not appear on The Virtual Wall. I think it should. His honorable actions provided needed support for a life-saving unit which potentially faced hostile fire every day.

Captain Arnold H. Sampson
68th Med. Det.
Dustoff 85
P. O. Box 11840, Baltimore, Md. 21207

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his Acting Unit Commander,
Arnold H. Sampson
P. O. Box 11840, Baltimore, Md. 21207

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index D
CA State Index . Panel 16W
44TH MED BDE Index


With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 Jul 2008
Last updated 07/20/2008