Leonard Richard DemkoMajor
HMM-364, MAG-36, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
15 July 1938 - 05 February 1968
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The database page for Leonard Richard Demko
21 Jul 2003
On Friday, 05 Feb 1968, a CH-46A (BuNo 153986) from Phu Bai was tasked for a medical evacuation flight in the vicinity of Hue City to pick up three seriously wounded Marines. The aircraft was crewed by
He was unsuccessful. The CH-46 entered an uncontrolled pitch-up, rolled inverted, crashed, and burned. Demko, Burke, Shelton, and Copeland died in the crash. HM1 Ehrhardt and Cpl Conner were picked up by their wingman, but Conner died of his injuries 15 days later at the USAF Hospital in Cam Rahn Bay. HM1 Ehrhart was evacuated to the 106th Army Hospital in Yokohama, Japan, and eventually recovered from his injuries.
These men, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, or friends. Those women, the
continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.
A memorial initiated by the
Notes from The Virtual WallMajor Demko had served one tour in Vietnam with HMM-162 in 1963. On 10 March 1963 he and Major David Webster flew a rescue mission in a UH-34D (BuNo 145747 or 145085; both were lost that day) to retrieve some Army pilots who were down in the mountains west of Danang. The rescue effort was at the outermost limits of the UH-34's performance envelope - very high altitude, very hot, high humidity - and the rescue cable was shorter than the trees were tall. Demko had to "squat down" amongst the treetops to rescue the downed crew. During the attempt, they exceeded the power capabilities of the H-34, lost lift, crashed, and burned.
Demko, Webster, and the crew chief were burned very badly, and a passenger aboard the aircraft died - Army Warrant Officer James H. Ishihara. There was insuffient daylight for another attempt, and it was the next day before a stripped down UH-34 could make a pick-up. Major Webster did not make it through the night.
Demko recovered from his injuries, returned to flying, and came back to Vietnam with HMM-364.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
HMM-364 and the Purple Foxy Ladies,
Frank Gulledge, point man
21 Jul 2003
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 09/15/2003