Thomas Wade Duer
Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
Rantoul, Illinois
November 27, 1945 to July 23, 1968
THOMAS W DUER is on the Wall at Panel W51, Line 40

Thomas W Duer
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24 Jan 2004

Tom and I attended high school together at Rantoul Township HIgh School, Rantoul, IL. Both our fathers were in the Air Force (stationed at Chanute AFB). Tom was a senior when I was a junior. He graduated but stayed in Rantoul for my senior year. He went into the Army and I went off to college. He went to Vietnam in 1965-66 and when he returned he came to see me and we became engaged. We married in January 1967. Our son, Patrick was born in Feb 1968. Tom received orders to return to 'Nam and left us the beginning of July 1968. Seventeen days after he left us, I was a widow. Tom died in a freak accident -- the blades of the Chinook he was flying meshed -- a one in a million incident. Tom is buried at Ft Sam Houston National Cemetery, San Antonio, TX.

Tom loved life. He was always smiling and laughing and just such a happy man. He smiled with his eyes as well as with his lips. He was so looking forward to us raising our son and to having more children -- he was a good father and a great husband.

One of my favorite memories of him is when I was a senior in high school. I'd come home and find Tom there playing cards with my mother. He'd see me come in and tell her that since I was home (safely), he'd finish the hand and then have to go. He always worried about me. And then there was the time when he was in flight school -- at Fort Rucker -- and called me to ask me if I'd wear his ring. It was the way he did it that is so memorable to me. He said he had met someone and I knew her really well. Her name was Mary. Then Margaret was added and then Diana.... it was precious that he used all my names to ask me to wear his ring.

I truly miss Tom and still am very much in love with him. Never a day goes by when I don't think of him and treasure his memory. He was my everything.

From his wife,
Diana Starr Duer Cloutier


A Note from The Virtual Wall

Seven men died when CH-47A tail number 66-19011 suffered a transmission failure while on short final to landing at Cu Chi. According to the accident report, the failure occurred while the CH-47 was about 150 to 200 feet above ground and the aircraft began breaking up before ground impact. There were no survivors.
  • 242nd ASHC aircrew
    • WO Randy R. Wernig, Huntington, NY; pilot
    • CWO Thomas W. Duer, Rantoul, IL; copilot
    • SP5 Danny E. Deese, Tampa, FL; flight engineer
    • SP5 Donald W. Seidel, Ross Fork, MT; crew chief
    • SP4 Harry M. Mather, Gallup, NM; gunner

  • Passengers
    • CPT David G. Mitchell, Erie, PA, HHC, 4/9th Infantry
    • PVT Richard L. Rousseau, Pompano Beach, FL; D Co, 2/14th Infantry

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