Dennis Charles Durand

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
12 January 1951 - 25 May 1971
Allen Park, Michigan
Panel 03W Line 054

Distinguished Service Cross

Army Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal (11 awards), Army Commendation (5 awards), Army Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, RVN Campaign medals
Dennis C Durand

The database page for Dennis Charles Durand

26 Mar 2002

Dennis joined the US Army right out of High School in 1969 because he wanted to serve his country. His tour began 11 Feb 1970. After only 9 months he extended for 6 months so he could spend Christmas 1970 with his family. He never told us he was a crew chief/door gunner in the First Air Cavalry so it was quite a shock when we were notified that he was missing in action. We thought he worked at headquarters and was not at the front lines.

Dennisí last mission was on 25 May 1971. Dennis was a very compassionate young man and it was no surprise that he volunteered for a rescue mission to Fire Base Five to evacuate three badly wounded soldiers. His helicopter was piloted by his company commander, Major William Adams, and Capt. John Curran. Fellow crew members were SP4 John Littlejohn and SP4 Melvin Robinson. The crew flew through heavy hostile ground fire to land at Fire Base Five and load the wounded. As they lifted off, they sustained heavy fire and the craft exploded and crashed into the jungle. All aboard the helicopter were killed in action. Due to hostile forces in the area their remains were not recovered until July 1971. Dennis had just turned 20 on January 12th.

Major Adams was awarded the Medal of Honor and Dennis and the other crew members received the Distinguished Service Cross.

Dennisí dad, William Charles passed away in 1981. He was very proud of Dennis.

God bless you, Dennis. Mom, sister Cynthia and I think of you every day.
Your loving big brother and fellow soldier,


Distinguished Service Cross

For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:

Specialist Four Dennis C. Durand distingushed himself on May 25 1971 while serving as doorgunner on an emergency medical evacuation mission near Dac To. His helicopter was embarked on a mission to rescue a seriously wounded survivor of a US helicopter which had crashed the day before. This involved braving intense enemy anti-aircraft fire since an estimated two enemy regiments completely surrounded the besieged firebase. Specialist Durand realized the enemy situation and strength, but his concern for the life of a fellow American soldier overshadowed this knowledge. It was further learned that two ARVN soldiers were also critically wounded and in dire need of medical evacuation. Specialist Durand's aircraft proceeded through the hail of enemy fire to the firebase and picked up the seriously wounded American as well as the Allied soldiers. Upon departing the firebase, his aircraft received heavy enemy fire and lost its motor before it burst into flames and crashed into the jungle. It was during this period that Specialist Durand was killed. Specialist Durand's personal bravery and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

28 Apr 2004

I never met him but he is my second cousin and I have heard so many good stories about him. I just now found this page doing a school assignment. I knew he was in the army but I didn't know he was that much of a hero and I'm proud to say he is my cousin... you are missed dearly. R.I.P

From a second cousin,
Megan Jones

24 Dec 2005

Dearest Dennis;

How ever can we share our sorrow and thanks
With meaning that conveys
Heart felt gratitude our lips would speak
Only now His Spirit can say

A young boy still and yet a man
None stronger has ever served
A whisper of your secret mission
Would leave the family unnerved

You shared with me the notion still
As soldiers might assay
And charged me with the burden that
I never speak or say

A fatherís Son, you did delight
And never did you pale
For every job or task assigned
You passed the highest scale

Your Motherís pride and grief still last
Signs of her fathomless love
As cousin, friend and family of
You are my heavenly dove.

One day again I hope weíll meet
The joyous place; Above
Till then dear friend
I bid you well and my eternal love

Cousin Robert Durand
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 24 May 1971 a UH-1H (tail number 67-17760) from the 92nd Assault Helicopter Company was conducting an ammunition resupply mission near Firebase 5 north of Pleiku when it was hit by a mortar round on short final and exploded. Two men - CPT Larry Richard Dewey (pilot) and SP4 Gerald Martin Lubbehusen (gunner) - died in the crash. A third, SP4 John Wayne Littleton, survived the crash and was able to evade capture and make it to Firebase Five on foot. The name of the fourth man - the second pilot - is not known; since no other casualty in the 92nd AHC is identified, it is assumed that the fourth man survived the crash.

On 25 May, a UH-1H (tail number 69-15704) from A Company, 227th Assault Helicopter Battalion, was tasked to pick up SP4 Littlejohn and two unidentified wounded South Vietnamese troops from Firebase 5. Four men were aboard the 227th aircraft:

  • MAJ William Edward Adams, pilot;
  • CPT John Dehaas Curran, copilot;
  • SP4 Dennis Charles Durand, gunner; and
  • SP4 Melvin Robinson, crew chief.
As noted above, Adams landed while under heavy fire, took the three wounded men aboard, and was shot down after lift-off, killing all seven men aboard.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother,
William S Durand
26 Mar 2002

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index D
MI State Index . Panel 03W
227TH AHB Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 12/28/2005