Thaddeus Durrett
Sergeant
C CO, 709TH MAINT BN, 9TH INF DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
New York, New York
June 01, 1948 to August 12, 1968
THADDEUS DURRETT is on the Wall at Panel W49, Line 52

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A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 12 Aug 1968 the 191st Assault Helicopter Company was conducting operations in support of the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. After a rather full day of flying four aircraft were released to return to Bear Cat. The VHPA database contains the following description of what occurred.

"The flight picked up passengers that were returning to Bear Cat and White 5 [UH-1D 66-00820] loaded six passengers, then the flight departed for Bear Cat at approximately 1650 hours. The flight was at 1500 feet in a diamond formation with White 5 in the slot. Approximately 10 minutes out of Dong Tam White 5 transmitted, "White 5 going down, tail rotor failure." The aircraft was observed to descend in a relatively level attitude with the main rotor turning very slowly. The number two aircraft in the formation, flown by aircraft commander CW2 Wiegman, broke from the formation and followed the aircraft down. The aircraft struck the ground in a slightly nose low attitude in a rice paddy with apparently very little forward motion. The aircraft commander and the pilot were pinned in the wreckage by the instrument panel. The passenger compartment was on fire. An attempt was made to extract the personnel from the burning wreckage and one passenger was removed but was apparently killed upon impact."

The ten men who died in the crash were:

As noted, only one body could be removed from the wreckage before the fire made further rescue efforts impossible - that was SFC Merlin H. Bergan. The remains of the other nine men were recovered the following day, 13 Aug, and seven of the Americans were identified within a reasonable period - but SSG Lonnie Tullier's body could not be positively identified. He was carried as Missing in Action until 30 April 1973, when a positive identification could be made.


SGT Thaddeus Durrett was survived by his mother, Velma L. Durrett, Hartwell, Georgia and he is buried in Sardis Baptist Church Cemetery #1 Hartwell, Hart County, Georgia.

Thaddeus Durrett


- - The Virtual Wall, September 8, 2016

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