Fernando Figueroa

Specialist Five
Army of the United States
06 February 1950 - 24 January 1972
Chicago, Illinois
Panel 02W Line 100


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart (2 awards), National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Fernando Figueroa

02 May 2001

Fernando and I were friends and classmates at Kelly High School in Chicago. We both enlisted because we were patriotic and at the time it seemed like the thing to do. The last time I saw Fernando alive was when we were both assigned to the 173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep) and I ran into him at LZ English. He was recovering from wounds and was on light duty at the time.

Fernando always, always, always had a smile on his face and he was a pleasure to be around even when times were bad. We laughed and talked and reminisced about home and family and even talked about re-enlisting together for a burst of six more years in the "Nam".

The next time I saw Fernando was one of the worst days in my life. In January 1972, I received a phone call from his sister and the minute I heard her voice on the phone I knew he was gone. I attended his wake and I completely fell apart. As a young paratrooper in Vietnam, I could have dealt with his loss differently, however after being home for over a year and then having to deal with this tragedy, was more than I could bear at the time.

I wear a KIA bracelet bearing his name to this day, and will continue to honor his memory for he truly represented everything that was good and right about this country and what it meant to be an American.

Michael James Weaver
173rd Airborne Brigade (Sep)
RVN 1969-1970

08 May 2001

I went to school with Fernando at Kelly High School and I remember him fondly. We used to hang out all the time with each other. Last time I ever got to talk to him, we were both home on leave, and he had talked about signing up for a second stint when finished with the first one. I wear his KIA bracelet with good memories of him.

From his High School buddy & GOOD FRIEND FOREVER,

Antanas Janusas

06 Sep 2005

My name is Karen. I knew Fernando ("Ringo") from roller skating at St. Joseph and St. Anne. He, my girlfriend Darlene, and Steve Soria often came to my house after skating and played Monopoly. I remember being at his house, in the basement playing record "alblums" as he used to pronounce it.

It's been so many years since he left this earth, but he'll never leave my heart and memories.

God bless Ringo.

From a friend,
Karen Whittle

01 Dec 2005

I was one of the pilots who was in the flight where SP/5 Figueroa's aircraft was shot down. I have the full and complete details. I would like to correspond with his friends and family.

LTC Hugh Mills
US Army (Ret)
Kansas City, MO

19 Feb 2007

Ringo was my best friend, we grew up as kids together. We had some great times. I had the honor of meeting Hugh Mills, who was there the day Ringo's chopper was shot down. I will never forget our meeting. He took me there as if I were sitting next to him. I will talk to anyone about that day, anytime.

From a friend,
Steve Soria

28 May 2007


by his cousin,
Hector Flores

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 20 Jan 1972 UH-1H tail number 69-16717 from D Troop, 3/5 Cavalry, was returning from rescue efforts for an Air Force F-4D (67-0247, 421st TFS, Danang AB) which had been shot down about 20 miles west of Khe Sanh. The Huey was carrying four crewmen and four infantrymen - 8 men all told.

The aircraft was hit by enemy gunfire, caught fire, and autorotated to a controlled crash in the Rao Quan River, rolling onto its side at impact. Six of the 8 men were able to escape the burning and exploding Huey and were picked up by another Huey. The bodies of the two men trapped in the Huey could not be recovered, and two of the survivors died in Japan several days later:

  • SP5 Fernando Figueroa, Chicago, IL (DoW 01/24/1972)
  • SP4 Harry J. Edwards, Holly Hill, SC (KIA/BNR)
  • SP4 Walter C. Moran, Nevada, MO (DoW 01/23/1972)
  • PFC David D. Berdahl, Minot, ND (KIA/BNR)
All four dead were from D/3/5 Cav. Although the POW Network site says that SP4 Edwards' remains were identified on 01 July 1985, the Defense Department still carries him as "remains not recovered".

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend and fellow Skysoldier,
Mike Weaver

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 2 May 2001
Last updated 11/25/2007