Leon Darvin Flanders

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
30 October 1942 - 17 June 1966
Fairfield, South Carolina
Panel 08E Line 056



Army Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Leon Darvin Flanders

22 Nov 2001

1LT Leon Darvin Flanders has the distinction of being one of the first members of what would become the 281st AHC on 17 July 1966 to be killed in South East Asia.

LT Flanders preferred to be called Darvin and was known as Darvin or "Darv" to his friends. He was born in Columbia, SC, and raised in Winsboro, SC, where he attended local schools playing football, basketball and baseball. Following high school Darvin attended Clemson College, graduating in 1964 with a degree in economics. After college Darvin attended the Infantry Officers' Basic Course at Fort Polk, LA, and upon completion was transferred to Fort Walters, Texas, for initial rotary wing training. Darvin went on to Fort Rucker, AL, where on July 6, 1965 he graduated with Rotary Wing class number 65-8. Following graduation he remained at Fort Rucker as a rotary wing aviator with the Department of Tactics. In September of 1965 Darvin left Fort Rucker and on November 11, 1965 joined the 145th Airlift Platoon which was to become part of the 281st AHC.

On June 17, 1966 1st LT Flanders and his crew were supporting a Special Forces camp in the highlands of South Vietnam when a mortar round struck and exploded in the tent being used by them as a waiting area. Darvin was hit by metal fragments and died instantly.

Darvin was survived by his wife, Gloria J. Flanders, and his father, Mr. Ridge W. Flanders.

From the 281st AHC Webmaster,
Stephen A. Matthews

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281st AHC Memorial

A Note from The Virtual Wall

As noted above, 1LT Flanders wasn't the first casualty in the 281st AHC... Flanders was assigned to the 145th Airlift Platoon. A year earlier on 19 Apr 1965 two men of the 145th died when their helicopter was shot down: 1LT Josef L. Thorne of Brookings, SD, and SP4 Gilbert Olivar of Kurtistown, HI.

Lieutenant Flanders died in one of the unforeseeable accidents that accompany combat operations. He piloted a resupply mission to the Special Forces camp at Ban Me Thuot, Darlac Province, and before returning to base was using the SF mess. An alarm sounded and the camp defenders began firing. As Flanders and his copilot departed the mess tent for a shelter, a mortar "short round" impacted nearby - and a fragment struck Flanders, inflicting a fatal wound.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
the 281st AHC Webmaster,
Stephen A. Matthews
22 Nov 2001

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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 07/11/2004