Rodger Lee Fortune
09 Nov 2005
Rodger, in 2001 I heard that you had lost your life defending our country. It had been many long years since you had given the ultimate sacrifice. I will always remember your kindness, your big brown eyes and your zest for life. I'm sure you fought with that same zest for life. May you rest in peace. Each day as I hoist the American Flag in the front of our home in Temecula I remember you and your family and the sacrifice you all made. Until we meet again.
Melanie Griffiths Kuehnel
40174 Calle Caleta, Temecula, Ca. 92591
From 1962 High School Year Book
The 191st had just been formed and the advance party had arrived in Vietnam - with CPT Kidd heading up the Armed Platoon - but their helo's had not gotten into country yet. Both CPT Kidd and 1LT Dodson were eager to get into the action and talked D/3/5 into getting familiarization and experience.
At approximately 2100 hours, a light fire team consisting of aircraft 66-677 and 66-673 were called out by the 51st ARVN Ranger Battalion, Ben Luc Vietnam, to investigate suspected Viet Cong activity. The team arrived on station at approximately 2130 hours. They began a visual recon of the area with the assistance of flares fired by the artillery. At 2230 hours, the two aircraft met in an apparent head on collision in bad weather. There was an explosion and both aircraft fell to the ground in flames.
The nine men killed when their helicopters collided in mid-air and crashed were:
Local area papers announced on Thursday, June 1, 1967, the death of SP Fortune with a notice similar to:
Area Servicemen Die in Vietnam
Three Long Beach area servicemen were listed as killed in Vietnam combat Wednesday in reports issued by the U.S. Department of Defense. The three are Navy Lt. Charles D. Witt, husband of Mrs. Kayie J. Witt, of 2603 Willow Lane, Costa Mesa; Marine Pfc. Alfred Cobos, son of Mrs. Urbana Cohos, 15713 Madres Ave., Norwalk, and Army Spec. 4 Rodger L. Fortune, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold B. Fortune, 2318 S. Artesia Ave, Santa Ana.
SP4 Fortune was survived by his parents, Mary Winifred (Stranahan) (1927-1992) and Harold Burnard Fortune (1926-1999), and at least one brother Dale Fortune. He is buried in Westminster Memorial Park, Westminster, Orange County, California. His father is buried in San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery as he was a veteran of WWII.
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