Milbert Walter Hamilton
Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
Rapid City, South Dakota
March 05, 1944 to October 25, 1969
MILBERT W HAMILTON is on the Wall at Panel W17, Line 117

Milbert W Hamilton
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WASHINGTON D.C. --- "A South Dakotan is among recent Viet nam War casualties, the Defense Department said Tuesday. The department said Army Warrant Officer Milbert W Hamilton was killed in action. He was the husband of Yong Cha Hamilton, Rapid City, South Dakota" (Local area papers in Minnesota and South Dakota).

Three men were killed during a Ranger recon team extraction from Laos, 10 kilometers east-southeast of A Shau Village, when their UH-1D helicopter, tail number 65-09738 was shot down by hostile enemy fire. The helicopter was the third of four birds attempting to pull out the Ranger team. The first two helicopters took fire and were hit, but managed to extract some of the team. The 3rd Kingsman (call sign) helicopter, took small arms fire, and witnesses say also took a Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG). It crashed on it's side. The men killed were::

Two other crewmembers were injured but rescued along with the remaining RT members. Read a 'War Story' about the crash and rescue efforts at Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.

In addition to the accident details from VHPA website above, another participant and witness to events of that night received a Bronze Star for Valor. His orders, in summary, shows: headquartered out of MACV/SOG Command & Control North (CCN) at Marble Mountain, Danang, South Vietnam, the night of 25 October 1969, Ratio Team (RT) Idaho performed what was called a Bright Light mission (rescue) of surrounded Americans and Montangards.

The Headquarters, 5th Special Forces Group, (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, General Orders 1821, for SSG Lynne M. Black Jr,, the team leader of RT Idaho, show that a six man rescue team had the mission to be inserted behind enemy lines in an attempt to rescue four survivors of a helicopter crash. The team was aware that they would have to rappel onto an unsecured landing zone during the hours of darkness. The mission began at 2250 hours. Upon reaching the crash site, the team found they could only be inserted by jumping eight feet from the chopper into a small clearing. The team organized on the ground and quickly and moved to the site of the crash. A quick inspection of the aircraft confirmed five KIA's.

The team searched for survivors of crash and remaining Ranger team. Radio contact was made and the team was split, leaving half to secure the area of the crash, and taking the other half down a steep hill to the vicinity of the survivors. Within minutes the link-up was made, and the rest of the team joined. During the next hour, the team leader directed airstrikes upon the enemy positions and organized the extraction procedures. He remained on the ground until all other personnel were extracted by McGuire rigs and then came out on the last chopper.

The next day, the team leader led another party into the area to recover the bodies and the crashed helicopter.

In addition to his wife, Yong Chu, Warrant Officer Hamiliton was also survived by a son, his mother, Matilda "Tilly" Delzer Hamilton (1919-2006), Case Avenue, St. Paul, his father, William Hamilton, Barclay St., St. Paul, Minnesota, and 3 brothers, Orville, Alvin, and Jerry. WO Hamilton is buried in the Black Hills National Cemetery, Sturgis, South Dakota. His mother is buried in Evergreen Memorial Gardens, Mahtomedi, Washington County, Minnesota.

Milbert W Hamilton

- - The Virtual Wall, August 10, 2014

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