James Weldon Hargrove

Chief Warrant Officer
121ST AHC, 13TH AVN BN, 12TH AVN GRP, 1 AVN BDE
Army of the United States
08 May 1929 - 18 October 1966
Rotan, Texas
Panel 11E Line 087

1 AVN BDE UH-1 Huey 121ST AHC
Army Aviator

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
James W Hargrove

The database page for James Weldon Hargrove

31 Dec 2002

REMEMBERED ACROSS THE YEARS

by his family.

A memorial initiated by his son,
James B. Hargrove
709 6th Place, Idalou, Texas, 79329
jhargrove@nts-online.net

26 Jul 2004

Jimmy Hargrove was a career military pilot. He served thirteen years in the U.S. Navy and his reserve rank was Lieutenant Commander. He joined the US Army to serve in Vietnam. Hargrove grew up in Rotan, Texas, a community about 30 miles north of Sweetwater, Texas. He earned a B.S. degree in Agronomy from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. Mr. Hargrove received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions while flying copilot for his company Executive Officer's UH-1C helicopter during airmobile operations near Vi Thanh. He first helped provide cover for four simultaneous troop landings. Immediately after landing, two ground troops were wounded and Mr. Hargrove returned to provide covering fire for their evacuation despite heavy ground fire and rain. After the rescue helicopter was forced away with 10 hits, Mr. Hargrove attempted the evacuation. His helicopter received intense hostile fire and crashed. Mr. Hargrove was killed in the crash. Mr. Hargrove was buried with full military honors in Rotan, Texas.

He is honored by his community and by the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial located at the Midland International Airport, Midland, Texas. May his sacrifice never be forgotten.

From a Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial Representative,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762
bmbrown@grandecom.net

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 18 October 1966 the 121st Assault Helicopter Company was tasked with inserting a South Vietnamese CIDG force. One of the gunships, UH-1B tail number 63-08549, was crewed by
  • Major R T Nutter, pilot (Company Executive Officer)
  • CW2 James Weldon Hargrove, copilot
  • SP5 David Olson, crew chief
  • Sgt Roger Swindler, gunner
The first insertion was routine, but the ground forces came under heavy attack by a much larger Viet Cong force before the second wave could be landed. Major Nutter attempted to pick up wounded but the Huey was heavily hit in the cockpit area by automatic weapons fire and went down. Warrant Officer Hargrove was killed by enemy fire; the other three men managed to evade the VC for about 18 hours before being picked up.

At the 1998 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association meeting, Roger Swindler provided the following information regarding the incident:

"Initially we were talking to the American advisors but then an English speaking Nung came on the radio saying that all the Americans were killed or wounded and that they needed to be extracted. The VC had about two battalions in great ambush positions. ... We made a 'look pass' down the line to see if we could determine where the Command Post was. We climbed a little, made a turn and started in to extract some of the Americans even though we were in a gunship.

"Suddenly we received very accurate AW weapons fire from several sides at very close range. Basically the front of the Huey was shot up and the controls knocked out. We impacted upside down at about 80 knots in a swamp. Mr. Hargrove was either killed from the hostile fire or died in the crash. I could get out of the Huey easily because my side was facing up. I walked around a little to check things out but returned to the Huey when I heard movement. MAJ Nutter was able to get out by himself and I helped Dave some. My left arm was cut in the crash and would later take 15 stitches to close. MAJ Nutter's knee was injured rather seriously and he had hit his mouth on the console. Dave had a gun shot wound in the forearm.

"We had a grease gun, three survival knives, and an M-14 without a magazine, but we had a pocket full of shells for the M-14 ... While it was still light, we had to keep moving because the VC were all around us. We got into several fire fights and acquired weapons from them. Finally we worked our way out of the swamp and after dark made it to the second dike. There were lots of air strikes and artillery coming in all night long. We didn't have any water but the mosquitos were terrible. We were scared to death and the only sleep we got that night was in the form of cat naps.

"The VC were moving out of the area. Several walked within a few feet of us but we were not discovered. The next morning we organized ourselves for a 'last stand' in all directions. Eventually I could see some guys with steel pots [helmets] coming. They started shooting at us when we moved. Finally I jumped up and yelled at them. When they saw that we were Americans, they stopped shooting. Soon some gunships passed over us and we waved. Within a few second, a DUSTOFF landed and took us to Soc Trang. MAJ Nutter was evaced. Dave and I were treated and went back to work.

"Martha Ray was visiting Soc Trang at the time. She waited until we returned and met our ship. She said: 'You guys are in big trouble - you missed bed check last night!'"

Taken from the VHPA helicopter loss database



The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his son,
James B. Hargrove
709 6th Place, Idalou, Texas, 79329
jhargrove@nts-online.net 
31 Dec 2002



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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 07/30/2004