John Clark Hunter

First Lieutenant
Army Of The United States
07 February 1947 - 20 February 1971
New Philadelphia, OH
Panel 05W Line 124



John C Hunter

Army Aviator

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

The database page for John Clark Hunter

I only knew John Hunter for a brief portion of my life. It was during those fun, formative, and exciting years of college from 1965 to 1967. John pledged my fraternity, Sigma Chi, in the fall of 1965. As a pledge he was a wonderful person. He could take all the pressure and punishment that we actives could dream up with a smile. When he became an active the next semester he was one of the most enjoyable and best-liked people to have around the house.

It was a sad event to learn that John was not going to return to school in 1967 and instead had joined the US Army. John would be sorely missed while serving his country. John went to Vietnam so that many of us could stay in school and finish.

I graduated and went on to graduate school and didn't hear another thing of John for about 2 1/2 years.

I was in Basic Signal School in the US Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia, when I learned that John had been shot down and died in Vietnam. I was not allowed a pass to go to his funeral, which left me deeply troubled, but I had no choice.

I will never forget John. He left a deeper impression on me than I realized.

Several years ago I met a 77 year old man whose road name is Smoke. Through Smoke I learned of an annual motorcycle ride called "Run For The Wall". The ride leaves Ontario, CA, travels across the country and ends up at the Vietnam Memorial Wall for Memorial Day Sunday to participate in Rolling Thunder. This ride annually draws over 200,000 motorcyclists to honor Vietnam Vets, POWs, MIAs, and those whose names are inscribed on the Wall.

In May of 1999 I was able to make this ride and Smoke took me under his wing. He had already done the ride 5 times. It was truly a wonderful and moving experience. On the third day out we went to a Vietnam Memorial located high in the mountains northeast of Taos, New Mexico, called Angel Fire. I wandered through the memorial, built by a doctor to honor his son who died in Vietnam. As I browsed the memorabilia and the photographs I came upon a loose-leaf binder with hundreds of pages in it stuck inconspicuously in a corner of the museum. While looking at it I realized that it was a listing of names. I decided, out of curiosity, to look for John. When I found his name I was overwhelmed and could not leave that corner of the room for several minutes. When I walked outside Smoke was wait ing for me. He knew I might need comfort. He was right. He left me alone, but walked close to me as I looked out over the valley floor below and thought about the past and this present event that I was involved in and tried to expel the tears from my eyes. This gave tremendous meaning to the remainder of the ride, which stops at various memorials and VA Hospitals along the way and is supported by American Legion and VFW posts.

Smoke, a WW II veteran and a special man, participates because his kid brother was killed in Vietnam and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I spent much of the remaining approximately 2000 miles of the ride thinking about John.

The first time I went to the Wall was about 15 years ago. It was too hard to walk the length of the Wall knowing John's name was there let alone actually find his name. It was just too overwhelming. However, this time I was making this ride specifically for this reason, so I made sure that I found his name and did a rubbing to bring home to a mutual friend and also fraternity brother.

This past Veterans Day 2001 my wife and I went up to the traveling Wall while it was in Laughlin, N V. We paid our respects to John and his name again.

Thank you John for your memory and all that you and all the patriots like you have given us.

I will never forget.

I have come to realize, 30 years later, that John you were a great man. I didn't know how deeply your memory has affected me until I have had these experiences of the past few years.

You are the freest.

With deep feelings,
Thank you,

Your friend Michael O. Taylor
25 Feb 2002

26 Feb 2002

John Hunter was my friend. We dated at Ohio University his Junior year. We always had fun and laughed so much. I remember on his trip back home from Spring Break in Florida he had a motorcycle accident, with, I believe Andre. I visited him several times in the Health Center. He was pretty banged up but lucky to be alive. I brought him flowers and tried to cheer him up and he'd chuckle through his bandages.

After I graduated and was working in Columbus ( I was a year older than John) he came to see me right after his US training and just before he left for Vietnam. His head was shaved, he was tired, he had been through a lot and he looked so different in his uniform but he was still the same sweet, beautiful John. We went to dinner in a nearby pub and talked long into the night. He was concerned about leaving for Vietnam and I was very scared for him. We laughed and remembered old times and I was so touched that he took the time to locate me and to come and see me before he left. We kissed and hugged and then he was gone. I never saw him again.

John was such a gentle, loving, sweet boy. To me he will always be a boy. He was loved by everyone who knew him. He was so handsome and tall, (A Co-Ed King Candidate). He didn't have a mean bone in his body and was kind to everyone. I can't even imagine him with a gun in his hand.

When my son went to West Point I hoped he never would become a helicopter pilot because my dear friend John had been shot down as a helicopter pilot. The men in helicopters were always in such danger yet so valiant.

I have always wanted to see the wall and find John's name. I am privileged to be able to say something about John here. The traveling wall has been in my town. My son and I went to see it. It meant so much to me to be able to touch John's name.

Thank you for this opportunity.

To John's parents, if you read this, I have thought of you for 30 years and my heart ached for your pain in losing such a remarkable son. I am sorry that I never told you this before. I didn't learn about his death till a week or so after the funeral and I guess I have been in shock ever since as you must be. God Bless you and know that John has always been in my heart and I have kept his picture near me always. He was truly a gentle man and he will always be my dear friend.

Jeri Trannett DeTillio

The Mission

Two men of D Troop, 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry, died when their AH-1G Cobra (tail number 67-15579) was shot down:
  • 1LT John Clark Hunter, aircraft commander
  • WO1 Carl Nacca, Jr., copilot
They had rolled in on a 14.5mm anti-aircraft site which had fired on a scout helicopter. The Cobra was hit and caught fire while at about 500 feet, then crashed and burned.

A memorial initiated by a friend,
Michael O. Taylor 
25 Feb 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)