Fred Arthur Johnson

Private First Class
Army of the United States
10 December 1946 - 06 February 1967
Hallandale, Florida
Panel 14E Line 129

Combat Infantry

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Fred Arthur Johnson

15 Nov 2004

I was a crew chief in the 71st Assault Helicopter Company. On 6 February 1967 my unit was picking up some grunts (infantry) out in the boonies and bringing them to an air strip. My ship was number 3 in a flight of 10 aircraft.

As we neared touchdown I was looking to the rear of my aircraft to watch and see if the stinger touched the ground as we landed. This was done just as a method of ribbing the aircraft commander. As I looked to the rear, to my horror I saw a helicopter at the rear of the flight come all to pieces. I keyed my mike and said, "My God, we have a mid-air behind us", thinking two ships had collided. I immediately told my pilot we were OK, it was at the back. What had happened was that the number 9 aircraft lost its tailboom as it flared to land. When this occurs the body of the aircraft will immediately start to spin, trying to catch up with the rotor blade spin. Bodies are flung out both doors as a result.

Two aircraft near the crash were detailed to carry the dead and injured back to Long Binh. The rest of the flight made another lift, as the mission had to continue. When we came back in, my ship was ordered to take one more body back to Graves Registration in Long Binh. They brought this body over to my ship and placed it inside. We took off with me up in the cargo area with this body. He was a young, nice looking black guy who just looked like he was asleep. His right arm was broken below the elbow and he appeared to have a pencil sized puncture above his right eye. Other than that I did not see any other injuries. I felt for a pulse, such was my disbelief at having just seen this GI die. I thought how awful that his mother has no idea that he is gone forever. Things like this are burned into your brain forever. May he rest in Peace.

Ron Seabolt
71st Assault Helicopter Company

30 Apr 2005

The photo of Fred Arthur Johnson is from my basic training book. I just noticed that my service number was two digits off from his.

Wally Gossett

A Note from The Virtual Wall

UH-1D tail number 64-13563 of the 71st AHC broke up due to a structural failure as the pilot flared for landing. Six men died in the crash - two crewmen and four passengers:
  • 71st AHC aircrew:
    • WO William J. Robbins, Absarokee, MT, pilot
    • PFC Thomas M. Nowack, Florissant, MO, gunner

  • E Trp, 17th Cav Rgt, passengers:
    • SGT Everett Armstrong, Nashville, TN
    • SP4 George J. Carrillo, San Jose, CA
    • PFC Fred A. Johnson, Hallandale, FL
    • PFC Chester P. Simpson, Jamestown, KY

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a witness to his death,
Ron Seabolt
20 Nov 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 11/13/2010