Donald Herman Klinke

Technical Sergeant
United States Air Force
18 February 1935 - 18 June 1972
West Sacramento, California
Panel 01W Line 045



USAF Aircrew

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

The database page for Donald Herman Klinke

15 Jan 2003

I wore your name on a bracelet on my arm for 12 years before I took it off.
But you were never forgotten.
Rest in peace, Brother.
Pray for us, we are on the verge of another war.

Patricia Keith
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

11 Jun 2003

I still wear your bracelet and remember you every day.
You are not forgotten and you are a hero in my eyes.

Jo Silveus

1 Oct 2004

I wear your name on my arm and in my heart every day.
I will never take it off. My mother wears Mark's.
You are and always will be my hero.
I share your story with everone I meet, and I know you know the story about your name and Mark's that day in D.C.
You and Mark were there that day, I just know it. I felt it.
I love you, Donald, and thank you for giving the ultimate sacrifice so that I can be sitting here writing this while free.
And I'm sorry you had to give the ultimate sacrifice for a "War" you should have never been in.
In my heart, mind, and soul forever.

Vanessa Carter

Notesfrom The Virtual Wall

On 18 June 1972 an AC-130A Spectre gunship (tail number 55-0043) of the 16th Special Operations Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, departed Ubon RTAFB for a mission along the Lao/SVN border at the western end of the A Shau Valley. Fifteen crewmen were aboard the AC-130:
  • Maj Gerald F. Ayres, crewman;
  • Maj Robert H. Harrison, navigator;
  • Capt Gordon Boucher, crewman;
  • Capt Mark G. Danielson, electronic warfare officer;
  • Capt Paul F. Gilbert, pilot;
  • Capt Robert A. Wilson, co-pilot;
  • 2LT Robert Reid, crewman;
  • MSgt Jacob E. Mercer, aerial gunner;
  • TSgt Richard M. Cole Jr, flight engineer;
  • SSgt Donald H. Klinke, crewman;
  • SSgt Richard E. Nyhof, aerial gunner;
  • SSgt Larry J. Newman, aerial gunner;
  • SSgt William B. Patterson, crewman;
  • Sgt Leon A. Hunt, aerial gunner; and
  • Sgt Stanley L. Lehrke, aerial gunner.
The aircraft was about 25 miles southwest of Hue when it was hit in the number three (right inboard) engine by an SA-7 surface-to-air missile. A fuel tank explosion occured shortly after the missile impact, severing the right wing. The aircraft crashed in flames.

Three men were able to escape the aircraft before impact and were picked up by search and rescue forces on the morning of 19 June - Capt Gordon Boucher, 2LT Robert Reid, and SSgt William B. Patterson. Because the crash was deemed not survivable, when SAR efforts were terminated the remaining twelve men were classed as Killed in Action.

Over the years unconfirmed reports surfaced indicating that one or more of the twelve may have successfully escaped the aircraft before ground impact - for example, in 1985 a photograph of a bearded Caucasian sitting on a log was identified as Jacob Mercer.

In October 1993, remains recovered from the crash site were repatriated. On 22 Oct 1994 the government announced that three crewmen - Major Gerald F. Ayres, Captain Mark Danielson, and MSgt Jacob Mercer - had been individually identified, while the other remains represented the remaining nine men. On 17 November 1994 the co-mingled remains were given a group burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Patricia Keith
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
15 Jan 2003

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index K
CA State Index . Panel 01W
16TH SOS Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 10/03/2004