James Everett LaneSpecialist Five
8TH TRANS CO, MAAGV
Army of the United States
06 February 1933 - 15 July 1962
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The database page for James Everett Lane
Jim was the first casualty of the Vietnam War from Odessa, Texas. Jim was killed when the helicopter that he crewed was shot down in July 1962. Vietnam was a far away country and no one knew where it was. In fact, his death didn't make any real headlines in the local paper. It was four years and one month later before another Odessan was killed in Vietnam. Jim was almost a footnote, but by late 1966 Jim's death was suddenly remembered. Jim was a career soldier and at the time of his death, he had served eight years in the Army. Jim is remembered by his community and by the Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial located at Midland International Airport. May his sacrifice never be forgotten.
19 Apr 2004
The following information was provided by the Army Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and is taken from SP5 Lane's "Statement of Military Service" (dated 16 Jan 1967) and other official records provided to the School at the time the James E. Lane Barracks was dedicated on 4 May 1967:
04 Dec 2005
I found a newspaper article dated July 16, 1972, Odessa American newspaper, marking the ninth anniversary of James Everett Lane's death. Jimmy was the first casualty of the Vietnam War from Odessa and the first from the Permian Basin. In the article it states he won a Bronze Star for heroism in addition to his other awards in Korea, however, this medal was not reflected in his service record provided to the U.S. Transportation School, Fort Eustis, Virginia in 1967 when Lane Barracks was dedicated. Military record keeping during World War II and Korea are infamous for not having all awarded medals recorded, especially those awarded months or years after an action. No doubt, Specialist Lane was a decorated soldier who did his duty above and beyond. Demonstrating this, Specialist Lane was a helicopter mechanic who volunteered to act as a gunner on the helicopter in place of a soldier who was ill on the flight which resulted in his death.
Between 1967 and 1972, Lane Hall was dedicated at Fort Rucker, Alabama in honor of Specialist Lane, as well as that at Fort Eustis. An Army Airfield in Vietnam also carried his name during the Vietnam War.
In the wedding picture, James Everett Lane is the second person on the left side (left to right). The photo at the top of the page was taken for his senior picture for the 1950 OHS annual.
Billy M. Brown
From a hometown representative,
Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 15 July 1962 a CH-21C (tail number 56-02084) of the 8th Transportation Company was conducting a reconnaissance mission near Dak Rode village in Kontum Province. According to the VHPA database the helicopter carried a four-man crew and three passengers - LTC Anthony J. Tencza, the Senior Advisor to the ARVN 22d Infantry Division, and two ARVN officers.
The helicopter was at a very low altitude and airspeed - reportedly less than 100 feet and about 60 knots - when it was hit by enemy fire and brought down. Four Americans and one Vietnamese died in the crash; one American - copilot Major R. F. Cornell - and one Vietnamese survived. The dead were
The first American helicopter crew was lost during a reconnaissance mission.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009