John Eugene Mattingly

HMM-364, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
08 September 1946 - 29 November 1969
Dresden, Ohio
Panel 15W Line 006



USN/USMC Combat Aircrew

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

The database page for John Eugene Mattingly

6 Oct 2001

Johnny was my brother and graduated from Frazeysburg High School in 1964. All he ever wanted to do was be a Marine. He was an enlisted aircrewman on CH-46 helicopters and on his second tour in Vietnam when his aircraft was hit by enemy gunfire and the crew killed in the ensuing crash.

Johnny was a great son to Alfred and Mildred Mattingly of Dresden, Ohio, and a wonderful big brother to Susan Barton, Sally Miller, Alan Mattingly, Cindy Balderson and Melissa Vanderkam.

His name is on the Veteran's Memorial in the Dresden, Ohio, cemetery which honors veterans killed in action from the local vicinity.

A memorial from his sister,
Cynthia J. Balderson, CWO3, USN (Ret)

15 Sep 2003

John Mattingly, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, or friends. Those women, the

Purple Foxy Ladies
Purple Foxy Ladies

continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.

the Purple Foxes

on-line or go to our unit page
on The Virtual Wall

A memorial from the
Purple Foxy Ladies

and his brothers in HMM-364.
Frank Gulledge, Point Man

14 May 2008


by a lifelong friend.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Seven men died when their CH-46D (BuNo 153996) went down: The twin rotors of the CH-46 overlap or interlace, with synchronization provided by a shaft which connects the two rotor systems. Post-crash analysis indicated that synchronization failed, the rotor blades hit each other and failed, and the aircraft crashed.
"I saw a stream of tracers connect with the aircraft prior to its break up. Since then I have contacted another former Marine who was with me that day and he confirms my recollection. It seems likely that the failure of the synchronization shaft was due to hostile fire rather than the shaft failing on its own at that particular moment."
Jimmy Vallance, Hotel 3/11
"There was a call for volunteers for an emergency med-evac. Many of us went down to the hangar to sign up for the flight. The last man to get on the flight list was Sgt John Mattingly, who was standing directly in front of me waiting in line to sign up. I was disappointed that I didn't get on the flight. I will always remember him fondly as my section leader, a good man."
John L. Gilbert, HMM-364
On 29 November 1969 YK-9 (CH-46D BuNo 153996) was tasked with evacuating a seriously wounded Marine in southern Quang Nam province south of Landing Zone Ross. While enroute to the LZ the synchronization shaft running between the forward and aft transmissions failed, allowing intermeshing rotor blades to make contact with each other. The blades sheared and the aircraft quite simply fell out of the sky. The resulting crash and post-crash fire killed the seven men aboard and totally destroyed the airframe.

Initial evidence indicated mechanical failure rather than enemy action and the casualties were so reported. However, when the wreckage was returned to Marble Mountain Air Facility, HMM-364's Executive Officer, Major Jack Pipa, spent hours examining the wreckage and determined that a .50 caliber (or Russian .51 caliber) round had entered the bottom of the aircraft, continued through the radio cabinet behind the cockpit, and struck the synchronization shaft causing it to fail.

At that point the casualty reports for the five Marines were corrected to reflect death due to hostile action rather than accident, but the reports for the two Navy men aboard were not corrected - they continue to reflect an operational accident rather than hostile action as the cause of death.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 6 Oct 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009