Paul Truman McClellan, JrCaptain
1ST AIR COMMANDO SQDN, 6251ST TFW, 13TH AF
United States Air Force
07 July 1931 - 14 November 1965
West Stayton, Oregon
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The database page for Paul Truman McClellan, Jr
You have become part of our family in our hearts.
NEVER FORGOTTEN AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.
From his daughter's brother- and sister-in-laws,
14 Nov 2005
14 November - On your 40th anniversary,
"NEVER TO BE FORGOTTEN"
SMSgt Eugene L. Mago USAF (Ret)
"I salute you, my brother"
His daughter Suzanne is our sister-in-law,
REMEMBEREDby his son
Paul J. McClellan
I was in the battle at LZ X-RAY, November 14-16, 1965 as a machine gunner with the 7th Cavalry. While laying prone on the ground and firing at the advancing NVA I was observing the A-1E Skyraider making his bombing runs in front of my position (between the Chu Pong Mountain and me). I have documented this in the book "We Were Soldiers".
I was 'keying' off of him as I knew that he had a better view of the enemy than I had as to where they were coming from. The pilot made several bombing runs also firing his machine guns at very low levels. On his last run he was hit by enemy fire and his fuel tank exploded and caught fire. Just above the tree top he passed by me, his plane trailing smoke and flame. I was less than 50 yards from him and saw his face looking at the LZ and in my direction. He was alive and moving at that time. He disappeared over the trees and out of my sight. He killed many of the enemy and may have saved our battalion. I am extremely grateful for his actions and feel he deserves the MOH for his heroics and sacrifice.
From a US soldier,
On 14 November 1965 I was overflying Landing Zone XRay in the command Huey of Colonel Tim Brown, 3rd Brigade commander, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile), hoping he could land there so I could bail out and join the troops. The smoke was rising above 3,000 feet from air, artillery and small arms fire all around the perimeter of the LZ. Our chopper was circling overhead. Lt. Col. Hal Moore, commander 1/7 Cavalry on the ground, was waving off his commander Col. Brown: The LZ was too hot. If we landed that Huey with all the antennas the bird would be shot to pieces.
Suddenly beneath us flashed an A1-E Skyraider fighter plane, streaming a long plume of smoke and fire. He was no higher than 750 to 1,000 feet above the ground. I was monitoring the radios through the headset I was wearing. Someone was yelling into the radio: "Anyone see a chute? Anyone see a chute?" I watched carefully as the Skyraider arced lower and then impacted in the jungle perhaps a mile distant from LZ XRay. I keyed the mike: "NO CHUTE! NO CHUTE! He went in with the aircraft...."
Capt. Paul T. McClellan flew that Skyraider and went down with it. He rests there in the jungle, near XRay, to this day, an honored and well remembered comrade who gave everything he had for the troops surrounded on the ground below.
Sleep well, good and faithful soldier!
Joseph L. Galloway
I never had the chance to meet you but I understand you had a duty to our country. I pray you died at peace and you were and always will be loved and missed.
Notes from The Virtual WallPaul T. McClellan
died in the fighting in the
Ia Drang Valley
and The Virtual Wall's
On the morning of 14 Nov 1965 four companies of the 1st Bn, 7th Cav, were airlifted into Landing Zone X-RAY in the Ia Drang Valley, where they immediately were engaged by a very superior North Vietnamese Army force. Heavy fighting ensued, and Air Force aircraft based at Pleiku were called in for air support. At about 3 pm Captain Paul T. McClellan's A-1E was hit by enemy fire as he was making a low-level firing pass over the Landing Zone. His Skyraider, trailing smoke and flames, crashed two kilometers northeast of the landing zone, killing McClellan. When enemy soldiers tried to reach the wreckage, U.S. gunships destroyed them - and the aircraft - with rocket fire.
Captain McClellan's remains were not recovered.
The A-1 Skyraider was developed by the Navy during World War II but didn't enter fleet service until after the war ended. It served very well as a ground attack aircraft in Korea and had a well-earned reputation as a sturdy, reliable aircraft capable of carrying a wide range of ordnance and was still in Navy service in the 1960s. As Vietnam heated up the Air Force recognized the value of the "Spad" and obtained a number of aircraft from the Navy. USAF A-1 training was conducted at Hurlburt Field, part of the Eglin AFB complex in the Florida panhandle. The photo below is of class "Express 12":
Back row: Capt John V. Duell; Maj John P. O'Gorman; Capt Donny D. Clemens; unknown; Capt John R. Gearhart; Maj Wallace A. Ford. Front row: Capt Oliver C. Chase; unknown; Capt Paul T. McClellan; Capt J.B. Ledbetter; unknown. Not pictured: Capt R. V. Arbuckle; Capt Don R. Hood; and Capt William H. Kyle.
Four men from Express 12 died in Vietnam:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 8 Nov 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009