Jose D Melendez-Gonzalez

Private First Class
Army of the United States
07 April 1948 - 01 October 1968
Naguabo, Puerto Rico
Panel 42W Line 061


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Jose D Melendez-Gonzalez

13 Nov 2006

Friends Are Forever

Friends always remember so well
all the things they did together
all the subjects they discussed
allthe mistakes they made
all the fun they had.

Friends always remember
how their friendship
was such a stabilizing force
during confusing times
in their lives.

Friends may have different lifestyles
live in different places
and interact with different people
but no matter how much
their lives may change
their friendship remains the same.

I know that throughout my life
wherever I am
I will always
remember so well
and cherish our friendship
as one of the best
I have ever known.

- Susan Polis Schutz -

From a friend from C Co, 2nd Bn, 1st Trng Bde,
SFC (Ret) Tomas Ortiz-Rivera
P O Box 6459, El Paso, Texas 79906

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 01 October 1968 D Company, 1st Bn, 46th Infantry was engaged in the vicinity of the Thien Phuoc Special Forces Camp in Quang Tin Province. During the fight, attempts to medevac their wounded were hampered by heavy enemy fire on the helicopters. One attempt, flown by WO1 Reinis Fox, resulted in a downed helo. Reinis and his crew were picked up and volunteered to try again. On his second attempt Reinis got into the landing zone, reportedly loaded 9 wounded men aboard, and was shot down after take-off. Three wounded were recovered from the downed Huey, but the bodies of the dead could not be recovered at the time. As the day wore on the US soldiers were required to pull back, taking their wounded but unable to recover their dead from the ground action. US forces later reentered the area and recovered all their dead - 16 men. Two more died of wounds incurred in the action.

The medevac helo loss is known to have resulted in eleven deaths:

  • Aircrew, UH-1H tail number 66-17029, 54th Med Det, 498th Med Co (AA):
    • WO Reinis Fox, Merritt Island, FL, pilot (DoW 10/07/1968) (Silver Star)
    • PFC Calvin E. McGilton, New Haven, CT, crew chief (DoW 10/03/1968)
    • SP4 Richard W. Sanders, flight medic, Goshen, OH

  • Wounded passengers:
    • SGT Robert F. Asher, Smiley, TX, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
    • SGT Ward E. See, Peru, IN, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
    • CPL Timothy G. Arens, Appleton, WI, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
    • CPL Frank A. Baggett, Williams, CA, C Btry, 1/14th Artillery
    • CPL Lemuel Johnson, Moore, SC, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
    • CPL Bernard J. Uhren, Billings, MT, B Btry, 1/14th Artillery
    • PFC Charles A. Branch, Glenwood, MN, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
    • PFC Jose D. Melendez-Gonzalez, Naguabo, PR, D Co, 1/46th Infantry
Seven other men died in the fighting on the ground:
  • 1LT Ronald D. Brown, Jefferson, OH
  • SGT Robert J. Davis, Abingdon, IL
  • SGT Frederick H. Flynn, Warrensburg, NY
  • CPL Gary W. Brown, Los Angeles, CA
  • CPL John W. Dingus, Kingsport, TN
  • CPL Eugene R. Suarez, Ann Arbor, MI
  • PFC Richard B. Clements, Lindsay, OK
As noted above, Reinis reportedly loaded nine wounded men aboard, but only eight can be identified. All eleven men aboard the helicopter died from burns received in the crash. Corporal Gary W. Brown is not coded as a helo-related death, but he alone among the ground casualties died of burns. It is possible that he was the ninth wounded passenger, if there were indeed nine men loaded aboard.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Nov 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009