Eric Vincent Pulliam

First Lieutenant
Army of the United States
29 August 1945 - 28 March 1969
Baltimore, Maryland
Panel 28W Line 075


Army Aviator

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

The database page for Eric Vincent Pulliam

25 Dec 2004

From the Arty OCS Class 30-67 photo.

Eric and I graduated from Artillery Officer Candidate Class 30-67, Ft Sill, Okla. We were friends, and in the same platoon. We both applied for helicopter pilot training. He was accepted, and I was not. Becoming a helicopter pilot was my primary military goal. I was crushed, but Eric sensed my disappointment, and he did his best to make it OK. I was assigned to Vietnam as an artillery forward oserver. Eric went to Rotary Wing Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama. We lost touch with each other til February, 1969. I was ending my tour, and returning to the world. I stopped at the Cam Ranh Bay O-Club, and sitting there at a table was a FNG pilot who looked very familiar. Eric was about to begin his tour, and mine was over. We reminisced about our days at Fort Sill, until I had to leave and catch my flight home. "Take care of yourself" was the last thing I said to him. I left with just a little envy, but I was glad to be leaving that awful place. Eric was killed one month later in Thua Thien Province, I Corps. His aircraft crashed and burned as a result of hostile fire.

"Some of God's greatest gifts are our unanswered prayers."
- Garth Brooks -

From a friend,
Ed Mihalacki

Eric is third from left back row.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Three men were killed when UH-1D tail number 66-16284 was shot down in Thua Thien Province:
  • 1LT Wilofard A. McClain, El Paso, TX, pilot;
  • 1LT Eric V. Pulliam, Baltimore, MD, copilot; and
  • SP4 Ronald F. Ricciardo, Deer Park, NY, crew chief.

Other officers in the company remember them as well:

"I was a CW2 in 2nd platoon C Company, my call sign was Black Widow 44. Ron Ricciardo was my crewchief, Wilofard McClain was my platoon leader and Eric Pulliam was new to the Company. In fact, he had just been in the Company for approximately 2 weeks before he was killed. Here is the story as I remember it. On 2/28/69, because I had flown 130 hours in 30 days, that meant a mandatory day off. 1LT McClain was assigned to my aircraft on that day and 1LT Pulliam was his copilot. SP4 Ricciardo was the crew chief and I can't recall the gunner's name. The aircraft mission was to recon particular mountainous terrain in or near the Ashau Valley. While flying low and slow over the tree tops in the mission area, they were taken under fire. SP4 Ricciardo was said to have taken an RPG in the chest which resulted in the helicopter crashing. As the helicopter was going down, the gunner jumped out of the helicopter at near tree-top level, breaking bones when he hit the ground. 1LT McClain and 1LT Pulliam were both killed in the crash. The gunner was not found for several hours, but was later rescued and medivaced to a hospital where he survived."

Eric Penttila

"I had just returned from R&R in Hawaii and was back in the saddle on the 28th and like Dick said we were returning from a morning CA [combat assault] when a call came through that said the 158th needed assistance. Since I was short on monthly flying time I volunteered to assist them and McClain told the flight that he would take the mission and that we were to return to home base. Later that day he was shot down and killed along with Eric Pulliam and Ronald Ricciardo. We had the funeral for them only a few days later and that was the last of the five people killed during my tour. I was lucky enough to be in the Honor Guard for the guys. Now for some more info on the three fellows; LT McClain was a good platoon leader and had the respect of the platoon members. He was a card player and even cashed a few of my checks so I would have some spending money. I don't remember flying with him but I may have. I thought LT McClain was from Georgia but I am not sure these many years later. LT Pulliam had recently signed into the company and was there for the move from LZ Sally to Phu Bia. His total time in the company was less than one month and I never had a chance to fly with him or even get to know him. SP-4 Ricciardo was from the Bronx if I remember correctly. He always had a smile and was following in Ed McMann's foot steps by saying "Hereeee's Johnny" when we flew together. He was always spicing up the day like that. He told me that he was seriously thinking about extending his tour so he could get into flight school because he enjoyed flying so much. He was a great person to be around. I have no photos of them, just memories of 36 years ago..."

John H Forslund
Black Widow 48, RVN 68-69

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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