John Marshall Rucker

Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
16 June 1946 - 11 May 1969
Decatur, Georgia
Panel 25W Line 054


AH-1 Cobra

Army Aviator

DFC, Bronze Star, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Marshall Rucker

14 Dec 2004

Johnny, even though it's been over 35 years now since you left us, I still miss you just as much today!!!! I always thought it would be me fighting a war, not you!!!

You had a small daughter when you departed, and I just wanted you to know that your GRANDSON is now in the National Guard... Can you believe it????? He's a fine young man!!!

And one other thing, my youngest son Greg is YOU made over... same height, build, and even appearances... I sometimes get the two of you confused when researching my memory..

Your brother,

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association database description of Warrant Officer Rucker's loss is paraphrased as follows:

WO Rucker, pilot and aircraft commander, and WO David J. Price, copilot and weapons system operator, departed Liftmaster Pad at 0810 11 May 1969 in AH-1G tail number 67-15802 as the lead aircraft in a flight of two Cobras providing armed escort for a CH-54. Turn-up and take-off was normal, but during climb-out to rendezvous with the CH-54 Rucker advised his wingman that he had an engine chip detector light and was returning to Liftmaster. Rucker executed a left turn to head back to Liftmaster. At this point the copilot noted an illuminated low engine oil pressure light and advised the pilot, who acknowledged a rapid decrease in oil pressure. The engine failed shortly thereafter and Rucker entered an autorotation. The copilot's MAYDAY call was not transmitted (the radios had gone off-line) but the wing Cobra observed lead going into a steep autorotation and advised base of the events. Rucker's Cobra descended almost vertically, impacted on a hillside, flipped over to its right, and came to rest inverted and almost submerged in a small pond. The copilot's canopy had shattered on ground impact, permitting WO Price to exit the aircraft, but WO Rucker's canopy had remained intact, trapping him in the submerged cockpit. Although a rescue force was on-scene almost immediately, WO Rucker was dead by the time they could get him out of the aircraft.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his brother. 
14 Dec 2004

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 12/14/2004