Leroy Rutherford

Army of the United States
01 June 1946 - 03 September 1969
Burlington, Vermont
Panel 18W Line 030


Combat Infantry

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Leroy Rutherford

09 Oct 2001

"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
is never to have died."
(Thomas Campbell, circa 1888)

From a friend.
10 Jun 2006

Dear Leroy,

On September 3, 1970 I was picked to jump on a Huey to leave and return to Fire Support Base Hamburg when the RTO jumped right in front of me. I returned to my last postion and all of a sudden I heard a strange sound. I turned around and watched the Huey's rotor blades break off on a tall tree limb; as we were watching in horror the Huey stayed in the air for a few seconds and then it nosed down into a ravine with a stream at the bottom. When we arrived we found all 5 or 6 soldiers and 4 crewman dead. No one jumped out. The bodies were burned, all gone. It looked like the pilot made a misjudgment. This happened around noon time. We paid a heavy price but it's been years and I never told anyone. I just joined a VFW in my area after all these years; I feel that I made headway and can acknowledge Vietnam to myself. I feel like I've been left behind in one way but the truth is GOD is LOVE. I am alive and well.

Allen Burdine
1/502 1970

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 3 Sep 1968, Corporal Leroy Rutherford's rifle company was being extracted from their position preparatory to making an airborne combat assault. Fourteen UH-1 Huey helicopters from B Company, 58th Aviation Battalion, were to extract the company and insert it into its new position. The extraction zone was studded with tall trees, requiring that on take-off the aircraft had to fly in a particular direction.

The first seven Hueys successfully maneuvered among the trees. The eighth Huey was waved off on its first approach due to artillery strikes near the pickup zone, but landed without difficulty on its second approach. Five passengers were loaded and the aircraft begain its takeoff. After becoming airborne, the pilot failed to maintain sufficient clearance from a 60' tall tree and had a main rotor strike. The aircraft skimmed along the jungle canopy until it collided with an even taller tree, then fell off to the side, passing downhill along the side of a ravine before crashing into a small river. The aircraft immediately burst into flames. The four crewmen and five passengers who died in the crash were

  • B Company, 158th AHB
    • CWO Ben F. Sutton, Palmetto, FL
    • WO Carl P. Hughes, Savannah, GA
    • SGT Michael M. Cox, Sacramento, CA
    • SP4 Marvin E. Screen, Miami, FL

  • D Company, 1/502nd Infantry
    • CPT Richard C. Miller, Jacksonville, AL
    • SGT Gary L. Evans, Pebworth, KY
    • CPL Leroy Rutherford, Burlington, VT
    • SP4 Neal D. Epifanio, Fairfield, NJ
    • PFC Louis T. Mills, Asheville, NC

From the Accident Report for UH-1H 68-15537

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 9 Oct 2001
Last updated 06/30/2006