John Martin Souther
Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
Los Angeles, California
January 25, 1949 to February 26, 1971
(Incident Date February 20, 1971)
JOHN M SOUTHER is on the Wall at Panel W4, Line 7

John M Souther
usarv.gif ABN-61STMEDBN.gif 498medco.gif

10 April 2002

To a Dear Friend

You are remembered and thought of all the time. I visit at the Wall every year. You still touch people even though you are gone. We love you and will remember always.

A memorial from a friend,
Clotilde J (Kaapke) Ferguson
207 N Maple Ave Martinsburg WV 25401

03 Sep 2002

Such a very small and tragic world we live in. Those intense days at and about Khe Sahn. I was flying wing of a helicopter gunship team on Feb 21st when my lead was shot down in Laos. We got our wounded to Quang Tri via flight school classmate Howard Modjeski. He told me of our classmate John Rauen perishing in the 'Souther' crash. I was flying lead on Feb 24th when I would be shot in the head but survive with just minor injuries.

It would be years before Howard and I would reunite in Southern California. Howard shared with me his Dust Off unit's remembrance book. There, among those pictures of John Rauen, our lost classmate, were the pictures of John Souther.

John Souther and I had grown up in Arleta together, attended elementary, junior, and senior high school together. Cub Souts, Weblos and Boy Scouts. I had learned the scout laws and pledges in his living room as his Dad was the adult leader of our group. For any of those that recall, my Dad - Tommy Thompson - was an aerial photographer and little league coach. John's Dad was a pilot out of Burbank also. I recently lost my older brother Ted as he was a retired Air Force Colonel and the pilot of the doomed Alaska Airline that perished off the Ventura Coast. I miss them all daily.

From an old neighborhood & school friend and fellow Warrant Officer,
Fred Thompson

05 Apr 2004

Photo courtesy of
his friend and comrade-in-arms in Vietnam,
Willard G. Rusk



Notes from The Virtual Wall

In February 1971, US and South Vietnamese forces were heavily engaged in the Tchepone area of Laos in an effort to disrupt enemy use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Air support for these forces flew from a number of base camps along the Lao/SVN border. On 20 Feb 71 DUSTOFF 30, a UH-1H (tail number 69-15273) of the 498th Medical Company, was on standby at Khe Sanh. The crew consisted of At about 2150 DUSTOFF 30 was alerted for an extended medevac mission. The aircraft commander elected to refuel his aircraft before departure and was cleared to fly from the 498th Med hardstand to the refueling point. The short flight and the refueling were accomplished without incident. Upon completion, Khe Sanh tower cleared DUSTOFF 30 for takeoff. DUSTOFF 30 lifted off heading north and climbed to about 60 to 80 feet before banking to a southeasterly heading. As it reached the approach end of Runway 09 it entered a heavy bank of ground fog. Witnesses stated that DUSTOFF 30 then made a hard descending left turn to clear the fog, but impacted the ground. The aircraft continued in motion for several hundred feet, breaking into two main pieces. Warrant Officer Rauen and SP4 Gilliland died in the crash. The other two men survived the crash itself but died of injuries received, SP4 Levulis on 21 Feb 71 and Warrant Officer Souther on 26 Feb 71 (He was being moved to Japan from Vietnam for treatment).
The announcement of WO Souther's death was published in Valley News, March 7, 1971. It read: Helicopter Pilot John Martin Souther of Sepulveda died of injuries suffered in Vietnam. Services are pending for Warrant Officer First Class John Martin Souther, son of Mr. and Mrs. James W. Souther of 15906 Septo St., Sepulveda. The helicopter pilot died February 26 in South V i e t nam from injuries sustained in action a few days earlier. He was 22. He was graduated from James Monroe High School with the summer 1966 class.

After attending Pierce College and working for Flare Northern of Saugus, he entered the armed forces March 18, 1969, going overseas in April of last year. In addition to Monroe High School, the native Californian also had attended John H. Francis Polytechnic High School, Sepulveda Junior High School, and Canterbury Ave Elementary School. He was a member of the Osborne Neighborhood Church. Surviving him besides his parents are sisters Laurie Hurst of Van Nuys and Diane Souther of Sepulveda; a brother Bruce Souther of Sepulveda, a grandmother Mrs. Edward Gurr of Pacoima and grandfather Hank Souther. (End of notice)

WO Souther was buried in Eternal Valley Memorial Park, Newhall, Los Angeles County, California. His father, James William Souther passed away in 1979 and is buried in the same location as his son. He is still survived by his mother, Elizabeth Eugenia (Vance) Souther.

- - - - The Virtual Wall, February 4, 2014

Contact Us © Copyright 1997-2018, Ltd ®(TM) Last update 06/29/2018