Lonnie Joseph Tullier
Staff Sergeant
E CO, 3RD BN, 60TH INFANTRY, 9TH INF DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
East Baton Rouge, Louisiana
March 16, 1937 to August 12, 1968
LONNIE J TULLIER is on the Wall at Panel W48, Line 4

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Lonnie J Tullier
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27 May 2006
REMEMBERED
by someone who wears his MIA bracelet.
E-mail address is not available.

 
A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 12 Aug 1968 the 191st Assault Helicopter Company was conducting operations in support of the 1st Brigade, 9th Infantry Division. After a rather full day of flying four aircraft were released to return to Bear Cat. The VHPA database contains the following description of what occurred.

"The flight picked up passengers that were returning to Bear Cat and White 5 [UH-1D 66-00820] loaded six passengers, then the flight departed for Bear Cat at approximately 1650 hours. The flight was at 1500 feet in a diamond formation with White 5 in the slot. Approximately 10 minutes out of Dong Tam White 5 transmitted, "White 5 going down, tail rotor failure." The aircraft was observed to descend in a relatively level attitude with the main rotor turning very slowly. The number two aircraft in the formation, flown by aircraft commander CW2 Wiegman, broke from the formation and followed the aircraft down. The aircraft struck the ground in a slightly nose low attitude in a rice paddy with apparently very little forward motion. The aircraft commander and the pilot were pinned in the wreckage by the instrument panel. The passenger compartment was on fire. An attempt was made to extract the personnel from the burning wreckage and one passenger was removed but was apparently killed upon impact."

The ten men who died in the crash were:

As noted, only one body could be removed from the wreckage before the fire made further rescue efforts impossible - that was SFC Merlin H. Bergan. The remains of the other nine men were recovered the following day, 13 Aug, and seven of the Americans were identified within a reasonable period - but SSG Lonnie Tullier's body could not be positively identified. He was carried as Missing in Action until 30 April 1973, when a positive identification could be made.


 
Photo of Lonnie, date unknown
Lonnie J Tullier

An update to the 525th MI Group report on MIAs, shows Lonnie went missing on 12 August 1968. He was on authorized leave to go to Japan for R&R. He departed his unit on 9 August and arrived at Dong Tam Air terminal where he signed a stand by manifest awaiting flight to Bear Cat.

When four helicopters arrived at Dong Tam AT, persons awaiting flight boarded the aircraft, and Enlisted Man apparently boarded one also. One of the four aircraft developed mechanical trouble, crashed and burned. The remains of 10 persons were recovered on 13 August and 9 had been identified.

Those remains not identified were SSG Tullier and it was not until 30 April 1973 before they could be identified with the advances in forensic sciences. His status was changed from Missing In Action to Dead on 1 May 1973, with the effective date of death of 12 August.

SSG Tullier was survived by his wife, Marion S. Tullier, son Jay (1963- ), and his mother Tennie Wilma (Jones) Tullier Armony (1912-2007), of Baton Rouge. He was predeceased by his father, Abner Joseph Tullier (1904-1958).

SSG Tullier was buried in Salem Cemetery, Walker, Livingston Parish, Louisiana. It's a quaint little place in the country which Lonnie was born and raised (Denham Springs, LA). His father and mother are also buried in the same cemetery.

Lonnie J Tullier

- - The Virtual Wall, September 7, 2016

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