Walter Ripley Tyrrell

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class
HMM-364, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
United States Navy
03 July 1947 - 07 February 1969
Chemung, New York
Panel 33W Line 082

1ST MAW CH-46 HMM-364
Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Walter R Tyrrell

The database page for Walter Ripley Tyrrell

02 Aug 2003

On 7 Feb 1969 two CH-46A Sea Knights of HMM-364 were conducting medevac missions throughout the day. On their 8th mission, they were called for a mission near An Hoa. SWIFT 1-1 (CH-46A BuNo 153334) was piloted by Captain Ernie Bartolina; his wingman, SWIFT 1-2, was piloted by Lt. Dick Hardin.

Although the area was reported as secure, it was not. As Bartolina began his descent into the landing zone his aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire. Both of the CH-46's hydraulic boost systems failed, rendering the big helicopter uncontrollable. Hardin's crew reported that lead suddenly pitched nose-up, rotated a full 360 degrees, and crashed into a rice paddy in an upright position. When Hardin attempted to land next to the downed aircraft, heavy gunfire forced him to abort the attempt.

Additional fire support was brought to bear and ground forces attempted to reach the site. An airborne recovery effort was mounted, with 1st Lt Thomas J. Sullivan bringing in a recovery team led by 1st Lt Courtney B. Payne. Although both the insertion aircraft and the ground team came under continuous heavy fire, the Marines succeeded in recovering their dead and injured. Sullivan was awarded the Silver Star and Payne the Bronze Star for their actions during the recovery ... but six men died in the crash:

Gunner Gregory J. Tomaro was the only survivor.

Petty Officer Walter Tyrrell, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, or friends. Those women, the

Purple Foxy Ladies
Purple Foxy Ladies

continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.

the Purple Foxes

on-line or go to our unit page
on The Virtual Wall

A memorial initiated by the
Purple Foxy Ladies

Photo provided by
Stephanie Young Hanson,
whose father died in the incident.

20 Mar 2005

Rip Tyrrell was my first cousin and his death forever changed the lives of not only his immediate family, but of his extended family as well. Our lives were forever changed by his loss and he is sorely missed to this day. We have great memories of Rip, but wish we could have known the man he should have had the chance to become. I can guarantee he would have been as special if he had continued to live, as he was in the short time he had on Earth. He has made me so proud and humble to be related to him. My memories of him make me smile to this day. I will forever miss him.

From a first cousin,
Patricia Carey Deliz
E-mail address is not available.

Fleet Marine Force Corpsman

"You guys are the Marine's doctors -
There's none better in the business than a Navy Corpsman ..."
-- Lieutenant General "Chesty" Puller --

Visit John Dennison's
Medics on the Wall
memorial which honors the
Army Medics and Navy Corpsmen who died in Vietnam.

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index T
NY State Index . Panel 33W
HMM-364 Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009