Robert Paul Wiesneth

First Lieutenant
United States Air Force
09 September 1942 - 11 September 1969
Louisville, Nebraska
Panel 18W Line 074
USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Robert P Wiesneth

The database page for Robert Paul Wiesneth

Son, brother, friend, husband, and father to a daughter you never got to see or hold in your arms. Your light continues to shine through your daughter and now her children.

You were bigger than life, with a quick sense of humor -- a man of conviction and purpose. You are loved still and missed by many. We are thankful you touched our lives, even if for a brief time.

Love, Donna
27 Dec 2001

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand,
and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force
Killed in flight 11 Dec 1941, aged 19

From his daughter,
Valerie Wiesneth Downs
03 Jan 2002

Robert, or Butch as we called him, was my younger brother and playmate when we were children. There were only twenty-two months difference in our ages.

He was always interested in airplanes and always knew he wanted to be a pilot. He had so many plastic model airplanes that he would glue together and decorate so lovingly. He would run outside if he heard a plane go over our little home we grew up in Louisville, Nebraska, and then run back in telling us its identification. His interest in flying was so strong there was never any doubt what he was going to do as an adult. I have a picture of him sleeping in his bed with a book laying on the lamp table near by with a title of "Airplanes and Flying".

His death was so hard for the family. My father never got over it. I truly believe that was the worst pain my father ever felt in his life was losing Butch. It certainly left a big gap in all of our hearts. Robert felt very strongly that it was his duty to fight for his country. When I see the American flag my eyes fill with tears for I know he gave his life willingly.

His beautiful daughter whom he never held in his arms carries on his legacy. Now he has two beautiful twin granddaughters that he would have been so very proud of.

He is now with my folks who have joined him in passing from this world to eternity. His life although short touched so many of us. I can still hear his voice so clearly when he would call from SAC in Omaha and ask me to come and pick him up. He was a good son, brother, and person. He will always be loved, remembered and missed. I am so proud that he was my brother.

From his sister, who has so many fond memories of our childhood,
Mary Ann Wiesneth
05 Jan 2002

A note from The Virtual Wall

The CV-2 CARIBOU started life as an Army light transport, but in late 1965 the Army and Air Force Chiefs of Staff agreed to transfer the CV-2 to the Air Force, where the airplane became the C-7A. At the time, there were six US Army aviation companies equipped with CARIBOUs in Vietnam, so the Air Force organized an equal number of squadrons as part of the newly activated 483rd Troop Carrier Wing. While the 483rd was to be based at Cam Ranh Bay, the squadrons were dispersed, with the 457th and 458th at Cam Ranh, the 535th and 536th at Vung Tau, and the 459th and 537th (ex-17th Aviation Company) at Phu Cat.

Since the C-7A could operate from fields that could not support the larger C-123 and C-130 aircraft, the six CARIBOU squadrons specialized in short-field work. That meant the crews frequently were subjected to heavy fire during approaches and take-offs, since the small fields usually were located in smaller and/or more remote compounds and bases with correspondingly small defensive perimeters.

Four men of the 537th Tactical Airlift Squadron died when their C-7A (hull number 62-4187) was shot down on 11 September 1969:

  • 1Lt Neil N. Greinke, pilot
  • 1Lt Robert P. Wiesneth, instructor pilot
  • 2Lt Charles B. Ross, copilot
  • SSgt Frederick Wilhelm, flight engineer

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