Dennis Edward WilkinsonCapt
13TH TAC FTR SQDN, 432ND TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
23 July 1944 - 10 May 1972
West Palm Beach, Florida
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The database page for Dennis Edward Wilkinson
"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
A memorial from a comrade-in-arms,
I wore his MIA bracelet for several years, when I was a teenager, and always remembered him in my prayers, though I knew nothing about him. I'm glad to have this "closure", and wish his spirit a final peace.
E-mail address is not available.
As an Air Force dependent growing up at Amarillo AFB, Texas, in the late '50's and early '60's, my medical records once were mixed up with those of another Dennis Wilkinson who was also a dependent. The obvious difference was that my records were five times as thick. The other difference was the middle initial - mine was "A" and I think his was "E". That was as close as I came to him, however.
In the early '70's, after I had graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and had completed pilot training at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, I was serving as a T-38 intstructor pilot at Moody AFB in Georgia. One day I received a call from my mother who was very bewildered by a letter she had received from a woman whom she didn't know expressing her condolences. The lady, Mrs. Brown, was the mother of a high school girlfriend of mine and the wife of a retired AF colonel. She had seen in the Air Force Times that Captain Dennis Wilkinson was listed as MIA. I explained to my mother who she was and then wrote to Mrs. Brown and explained the amazing nature of this second close encounter with "the other Dennis Wilkinson".
In the mid '80's I was serving as the pastor of a United Methodist Church in Van Alstyne, Texas, north of Dallas. A family in my church had gone on vacation to Washington, D.C. While there they visited the Vietnam Memorial Wall and were thoughtful enough to look for my dad's name - dad had died while he was at Cam Ranh Bay. They couldn't remember my dad's name, but found a Dennis E. Wilkinson from Florida - the name was the same and they knew my mom lived in Florida, so they made a pencil rubbing of it and framed it before presenting it to me upon their return. When I unwrapped the gift they noted a strange look on my face. I was stunned - I was deeply touched by their thoughtfulness and totally amazed by this third close encounter with Dennis E. I explained that my dad was William G. from Mississippi. Then I immediately hung the rubbing in my office to honor this "other Dennis Wilkinson".
So I honor this other Captain Dennis Wilkinson and want his family and friends to know that for many years I have thought of and prayed for them and have had his name on my office wall in tribute to his sacrificial service.
From ..."the other Dennis Wilkinson",
From The Virtual Wall: CWO4 William G. Wilkinson, USAF, died on 16 December 1967 while serving with the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing, Cam Ranh Air Base, Republic of Vietnam.
Notes from The Virtual WallThe United States undertook heavy air strikes against Notrh Vietnam in response to the North's Spring Offensive in South Vietnam. On the first day of strikes, 10 May 1972, an F-4E PHANTOM flown by Captain Jeffrey L. Harris and Weapons Systems Officer Captain Dennis E. Wilkinson was shot down by a MiG-19. The F-4E erupted in flames, exploded and crashed. No parachutes were sighted or emergency beepers heard.
When the American POWs were released in February 1973, Harris and Wilkinson were not among them, nor did any of the released prisoners have knowledge of them.
On 27 August 1978 the Vietnamese turned over several sets of human remains to Congressman "Sonny" Montgomery's delegation to Hanoi. On 11 September 1978 one set of remains was positively identified as those of Captain Wilkerson.
In 1993, 1995 and 1996 joint US-Vietnamese teams investigated the crash site. During the last excavation, they recovered human remains, personal effects, and crew-related equipment. While a portion of the remains could be individually identified as those of Captain Harris, there remained commingled skeletal remains which could not be positively associated with either of the two men. Captain Harris' remains were returned to his family for burial, and the unidentifiable remains were granted burial in American soil.
After more than 25 years, the two aircrewmen had come home.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Dec 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009