John Clarence Williamson

VMGR-152, MAG-15, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
28 April 1935 - 18 May 1969
Oakland, California
Panel 24W Line 051



Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Clarence Williamson

26 Jan 2001


John Clarence Williamson
United States Marine Corps
28 April 1935 - 18 May 1969
Oakland, CA
Panel 24W Line 051

John while assigned to the
Presidential Flight Unit.

Frank Williamson

World War II
Photo circa 1941
John's father

Frank Williamson

John's mother and father
Photo circa 1942
John C Williamson
John as a Midshipman
Children of John Williamson
John's children, about 7 months after his death.
Left to right: Kent, Lance, Johnie.

A memorial from his brother,
Clifton Williamson

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 18 May 1969 a Marine KC-130 was refueling two F-4B aircraft from VMFA-314 near Phu Bai, just south of Hue. As the three aircraft flew in formation, with the Phantoms plugged in and taking fuel, a third F-4B from VMFA-542 on an opposite track collided with the C-130's starboard wing near the #3 engine. The collision destroyed the VMFA-542 F-4, sheared the wing from the C-130, and inflicted damage to the VMFA-314 F-4 which was refueling from the starboard drogue.

While one VMFA-314 aircraft was undamaged and recovered at Chu Lai without difficulty, the second VMFA-314 F-4's two crewmen were forced to abandon their aircraft but were rescued. All eight men aboard the C-130 and VMFA-542 F-4 were killed in the accident:

  • VMGR-152, MAG-15 (KC-130F 149814)
    • Major Jimmy D. Sells, Gold Hill, NC, pilot
    • Major John C. Williamson, Oakland, CA, copilot
    • MGySgt Carroll F. Hersey, Wolfeboro, NH
    • MSgt Edmond C. Polenski, Worcester, MA
    • Sgt Robert A. Bonebright, Freeport, IL
    • Cpl James A. Cox, Independence, MO

  • VMFA-542, MAG-11 (F-4B 151001)
    • Capt John L. Nalls, Washington, DC
    • Capt Charles W. Pigott, East Providence, RI

  • VMFA-314, MAG-13
      F-4B 151450:
    • Major J. D. Moody (ejected; survived)
    • 1stLt Griffiths (ejected; survived)

      F-4B BuNo unknown, landed Chu Lai:
    • Major A. Gillespie
    • 1stLt V. Maddox

VMGR-152 received its KC-130 aircraft in 1962. By 1965 the squadron, based at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, was maintaining a constant detachment at Danang AB in order to provide in-flight refueling support to the USMC F-4 and A-4 aircraft operating from Chu Lai and Danang. Detachment personnel and aircraft were rotated from MCAS Futenma to Danang.

This may explain why five of the six Marines aboard BuNo 149814 have "arrived in-country" dates of 17 May 1969, the day prior to the accident - this might have been the first operational mission the crew flew following their arrival from MCAS Futenma. There is an alternate possibility, though; in situations where there was a delay in recovering and/or identifying the bodies the "Start Tour" data field was used to store the incident date. That seems unlikely, since all available sources show 18 May 1969 as the date of the accident.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Jan 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009