Darryl Gordon WintersAirman First Class
DET 2, 600TH PHOTO SQDN, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
06 March 1939 - 19 July 1966
San Francisco, California
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The database page for Darryl Gordon Winters
I first met Darryl in March of 1966. He was a combat cameraman for the 600th Photo Squadron at Bien Hoa. I was a crew chief with the 29th Troop Carrier Squadron flying C-130B's out of Tan Son Nhut. That day he had come to fly with us to film an off the ramp combat load jump of ARVN paratroopers. He had a black eye and scratches to his head, I asked what had happened and he told me he had gotten into a fight with some Army guys at a bar in Bien Hoa the other night because they had bad mouthed the Air Force .. he immediately became my hero.
He flew with us several times during March and April of that year and I remember him telling me that he had recently had his tour extended at his request and had been in-country 15 months, that the F-100F was his favorite plane to fly in, but that he had flown all that would carry more than one and had flown more than 300 missions .. nine over North Vietnam. When I asked him about his most dangerous mission he told me the story of May 16, 1965 when a bomb prematurely exploded on a B-57B waiting to take off at Bien Hoa and set off a chain reaction that killed 30 Americans and destroyed 13 aircraft. I later found out that for his actions that day he was awarded the Bronze Star. The films he took that day may be seen on YouTube.com, enter Bien Hoa into the search box. We rotated back to Clark Field at the end of April 1966 and I never saw Darryl again.
He was killed in action on July 19, 1966 while flying a mission in his favorite aircraft, an F-100F. He was the first Air Force combat photographer to be killed in Vietnam. His body was not recovered. He remains a hero and role model for all Air Force enlisted men and women and he lives on with the "Darryl G. Winters Award" given yearly by the Air Force to its most outstanding AAVS member.
In 1999 his name was added to a microchip and placed aboard NASA's Stardust Spacecraft and will remain in space forever.
From a friend and fellow Vietnam veteran,
A Note from The Virtual WallAirman Winters was flying with Captain John R. Bottesch of Munhall, Pennsylvania, in F-100F tail number 58-1217 when they were shot down near Tan An, about 17 miles southwest of Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon. Although Captain Bottesch's remains were recovered and identified, Airman Winters's remains were not.
Captain Bottesch was assigned to the 90th Tac Ftr Sqdn, 3rd Tac Ftr Wing, at Bien Hoa Air Base.
Twelve Air Force combat cameramen are known to have died in Vietnam; they are remembered on the 600th Photo Sqdn site.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Mar 2007
Last updated 08/10/2009