Ronald Paul Zenga

United States Air Force
29 June 1945 - 03 January 1969
Winchester, MA
Panel 35W Line 031



USAF Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Ronald Paul Zenga

23 Apr 2002

Remembered by his squadronmates in the
20th Special Operations Squadron
the Green Hornets.

A memorial initiated by
Robert Hall
26 Jan 2004

Ron Zenga, Jim Woodbury and I (Frank Trupiano) were all in helicopter school in Texas together and the three of us shipped out to Viet Nam at the same time in July 1968 to the 20th Helicopter Squadron. We all worked together in maintenance until December 1968 when Ron voluntereed for flight/gunner duty. He was as good a man and friend you could ever have and he is deeply missed.

Frank Trupiano
42 New Melle Drive, Wentzville, MO 63385

The Mission

On 03 Jan 1969 a UH-1F Huey (tail no 63-13164) of the 20th Special Operations Squadron was shot down near Duc Lap while attempting to rescue a Special Forces patrol. The aircraft was struck by intense ground fire while coming to a hover to attempt a McGuire Rig extraction. After taking eight hits the aircraft departed the area and supporting gunships suppressed the ground fire. A second approach was made. As they came to a hover above the trees enemy fire struck the fuel cells setting the aircraft on fire. They were able to accelerate the aircraft and attempted a landing in a small jungle clearing less than 500 meters from the enemy forces surrounding the Special Forces patrol. The engine failed just short of the clearing and the helicopter crashed into the trees. Sgt Zenga was pinned under the aircraft and died in the ensuing fire.

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