Posted 11/11/00 for: JAMES MICHAEL YOUNG:
I was the aircraft commander on Jim's helicopter the day that he was killed. Jim was a door gunner in the 129th Assault Helicopter Company. We flew UH-1H (Huey) helicopters in support primarily of a Korean infantry company located adjacent to our airfield. On the 26th (June 1971) our mission was to insert Korean troops into the mountains surrounding the Suey Cao (sp?) Valley. It was known to be a hot area, with a lot of enemy activity. On the third troop insertion that morning, we were the lead aircraft on to a hilltop that had received fire the previous day. However, the hill could not be prepped by gun ships because there were Korean troops on the ground. As we touched down to allow the Korean troops to disembark, we began to receive heavy automatic weapons fire from the right side, which is where Jim was sitting as the door gunner. We immediately took off. One of the rounds severed my radio cord, so I was unable to communicate with the crew. Our hydraulics also had been disabled. We landed in the valley below the hilltop. As we landed, no one in the ship was aware that Jim had been shot. A sister ship had followed us into the valley and we loaded Jim and the rest of the crew onto that aircraft for the evacuation to a hospital. It was clear that Jim had died instantly and had not suffered. The seven Koreans that we inserted on the hilltop also lost their lives that day.
I think of Jim often and have been to the Wall many times to seek out his name and engraving. He was well liked by everyone in our platoon and company. He was a great kid, full of energy and spunk, a fresh face and a positive attitude that elevated all of us. He would have been 50 this Centennial year.
Cpt. Frank T. (Tom) Hausman