Summary

Conflict Period:
Vietnam War 1
Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Warrant Officer 1
Birth:
23 Feb 1951 1
Death:
15 Nov 1971 1
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Thomas Joe Puff 1
Birth:
23 Feb 1951 1
Male 1
Death:
15 Nov 1971 1
Cause: Air Loss, Crash - Land 1
Age at Death: 20 1
Body Recovered: Recovered 1
Casualty Date: 15 Nov 1971 1
Casualty Type: Non-Hostile, Died of Other Causes 1
Residence:
Hometown: Garden Grove, CA 1
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Marriage:
Marital Status: Married 1
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Vietnam War 1

Branch:
Army 1
Rank:
Warrant Officer 1
Company:
187th Aviation Co 1
Enlistment Type:
Reserve 1
Grade:
W1 1
Major Command:
1st Avn Bde 1
Service:
Army 1
Tour Start Date:
10 Jun 1971 1
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Religion:
Presbyterian 1
Race or Ethnicity:
Caucasian 1
Memorial Wall Location:
Line: 68 1
Panel: 02W 1

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Stories

 Rest In Peace Posted for: THOMAS JOE PUFF:
Well Tom ,this date was preordained to be a bad one for you. It was for me also . Posted by: Vietnam Veteran
Email:
Relationship:
Friday, November 25, 2005

Linda  Blackburn
Lindabeez3@yahoo.com
widow
11108 Chester River Ct. Rancho Cordova CA 95670 US
Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday, Tom! I thought a lot about you this past year. A new memorial was set up at our high school honoring our former Argonauts, like you, who made the ultimate sacrifice. I donated some your medals and pictures for the display. It's in the old Heritage Hall. It's very nice, Tom. You are in our thoughts, you are not forgotten! Miss you always... Linda
Feb 23, 2009

Helicopter UH-1D 66-00995

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-00995
The Army purchased this helicopter 1266
Total flight hours at this point: 00003295
Date: 11/15/1971
Incident number: 711115021ACD Accident case number: 711115021 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 187 AHC
The station for this helicopter was Di An in South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XT109677
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 0
costing 515745
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P WO1 PUFF THOMAS JOE KIA
P WO1 MARTIN VINCENT PATRICK JR KIA
CE SP4 BROOKER DANIEL SCANLON KIA
G SP4 CHARNOPLOSKY JOHN ANDREW KIA


Accident Summary:

ON THE MORNING OF 15 NOV 71 THE CREWS OF THE TWO AIRCRAFT ^66-00995^ AND ^69-15378^ WERE POSTED TO FLY CHALK 5 AND 6 RESPECTIVELY IN A FORMATION CONTAINING 8 UH-1H AIRCRAFT. AT APPROXIMATELY 0655 HOURS THE COMMAND AND CONTROL AIRCRAFT DEPARTED DI AN ENROUTE TO THE DAY'S MISSION NEAR THIEN NGON, RVN. ON OR ABOUT 0710 THE EIGHT SHIP FLIGHT WITH GUN ESCORT DEPARTED DI AN AND PROCEEDED TO TAY NINH WEST RVN TO PUT ON FUEL BEFORE PROCEEDING WITH THE MISSION. ^WO1 PUFF^ AND ^WO1 BENNETT^ WERE CHALKS 5 AND 6 RESPECTIVELY IN THE EIGHT SHIP FORMATION, AND REMAINED SO ALL DAY ACCORDING TO WITNESSES. DURING THE FLIGHT WITNESSES STATE THAT THE FORMATION WAS HAVING TROUBLE GETTING AND MAINTAINING PROPER SPACING AND POSITION. THE TRAIL SHIP, PILOTED BY ^WO1 COSTER^, MADE SEVERAL CALLS TO CHALKS 5 AND 6 TELLING THEM TO MOVE FORWARD AND GET THE PROPER SPACING. ^WO1 COSTER^ ALSO STATES THAT CHALK 6 HAD A TENDENCY TO FLARE DURING TURNS. UPON REACHING TAY NINH WEST AT 0945, THE FLIGHT LANDED AND REFUELED. AFTER REFUELING THE FLIGHT DEPARTED TAY NINH WEST AT APPROXIMATELY 0800 AND PROCEEDED ALONG HIGHWAY QL-22 TOWARD THIEN NGON. THE POSITIONS IN THE FLIGHT REMAINED THE SAME. JUST PRIOR TO REACHING THIEN NGON THE FLIGHT WAS DIVERTED EAST TO XT 172767 BY THE COMMAND AND CONTROL SHIP. THIS WOULD BE THE PICK-UP ZONE. ON FINAL TO THE PZ CHALK 7 LEFT THE FLIGHT DUE TO THE ILLUMINATION OF HIS ENGINE CHIP DETECTOR LIGHT, AND PROCEEDED TO THIEN NGON TO CHECH THE SYSTEM. THIS LEFT SEVEN AIRCRAFT IN THE FORMATION, BUT DID NOT CHANGE THE RELATIVE POSITION OF ANY SHIP EXCEPT TRAIL WHO MOVED FROM CHALK 8 TO CHALK 7. AT 0830 THE FLIGHT PROCEEDED WITH THE TROOP PICK UP. WHEN THE SHIPS WERE LOADED IN THE PZ THEY PROCEEDED TO THE LANDING ZONE AT XT 042765, WHICH IS WEST OF THIEN NGON. THE LZ WAS FULL SUPPRESSION, WITH ARTILLERY AND GUNSHIP PREPRATORY STRIKES. THE FLIGHT LANDED IN THE LZ AT APPROXIMATELY 0855. THE AIRCRAFT COMMANDER OF TRAIL SHIP STATES THAT CHALK 6 PUT IN SUCH AN EXAGGERATED FLARE THAT HE HAD TO BREAK OUT OF THE FORMATION AND LAND TO THE RIGHT OF THE FLIHGT. TRAIL PILOT ALSO STATES THAT THE WINDS WERE ROUGH AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO HOLD FORMATION AT THIS POINT. THE FLIGHT DEPARTED THE LZ ENROUTE BACK TO THE PZ. THE PILOT OF THE LEAD SHIP WAS INFORMED THAT THERE WERE ONLY ENOUGH TROOPS IN THE PZ TO WARRANT THE USE OF FOUR SHIPS. LEAD AIRCRAFT COMMANDER THEN TOLD CHALKS 5, 6, AND 7 TO BREAK OFF AND PRECEED TO TAY NINH WEST, REFUEL, SHUT DOWN, AND WAIT ON THE REST OF THE FLIGHT TO RETURN. AT THIS POINT CHALK 7 ASKED PERMISSION TO BREAK OFF AND GO THE AID OF THE SHIP DOWN AT THIEN NGON. CHALK 7 WANTED TO TAKE SOME OIL THAT HE HAD ON BOARD TO THE DOWNED SHIP. PERMISSION WAS GRANTED BY C&C AND CHALK 7 BROKE OFF LEAVING CHALK 5 AND 6 IN A STAGGERED TRAIL RIGHT TO PROCEED ON TO TAY NINH WEST. CHALK 5 AND 6 PROCEEDED SOUTH OVER OL-22 FLYING A VERY CLOSE STAGGERED TRAIL RIGHT FORMATION. THE FLIGHT PROCEEDED WITHOUT INDIDENT TO A POINT SOUTH OF TRAI BI. AT THIS TIME, APPROXIMATELY 0930, THE TWO AIRCRAFT MESHED ROTOR BLADES, AND THE CRASH SEQUENCE BEGAN. THE LEAD SHIP IMMEDIATELY FELL FROM THE SIGHT OF THE WING SHIP. THE WING SHIP. THE WING SHIP WENT INTO A VIOLENT NOSE DOWN POSITION AND BEGAN A RIGHT SPIRAL. THE PEDALS WERE OF NO USE. THE THROTTLE WAS ROLLED OFF AND THE SPIRAL SLOWED. THE PEDALS WERE OF NO USE. THE THROTTLE WAS ROLLED OFF AND THE SPIRAL SLOWED. THE PILOT FINALLY MANAGED TO BRING THE NOSE UP AND PITCH WAS PULLED AT APPROXIMATELY 50 FT. THE AIRCRAFT 378 IMPACTED THE GROUND AT AN ESTIMATED 500-1000 FPM. THE LEAD AIRCRAFT, AFTER MAKING CONTACT WITH THE ROTOR BLADES OF THE WING AIRCRAFT, LOST ITS ROTOR SYSTEM AND BEGAN A FREE FALL DESCENT TO THE GROUND. IT IS ESTIMATED THAT THE AIRCRAFT ATTAINED TERMINAL VELOCITY BEFORE IMPACT. 995 EXPLODED UPON IMPACT WITH THE GROUND AND ALL CREW MEMBERS WERE KILLED, FROM THE IMPACT.\\

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998

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