Summary

Conflict Period:
Vietnam War 1
Branch:
Marine Corps 1
Rank:
Major 2
Birth:
18 Feb 1933 2
Death:
12 Nov 1969 2
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Personal Details

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Full Name:
Howard Boyd Henry 2
Birth:
18 Feb 1933 2
Male 2
Death:
12 Nov 1969 2
Cause: Air Loss, Crash - Land 2
Age at Death: 36 2
Body Recovered: Recovered 2
Casualty Date: 12 Nov 1969 2
Casualty Type: Hostile, Died 2
Residence:
Hometown: Baltimore, MD 2
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Marriage:
Marital Status: Married 2
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Vietnam War 1

Branch:
Marine Corps 1
Rank:
Major 2
Air Group:
MAG 16 2
Air Wing:
1st MAW 2
Enlistment Type:
Regular 2
Grade:
O4 2
Major Command:
III MAF 2
Service:
Marine Corps 2
Squadron:
VMO-2 2
Tour Start Date:
28 Aug 1969 2
Years Served:
16 2
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Religion:
Protestant - No Denominational Preference 2
Race or Ethnicity:
Caucasian 2
Memorial Wall Location:
Line: 64 2
Panel: 16W 2

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Sources

  1. Vietnam Veterans Memorial [See image]
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Stories

On 12 November 1969 a patrol from 3rd Platoon, Delta 1/7 Marines encountered a dug-in NVA company on the north-facing slopes of the Que Son Mountains south of An Hoa. The Marines were caught in the open and were pinned in place by mortar and machinegun fire, taking cover in bomb craters and amongst the stubble of dry rice paddies. Air support was called in to help the infantrymen. Maj. Henry was killed in action 11/12/69 while flying an AH-1G Cobra. His helicopter was hit by VC fire and crash landed. He assisted his weapons officer (Joseph Lofton) out of the helicopter and while they were moving away from the downed craft they were hit by the rotor, killing both instantly.

From another Henry, fellow vet...your sacrifice will not be forgotten.

Major Henry of the United States Marine Corps is hardly forgotten. He was a very fine example of a man, a father, a husband, and a human being, not to mention being one heck of a Marine. As I remember it, from when I was only six years old shortly before he shipped off for Vietnam, Major Henry told his son and me something like, "If you're ever in a real fight... a fight to the death, don't pussyfoot around with exchanging punches: GO STRAIGHT FOR THE THROAT!" Ever since then, that's what I've done in serious fights. A decade latter, when some US Army Special Forces Staff Sergeant hand-to-hand combat instructor asked if there were any volunteers after he'd trained us Army ROTC "cadidiots"in the "basics," I volunteered and ten seconds latter the Staff Sergeant was pinned on the ground with my fist ready to deal him a deadly punch to his throat. Major Henry taught me lots of "cool" stuff, which every young child should learn, such as he taught me that it was honorable and a good thing to fight for democracy, freedom, humanity, and all that good stuff. In 1981, when I arrived in South Korea... only about a year after the Kwangju Massacre of "upwards of 2,000" pro-democracy demonstrators.... I sized up the situation and ended up dropping out of Army ROTC at the top of my class and staying in Korea until 1984. When I stepped off the plane in Korea, some danged US Air Force "sergeant" briefed a bunch of us on what NOT to do and number one on his list of DON'T was basically don't talk with Koreans about "democracy," "freedom," "human rights," or anything like that. Hardy-har-har! Very friggin' funny! It's a good thing that that Air Farce maggot was NOT in my chain of command! I reckon Major Henry would've been a bit proud to have influenced at least one person into being ready and willing to risk his life for DEMOCRACY. Major Henry was a good guy. SEMPER FI!

Well Dad, today (Nov 12, 2010) its exactly 41 years since your untimely death in Vietnam. I still think of you often and miss you a lot. You and Mom must have found each other by now. We all have done well. I look forward to seeing you again in the future. Love always, your oldest son.

Events Leading to Death on 12-NOV-1969

Quang Nam, South Vietnam

Vietnam Memorial Wall  Panel 16W Line 064
3 images

A collection of individual stories described by Marines who were present..

 Six Marines gave their lives from related events:

AH-1G Attack Helicopter tail number 68-15080,

Squadron VMO-2, MAG-16, 1ST MAW

Maj Howard Boyd Henry, Baltimore, MD (Silver Star) Lead Pilot
1st Lt Joseph Allan Lofton, Akron, OH

This company was in trouble and required air support…
D Co, 1st Bn, 7th Marines
LCpl Robert B. Hamblett, Roanoke, VA  (Silver Star from this incident)
Pfc Ralph E. Dias, Shelocta, PA  (Medal of Honor awarded as a result of this event)
Pfc Carl Henderson, Philadelphia, PA
Pfc Jerome Higgins, Springfield, OH  (Silver Star from this incident)

- Personal Narrative: Maj. Henry (call-sign “Hostage-Papa”) and Lt. Lofton were shot down on Nov. 12, 1969 in an AH-1G Cobra while attacking a heavy machine gun dug into the north face of the Que Son Mountains.  Lt. Dumas and I (Papa-2) were attacking the same gun position.  This gun was causing considerable problems for the Marines operating in the immediate area and had a number of Marines pinned down in a bomb crater.  Our attack was made generally west to east. Numerous gun runs were made without effect.  After a couple of runs our weapons systems malfunctioned.  The mini-gun and 40mm jammed and the rockets would not launch due to an intervelometer problem.  Papa sent us high and dry to the west.  From that position we watched as Papa made a couple more firing passes.  Apparently, the gun was mobile and was possibly being moved in and out of a cave.  We were close to the gun.  Even in the relative sound proof cockpit of the Cobra the gun was clearly audible as it returned our fire.  On their last pass we radioed that they were taking hits and we could see pieces of the aircraft coming off.  At about that same time, Maj. Henry radioed he was on fire.  We could see what looked like a ball of fire in the exhaust but no flames were visible from the engine cowling.  Lt. Dumas and I turned toward Maj. Henry and Lt. Lofton as they turned northeast.  At that time, Lt. Dumas radioed there was a good emergency landing area at their 10 o'clock.  I don't remember if they responded or not.  Their crash landing looked good.  The Cobra appeared to be generally intact after impact.  We dove down and made simulated firing passes in an attempt to keep the enemy away and to locate their exact position until we could get a CH-46 in to rescue them.  There was no sign of them.  We looked for them and we expected them to come up on guard.  Nothing.  A radio call went out for help and Lt. Bartlett arrived with his section of Cobras.  As he arrived the CH-46 landed near the burning Cobra.  The crew chief found both pilots dead.  The main blade had struck both of them.  Years later I found a picture of the crash site with the '46 on the ground next to the Cobra.  In 1970, while being relieved as Officer of the Day at MCB Camp Pendleton, my relief was the Lt. that was among the Marines trapped in that bomb crater.  [Submitted by Deane K. Swickard, Co-pilot in PaPa–2 second aircraft]

 - Personal Narrative: During my second tour, on 11/12/69, I was returning from a mission flying the OV-10 Bronco when a May Day went out from VMO-2 squadron mates, Major Henry and Joe Lofton.  When arriving over the area, I observed their Cobra landing in tall grass.  The scene is still vivid in my memory, even a quarter century later.  The grass was being compressed by the rotor wash as both pilots made their egress from the up-right helicopter.  I felt relief.  When both disappeared into the grass, I thought that they were staying low until rescued.  However, both had been struck by the rotor blades and killed."  [Submitted January 1995 by Dick Clifton]

 - Personal Narrative: Major H. Henry and 1LT J. Lofton were killed as a result of being hit by their main rotor after they were shot down.  Major Henry was carrying Lt. Lofton, who was wounded from the Cobra when the main rotor struck and killed both of them.  Their squadron was VMO-2.  I was a corporal in their squadron before going to HML-367. Semper Fi, [Submitted March 1999 by Jim Wilkening, Corporal in VMO-2]

 - Personal Narrative: I was on the ground when I observed the incident.  I was with Delta 1/7, 3rd Plt.  I never knew the outcome or who the Cobra Marines were.  I will always remember them in their unselfish dedication during the incident on November 12,1969.  I was lifted out the following morning with the WIA's and KIA's.  [Submitted by Rodney Sharp, Marine with D 1/7]

 - Personal Narrative: I remember the incident well.  We flew into the zone to medevac Marines.  The approach into the zone was uneventful.  We stayed on the ground, behind trees, several minutes while the medevacs were loaded.  As we left the zone the gunships again attacked the machine gun.  As intended the Cobras took the brunt of the fire.  They did one HELL of a job, flying directly at the Machine Gun, then pulling off for the next bird to run at it.  As we cleared the area one of the Cobras was hit and began to trail smoke.  Directed by his wing man to a landing zone, as the wounded Cobra was landing we were turning 90 to pick them up.  After several minutes waiting for them we sent our Crew Chief and others to find them.  After the Crew Chief failed to locate them.  One of the wingmen flew over the downed A/C and said "They are laying in the grass at (3 or 9) o'clock".  Our Crew Chief, with help, picked the crew members up and brought them onboard.  [Submitted by 1LT Steve Wistrand, copilot CH46 medevac and in zone with down Cobra]

 

INTER-RELATED STORIES...

Medal of Honor Citation narrative:

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR (Posthumously) to 

RALPH E. DIAS,  PRIVATE FIRST CLASS

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS 

for service as set forth in the following CITATION: 

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty, while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam on November 12, 1969.  As a member of a reaction force which was pinned down by enemy fire while assisting a platoon in the same circumstance, Private First Class Dias, observing that both units were sustaining casualties, initiated an aggressive assault against an enemy machine gun bunker which was the principal source of hostile fire.  Severely wounded by enemy snipers while charging across the open area, he pulled himself to the shelter of a nearby rock.  Braving enemy fire for a second time, Private First Class Dias was again wounded.  Unable to walk, he crawled fifteen meters to the protection of a rock located near his objective and, repeatedly exposing himself to intense hostile fire, unsuccessfully threw several hand grenades at the machine gun emplacement.  Still determined to destroy the emplacement, Private First Class Dias again moved into the open and was wounded a third time by sniper fire.  As he threw a last grenade which destroyed the enemy position, he was mortally wounded by another enemy round.  Private First Class Dias' indomitable courage, dynamic initiative, and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life in service to his country.

Home Town: Shelocta, Pennsylvania

/S/ RICHARD M. NIXON

 

Silver Star Citation narrative:

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to

ROBERT BRYANT HAMBLETTT,  LANCE CORPORAL

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS 

for service as set forth in the following CITATION: 

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Machine Gun Team Leader with Company D, First Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam.  On 12 November 1969, Lance Corporal Hamblett was a member of a reaction force which was directed to assist a platoon that had been pinned down by fire from elements of a North Vietnamese Army battalion occupying a well-fortified bunker complex in the Que Son Mountain area of Quang Nam Province.  Arriving at the site of the beleaguered unit, the reaction force was also pinned down by an extremely heavy volume of mortar, small-arms, and automatic-weapons fire.  Realizing the need for immediate action, Lance Corporal Hamblett seized the initiative and commenced maneuvering his men in an attempt to execute a flanking movement.  As he was directing his men across the fire-swept terrain, he pinpointed the enemy machine gun emplacement which was the principal source of hostile fire.  Aware that one person would attract less attention than a group, he deployed his team back to friendly lines and commenced a lone assault up a steep slope toward the hostile bunker.  Undaunted by the enemy rounds impacting all around him, he determinedly pressed forward but was mortally wounded by sniper fire as he darted across an open area.  By his courage, valiant initiative, and unwavering devotion to duty, Lance Corporal Hamblett inspired all who observed him and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Home Town: Roanoke, Virginia

  

Silver Star Citation narrative:

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to

JEROME HIGGINS,  PRIVATE FIRST CLASS

UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS 

for service as set forth in the following CITATION: 

for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving with Company D, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.), FMF, in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam on November 12, 1969.  By his courage, aggressive fighting spirit and steadfast devotion to duty in the face of extreme personal danger, Private First Class Higgins upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.  He gallantly gave his life for his country.

Home Town: Springfield, Ohio

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