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CW4 Clifton P. Wolcott
Army Aviation Hall of Fame 1995 Induction
The Tactical and Technical contributions of CW4 Clifton P. Wolcott to Army Aviation of the future cannot be overstated. However, the spirit of Army Aviation, present and future is what CW4 Wolcott really embodied. A spirit of mission accomplishment based on sound principles coupled with valor.
Enlisting in the Army in 1976 at the age of 19 he received his wings in 1980 and was assigned to the 229th Attack Helicopter Battalion. Already his personal courage, which he would display in numerous occasions later in his career, was evident when he was awarded the Soldier's Medal for saving the life of his co-pilot in an AH-1 crash.
In 1984, he was selected for Task Force 160 where he served as an MH-60 SOF Assault IP. His exceptional grasp of both the mission requirement and the equipment available led to his innovative use of night vision goggles and the development of an SOP for overwater operations. CW4 Wolcott's first combat operational experience was during PRIME CHANCE in 1987-89. His overwater techniques and tactics were adopted by all the Army Aviation units involved. In 1989, he again saw combat as a flight leader responsible for combat assaults during JUST CAUSE.
In addition to his duties as flight lead and unit IP, he became the unit's only gunnery standardization IP for the new MH-60 DAP. As such, he trained and evaluated the initial aircrew in the execution of armed helicopter operations. The aircraft was first deployed during DESERT STORM in 1991 and received its baptism of fire during deep penetrations into the Iraqi desert. These clandestine missions are still classified but the success of the effort was testimony to the planning and training of which CW4 Wolcott was such a critical part. He was, as flight lead, awarded the Silver Star for his heroism and later recognized as the Special Operations Aviator of the Year for his Technical and Tactical contributions.
CW4 Wolcott became the Battalion Standardization I.P. in 1992 while also serving as the primary joint mission planner for several classified contingency plans. In August, 1993 he deployed to Somalia with Joint Task Force Ranger. His superb grasp of the tactical situation enabled ground commanders to maximize the use of aviation support. On 3 October 1993, while leading a multiaircraft flight on the assault of an objective in downtown Mogadishu, his aircraft was struck by an RPG. As his aircraft fell to the ground CW4 Wolcott skillfully maintained what control he could and issued critical instructions to those aboard thus helping to ensure their survival. CW4 Wolcott died as a result of that action and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his gallantry.
CW4 Wolcott's accomplishments have significantly contributed to the advancement of Army Aviation and to its place in the force of the future. CW4 Wolcott is most worthy of election to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.
CW4 Wolcott was born in Bad Kreuznach, Germany on 20 January, 1957. Graduating from Richburg High School in New York in 1975, he continued on to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1989. In 1976, he enlisted as a Military Policeman and served a tour in Germany. Upon graduation from flight school in 1980, he flew OH-58 Scout and AH-1 Cobras for the 229th Attack Helicopter Battalion, Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
He joined Task Force 160 in 1984 as an MH-60 Blackhawk pilot. He later served as an Instructor Pilot in 1987 and as a Standardization Instructor Pilot in 1992. He participated in U.S. actions in Panama, Saudi Arabia, and many other world missions. He was a well-liked, outgoing outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting, fishing, and snow skiing. When not on duty, he spent most of his time with his family and served as the coach of his son’s soccer team.
He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for gallantry in action during combat operations in Mogadishu, Somalia on 3 October, 1993. His actions as the Flight Lead of an assault into a highly contested urban objective were heroic. After a brilliant assault of the objective, he held his position and fought to support the ground forces during their actions. His aircraft, #324, was subsequently downed by enemy fire and, through his exceptional skill, the passengers’ lives were saved. He also received the Bronze Star Medal and three Air Medals with “V” device for his actions during combat during operation Gothic Serpent.
He was married to Christine Wolcott and had one son, Robert.