McClain, Wilofard A., II, 1LT

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
8 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Field Artillery
Last Primary MOS
1981-Rotary Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1968-1969, 160th Aviation Group
Service Years
1959 - 1969

Field Artillery

First Lieutenant



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
Texas
Texas
Year of Birth
1941
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SP 4 Ron Riley (Black Widows) to remember McClain, Wilofard A., II, 1LT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
El Paso
Last Address
El Paso

Casualty Date
Mar 28, 1969
 
Cause
Hostile, Died
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Thua Thien (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Bliss National Cemetery - Fort Bliss, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
28W 074

 Official Badges 

101st Airbone Division


 Unofficial Badges 

Artillery Shoulder Cord


 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1969, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Aviation Badge (Basic)

 
 Unit Assignments
101st Airborne Division 101st Aviation Battalion/C Company101st Aviation Battalion
  1968-1969, 101st Airborne Division
  1968-1969, 101st Aviation Battalion/C Company
  1968-1969, 101st Aviation Battalion/HHC
  1968-1969, 160th Aviation Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase V Campaign (1968)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
  1968-1969 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VI Campaign (1968-69)
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Tet 69 Counteroffensive Campaign
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

 

Field Artillery OCS Class 16-67 Fort Sill Oklahoma
 
   
  1LT McClain served with Company C, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101ST Airborne Division. He was the pilot of a UH-1D Helicopter on a reconnaissance mission in mountainous terrain near the A Shau Valley. While flying low and slow over the tree tops in the mission area, they were taken under fire and hit by a rocket propelled grenade (RPG). The co-pilot of the aircraft, 1LT Eric Vincent Pulliam, a graduate of Field Artillery OCS Class 30A-67 also perished in the crash.
Posted by: Randy Dunham
Email: faocsalumni@sbcglobal.net
Relationship: Field Artillery OCS Alumni
Saturday, December 26, 2009


Three men were killed when UH-1D tail number 66-16284 was shot down in Thua Thien Province:
  • 1LT Wilofard A. McClain, El Paso, TX, pilot;
  • 1LT Eric V. Pulliam, Baltimore, MD, copilot; and
  • SP4 Ronald F. Ricciardo, Deer Park, NY, crew chief.

Other officers in the company remember them as well:

"I was a CW2 in 2nd platoon C Company, my call sign was Black Widow 44. Ron Ricciardo was my crewchief, Wilofard McClain was my platoon leader and Eric Pulliam was new to the Company. In fact, he had just been in the Company for approximately 2 weeks before he was killed. Here is the story as I remember it. On 2/28/69, because I had flown 130 hours in 30 days, that meant a mandatory day off. 1LT McClain was assigned to my aircraft on that day and 1LT Pulliam was his copilot. SP4 Ricciardo was the crew chief and I can't recall the gunner's name. The aircraft mission was to recon particular mountainous terrain in or near the Ashau Valley. While flying low and slow over the tree tops in the mission area, they were taken under fire. SP4 Ricciardo was said to have taken an RPG in the chest which resulted in the helicopter crashing. As the helicopter was going down, the gunner jumped out of the helicopter at near tree-top level, breaking bones when he hit the ground. 1LT McClain and 1LT Pulliam were both killed in the crash. The gunner was not found for several hours, but was later rescued and medivaced to a hospital where he survived."

Eric Penttila


"I had just returned from R&R in Hawaii and was back in the saddle on the 28th and like Dick said we were returning from a morning CA [combat assault] when a call came through that said the 158th needed assistance. Since I was short on monthly flying time I volunteered to assist them and McClain told the flight that he would take the mission and that we were to return to home base. Later that day he was shot down and killed along with Eric Pulliam and Ronald Ricciardo. We had the funeral for them only a few days later and that was the last of the five people killed during my tour. I was lucky enough to be in the Honor Guard for the guys. Now for some more info on the three fellows; LT McClain was a good platoon leader and had the respect of the platoon members. He was a card player and even cashed a few of my checks so I would have some spending money. I don't remember flying with him but I may have. I thought LT McClain was from Georgia but I am not sure these many years later. LT Pulliam had recently signed into the company and was there for the move from LZ Sally to Phu Bia. His total time in the company was less than one month and I never had a chance to fly with him or even get to know him. SP-4 Ricciardo was from the Bronx if I remember correctly. He always had a smile and was following in Ed McMann's foot steps by saying "Hereeee's Johnny" when we flew together. He was always spicing up the day like that. He told me that he was seriously thinking about extending his tour so he could get into flight school because he enjoyed flying so much. He was a great person to be around. I have no photos of them, just memories of 36 years ago..."

John H Forslund
Black Widow 48, RVN 68-69

   
Comments/Citation
Vietnam Wall Panel coords 28W 074
Name: 1LT Wilofard A. Mc Clain II
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 03/28/1969 while performing the duty of Aircraft Commander.
Age at death: 27.8
Date of Birth: 06/18/1941
Home City: El Paso, TX
Service: FA branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: C/101 AVN 101 ABN
Major organization: 101st Airborne Division
Flight class: 68-510/68-16
Service: FA branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 28W-074
Short Summary: See Pulliam.
Aircraft: UH-1D tail number 66-16284
Call sign: Black Widows
Service number: O5426962
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: fire or burns
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: aircraft commander
Started Tour: 09/09/1968
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - other aircrew
Length of service: 10
Location: Thua Thien Province I Corps.
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Presbyterian
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
 

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-16284
The Army purchased this helicopter 0467
Total flight hours at this point: 00000485
Date: 03/28/1969
Incident number: 69032888.KIA
Unit: C/101 AVN 101 ABN
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YC567816
Casualties = 03 KIA . .
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
AC 1LT MCCLAIN WILOFARD A II KIA
P 1LT PULLIAM ERIC VINCENT KIA
CE SP4 RICCIARDO RONALD FRANCIS KIA


War Story:
I had just returned from R&R in Hawaii and was back in the saddle on the 28th and like Dick said we were returning from a morning CA when a call came through that said the 158th needed assistance. Since I was short on monthly flying time I volunteered to assist them and McClain told the flight that he would take the mission and that we were to return to home base. Later that day he was shot down and killed along with Eric Pulliam and Ronald Ricciardo. We had the only funeral for them a few days later and that was the last of the five people killed during my tour. I was lucky enough to be in the Honor Guard for the guys.

Now for some more info on the three fellows; LT McClain was a good platoon leader and had the respect of the platoon members. He was a card player and even cashed a few of my checks so I would have some spending money. I don't remember flying with him but I may have. I thought LT McClain was from Georgia but I am not sure these many years later. LT Pullian had recently signed into the company and was there for the move from LZ Sally to Phu Bia. His total time in the company was less than one month and I never had a chance to fly with him or even get to know him.

SP-4 Ricciadro was from Deer Park, NY. He always had a smile and was following in Ed McMann's foot steps by saying "Hereeees Johnny" when we flew together. He was always spicing up the day like that. He told me that he was seriously thinking about extending his tour so he could get into flight school because he enjoyed flying so much. He was a great person to be around.

I have no photos of them, just memories of 36 years ago but I would suggest that you contact Bob Crow's crew chief to see if he has any photos. I don't have that gentleman's name or address but I believe Dick does.

From: John H Forslund, Black Widow 48, RVN 68-69

"I might be able to shed some light on this incident. I apologize that my memory is no longer as sharp as it was, I don't remember the A/C number. I do remember the aircraft as I was assigned to it. Actually I had flown down to the repair facility at Cu Chi from Camp Eagle during March of 1969 to pick this rebuilt helicopter up and fly it back to Camp Eagle and C Company 101st Avn Bn. The helicopter had been a 1st Cav aircraft damaged in a mortar attack and had been repaired at Cu Chi and returned to service with C Company. As I remember on the flight back to Camp Eagle we encountered some electrical problems with the radios, also the helicopter had a lateral vibration in the rotor system.

I was a CW2 in 2nd platoon C Company, my call sign Black Widow 44. Ron Ricciardo was my crewchief, Wilofard McClain was my platoon leader and Eric Pulliam was new to the Company. In fact, he had just been in the Company for approximately 2 weeks before he was killed. Here is the story as I remember it. On 2/28/69, because I had flown 130 hour in 30 days, that meant a mandantory day off. 1LT McClain was assigned to my aircraft on that day and 1LT Pulliam was his copilot. SP4 Ricciardo was the crew chief and I can't recall the gunners name. The aircraft mission was to recon particular mountainous terrain in or near the Ashau Valley. While flying low and slow over the tree tops in the mission area, they were taken under fire. SP4 Ricciardo was said to have taken an RPG in the chest which resulted in the helicopter crashing. As the helicopter was going down, the gunner jumped out of the helicopter at near treetop level, breaking bones when he hit the ground. 1LT McClain and 1LT Pulliam were both killed in the crash. The gunner was not found for several hours, but was later rescued and medivaced to a hospital where he survived." From: Eric Penttila.

This record was last updated on 08/18/2005
 

   
Copyright Togetherweserved.com Inc 2003-2011