Royal, William Earl, CW2

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Last Rank
Chief Warrant Officer 2
Last Service Branch
Warrant Officer (pre-2004)
Last Primary MOS
100E-Attack Helicopter Pilot
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1970-1971, 164th Aviation Group
Service Years
1969 - 1971

Warrant Officer (pre-2004)

Chief Warrant Officer 2

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Screven, GA
Last Address
Screven, GA

Casualty Date
Mar 20, 1971
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Kien Giang (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Screven City Cemetery - Screven, Georgia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
04W 062

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Basic)

 Enlisted/Officer Basic Training
  1969, Aviation Warrant Officer Rotary Wing Course (Fort Wolters, TX)
 Unit Assignments
16th Cavalry Regiment1st Aviation Brigade164th Aviation Group
  1970-1971, 16th Cavalry Regiment/C Troop
  1970-1971, 1st Aviation Brigade
  1970-1971, 164th Aviation Group
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Winter-Spring 1970 Campaign
  1970-1970 Vietnam War/Sanctuary Counteroffensive Campaign (1970)
  1970-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Killed In Action from an incident on 03/20/1971 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: C/16 CAV, 164 CAG
Major organization: USARV
Flight class: 69-35
Short Summary: Was Pink team wing man. Bailed lead ship out of aerial ambush at the expense of his own life. Took B40 in fuel cell at 50 ft AGL.
Aircraft: OH-6A tail number 67-16037
Call sign: Darkhorse 13
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100E = Attack Helicopter Pilot
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Started Tour: 02/26/1970
Location: Kien Giang Province IV Corps.
Military grid coordinates of event: VR982868

Additional information about this casualty:
In Delta. Bome base was Can Tho. Was flying AH-1G but extended tour to fly OH-6A.

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16037
The Army purchased this helicopter 0568
Total flight hours at this point: 00001481
Date: 03/20/1971
Incident number: 71032014.KIA
Unit: C/16 CAV
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Recon
While in Operations Area this helicopter was Unknown at 0050 feet and 020 knots.
South Vietnam
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges. (B-40 RKT)
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 KIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

War Story:
On March 20, 1971 CW2 Billy Royal and SP4 Beardsley were flying as my wing ship on a "sneaky Pete". One of those missions that the scouts flew fast and straight in really bad guy country only stopping if we found something of real significance. While flying along a canal bank I found a village with people in it that didn't belong there. This was a free fire zone and supposedly all friendlies had been pulled out. When we spotted the people scattering, I swung back around to get a better look and told Billy to stay back until we could determine what was what. When I came back over the village my CE (sorry but I can't for the life of me remember who that was) were caught in an aerial ambush. We were low and slow and VC/NVA opened up with what seemed like the whole world. I called taking fire and shoved the nose extremely over. Billy ignoring my advice to stay clear came roaring in to draw the fire off of us. The last thing I saw was his aircraft erupt in a huge ball of fire and exploding. The explosion combined with the attitude of our aircraft (full lateral cyclic along with full opposite pedal so the gunner could still shoot below us) damn near pushed us into the water. We recovered with the skids in the canal at about 50 knots. Every time a scout went down the other one stayed right on top of him to cover while C&C attempted rescue. This time it was glaringly obvious that there was no one left to recover. We went to altitude and waited while the guns pounded the area. I never did get a lot of feed back about the insertion that followed or the condition of the bodies. Speculation was that he took a B40 rocket in the belly --fuel tank-- and along with the 40 lbs or so of C4 they were carrying caused that aircraft to explode so violently. I down deep didn't want to know, I just wanted to remember Billy as he was. A good friend. Billy was roommates with CW2? Wisser and CW2 Bob Parsons. Billy was the kind of guy that everyone liked and his death got under my skin pretty deeply. Even without the reminders of news letters and seeing his name on the "Wall" at Rucker I think about him occasionally and remember that he and Beardsly were responsible for bailing my miserable ass out of that ambush.--at the cost of their lives. from Frank Ziebert, Sep. 97.

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