Seymoe, Joseph Phillip, LTC

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Last Rank
Lieutenant Colonel
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
2163-Air Operations Officer (G3, S3)
Last MOS Group
Infantry (Officer)
Primary Unit
1967-1968, Field Advisory Element MACV
Service Years
1948 - 1968


Lieutenant Colonel

Seven Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Roger Gaines to remember Seymoe, Joseph Phillip, LTC.

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
Last Address

Casualty Date
Jan 21, 1968
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
35E 008

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord

 Unofficial Badges 

US Air Force Honorable Discharge

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

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 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
AAF Pilot Badge
Parachutist (Basic)
Republic of Vietnam - Ranger

 Unit Assignments
Basic Airborne Course (BAC)US Air Force7th Infantry DivisionHQ, US Army Cadet Command
Infantry Officer Advanced CourseUS Air Force Academy (Staff)Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident CourseUS Army Pacific (USARPAC)/US Army Alaska (USARAK)
Naval War CollegeArmy Garrison Military District of Washington (MDW)Military Assistance Command Vietnam MACV
  1948-1948, 1542, Basic Airborne Course (BAC)
  1950-1952, AAF MOS 1056, US Air Force
  1953-1954, 7th Infantry Division
  1954-1956, HQ, US Army Cadet Command
  1957-1957, Infantry Officer Advanced Course
  1957-1958, US Air Force Academy (Staff)
  1958-1959, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Resident Course
  1961-1963, US Army Pacific (USARPAC)/US Army Alaska (USARAK)
  1963-1964, Naval War College
  1965-1967, Army Garrison Military District of Washington (MDW)
  1967-1968, Field Advisory Element MACV
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1951-1951 Korean War/UN Summer-Fall Offensive (1951)
  1951-1952 Second Korean Winter (1951-52)
  1952-1953 Korean War/Third Korean Winter (1952-53)
  1967-1968 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase III Campaign (1967-68)
  1968-1968 Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military Academy
  1944-1948, United States Military Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
I served with Joe in Korea, 1953-54. He was a West Point graduate, commissioned Infantry. He transferred to The Air Force and became a fighter pilot (P-51's). He flew combat missions in Korea 51-52, earned the distinguished flying cross. Because on an ear problem, Joe could not transition to jets. He transferred back to the Infantry, serving again in Korea where I met him. Following Korea, He was PMS at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Ga. There he met and married a beautiful young lady named Bunny. They were very happily married with two children. We attended the Infantry advanced course together. He was then assigned to the faculty at The Air Force Academy, attended the Naval War College. He was a great soldier (Airborne/ranger) and destined for "stars". His helicopter was shot down and Joe was killed trying to rescue members of his province advisor team during the Tet offensive. He was my hero.

LTC (Ret) WM W. Davidson
Posted by: William W. Davidson
Relationship: Close friend
Monday, May 31, 1999
Joseph Philip Seymoe
NO. 16741 CLASS OF 1948

IN REFLECTING UPON THE CHARACTER of the man in whose memory this obituary is dedicated, I was drawn back again and again to the words of another great soldier, General Douglas MacArthur, when he was making his farewell address to the Corps of Cadets at West Point after receiving that institution's highest award. The General slowly articulated the motto of the Military Academy, DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY, and said: "These three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn." While these words have deep significance for us all, I think they particularly exemplify the life and character of our departed friend and compatriot, Joe Seymoe.

Joe's desire to serve his country in the ranks of the military was rooted deep in his early childhood. Those who knew him during his formative years have recalled how often he spoke of a military career and how intensely he yearned to serve with honor and distinction.

The twenty years that have elapsed since our graduation from West Point have shown the sincerity and intensity of this determination. For in these years Joe carved out a wide, varied, and distinguished career that not only is the envy of us all, but also deserves our most dedicated emulation. His valorous service during the Korean war, marked by the unusual distinction of serving both as a combat fighter pilot with the USAF (having 100 missions to his credit) and as combat infantry commander, leading a company of over 200 m e n in the rigors of war; his inspirational leadership in the ROTC program at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia (at which station he met Bunny); his calm and patient efforts to mold boys into inspired men while serving as an Army representative at the United States Air Force Academy; his outstanding performance while in the Alaskan Command which still stands as an example for those who have followed; his mature and professional judgments in handling the military affairs of our nation while serving in Washington; and the final full measure of his service as attested to by his gallant actions in Vietnam, in the last of which he repeatedly exposed himself to intense enemy fire in a series of heroic efforts to relieve a beleaguered outpost of comrades � all stand as tribute to and proof of his dedication to the goals he sought to achieve and, in fact, did achieve.

While Joe was a true son of West Point who reflected all the great and noble truths and principles that were instilled in us there, his nobility of character was also exemplified by his undeviating loyalty to his family. He was, indeed, a devoted husband, a tender and affectionate father, and an appreciative son. No matter how demanding the duties of his profession, the comfort and welfare of his family were always of deep concern to him. The tenderness and affection displayed toward his family were reflected also in his dealings with others. His God-given ability to get along with people, his compassion for the less fortunate, and his charitableness towards human frailties will always be remembered. Yet, along with this gift for friendliness was a strength of character that refused to compromise where matters of honor, integrity, and moral principles were concerned.

As a leader, Joe was able to obtain the best results and inspire the best efforts of all those responsible to him, by reason of his own personal example, his understanding of their problems, and his patient guidance and help when needed. Understanding and taking pride in the fact that his tragic and untimely departure was accompanied and marked by courage, dedication, and self-sacrifice is perhaps the most moving tribute we can pay him.

I reminisce again to other words of General MacArthur in his farewell remarks at West Point: "The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training � sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when He created man in His own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help, which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development in mankind."

We have known many soldiers, but none more noble than Joe. We, who are graduates of West Point, take special significance from his example, for none has more truly manifested in his life the principles embodied in our Alma Mater's motto: DUTY, HONOR, AND COUNTRY. It is difficult, indeed, to say good-bye to Joe Seymoe. But we are comforted in knowing that our Good Lord will bless and keep him until we shall meet again.
I had the honor and priviledge of meeting the then Capt. Seymoe in 1955 at Riverside Military Academy where I was a cadet. I had the pleasure of working closely with him and his stature and character as an officer and a gentleman made such an impact in me that I
shall never forget.

Posted by: Eddy A. Navarro

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-01027
The Army purchased this helicopter 1266
Total flight hours at this point: 00000644
Date: 01/21/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1000
Incident number: 68012122.KIA
Unit: 282 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
for Air/land Assault , Hot Area.
While on Landing Zone this helicopter was on Take-Off at 0005 feet and 005 knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XD860385
Helicopter took 1 hits from:
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges. (57MM RR)
causing an Explosion.
Casualties = 02 INJ, 01 DOI, 02 M . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1000, LNNF, CASRP, FM232, JSIDR, Homecoming II Project 01, Unit H (Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: On January 21, 1968, Captain Tommy C. Stiner, pilot; WO Gerald L. McKensey Jr., co-pilot; SSgt. Billy D. Hill, doorgunner (missing); and SP5 David H. Harrington, crewchief; were aboard the lead UH1D helicopter and PVT Jerry W. Elliott was the doorgunner on the following UH1D on a troop insertion mission. The two choppers were inserting ARVN troops at an old French fort approximately 1200 meters east of Khe Sanh. Also in the lead aircraft was LTC Semyo, senior advisor to the ARVN unit being inserted. As WO McKensey's aircraft touched down on the landing zone, NVA troops stood up all around the aircraft and began firing at the aircraft at almost point blank range. As soon as all the ARVN troops were off loaded, the aircraft lifted off. At approximately 8-10 feet off the ground, the aircraft was hit by either a 57mm recoilless rifle or a direct hit mortar fire, burst into flames and crashed. PVT Elliott, doorgunner and his crewchief were on another UH1D that landed approximately 50-60 feet from the crashed aircraft. LTC Semyo died while pinned under the aircraft. His body was subsequently recovered. The pilot, Stiner, exited the aircraft successfully, evaded capture and returned to friendly lines. Harrington was able to board one of the rescue aircraft that had landed in the LZ. Before leaving the vicinity, CPT Stiner was in a defensive position with WO McKensey. Stiner later reported that he witnessed McKensey being shot in the back of the head and killed. PVT Elliott and his crewchief exited their aircraft to assist survivors of the downed helicopter. In a matter of seconds, the crewchief returned to his aircraft and advised the pilot to take off immediately because of the highly intense hostile fire. The aircraft lifted off, leaving Elliott on the ground, circled and returned to the LZ, but could not locate PVT Elliott. Three days after the incident, a helicopter searched the area and observed a body in the tall elephant grass and small trees. By process of elimination, the pilot determined that the body was that of PVT Elliott. Two sets of remains were recovered from the crash site by an unidentified unit and were later positively identified as those of Semyo and McKensey. Hill was last seen by CPT Stiner, just prior to the aircraft being hit in the compartment in which Hill was manning his machine gun. Stiner stated that Hill was probably struck by the same volley of rounds that downed the aircraft as his machine gun was observed blown to pieces. Stiner searched the area before taking evasive action, but Hill could not be located.

21 January 1968; a resupply and medevac request from the Regional Headquarters at Houng Hoa which had sustained a ground attack the night before. A single ship was dispatched and picked up supplies and observer at La Vang airfield near Quang Tri enroute. On short final into the single- ship pad outside the Houng Hoa compound, the Crewchief, Maurice Seghetti, was hit by ground fire from the LZ. While CWO Tom Pullen and WO Richard Gilmore took evasive action, Col. Joseph Seymoe, Senior Advisor for Quang Tri Province, administered first aid to Seghetti. While Pullen was enroute to the aid station at Quang Tri, Lt Bob Ford attempted to get the medevacs out of Houng Hoa but was also repulsed by heavy ground fire. Col Seymoe called for more ships from Da Nang, and a combat assault was quickly arranged from volunteers.

WO Gerald L. Mc Kinsey, Jr(Mac to his friends) had returned to Da Nang to DEROS. He flew aircraft #036, Joe Sumner the crewchief, to Houng Hoa and then to Dong Ha for assistance from the Marine helicopter unit. For some reason, possibly other commitments they were unable to do so. WO Mc Kinsey waited there for the rest of the company to join them. After dropping off Seghetti and borrowing a young Marine to serve as door gunner CWO Pullen joined them.

Mr. Mc Kinsey was familiar with the area so he changed seats with Maj. Rex putting Cap. Tom Stiner and Mr. Mc Kinsey flying the lead ship in a flight of seven. Five ships carried Ruff-Puffs and two carried ammo and other supplies. Alleycats flew gun support. Intense ground fire around Houng Hoa forced them to divert south to an old French fort on a mountain top near Khe Sanh. As the flight landed, NVA regulars emerged from their hiding places and began firing at point blank range. Lead ship was hit on the right side, burst into flames (even the rotor blades were burning) and rolled over the embankment, landing on it??s side. Two ships landed and crewmembers tried to help the crew of chalk one. Danny Williams exited his ship and went to help rescue Col Seymoe from the burning ship. Ground fire hit the butt of crewchief Heidi Atanian??s M-16 rifle and shot the microphone off his helmet so he got back in the aircraft. Gunner Jerry Elliott never returned to the ship. David Howington, crewchief of aircraft #027 which had crashed managed to get aboard before they took off due to intense enemy ground fire which hit one of the pilots. After receiving many hits the rescue ships were forced to leave the area. Severely damaged ships escaped the LZ and made emergency landings at Khe Sanh, Quang Tri and medevaced wounded to Dong Ha.

WO Mc KINSEY survived the crash but was killed on the ground while providing covering fire for the rescue attempt. Col. Seymoe was killed in the crash. Sgt Billy D. Hill, gunner of #027 and PFC Jerry W. Elliott, gunner are listed MIA. Cpt. Tom Stiner and Sgt Danny Williams escaped from the area, evaded the NVA ground forces and walked to Khe Sanh where they were picked up the next day by a Hue Detachment ship.
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