Behne, Edward Lee, MAJ

Deceased
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
12 kb
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Last Rank
Major
Last Service Branch
Infantry
Last Primary MOS
1981-Rotary Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1967-1970, 1981, 25th Infantry Division (Tropic Lightning)
Service Years
1959 - 1979

Infantry

Major


Three Service Stripes



Six Overseas Service Bars


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

94 kb

Home State
Texas
Texas
Year of Birth
1941
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by MAJ Mark E Cooper to remember Behne, Edward Lee (Ed), MAJ.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Abilene
Last Address
Not Specified

Date of Passing
Sep 09, 2006
 
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

25th Infantry Division


 Unofficial Badges 






 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

After a decorated military career, Edward Behne founded a flourishing helicopter company here


Vietnam War pilot 'fearless' in combat


By ROSANNA RUIZ Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle


Sept. 16, 2006, 7:32PM


 



COURTESY OF KEN MULHOLLAND


Huey helicopter pilots Edward Lee Behne, left, later promoted to major, served with Capt. Ken Mulholland during the Vietnam War from 1967-68.



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Retired Maj. Edward Lee Behne, a highly decorated Huey pilot during the Vietnam War who later started a lucrative helicopter company in Houston, has died of a heart attack. He was 65.


Behne, born in Abilene, enlisted in the Army in 1959.


During his three tours of Vietnam, he logged about 2,000 combat hours as a helicopter pilot in the 25th Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. As pilot in a company known as "Little Bears," Behne transported supplies and troops, often during fierce battles.


Capt. Ken Mulholland, who served with Behne during his first tour from 1967-68, said Behne was "fearless" in combat. For his valor, Behne was awarded numerous medals, including two Silver Stars and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.


"He was not a dangerous pilot — he never put a dent in a helicopter," Mulholland said. "When I say he was fearless, I don't mean he took unnecessary chances. ... He was a tremendous pilot."


The pair flew missions during the Tet offensive, which began Jan. 30, 1968. "Tet was a very busy time," Mulholland said. "It was fighting the war the way a guy would like to fight the war. ... We really clobbered them."


After the war, Behne flew crews and supplies to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1988, he founded Tex-Air Helicopters with just one helicopter. The Hobby Airport-based company flourished, growing to a fleet of more than 40 helicopters with multimillion-dollar annual earnings.


Steve Cowan, one of Tex-Air's early employees, said Behne insisted that his helicopters remain in mint condition. Even after a long day, Behne never failed to clean and polish his aircraft, he said.


"He used to say, 'Tex-Air, we fly with a flair,' " said Cowan, now a mechanic for the Houston Police Department's helicopter patrol. "He treated everybody with dignity — he was hard and fair at the same time. He was a major. He expected the job to get done."


Mulholland said he has spoken to some of Behne's business associates who described Behne as almost "too honest." "He was just the epitome of integrity. As a trustworthy friend, you could completely trust Ed," he said.


In 2004, Behne retired from the company and enjoyed hunting and spending time at his home in the Texas Hill Country, Cowan said.


Behne died Sept. 8. A memorial service was held Friday at Forest Park East Funeral Home. Behne's survivors include his wife, Mary Lynne Behne; two sons; and four stepchildren.


rosanna.ruiz@chron.com


   
Other Comments:

MAJOR EDWARD LEE BEHNE passed away on Sept. 8, 2006 in Houston,TX. Major Behne flew UH-1 Hueys in Vietnam from 1967 to 1970. He received two Distinguished Flying Crosses, one Legion of Merit, VN Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and Palm, two Silver Stars, six Bronse Stars, VN Service Medal (9 campaigns), two Meritorious Unit Citations and 80 Air Medals. He is the second most highly decorated pilot having served in the US Army in Vietnam. He retired as Major from the Army in 1979 and founded Tex-Air Helicopters, Inc. in 1988. In 2003, he retired to his passion, his most loved Hill Country ranch, where worked, hunted, and entertained his best friends and family members. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lynne, his two sons, Mark Behne and Mike Behne, four step children, Jimmy Gonzalez, Mark Gonzalez, Tanya Roland and Robert Hughey, brother, Richard Behne, sister, Gwen Pascal, one grandchild, Josephine Behne and 14 step grandchildren. Visitation will be held Friday, Sept. 15, 2006 from 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Forest Park East Funeral Home. Services will follow at 3:00 p.m. in the chapel of Forest Park Funeral Home. Military honors to follow after service.


   
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Vietnam War/Tet Counteroffensive Campaign (1968)
From Month/Year
January / 1968
To Month/Year
April / 1968

Description
This campaign was from 30 January to 1 April 1968. On 29 January 1968 the Allies began the Tet-lunar new year expecting the usual 36-hour peaceful holiday truce. Because of the threat of a large-scale attack and communist buildup around Khe Sanh, the cease fire order was issued in all areas over which the Allies were responsible with the exception of the I CTZ, south of the Demilitarized Zone.

Determined enemy assaults began in the northern and Central provinces before daylight on 30 January and in Saigon and the Mekong Delta regions that night. Some 84,000 VC and North Vietnamese attacked or fired upon 36 of 44 provincial capitals, 5 of 6 autonomous cities, 64 of 242 district capitals and 50 hamlets. In addition, the enemy raided a number of military installations including almost every airfield. The actual fighting lasted three days; however Saigon and Hue were under more intense and sustained attack.

The attack in Saigon began with a sapper assault against the U.S. Embassy. Other assaults were directed against the Presidential Palace, the compound of the Vietnamese Joint General Staff, and nearby Ton San Nhut air base.

At Hue, eight enemy battalions infiltrated the city and fought the three U.S. Marine Corps, three U.S. Army and eleven South Vietnamese battalions defending it. The fight to expel the enemy lasted a month. American and South Vietnamese units lost over 500 killed, while VC and North Vietnamese battle deaths may have been somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000.

Heavy fighting also occurred in two remote regions: around the Special Forces camp at Dak To in the central highlands and around the U.S. Marines Corps base at Khe Sanh. In both areas, the allies defeated attempts to dislodge them. Finally, with the arrival of more U.S. Army troops under the new XXIV Corps headquarters to reinforce the marines in the northern province, Khe Sanh was abandoned.

Tet proved a major military defeat for the communists. It had failed to spawn either an uprising or appreciable support among the South Vietnamese. On the other hand, the U.S. public became discouraged and support for the war was seriously eroded. U.S. strength in South Vietnam totaled more than 500,000 by early 1968. In addition, there were 61,000 other allied troops and 600,000 South Vietnamese.

The Tet Offensive also dealt a visibly severe setback to the pacification program, as a result of the intense fighting needed to root out VC elements that clung to fortified positions inside the towns. For example, in the densely populated delta there had been approximately 14,000 refugees in January; after Tet some 170,000 were homeless. The requirement to assist these persons seriously inhibited national recovery efforts.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Month/Year
January / 1968
To Month/Year
April / 1968
 
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
   
Personal Memories
   
Units Participated in Operation

1st Cavalry Division

29th Civil Affairs Company, I Corps

1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment

630th Military Police Company

18th Military Police Brigade

16th Military Police Group

545th Military Police Company

300th Military Police Company

212th Military Police Company

66th Military Police Company

272nd Military Police Company

716th Military Police Battalion

23rd Military Police Company

504th Military Police Battalion

218th Military Police Company

194th Military Police Company

1st Military Police Company, 1st Infantry Division

615th Military Police Company

148th Military Police Detachment

 
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  9956 Also There at This Battle:
  • Adams, John, LTC, (1966-2001)
  • Adkisson, Jim, (1966-1969)
  • Agard, George R, SP 5, (1968-1971)
  • Agner, Stanley Eugene, SGT, (1969-1971)
  • Aho, Milt, SP 5, (1969-1971)
  • Akins, Donald, CW4, (1963-1985)
  • Akridge, William, COL, (1966-2007)
  • Aldridge, Jon, SP 5, (1968-1971)
  • Alexander, Brian, SP 4, (1970-1973)
  • Alfred, Harry, SGT, (1967-1969)
  • Allen, Lee, SP 4, (1966-1968)
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