In Memoriam

"I cannot think of them as dead, who walk with me no more ~ along the path of life I tread, they have but gone before."

Read from the 4th Infantry Memorial in Pleiku, Vietnam

Final Mission of WO Lance M. Lofman (06-27-1970)

Dak Pek Special Forces Camp was a U.S. Army and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) base northwest of Kontum in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It was established in December 1962 to monitor communist infiltration along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The runway at the camp was a short, rough, uneven landing strip stuck in a valley with difficult approaches and many obstacles. Adding to the danger was enemy fire which made any attempt to land there particularly challenging. On June 27, 1970, a U.S. Army de Havilland U-1A Otter (#55-3250) utility transport aircraft from the 18th Aviation Company was attempting a landing at Dak Pek when the plane overshot the runway and crashed and burned. Four U.S. personnel were killed in the incident. The lost crew included co-pilot WO Lance M. Lofman and crew chief SP4 Gary M. Pridgen; the passengers were MAJ Alan D. Gardner and CPT Robert J. Walters from the 31st Engineer Detachment, 5th Special Forces Group. The pilot and a Special Forces E-7 (Sergeant First Class) were critically burned in the crash and evacuated to the 71st Evacuation Hospital near Pleiku. After being stabilized, they were sent to the Brooke Army Hospital Burn Center at Fort Sam Houston, TX, where each endured convalescence lasting more than a year. Lofman and Pridgen were afterwards honored at a memorial service conducted at the 18th Aviation Company’s headquarters at Qui Nhon Airfield.

W2 Robert Allen 'Bob' Fabrick - Pilot - survived the crash in 1970 with with burns. He passed in Oct 2012. [Taken from and information provided by Glenn Johnmeyer (May 2020)]


54th Avn Co. ~ Air Loss / Over Land

On November 22, 1967, a U.S. Army DeHavilland U-1A Otter (#57-6119) fixed-wing aircraft from the 54th Aviation Company crashed and burned on takeoff from runway east at Long Binh Army Airfield in Bien Hoa Province, RVN. The accident occurred as the Otter was leaving the airstrip when it hit a cable that was strung on a crane next to the runway. The pilot lost control of the plane and crashed. Personnel nearby heard the crash and came running, but the would-be rescuers had trouble approaching the wreck as it was totally engulfed. A total of nine U.S. personnel would die as a result of this accident. SP4 Thomas B. Allen, the crew chief on the flight, died in the crash along with passengers PVT Sheldon D. Bowler, PFC Marshall F. Freng, PFC Steven P. Morse, and PVT Allyson Y. Sasaki. Two other passengers, SP4 Woodrow D. Adler, a courier for Headquarters & Headquarters Company (HHC), 222nd Aviation Battalion, and PFC David L. Tasker, died four days later from burns they suffered in the accident. Military records regarding this incident listed two persons as the pilot of the aircraft. One of them, CW2 David A. Kreitzer, is the probable pilot as he served with the 54th Aviation Company and reportedly flew U-1 Otters during his first tour of Vietnam. Kreitzer succumbed on December 2, 1967, to burn injuries he suffered in the crash. The second pilot listed, MAJ Larry G. Powell, was a rotary wing (helicopter) pilot from the 45th Medical Company. Powell reportedly died after being evacuated to the U.S. Military burn unit at the 106th General Hospital in Yokohama, Japan. [Taken from,, and, and information provided by Don Yaxley (May 2018)]


About six miles from Maastricht, in the Netherlands, lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall/winter of 1944. Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate it, and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" soldier in a place of honour in their home.

Annually, on "Liberation Day," memorial services are held for "the men who died to liberate Holland." The day concludes with a concert. The final piece is always "Il Silenzio," a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. It has been the concluding piece of the memorial concert ever since.

This year the soloist was a 13-year-old Dutch girl, Melissa Venema, backed by André Rieu and his orchestra (the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands). This beautiful concert piece is based upon the original version of 'Taps' and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi. Wait until the last note is reached ..