Griffith Bronson Bedworth

First Lieutenant
HHT, 1ST SQDN, 9TH CAV RGT, 1 CAV DIV
Army of the United States
30 April 1945 - 30 November 1967
Woodbridge, Connecticut
Panel 31E Line 009

1 CAV DIV

9TH CAV RGT
Army Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Griffith Bronson Bedworth

29 Dec 2003

"Bunny"

Under the faraway eyes of Abe Lincoln,
I tiptoed at last, alone in October-
Into the Valley of the Shadow of Death-
By the Black Wall, where millions come,
And the loudest shout is a whisper.

On every stone, shining in the Moonlight,
Were little spiders,
Rappelling down silken cords
To protect the fallen soldiers
Who live in the nacreous gleam.

Little spider spirits were hanging,
like "Strange Fruit" on silken crosses,
To honor the heroes who jumped
From the Jolly Green Giants,
Each one yelling "I'm Spartacus!"
Into the face of the furious Sun.

As I flew home past the Washington Monument,
Over the black sword plowed in the Earth
Like a crashed Stealth Bomber,
I was glad I had touched his name-
Even though I didn't really know him,
but only knew of him-
That his family still loved him,
And they still call him "Bunny".

In memory of US Army First Lieutenant Griffith Bronson Bedworth
Panel 31E Row 009
from Woodbridge, Connecticut,
whose helicopter went down,
in the service of his country,
on November 30, 1967.

Paul Averill Liebow MD FACEP
Bucksport, Maine 12/30/03

Notes from The Virtual Wall

After nightfall on 30 Nov 1967 four men from Headquarters Troop, 1/9th Cavalry, were engaged in an administrative flight in UH-1D tail number 66-00909, an aircraft belonging to B Troop, 1/9 Cav. The four were
  • MAJ Stephen R. Porcella, pilot, 1/9 Cav Safety Officer
  • WO Griffith B. Bedworth, copilot
  • SSG Kenneth D. McKee, crew chief
  • CPT Floyd Harold Kushner, 1/9 Cav Flight Surgeon
The four men had traveled north from Bong Son to Chu Lai so Captain Kushner could deliver a flight safety briefing to 1/9 aircrew based at there. On completion in late afternoon the crew faced a night flight home in deteriorating weather. After departure from Chu Lai the aircrew attempted to maintain visual flight conditions but were hampered by the weather and the aircraft collided with a mountaintop. What happened next is best told by the sole survivor of the crash, Captain Kushner:
"On 30 Nov.1967, I went to Chu Lai with MAJ Steve Porcella, WO/1 Giff Bedworth and SGT McKeckney, the crew chief of our UH-1H. I gave a talk to a troop at Chu Lai on the dangers of night flying. The weather was horrible, rainy and windy, and I asked MAJ Porcella, the aircraft commander, if we could spend the night and wait out the weather. He said, "Our mission is not so important but we have to get the aircraft back." I'll never forget the devotion to duty of this young officer; it cost him his life.

"While flying from Chu Lai to LZ Two Bits, I thought we had flown west of Highway 1 which would be off course. I asked Steve if we had drifted west. He called the ATC at Duc Pho and asked them to find him. The operator at Duc Pho said that he had turned his radar off at 2100. He said, "Do you want me to turn it on and find you?" MAJ Porcella replied "Roj" and that was the last thing he ever said.

"The next thing I knew I was recovering from unconsciousness in a burning helicopter which seemed to be upside down. I tried to unbuckle my seat belt and couldn't use my left arm. I finally managed to get unbuckled and immediately dropped and almost broke my neck. My helmet was plugged into commo and the wire held me as I dropped out of the seat which was inverted. The helicopter was burning. Poor MAJ Porcella was crushed against the instrument panel and either unconscious or dead. Bedworth was thrown, still strapped in his seat, out of the chopper. His right anklebones were fractured and sticking through the nylon of his boot. SGT Mac was unhurt but thrown clear and unconscious. I tried to free Porcella by cutting his seatbelt and moving him. However, I was unable to.

"The chopper burned up and I suffered burns on my hands and buttocks and had my pants burned off. While trying to free Porcella, some of the M-60 rounds cooked off and I took a round through the left shoulder and neck. My left wrist and left collarbone were broken in the crash, and I lost or broke 7 upper teeth.

"Well, after we assessed the situation - we had no food or water, no flares, no first aid kit or survival gear. We had two 38 pistols and 12 rounds, one seriously wounded WO co-pilot, a moderately wounded doctor, and an unhurt crew chief. We thought we were close to Duc Pho and Highway 1 and close to friendlies. Bedworth and I decided to send Mac for help at first light. We never saw him again.

"Later, 6 years later, COL Nevins told me that SGT Mac had been found about 10 miles from the crash site, shot and submerged in a rice paddy. So on that night of 30 Nov 1967 I splinted Bedworth's leg, with tree branches, made a lean-to from the door of the chopper, and we sat in the rain for three days and nights. We just sat there. We drank rainwater. On the third morning, he died."

Dr Hal Kushner, Col, USAR (Ret)
02/02/2000
Copyright
Reproduced under 17 USC 107

After Bedworth died, Captain Kushner decided to try to walk out. He headed downhill and upon arrival at the base of the mountain he could see helicopters "hovering over the top. I knew I couldn't make it up the mountain, and had to take my chances. But if I had only waited another 4 hours."

Instead of being rescued, Kushner approached a Vietnamese farmer who first fed him and then turned him over to a Viet Cong squad. Kushner spent time in POW camps in South Vietnam before being moved to North Vietnam. He was released with other POWs on 16 March 1973.

Oddly, the casualty database entries for Porcella, Bedworth, and McKee carry them as "non-crew", while the VHPA database entry, based on the helicopter accident report, shows the three men as the flight crew.



The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a schoolmate,
Paul Averill Liebow
palakaseal@aol.com 
29 Dec 2003



Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon
www.VirtualWall.org

Back to
To alpha index B
CT State Index . Panel 31E
9TH CAV RGT Index

Webmaster@VirtualWall.org



With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 01/30/2005