Bill Wayne Deetz

HMH-463, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
08 December 1941 - 19 February 1968
Northfield, Minnesota
Panel 40E Line 019



Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Bill Wayne Deetz

27 Jan 2003

Bill W. Deetz
Photo submitted by Dr. Les Lefevre
Flight Surgeon, HMM-163 and VMO-6 (67/68)


by his comrades-in-arms from the
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association
6 Apr 2005

Bill Deetz will always be loved and remembered by his brothers of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity - Minnesota Beta - Minneapolis, Minnesota. Bill was our beloved friend and comrade and we still speak of him fondly and often.

Rest in peace, dear Brother.
Submitted by Brother Mike Montgomery

From his Fraternity Brother,
Michael J. Montgomery
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

Virtual Wall Notes

From the Marine Aircraft Group 36 Command Chronology for June 1968:
"On 16 June the wreckage of an aircraft believed to be a UH-34 was found by the APD aircraft from HML-367. On 19 June a zone was blown using 2,000 lb. bombs to allow a recon team to reach the crash site. On 20 June a recon team (Fudge Cake) was inserted into the crash site at ZC 201946 and the aircraft was identified as CH-53A, BuNo 153270. Two M-60 machine guns, one .38 Cal. pistol, one engine starter, and the dog tags of TESSIER, L. C. 092299 were recovered by the team. The team was extracted at 1700. On 21 June the recon team (Fudge Cake) with two Graves Registration men and an aviator member of this command were inserted into the crash site. A thorough search for the remains was conducted. All remains that could be found were brought out and turned over to Graves Registration for further disposition. A report was submitted to MAG-16 concerning the investigation."
The aircraft in question, HMH-463's CH-53A BuNo 153278, had launched on 19 February 1968 from Phu Bai enroute Marble Mountain with 13 people aboard aboard:
  • From HMH-463:
    • Capt Lucien C. Tessier, Manchester, NH, pilot
    • Capt Bill W. Deetz, Northfield, MN, copilot
    • Sgt Kenneth P. Ehnis, Romulus, MI
    • Sgt Francis S. Torre, Mangilao, GU
    • LCPL Benjamin F. Johnson, San Antonio, TX

  • Passengers:
    • Capt Barton J. Uplinger, Camarillo, CA, VMO-6, MAG-36
    • TSgt Sylvester McCullough, New York, NY, 903rd Aeromed Evac Sqdn, 7th AF
    • HM2 Robert J. Bridges, Mitchell, SD, 3rd Med Bn
    • PFC Robert E. Tyner, Jacksonville, FL, Alpha 1/12 Cav
    • Two South Vietnamese civilians, names unknown
    • Two Viet Cong POWs, names unknown
The MAG-16 Command Chronology states that at 1915H this aircraft was declared overdue and missing after being last reported at 092 degrees/20 NM from Channel 69 enroute to Marble Mountain on an Instrument Flight Rules clearance. Search and rescue operations were instigated and continued on a daily basis through the end of the February with no success.

At termination of SAR efforts it was classed as an over-water loss off-shore North Vietnam, and the personnel aboard were placed in "Missing in Action" status. Discovery of the wreckage on 21 June 1968 by a MAG-36 aircraft and recovery of the remains clearly invalidated the original classifications.

The aircraft had collided with the side of Monkey Mountain, about 50 yards distant from the site of another HMH-463 CH-53A lost on 08 Jan 1968 (BuNo 153710, five crewmen and 36 passengers dead). The fact that both aircraft had arrived at the same geographic point in similar weather conditions - i.e., flying by instruments in bad weather - raised questions with respect to the adequacy of navigational systems. While the North Vietnamese were known to use "meaconing" [placing false navigational aids in such a way as to lure unsuspecting aircraft off-course], there was no firm evidence either way with respect to the 08 January or 19 February crashes.

Taken from the
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association site
and the
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association database.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a fellow Marine,
George T. Curtis
MGySgt USMC (Ret)
27 Jan 2003

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 04/07/2005