John Francis Dugan

Army of the United States
10 November 1947 - 20 March 1971
Roselle, New Jersey
Panel 04W Line 060

Silver Star

Army Aviator

DFC, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Francis Dugan

15 Feb 2006

Captain Dugan was my Platoon Leader with the Kingsmen. He was a good leader and was well-liked by the crews. One night in particular he stayed with me for several hours holding a flashlight as I changed out a part on our aircraft. I've thought of him every day since his loss.

The remains of John and the other three members of his crew were finally located in Laos in late 2004. They will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on April 12, 2006.

From a friend,
Joe Kline

06 Apr 2006

John was my older cousin. Although I have an older brother, and two younger brothers, John was like another brother. He spent a lot of time at our house, sometimes spending most of the summer. I have a large family, my parents had 7 children, so having another person around was no big deal. We had a pool in our backyard and John would come down a lot in the summer time to spend the day and swim.

When my older brother, Pete, was going to Michigan for college, John went along with my mother, Pete, and myself on the drive. Leaving the college town on the way home, my mother took a wrong turn. In the early hours of the morning, we found ourselves in a terrible part of town. Being from the country I had no clue how terrible the area was! John knew, and made sure that we kept all the doors locked. He spotted a cop who helped us find our way back on the proper road. It was great having John around!

The trip to Michigan was taken a few days before John entered the Army. It was strange not having John around. I was so happy when he came back from his first tour of Vietnam ... and sad when he re-enlisted and went back to Vietman. I was in college when my mother called to tell me that his helicopter had been shot down and he was MIA. I couldn't believe that this could happen to John - it just wasn't fair. I'm happy that his remains have been found and he is back in the US. Rest in peace, John. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Love, Karen

Karen Soutar Morella

April 22, 2006

I didn't know John personally, and only learned of him when researching the shootdown. I am married to Major Barker's niece, and I have been a part of the Barker family for 23 years now. Thanks to Earl Swift and his book "Where They Lay", I was able to learn about the mission these brave warriors were willing to sacrifice their lives for. I was also able to make contact with some of the pilots who flew the last mission, and aided in the search efforts. Thanks to Major Combs, who got permission to access the escarpment, and figure out the crash site.

It took a very special individual to fly these missions, especially during the last days. John did what he thought was right when he volunteered to go back with Major Barker. Men who stand up, when they know full well the devastation that can be visited upon them at any time, knowing that their chances of returning alive were slim, men that accept this, and make an honest effort, are heroes of the first order. They flew thin skinned birds repeatedly into enemy fire, seemingly without fear. If you needed them they would come, and they still come 35 years later, as they came to the funeral service at Arlington. What a truly amazing band of brothers the Lam Son 719 vets truly are.

John's remains are resting in peace now, in a place of great honor, surrounded by his equals, never to be forgotten. May God hold him closer than most, and I hope to meet him one day, in a far better place.

Jack Middleton
USAF Vietnam Vet 1972

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Beginning in January 1971, the South Vietnamese Army initiated a drive to cut NVA communications lines in Laos. The intent was to cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, seize Tchepone (Laos) and return to Vietnam. The ARVN would provide and command the ground forces, while the US Army and Air Force would furnish aviation resources and supporting firepower.

In early February the ARVN began its push into Laos. The NVA reacted fiercely, but the ARVN held its positions supported by U.S. airstrikes and resupply runs by Army helicopters.

A helicopter assault on Tchepone was successful, with the abandoned village seized on March 6. Two weeks of hard combat were necessary for the ARVN task force to fight its way back to Vietnam. Towards the end of the removal, a helicopter from Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion was lost.

Flown by Major Jack L. Barker, UH-1H tail number 66-16185 was attempting to land to extract ARVN troops about 20 miles west of Khe Sanh. During the attempt, the aircraft came under enemy fire and was seen to spin, explode, and catch fire, then to break up in the air. No signs of survivors were seen. Because of the presence of enemy forces in the area, no subsequent search could be made for survivors.

Four men of B Company, 101st Aviation Battalion, died in the crash:

The remains of the four crewmen were repatriated on 05 Dec 2002; the DoD announced identification of the remains on 30 August 2005.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Joe Kline
6420 Hastings Place, Gilroy, Ca 95020
15 Feb 2006

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 04/23/2006