Erich Carl EngelhardColonel
9TH SOS, 14TH SOW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
03 August 1931 - 22 June 1969
Panel 22W Line 111
The database page for Erich Carl Engelhard
I am close to this Vietnam veteran and I have never even met him. When my father was my age (15) his dad bought him the bracelet that I now wear and have worn for over 5 years and have never taken it off. I feel closer to Colonel Engelhard then I have ever thought possible. When I recently visited the Vietnam memorial I saw his name and it really struck my heart and made me realize this great man wasn't just a war hero, he was my was hero. It gives me great honor to wear his bracelet and I will wear it until I get hold of his remaining family.
From a proud bearer,
On my first trip to Washington when I was 18, our school stopped by the Vietnam memorial to pay our respects. Imagine my surprise when I looked up my last name, Engelhard, and not only found that there was one person listed (it's a pretty rare name, with this spelling) but that his first name, out of all the myriad possibilities, was Erich. My name is Eric Engelhard. I was born 9 1/2 years after this brave man died in the service of his country, and I've tried to live a good life in honor of him and his sacrifice.
As far as I've been able to determine, I'm not directly related to him. All the same, the rubbing of his name has a special place in my room and moves with me everywhere I go. Every time I've been in Washington since, I make a point to stop by the Wall to visit him. I can only hope I'm doing justice to his memory.
I wore this hero's bracelet for many, many years. I received it while in elementary school and thought myself patriotic for wearing it and supporting our troops. While my parents weren't fond of the fact that I wore the bracelet, I never took it off. Being a pre-teen, I only understood parts of what was happening in this war and my facts were relegated to that which was told on the news and the opinions of the adults around me.
As I got older and began learning about the men and women who served their country so valiantly, I realized that I had no idea of the entire scope of this war. I continued to wear the bracelet for many years. I remember needing emergency surgery when I was about 18 and getting into a very heated discussion with the hospital personnel who were insistent that I had to remove the bracelet before surgery. I steadfastly refused. Hours later, we compromised with them wrapping my arm and the bracelet in several layers of sterile pads and tape.
I finally visited the wall in 1999. I located the Colonel's name on the wall, and was consumed both with grief and relief upon learning that there was an end to the story. I still have my bracelet locked safely away in a jewel box to give to my children when they get older and understand the realities of war.
Thank you, Colonel, for your bravery, honor and service to this country. Thank you for being a part of my life for so many years.
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 9th Air Commando Squadron was activated in January 1967 and renamed in 1968 as the 9th Special Operations Squadron. The squadron flew out of various locations in Vietnam including Nha Trang, Pleiku Airport, DaNang, and Bien Hoa with the primary mission of psychological operations. Squadron aircraft (0-2Bs at first, C-47s added later) accomplished leaflet drops and speaker broadcasts. The 9th SOS was deactivated in Vietnam in February 1972.
On 22 June 1969, Major Erich C. Engelhard and 1st Lt Michael A. Seagroves departed Nha Trang in an O-2B (tail number 67-21455), directed toward a group of enemy troops some 20 miles north of Nha Trang. The aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of Ninh Hoa, but the wreckage was not immediately located and both men were classed as missing in action. In 1973, following the US withdrawal, the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for both Engelhard and Seagroves, changing their status from Missing in Action to Died while Missing/Body not Recovered. Both men were promoted while in MIA status, Engelhard to Colonel and Seagroves to Captain.
The wreckage of 67-21455 was located in 1974 and human remains recovered from the crash site. The remains were returned to US control on 01 April 1974; on 19 June 1974 the US government announced the positive identification of the remains as those of Colonel Engelhard and Captain Seagroves.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
one who remembers,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 7 Apr 2005
Last updated 05/18/2007