Edmund Gardner Exum, Jr

Private First Class
Army of the United States
09 June 1947 - 03 June 1967
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Panel 21E Line 044


Army Aircrew

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Edmund Gardner Exum, Jr

13 Sep 2001

You made the ultimate sacrifice and it did not go unnoticed.
My husband remembers you and respects you greatly.
We thank you and salute you.

Leilah Ash Ward
Hollywood, Florida

08 Aug 2007

The photo and following article is taken from The Philadelphia Daily News, special supplement entitled 'SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTY,' October 26, 1987.

"Butch" Exum left Overbrook High School in May 1966, several weeks before he was to graduate, and joined the Army. He was sent to Viet Nam in September 1966 and worked at the Post Exchange in Nra Trang. The private first class, a gunner assigned to the 173rd Assault Helicopter Company, died in a helicopter crash on June 3, 1967, six days before his 20th birthday. Exum was survived by his father, stepmother, two brothers and a sister.

From a native Philadelphian and Marine,
Jim McIlhenney

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The 173rd Assault Helicopter Company's official history for 1967 contains the following entry:
"June began with another shock of misfortune. 1LT Cornett and WO Newman with PFC Ward and PFC Exum flew out of Long Binh low level to avoid the artillery. Crossing the river [probably the Cai River, possibly the Saigon River], wires were sighted and the aircraft climbed to avoid them only to put it in the path of a higher strand. In an attempt to control the tangled up aircraft, it hit the ground killing WO Newman, PFC Exum, and four of the six passengers."
The crew chief, PFC Douglas V. Ward, has given the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association permission to publish his recollection of the incident:
"At the time of the crash Warrant Officer Newman was flying the aircraft. We were flying low level across rice paddies. There was a tree line ahead of us with aproximately 80 to 100 foot tall trees and a village inside the tree line. We climbed over the tree line and the power lines were right there in front of us. I yelled over the intercom "Powerlines ahead". I believe Mr. Newman saw them at the same time and tried to climb over them. Our skids snagged the top wire, stretched it, then I watched the wire break at the tower, and then snap back in on us, into the main rotor, around the fuselage where it punctured the fuel cell. We caught fire right away, the ship was pitching and yawing very severely and started rolling to the left and falling. We rolled inverted, the tailboom hit and we slammed down on the left side, rolled inverted again, and stopped. I think the fuel cell exploded then. I was hanging upside down, popped open my harness and fell free, I unhooked the PIO kid who was in my gun well with me and dragged him out, then went back and grabbed the only guy I could see in the fire, a Sergeant, and dragged him out then I saw Lieutenant Cornett's door come off, and he started trying to crawl out and I grabbed him and dragged him out, and then I turned back to get Mr. Newman and it exploded again and there wasn't anything there, just this huge fire"
The six men who died in the crash were
  • Aircrew, UH-1D tail number 66-01149, 173rd AHC
  • Passengers, all HQ Co, 1st Engineer Bn, 1st Inf Div
    • LTC Joseph M. Kiernan, Inglewood, NJ
    • LTC Rodney H. Smith, Arlington, VA
    • MAJ Millard L. Treadwell, Ludowici, GA
    • SMAJ Terry M. Rimes, Thomasville, GA

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who remembers,
Leilah Ash Ward
Hollywood, Florida

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Sep 2001
Last updated 08/08/2007