Alfred James Gaidis
D Company, 1-11 Infantry relinquished responsibility for the security of FSB Fuller to the 2nd ARVN Regt, and departed FSB Fuller by foot. While enroute to the Khe Gio Bridge, sporadic 120mm and small arms sniper fire was received. Six (6) men were killed when the military aircraft they were aboard was fired upon by a hostile enemy and it crashed and burned. The helicopter was attempting the evacuation of wounded soldiers near the DMZ when it crashed into the head of the column of 1-11th Infantry moving up the road. Lt Schmitz was the pilot. The men were:
From the Dustoff.org website: "Found 'in country' photo of
WO Alfred J. Gaidis at a flea market. The back is marked
with his name and 'KIA'. I want to make sure people
who knew and loved him get to see this photo.
Submitted by Andrew Berkowitz"
Photo top of page was from basic training
and one immediately above is as a Warrant Officer
He was reported missing on 10 May 1970 but changed to dead on 23 May 1970. He was survived by his parents, Harriet and Alfred Stanley Gaidis, Bristol, Connecticut. He was also survived by two sons, Andrew and Allan; and five daughters, Linda, Debra, Theresa, Susan, and Margie. Both Al 'Sr' and Al 'Jr' worked at the Bristol Hospital.
CWO Alfred James Gaidis is buried with his mother Margaret A. (Hayduk) Gaidis (1928-1998), father Alfred Stanley Gaidis (1924-2006) and his paternal Uncle Joseph L Gaidis (1926-1945) at the Saint Joseph Cemetery, Bristol, Hartford County, Connecticut.
In November 2004, the following article was published by The Bristol Press. It was Posted: Friday, November 12 By Katherine Marcotte and reads:
Rededication to Vietnam Hero
BRISTOL - A flagpole at Bristol Hospital was rededicated with a new plaque to a Vietnam War hero from the city following community Veterans Day ceremonies Thursday afternoon.
The site was previously memorialized for Alfred Gaidis Jr., a lifelong Bristol resident who before going to war had worked in the hospital's operating room.
He had joined the Army in July of 1968 and later was stationed in South Vietnam. The helicopter he was piloting was shot down on May 10, 1970 while on a mission to rescue wounded troops. Gaidis, 20, was awarded a Bronze Star, a Silver Star and a Purple Heart.
The ceremony was an opportunity for many in the community to remember and for others to get to know the young soldier, whose father, Alfred Gaidis Sr., still lives here.
"Up until yesterday I assumed this flagpole was dedicated to Al's dad," said Patrick Nelligan, an Army reservist and guest speaker at the re-dedication ceremonies.
"On his own he joined [the Army] and on his own he chose to be a helicopter pilot," said Nelligan. "We should apply Al's characteristics to every veteran, stand by them and appreciate their sacrifice."
Lori DeFillippi, chairwoman of veterans educational services and chaplain of American Legion Seicheprey Post 2, reflected for a moment, then said a prayer for Gaidis.
"Today we honor a young man," she said. "This plaque is a constant reminder to future generations that the torch of freedom is now theirs to carry."
At the end of the ceremony, Alfred Gaidis Sr. along with his wife, Harriet, placed a wreath of flowers around the new plaque. The couple shook hands with Nelligan and DeFillippi, and thanked the large group of friends and family.
- - - The Virtual Wall, June 29, 2016
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