Wim GoereeSpecialist Four
155TH AHC, 52ND AVN BN, 17TH AVN GRP, 1 AVN BDE
Army of the United States
29 June 1951 - 08 March 1970
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The database page for Wim Goeree
Wim Goeree June 29, 1951 - March 8, 1970
Wim was truly a hero. The only son of Cornelius Goeree, a Dutch immigrant to America, it was not mandatory for Wim to fight for his new country. Since the USA was so good to Wim and his family he told me that he couldn't turn his back on America when it needed all the men who would serve. He joined the Army. After only one year of service, Wim was sent to the province of Quang Duc, South Vietnam. He was a helicopter door gunner.
Quang Duc Province - March 8, 1970
On a mission from Ban Me Thout East to Duc Lap, 4 Army helicopters headed south of base on a thick foggy morning. Visibility was zero, so they had to follow a narrow road cut out of the trees and fly under the clouds at about 50' off the ground. Wim was in the lead aircraft with WO1 David Karl Erenstoft at the controls. The road was cleared 50' on each side through a thick jungle area. Because they had to fly under the clouds it was necessary to fly fast to avoid getting hit by bullets. They were traveling between 60 and 80 mph. Rick Gilleland was piloting the third copter and talking on the radio to the lead copter. Then suddenly there was no response from chopper one. Still flying about 50' off ground... about 30 miles into the 40 mile trip and spotted smoke off the left side and kept flying to their destination. Upon returning to their base they spotted the missing Huey, it had crashed. A medivac unit was sent to the scene. They found only one survivor, a South Vietnamese soldier who told the Army his story of the crash. He reportedly told Army officials that they had gotten too high in the fog and couldn't see where they were going, or maybe the fog had hung lower to the ground. The pilot had no visibility. He banked right then left and then hit the tree line. That one Vietnamese man (name unknown) survived.
He was awarded the Bronze Star for Bravery and many more medals were awarded and presented to his family. South Vietnam posthumously presented him with 6 assorted medals for his bravery.
I wish to thank pilot and hero RICK GILLELAND, a flying buddy, for supplying me with some of the details of the crash that took my beloved Wim. Though it is still very painful for Rick, he has generously offered to speak with anyone who wishes to learn about the incident or the men he knew and fought with. If you lost a loved one in this crash you may contact Rick, who was in the 3rd of the 4 choppers on that mission . You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you wish to speak with me I can be reached at BScott@MareMeadows.com
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A Note from The Virtual WallIn the spring of 1970, the South Vietnamese Army staged an invasion of Laos with the stated intention of disrupting the Ho Chi Minh Trail resupply line to the point that the North Vietnamese Army would be unable to sustain operations within South Vietnam. The invasion was supported by US air power, to include helicopter airlift and fixed-wing air support.
As noted above, on 08 March 1970 four UH-1H aircraft of the 155th Assault Helicopter Company were tasked with moving ARVN troops from Ban Me Thout East to Duc Lap. The flight departed at approximately 0800 hours with UH-1H tail number 68-15540 in the lead carrying
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2010 Sw 17th Terrace, Bell, Fl 32619
25 Nov 2003
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 11/28/2003