Donald Rey HawleyCaptain
19TH TASS, 505TH TACG, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
25 February 1937 - 17 December 1965
Fort Worth, TX
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The database page for Donald Rey Hawley
Captain Donald Hawley
Capt. Hawley was lost while he was assigned as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) to the Vietnamese Airborne Division. This airborne unit was the top high-mobility reaction force in the Vietnamese Armed Forces. US Air Force Forward Air Controllers assigned to the VN Airborne Div were a unique extension of the USAF Air Power doctrine. They served as both Advisors to the Vietnamese and also personally applied Close Air Support (CAS) air strikes against insurgents and other enemy units that threatened the ground forces of the VN Airborne Division. Don flew the O-1 aircraft using the call sign "Red Marker 4".
In Dec 1965 the VN Airborne 2nd Task Force with 3rd and 7th Battalions, and later the 1st Task Force with the 1st and 5th Battalions maneuvered in the Michelin Plantation near Song Be. The operation was to search out Viet Cong main force units that were reported in the area. Heavy contact was made and the 7th Battalion was nearly over run. The Battalions stood and maneuvered under Don's protective air cover. Capt. Hawley's immediate reaction, tenacity and determined delivery of air power blunted the enemy attack and gave the ground forces time to establish positions. Don repeatedly skimmed the tree lines to identify the hidden enemy positions and direct effective air strikes. His aircraft was hit during at least one of these daring low passes and crashed in the middle of the battlefield.
Don's O-1 was visible in the open between the Viet Cong and Abn Division forces who both tried immediately to get to the downed aircraft. A fellow Red Marker FAC, Capt. Del Fleener, flying another O-1 as Red Marker 3, was nearby on another mission and came to assist. Del could not tell Don's condition from the air and during what seemed to be a slight lull in the action landed near the downed aircraft on a trail between the opposing forces. Before Del could exit the aircraft heavy fire again erupted. As he took off several rounds tore off the lower door of the aircraft and Del was wounded. Another FAC arrived and the VC were driven away from the crash site. In a heavy firefight with Air Support the Airborne troopers drove off the VC and secured the crash site.
The VN Airborne Division Task Force considered Capt. Hawley's very brave and highly honorable performance as key to saving the VN Airborne forces that were greatly outnumbered.
In memory of a brave American FAC who gave his all to save his comrades on the ground.
From another "Red Marker"
A note from The Virtual WallCaptain Hawley was flying an O-1E Birddog (tail number 57-2873) when he was shot down during a Forward Air Control mission about 10 miles northwest of Bien Hoa. Despite heavy ground fire, an HH-43 helicopter landed and its crew retrieved Captain Hawley's body.
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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 09/22/2011