William Patrick Higgins

First Lieutenant
HMM-364, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
28 May 1943 - 28 December 1969
Algona, IA
Panel 15W Line 104


Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for William Patrick Higgins

11 Sep 2003

On 28 Dec 1969, an HMM-364 CH-46 (YK-13, BuNo 153379) was returning from Phu Bai on a night IFR flight in heavy weather. In addition to the weather, YK-13 had to contend with radio problems. Although their IFR clearance specified an in-flight altitude of 5,000 feet above sea level they read back and flew at 3,000 feet. Danang Approach Control made every effort to alert the crew to their error, transmitting on all available radio frequencies, but were not able to contact YK-13.

YK-13 flew into Hai Van Pass under IMC conditions and hit a mountain, killing all ten men aboard the aircraft:

  • HMM-364:

  • Passengers:
    • MGySgt Edward Reynold Storm, L Co, Marine Spt Bn, 3rdMAF
    • CTC Robert Sidney Gates, NAVSUPACT, USNAVFORV
    • SSgt Richard David Walsh, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • LCpl James Howard Pence, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • LCpl Leslie Lewis Shelton, MABS-16, MAG-16
    • PFC James Muriel Alderman, MABS-16, MAG-16

Bill Higgins, and the other Purple Foxes who served in Vietnam, are remembered by the women who waited at home, whether mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, or friends. Those women, the

Purple Foxy Ladies
Purple Foxy Ladies

continue to support today's Purple Foxes of HMM-364 as they serve our country.

the Purple Foxes

on-line or go to our unit page
on The Virtual Wall

A memorial initiated by the
Purple Foxy Ladies

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
HMM-364 and the Purple Foxy Ladies,
Frank Gulledge, Point Man
12 Sep 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 09/12/2003