Philippe Luc LasHermes

Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
15 December 1946 - 14 February 1970
Annapolis, Maryland
Panel 13W Line 010

101 ABN DIV UH-1 Huey 158TH AHB
Army Aviator

Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Philippe L. Las Hermes

The database page for Philippe Luc LasHermes

26 Sep 2004

"No man is an island, entire of itself;
every man is a piece of the continent,
a part of the main ...
Any man's death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind ...
therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
it tolls for thee."
- John Donne -
Meditation XVII

It's wonderful to see this memorial to Philippe.

It's said "The only truly dead are those that are forgotten", and Philippe is definitely not forgotten by myself nor his other friends on this side of the Atlantic. We had a wonderful, carefree time together when I knew him in Paris in 1963 through 1968. I was stationed (1963-65) with the 275th Signal Company at the Blockhouse in Paris and he came to visit me many times. He was fun-loving, adventurous, and always eager to new challenges. I can still remember us driving down to the 1964 "24 Heures du Man" car race with our old 1954 Jaguar XK140 which broke down even before we got out of the city limits! It was repaired (broken fuel pump) and we made it just as the sun set. We slept in the car, no fancy hotels for us ... but the car was fancy! You can see him at the wheel in the photo. He is gone now as are many others, but not forgotten, not in a long shot.

If anyone knew him during his time in the Army, please contact me.
Thanks for visiting this memorial and keeping his memory alive!

From a close friend,
Christopher Vock
Case Postale 32, 1875 Morgins, Switzerland

15 Apr 2005

It was 30 years ago that the war ended for... U.S. ... A long time ago, that seems only a short while ago ... to the memory of our friends or family who did not make it back and joy for those that did.

Hear the sounds of Vietnam

From a close friend,
Christopher Vock
P O Box 32, 1875 Morgins, Switzerland

14 Oct 2006

Ten days ago I spotted a hand-written inscription "fwd to USS Repose Hospital Ship" on an envelope (return to sender) I had addressed to Philippe's APO address in 1970. I Googled USS REPOSE and found this site

I sent a query to the webmaster, Chuck Davis, and below is his answer.

Extraordinary that after 36 years I found one of the very last persons to talk to and see Philippe alive. It took 36 years to get the full story.

"Patience maketh man"...

Christopher: I remember Philippe. I was paged by doctors in pre-op to get medical photographs of his back, because there was some disagreement among the doctors as to the severity of Philippe's burns. When I made the photographs he was happy to have survived the crash, and he was grinning over his left shoulder at the camera. He was making jokes with the hospital staff, but the main doctor in charge told me later that the burns would look worse within a few days, and he feared that Philippe's lungs were damaged by the flames.

The burns looked to me like maybe bad second degree when Philippe arrived on board. About 10 days later the doctor called and asked me to come to ICU. Philippe was on his stomach and sedated. I documented the extensive tissue damage that had appeared over the days since his arrival, and the doctor told me that Philippe's lungs were so badly burned that he could not survive much longer.

I shot a lot of medical images during my year aboard Repose, and I will tell you that I remember Philippe more clearly than any other patient, because of his jokes and bravery in the face of danger.

Chuck Davis
Lakewood, Colorado

From a close friend,
Christopher Vock
P O Box 32, 1875 Morgins, Switzerland

Philippe L. Las Hermes

The photograph above shows Philippe in Dieulidoub, Limoges, France, during the spring of 1965.

Philippe's father M. Maurice Lashermes flew Nieuports in World War I; the photo shows him with squadronmate Sous Lieutenant Dieudonne Costes (7-1/2 kills, L�gion d'Honneur; M�daille Militaire, 6 awards) in front of a Nieuport 24. M. Lashermes also fought in Vietnam in the First Indochina War and was at Dien Bien Phu. The photo of M. Lashermes and WO Lashermes was taken at Fort Rucker.

Site 2277, Section 30, Arlington National Cemetery

14 Nov 2006

Hi Chris:

Perhaps an epilogue to the story.

It definitely takes a certain kind of bravery to look death in the face and joke about it. Take it from someone who has been there. Lungs are easily singed, not necessarily by flame but by the superheated air caused by flame: one breath and the resulting damage is fatal. While recuperating from combat wounds at Kashina Barracks (Nov-Dec '69) I had numerous occasions to work on the wards, including "C" ward (a burn ward ... "crispy critter ward", as it was known), changing dressings and engaging my brothers in conversations. Many exhibited the same "laugh in the face of death" attitude. I came to realize however that this was not just bravado but revealed two distinct aspects for being.

First, was self preservation: that strong will to survive caused them to make light of their wounds as a way of overcoming them rather than being overwhelmed by them. Less obvious was their concern, often not otherwise expressed, for those who had to care for them.

Getting wounded is certainly traumatic for the individual. Just imagine, however, the "wounds" suffered by the doctors, nurses and others who have to deal with the never ending stream of broken bodies. For them there is no relief except psychological detachment. They suffer invisible wounds and scars of war and those physically wounded I think appreciate that.

"It only hurts when I laugh" helps take some of that load off these health care professionals. I remember President Reagan's joke upon entering the hospital and saying "I hope you all are Republicans" which broke the ice in a very serious situation. The lead doctor responded with something like, "Mr. President, we're all Republicans here." It was that concern for the incredible tension his doctors would have to face that the President appreciated and felt obliged to relieve. I think the same dynamic was at work with Philippe: facing the inevitable bravely while thinking about others to the very end.

Brother, may you rest in peace.

John Arbeeny
68th Infantry Detachment
52nd Aviation Battalion
Pleiku, RVN
Jan '68 - Mar '70

E-mail address is not available.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On the morning of 31 Jan 1970, a team of engineers and infantrymen were lowered in place to cut a new landing zone out of the jungles of Quang Tri Province. When the work was finished the team was to be picked up by helicopters of C Company, 158th Assault Helicopter Battalion.

One of the pick-up Hueys, UH-1H tail number 68-15563, was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade as it lifted off. Although the crew managed to keep it airborne for several hundred yards, when the Huey crashed six men were fatally injured:

  • CPT Donald Lloyd Swanson, pilot, KIA
  • WO Philippe L. Las Hermes, copilot, WIA - died 02/14/70
  • SP4 Mahlon Ronnie Arnett, gunner, WIA - died 02/08/70
  • SP4 Blaine W. Enos, 1st Bn, 506th Inf, KIA
  • PFC Paul H. Cardenas, Jr, 1st Bn, 506th Inf, KIA
  • PFC O'Neil J. Pellegrin, Jr, 1st Bn, 506th Inf, KIA

Warrant Officer Las Hermes, a French citizen, entered the United States in 1968 and subsequently entered the Army's Warrant Officer pilot program, arriving in Vietnam on 02 Sep 1969. He reportedly received a draft notice from the French Army in the fall of 1969 and responded with the question

"What are they going to do to me if I don't show up,
send me to Viet Nam?"

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index L
MD State Index . Panel 13W
158TH AHB Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 26 Sep 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009