John Robert Rankin

Specialist Four
Army of the United States
22 July 1948 - 15 November 1969
Blackwood Terrace, New Jersey
Panel 16W Line 081

Army Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for John Robert Rankin

17 Jul 2007

John "Johnny" Rankin was part of a helicopter crew that was brought down by enemy fire in South Vietnam in 1969. His friends and family will always remember him, as well as the residents of Blackwood Terrace. This is due partly to the dedication of the street he grew up on, Elm Avenue, is now honored by his name, and officially known as Rankin Avenue. A part of his legacy also lives on by all Americans who support the men killed in action, missing in action, and those fortunate enough to return safely home to their families. Thank you for visiting him today and please keep him in your prayers.

From his nephew,
Steven Rankin

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The following is taken from from the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial web site:
"The following account of John's last mission is a compilation of information told to me by the pilot of his Huey, Warrant Officer Edward Gwynn, and other men who served with him in Vietnam.

"On November 15, 1969, a Huey aircraft, piloted by WO Gwynn, with co-pilot Lt. David Romero, crew chief John R. Rankin, and one other crew member were on a re-supply mission. They were carrying infantrymen, ammo, water and food. The flight was to the north of Chu Lai with their destination about fifty miles from base. When within six tenths of a mile from the landing zone, the Huey was hit by small arms fire from the ground. The disabled ship came down and rolled on its' side.

"Everyone on board survived the crash landing without obvious injury. John stood up to look around outside and was hit with a single shot by small arms fire from the surrounding jungle. He was hit in his mid-section and fell back inside. At this time the ship came under fire. The men on board with John applied compression bandages to his wound to stop the bleeding. A message was sent out to report the shoot down and that they were under fire. The pilot was wounded by shrapnel from a rifle grenade during the attack. Lt. David Romero organized the crew and passengers into a defensive group. They were able to hold out for the thirty minutes it took for the rescue choppers to arrive. During that time, John slipped away, peacefully.

"The rescue Hueys arrived and held off the attacking force. While doing that, the rescuers were able to place John's remains and all of the survivors on board the ships. On the return trip to base at Chu Lai, Lt. Romero, who had up to this time seemed unhurt, turned his head, fell unconscious and died. Later it was determined that he had probably broken his neck when the ship crashed."

The helicopter involved was UH-1H tail number 66-16260 and the location was near An Thanh (2), about 6 km south-southeast of Hoi An, just within the Quang Ngai Province boundary. The two men who died in the incident were 1LT Walter D. Romero of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and SP4 John R. Rankin.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his nephew,
Steven Rankin

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Jul 2007
Last updated 07/22/2007