Donald Russell Saegaert

Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
03 May 1940 - 10 June 1965
Berlin, Connecticut
Panel 02E Line 006



Army Aviator

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

The database page for Donald Russell Saegaert

22 Dec 2001

My father was killed in a helicopter crash during the battle of Dong Xoai on June 10, 1965. As of 2001 his body has not been recovered along with the other six men who also died with him. If anyone might know any of the following men's family please contact me. Walter Hall, Joseph Compa, Craig Hagen, Bruce Johnson, Fred Owen and Robert Curlee. I was only 2 when he died but I want to thank all those men who have helped me learn about my dad through the Sons and Daughters In Touch program. God Bless You All!

From his daughter,
Susan Schumacher
2810 Edwardsville-Galena Road, Georgetown, In 47122

06 Feb 2003

Dear Uncle Donald,
Never knew I had a uncle with the name Donald. But I wanna wish good luck and peace where ever you may be.

Arthur Saegaert

Notes from The Virtual Wall

A Special Forces camp was established at Dong Xoai, a district capital in Phuoc Long Province, in late May 1965. Dong Xoai lay astride a Viet Cong supply route from Cambodia into War Zone D. At about 11 PM on the night of 9 June, the SVN forces around Dong Xoai were attacked by the 762nd and 763rd VC Regiments. Beginning about 11:30 PM the camp came under heavy mortar and ground attack and was overrun.

South Vietnamese and US advisory relief forces were alerted. The first to arrive was an advisory team airlifted from Than Son Nhut, near Saigon. The team was aboard a UH-1B helicopter from the 118th Aviation Company. US personnel included

  • WO Donald Saegaert, aircraft commander;
  • LT Walter L. Hall, pilot;
  • SGT Craig L. Hagen, gunner;
  • SSGT Joseph J. Compa, crew chief;
  • CPT Bruce G. Johnson, MACV Advisors;
  • SFC Fred M. Owens, MACV Advisors; and
  • SSGT Robert L. Curlee, MACV Advisors (medic).
After the UH-1B landed it came under heavy mortar and small arms fire. The helicopter took off and started a climbing turn. It then went into uncontrolled flight and crashed, skidded into parked vehicles, and burst into flames.

Captain Johnson, an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army's 5th Infantry Division, reported to another helicopter in the area that the UH-1B's crew and all others on board were dead and his position was receiving incoming enemy mortar fire. There was no further transmission from Captain Johnson after the end of the mortar fire. A later search of the area failed to produce any sign of the seven servicemen. Villagers stated that the Viet Cong had carried away the bodies of 7 Americans and had buried them.

Based on Captain Johnson's verbal report, the other six men were declared Killed in Action/Body not recovered. Captain Johnson himself was declared Missing in Action. On 27 Feb 1978, the Secretary of the Army issued a Presumptive Finding of Death for Bruce Johnson, who had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while in MIA status. As of 25 Dec 2003, the remains of the seven Americans have not been repatriated.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 22 Dec 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009