Michael E SchafernockerAviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class
DET 3, HA(L)-3, TF 116, USNAVFORV
United States Navy
28 February 1949 - 28 April 1969
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The database page for Michael E Schafernocker
During a company sponsored "Moving Wall" showing at our campus in Mesquite, Texas (near Dallas), I observed a slender woman wearing a green jacket with patches on it, some I recognized as being the same as ones I had once worn. Our eyes met and she immediately asked (with a big smile) ... "May I introduce you to my son?"
Being a sponsor and media representative for my company, I said "sure" (wondering where he was). After all, it was early in the morning and we seemed to be alone. It was then that she took me by the hand and headed toward the wall. Looking down, I observed an old worn-out scrapbook next to a loosely framed black and white photograph of a young man in a sailor uniform. It looked similar to one I have of myself. As she reached down to pick it up, I felt the blood leave my head -- realizing that I was about to meet her son. For the next hour I was told the story of AO2 Michael E. Schafernocker, USN, and shown his name etched on the wall. I recall an indescribable "glow" around her as she proudly presented the life story of her beloved son. She said; "Michael wanted more than anything else, to be a minister to people." I think maybe he was ... is ... and continues to be.
Michael was the door gunner on a Navy SeaWolf helicopter that was assigned to provide air cover for the River Patrol Force unit that I was attached to. He was killed on April 28, 1969 ... 16 days after I arrived on station. I didn't meet Mike in this life -- but I feel that I know him. Who knows ... had he not engaged the enemy that dreadful day ... they might have been taking their fatal shots at me, instead. Again, I find myself wandering what might have been.
Dorothy Schafernocker is the woman spoken of -- and known to countless vets around the country as "MommaNocker". It is she who inspired the photograph that was presented to the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Angel Fire, NM. In my attempt to help her introduce the story of her sons' life ... I created it. Since ... I have found that it tells a story that reaches far beyond that of her's alone. In it ... she represents the parents of all whose names appear on the wall. Mike's transparent image represents those of all who are named. The text speaks for itself.
Mike Schafernocker is among seven men who gave their lives while faithfully serving their country remembered by the Sam Houston High School (Arlington, Texas) Alumni at
The National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Angel Fire, NM, was the first and only such monument when it was dedicated in 1971.
Michael made 2nd Class about 2 or 3 weeks before he died ... his rank was AO2, NOT AO3. This was verified by the Navy. I am his Mother. Thank you.
If you have never met this woman, Dorothy Schafernocker, be prepared for a very special meeting. You will not walk away the same person. However long or short a time you spend with her will give you new perspective on what it means to be a Military Mother. What it means to be a military man or woman, serving this great country of ours. What it means to lose a loved one in the service of the quest for freedom.
I met her and spent a grand 3 days talking with her. You just can't say goodnight or goodby to her. She won't let you.
We took part in the decommissioning ceremony of HCS-5 iin San Diego, Dec 1-3 2006. Dorothy's son Mike was with HA(L)-3 in Vietnam where he lost his life. HA(L)-3 became HA(L)-5 in the 1978-1988 years when it was disbanded and then became HCS-5.
She has 'adopted' every one of the veterans she meets and has become "Momma Nocker" to us all.
Love to you, Momma
From a friend,
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 28 April 1969 two UH-1B Hueys from Detachment 3, Light Helicopter Attack Squadron 3, were launched from the Special Forces Camp at Moc Hoa, Kien Tuong Province, east of the Cambodian border, to patrol the Vam Co Tay River. While on a firing run the lead Huey, SEAWOLF 320 (UH-1B 63-08603) was hit by AAA fire and crashed. The wingman, SEAWOLF 305 (UH-1D 65-09617), took hits in the engine oil system and made a forced landing near the wreckage of SEAWOLF 320. SEAWOLF 305's crew recovered SEAWOLF 320's only survivor, Airman James B. Page, Jr, under fire and were able to hold out until picked up by a Huey from the Army's 175th Assault Helo Company. As the Army helo lifted out it was hit by enemy fire, killing the SEAWOLF 305 pilot and seriously wounding Airman Charles Larsen. The bodies of the other three crewmen from SEAWOLF 320 were not recovered at the time of the incident. The four dead were
LTJG Reardon's remains were repatriated on 26 June 2000 with positive identification announced on 29 Aug 2003.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 29 Mar 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009