Frederick Wilhelm

Staff Sergeant
United States Air Force
30 March 1937 - 11 September 1969
Cincinnati, Ohio
Panel 18W Line 074

USAF Aircrew

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Frederick Wilhelm

02 Oct 2005

We miss you, Daddy. Even though Scottie and I were so young when you went away to Vietnam so soon after Mom died, we both still remember. I think of you all the time and see that twinkle of you that now lives in your Grandchildren. All eight of them!! You were a great man and I am honored to be your daughter. I love and miss you, Daddy - but I guess I'll always be your little 5 year old girl somewhere inside of me. In that place, time stands still as though I'm still waiting for your return, waiting for you to walk in the door and pick me up for my hug.

Tamera Wilhelm Sauntry
E-mail address is not available.

Wilhelm Hall, Wright Patterson Air Force Base
31 Jan 2006


by his sister,
Patricia Wilhelm Fowler
21 Mar 2006

We did not have the pleasure of ever meeting you, but through your lost Purple Heart, we had the honor of meeting your daughter Tamera.

You have a wonderful daughter who loves and misses you greatly. We consider it an privilege to have been able to return your medal to your family. You would be proud of your daughter. She is a wonderful person who will always uphold your memory.

From new family friends,
The Dalton Family

Lost medal, memories resurface
Strangers discover memorabilia, return treasured items

COLERAIN TWP. - Tamera Wilhelm Sauntry was 5 when her father left for Vietnam in January 1969.

She never saw him again: In September of that year, Air Force Staff Sgt. Frederick Wilhelm's plane was shot down over South Vietnam, and he and his three crewmates were killed. He was 32.

"I barely remember him," Sauntry said.

"He called me his Southern belle, 'cause I was born in Florida. He called my brother his little tiger. And he loved us. I know he loved us."

Sauntry, 42, made new memories of her father - and new friends, too - on Sunday when two strangers gave her her father's Purple Heart medal, some letters and photos.

"It's priceless. It's just priceless. It means more to me than anything to have these," she said. "I can't put it into words. I miss my dad so much."

It all started about two years ago, when Dennis Dalton of Bridgetown was hired to clean a house that had been foreclosed on.

One of Dalton's employees found the medal, letters and photograph in the basement. Dalton took them home to his wife, Kim.

She tried briefly to find out who should get the items, but had to give up the search.

She took it up again a few weeks ago when she came across the items while she was cleaning.

She didn't have much luck, but a friend's uncle took up the cause. After an online search, they found Sauntry's tribute to her father on The Virtual Wall,, an online version of the Vietnam War Memorial.

Kim Dalton e-mailed Sauntry through the Web site on Saturday, and Sauntry e-mailed her back the same day. They spoke on the phone that night.

On Sunday, they met at a restaurant.

Sauntry's hands shook as she opened the case containing her father's Purple Heart. "Thank you so much," she whispered.

Her father, who grew up on Cincinnati's West Side, was awarded the medal on May 14, 1979. A building at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is named in his memory. Some of the photos she received Sunday show her and her younger brother Scott, now 41, at the dedication.

Wilhelm's death left his two children parentless: Their mother, Judy, died of a heart ailment a year before Wilhelm shipped out.

Sauntry, a nurse, and her brother were raised by a great-aunt. She lives in Lawrenceburg with her husband and six children now. Scott Wilhelm lives in Williamsburg in Clermont County.

Dennis Dalton finds all kinds of things when he's clearing houses.

He knew he had to try to return the medal to its rightful owner. "There are people who sell them," he said. "That's not right."

When Sauntry thanked him for bringing her the items, he just smiled. "This is our privilege," he said.

Sauntry said she can't help but feel like her father is trying let her know he'll always love her.

"All my life I always felt abandoned my dad. How could he do that, leave us when we'd already lost so much?" she said with tears in her eyes. "I feel now that it wasn't his choice. He didn't do this willingly. I know it. I think if he would have had a choice, he would have been here raising us."

© The Cincinnati Enquirer
Monday, January 30, 2006
Peggy O'Farrell
Used with permission

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Four crewmen were killed when C-7B tail number 62-4187 was shot down by small arms fire on 11 Sep 1969 while enroute to the Special Forces camp near Plei Djereng, South Vietnam:
  • 1stLt Neil N. Greinke, Franklin, WI, pilot;
  • 1stLt Charles B. Ross, Brazil, IN, copilot;
  • 1stLt Robert P. Wiesneth, Louisville, NE, instructor pilot; and
  • SSgt Frederick Wilhelm, Cincinnati, OH, flight engineer.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009