Bletsch, William Pete, AMS2

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Second Class
Last Primary NEC
AMS-0000-Aviation Structural Mechanic Structures
Last Rating/NEC Group
Aviation Structural Mechanic, Structures
Primary Unit
1970-1970, AM-0000, VQ-1 World Watchers
Service Years
1967 - 1970
Official/Unofficial US Navy Certificates
Cold War
Order of the Golden Dragon
AMS-Aviation Structural Mechanic, Structures

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by John B. Bruneel, Sr. (DocAsaurus), HMCM to remember Bletsch, William Pete, AMS2.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Mar 16, 1970
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Nam (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Boyd Cemetery - Boyd, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
12W 003

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal Order of the Golden Dragon Cold War Veteran Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration

 Military Association Memberships
Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United StatesAmerican Cold War VeteransVQ AssociationVeterans of the Vietnam War
  1961, Military Order of Foreign Wars of the United States
  1967, American Cold War Veterans
  1970, VQ Association [Verified]
  1970, Veterans of the Vietnam War

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Air Crew Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
VQ-1 World Watchers
  1970-1970, AM-0000, VQ-1 World Watchers
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1970 Vietnam War
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

The Mission

The EC-121 was a radar flight following and communications/electronics surveillance aircraft, a variant on the civilian Super Constellation. EC-121s from the Air Force and Navy routinely operated over the Gulf of Tonkin providing support to combat aircraft "over the beach" in North Vietnam. The EC-121 Warning Star was a large aircraft, far too big to operate from carriers, and was based ashore in Vietnam and/or the Philippines.

Petty Officer Bletsch was a crewman aboard a Warning Star of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1). At 11:25 AM on 16 March 1970, his aircraft attempted a landing at Da Nang Air Base, SVN. It was a windy day, and the aircraft's number four engine was dead. The pilot banked while flying over a concrete revetment and caught the tip of the left wing on a shelter. The EC-121 immediately cartwheeled, striking a revetment containing an RF-4C, causing an explosion. The explosion's force broke the EC-121 into three sections. One of these flying sections hit a tar truck, knocking it into two power poles. The poles were severed and live power lines were strewn over the area.

Although ground personnel made heroic efforts to rescue the 31 men aboard the EC-121 - braving gasoline and jet fuel fires and the risk of electrocution - 23 men were either dead or fatally injured.

Petty Officer William Bletsch was one of the 23 dead.


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