TERWILLIGER, VIRGIL BYRON
Name: Virgil Byron Terwilliger
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/E3
Unit: HMM 163 MAG 16
Date of Birth: 08 May 1946
Home City of Record: MCCLURE OH
Date of Loss: 13 March 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164451 North 1065813 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH34D #150574
Other Personnel in Incident: PFC Paul Harris, KIA/BNR; Maj. Peter Nicholas
Samaras (Wounded, Died 03/19/67); co-pilot, 2dLt Robert E. Swete, survived,
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated 2000 with information provided by the
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association [http://www.popasmoke.com/kia/] through
Linda Terwilliger Bleschke, and Command Chronology for HMM163.
On the anniversary of his loss, we received the following information:
March 13, 2000
Comments on the Incident:
During a hot recon extract, aircraft from HMM-163 received intense enemy
fire on approach to landing zone. Aircraft crashed and burned (extrmemely
high heat - the Marine Sikorsky H-34 was made of magnesium), crewmembers
Paul Harris and Virgil Terwilliger were KIA at the scene of crash. A/C Maj
Samaras received 2nd and 3rd degree burns over a substantial portion of his
body, died within a week or so of a heart attack due to burn related stress.
The unknown co-pilot was the sole survivor of the incident.
Terwilliger was the machine gunner on the mission.
His sister says, " He was my best friend as well as my brother. I have no
grave to put flowers on and I don't think I ever will. I just want you to
know he wasn't captured....."
From: "Linda Bleschke"
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 21:58:08 -0500
Today is the anniversary of his death and this my way of putting flowers on
Today is March 13th. The day you died 33 years ago. How can I begin to
describe the impact your lost had on us. For the longest time I use to
blame myself for your death. Why? A few days before we were notified of
your death, I had a dream [nightmare] that Loretta came in the back door of
the cafeteria at school to tell me you had been killed. That is exactly
what happened. The minute I saw her that day, I fell to my knees screaming.
If I hadn't had that dream. Did it come to me at the moment of your death.
We all miss you and talk of you often. All the boys live out of state
now, so it is just us three girls who live here to take care of Dad. Mom is
with you now so take care of her. Give her my Love also. I have a feeling
Dad will be joining you soon, so watch for him. Oh, don't walk to fast on
your journey because someday I want to give you a hug again. When it is my
time, come and get me please. We have so many years to catch up on.
I love you and miss you so desperately.
Your loving sister,
Virgil was the 7th child of 12 children. He is survived by his father, 5
brothers, and 3 sisters. He is preceded by 2 brothers and 1 sister. Our
mother passed on in 1989 and she was buried with her Gold Star Pin.
We will celebrate his life and mourn his death forever.
This is the "official" report from the Marine Command Chronolgies
From - Tue Mar 21 14:05:42 2000
I reviewed the monthly reports submitted by HMM 163 for March 1967 and
was able to determine the following: On 13 March 1967, Major Peter N.
Samaras, while on an emergency recon team retraction, received fire as he
was touching down in the landing zone, The aircraft received several hits
and the pilot immediately lifted off. He continued to receive fire and the
aircraft subsequently lost power and crashed into the trees. The aircraft
exploded before the other two crewmembers could be freed. The pilots were
retrieved from the area the following day and were taken to the USS REPOSE.
The list of squadron casualties reports that Major Samaras died of
wounds and burns on 19 March aboard the Naval Hospital Ship USS REPOSE.
2dLt Robert E. Swete was treated for second degree burns on the
REPOSE and survived.
LCpl Virgil B. Terwilliger and PFC Paul W. Harris both died when
the helicopter crashed and burned.
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