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Littler's death while again helping out some other Marines in distress who were facing an overwhelming number of enemy troops.
Undaunted by the danger, he flew into the firefight and attempted a rescue that cost him his life. I graduated from college, was married, had children and presently teach school in North Carolina, while he was denied a full life.
When the crew chief told him this during the initial departure, Jim decided to go back in to get them. We didn't lose many pilots in Vietnam but Jim was one of the few. Your kind comments about him have followed me throughout my 36 years of life. I was struck in the jaw by the butt of the .50 caliber machine gun that I manned and was knocked unconscious briefly.
I was the S-4 officer in the squadron and packed up his personal effects. Periodically, and from out of the blue, my family will receive phone calls, visits, letters, or little reminders like this one from Rick that keep our Dad alive in our hearts. A few seconds later I awoke in the midst of flame and smoke to Capt.
We quickly climbed from the craft and ran from the flames just in time as the plane exploded and was completely destroyed.
I was evacuated to the naval hospital in Danang and while recuperating with a broken jaw and some missing teeth I was visited by an officer who informed me about Capt.
CASUALTIES Captain J L M LITTLER III, 092399/7562 HMM-164, Pilot 1st Lt R C DALEY, 092855/7562 HMM-164, Co Pilot SSgt J C BILENSKI, 1551261/6212 HMM-164, Gunner Cpl R B LITTLE, 2202178/6311 HMM-164, Crew Chief HOSTILE 3 July 1968. CH-46 aircraft atempting to make a recon extract when aircraft received automatic weapons fire and crashed. Briefed at the recon pad [for recon team insertion] and flew into Elephant Valley (not the real name but what everybody called it).In the conversation he told me about Captain Littler having been killed.When I was going on R&R to Hawaii to meet my wife, I was going at the same time as Jim.At the end of the gun run only 2 of my 8 M-60's were firing but he made it out and was heading west with me at the same altitude - I was behind him.He had made it, but then called me on the radio and said something I couldn't make out.
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Out of control, the aircraft crashed to the ground on top of the eight man recon team that the crew had so heroically tried to save.