Rest In Peace Brother
|Birth:||Sep. 15, 1953
Los Angeles County
|Death:||May 13, 1975, Thailand|
I am Retired Master Sergeant Luther F. Hankamer, II, USAF. Greg was my younger brother and I was the last of our family to see him alive. While he was at NKP RTAFB I was at Udorn RTAFB. Greg and his wife (Dim) and new baby (Sandra) were secduled to rotate back to the states in November of 1974, but he extended an extra six months. I saw him in early December when I was getting ready to rotate. I would like to thank the Vietnam Security Police Association for the web page and recognition of the men who died in the line of duty. Greg is the third person on the left side of the Helicopter in the picture on the SS Mayaques Rescue Operation page.
Luther F. Hankamer II
MSGT, USAF Ret.
On May 13, 1975 at 2030 local time, 16 Sikorsky CH-53Cs took off from RTAFB Nakhon Phanom. One of the 16, Knife 13 CH-53 BuNo 68-10933, carried a crew of four and 18 USAF Security Police on board to assist in the recovery operation of the SS Mayaguez. A 22nd person in the role of a linguist accompanied them. Shortly after takeoff, Knife 13 fell out of formation and the helicopter disappeared from the airfield's departure radar 40 miles west of the airfield, 330 miles NE of Bangkok on the Thai-Laotion border. The aircraft crashed and exploded on impact. All 22 aboard were killed in the crash. Other CH-53s landed nearby, but exploding ammunition and burning fuel hindered all rescue attempts. All 22 killed in the crash were awarded the Bronze Star posthumously. The 21st SOS aircrew consisted of CAPT James G. Kays, 1LT Laurence E. Froehlich, TSGT George E. McMullen III, and SGT Robert P. Weldon. The 56th Security Police Squadron included SGT Jimmy P. Black, SGT Bobby G. Collums, SSGT Gerald A. Coyle, SGT Thomas D. Dwyer, SGT Bob W. Ford, SGT Gerald W. Fritz, TSGT Jackie D. Glenn, SGT Darrell L. Hamlin, SGT Gregory L. Hankamer, SGT David A. Higgs, SSGT Faleagafula Ilaoa, SGT Michael D. Lane, SGT Dennis W. London, SGT Robert P. Mathias, SGT William R. McKelvey, AMN Edgar C. Moran II, SGT Tommy R. Nealis, and SGT Robert W. Ross. (*Malmstrom AFB MWD kennels were named in honor of SGT Gerald W. Fritz who lost his life in the crash) [Taken from vhpa.org and various websites]