Monday, June 7, 2010

1st Lt. Kurt Michael Wilbrecht, USMCR, KIA 7 June 1970

1st Lt. Kurt Michael Wilbrecht, USMCR, KIA in Vietnam 7 June 1970

Kurt Michael Wilbrecht was born 14 February 1944 and died on 7 June 1970, at the age of 26,  when he was killed in action in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.  His remains were not recovered.

Kurt was flying a close air support mission when he failed to pull out of a low angle, low level bombing run.  It is believed that his aircraft was struck by enemy ground fire rendering him incapacitated.

His RIO, 1st Lt. William T. Pepper ejected just as the aircraft struck the tree tips and was safely recovered.  He reported that he felt two “thuds” before he ejected, and that Kurt said nothing after that.

Kurt was the second of my assigned pilots and the second of my roommates to be killed in Vietnam. 

Kurt had been my roommate briefly when he first joined the squadron.  He became my assigned pilot after my then pilot and roommate, 1st Lt. Michael Breeding, was killed on 12 February 1970.  Kurt was my pilot on my 100th mission on 18 February 1970.

At the time Kurt’s death I was on assignment as a Forward Air Control Officer with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment.

Photos from top to bottom.
1. Ramsey High School, Class of 1962
2. Kurt Wilbrecht
3. Me and Kurt celebrating my 100th combat mission on 18 February 1970.
4. Kurt and William Pepper, upper right corner, in the ready room of the hot pad at Chu Lai air base.
5.1st Lt. Michael Breeding, KIA 12 February 1970

6. DC 08 - the aircraft that Kurt was flying when he died.  I had flown 17 missions in that very plane.
7. William Pepper with his wife and child after we returned to "the world."  I understand he has since passed away.

“But thy eternal summer shall not fade
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.”

William Shakespeare Sonnet 18

Link to Vietnam Memorial Wall

No comments:

Post a Comment