Wall of Honor Location:
Foil: 17 Panel: 2 Column: 4 Line: 27
Wall of Honor Level:
Air and Space Friend
Honored by: Emi Yoshida
He was born in New Meadows, Idaho in 1943. Joined U.S. Army in 1960, and started flying helicopter. Then, he flew in Germany from
1964 to 1965, and served in the Viet Nam war from 1966 to 1967. After he was released from Army as an honorable discharge, he flew
different kinds of helicopters and fixed wing airplanes for civilian work, such as agriculture, spraying, fire support, survey, external loads,
rope pulling on power line, oil support, offshore, hospital"-and so on. He experienced most of operations that helicopter can do. His
flying history is not only in the U.S. but in overseas, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Zaire, South Africa and United Arab Emirates. As a both
helicopter and fixed wing pilot, he has more than 14,000 hours, and still flies for a freight transport company.
As a flight instructor, he has given lots of instructions to flight students who want spin training and tail wheel airplane training. His long
experience and good skill got a reputation as people say "Spin training? Go to Gene.
Besides flying as a pilot, he is well-known in Hawaii as a skillful airplane mechanic. He got mechanic license, Airframe and Powerplant
in 1971, and also got Inspector license. After he moved to Hawaii in 1991, he opened up his own restoration business and has been
working on his customers airplane restorations, own projects, engine rebuilding, annual inspections-"etc. Especially, he is one of a
few mechanic in Hawaii who can do "dope' n fabric" work on airplanes. He spends all day long at his shop and work hard. But it is what
he likes the most. He is a real aviation enthusiast whose life is full of passion.
Posted on June 18, 2017 by General Aviation Council of Hawaii
Gene Wilkie died in a plane crash near Payette, ID on June 17. Gene was a fixture at Honolulu Airport for being the “go to guy” on
anything aviation and maintenance. Most remember all his aviation and motorcycle projects in his two T Hangars facing the runways. His
wife Emi also was a pilot and changed vocation later to a nurse. She lives in Payette and is currently monitoring Gene’s email for
Update: Gene's wife Emi, is going to have a celebration of Gene's life near the end of July in Hawaii. They have a lot of friends in Hawaii.
Anyone who knows them is invited. This is the plane Gene built, flew, and died in. May God Bless You Buddy...
In Memory of Sp. 4 John Richard "Rick" Gregoire
"A" Co. 229th AHB/Door Gunner
DOB 12 June 1946 DOD 02 April 1967
Rick was killed in a helicopter crash. He was one of my best friends and I missed him dearly after he was gone. I was fortunate
enough to be in the rescue helicopter to come to his crew's aid. I was broken-hearted to find out the KIA mentioned on the
radio was Rick. I helped load him in the rescue aircraft for his journey to Pleiku and the trip back home. I looked for
Rick's parents for years so I could tell them how brave a soldier he was and exactly how he died. I never found them. I
have tried to maintain his memory by keeping it alive in my web site and any other place I can. I miss you to this day,
Rick. I miss the practical jokes we used to play on each other. I remember the time you got mad at me for putting the
snake in your sleeping bag and the time I short-sheeted you. It was always pay-back time for each of us. I missed the reel
to reel letters we used to send to your mom and the swapping of the goodies we each got from home. After you died, my
personality died with you. I lost my ability to have fun anymore. I sure wish you wouldn't have died. I know it's selfish of
me to feel that way but I just missed you so much. You were my best friend and I lost you to that stinking war.
God Bless you, Rick.
I hope you have rested in peace over these years.
Keith (Bo) Bodine
Rick is on the Virtual Wall. One day I got an E-Mail from a cousin of his. She had found my memorial on the Virtual Wall
We are like family now even though we have never met. We E-Mail each other and she sends me cards on Veteran's Day
and other occasions.
In Memory of SP-4 Connie Mack Pearson
Vietnam Veteran 5/7th Cavalry 1966-1967
In Memory Of Jimmy Pruitt, Vietnam Combat Veteran
Father of Mike Pruitt,
Who I Met Through Mike Signing My Guestbook,
Then Becoming E-Mail Friends.
God Bless You Mike. Your War Is Over.
In Memory of Maj. Glen (Granny) Granberry (Ret)
March 23, 1939 - February 8, 2012
In Memory of Prescott Eugene Wilkie
May 27, 1943 - June 17, 2017
Gene Wilkie was a great friend with whom many of us flew with during the Vietnam War, A Co, 229th Assault Helicopter BN, 1st Air
Cav, (Airmobile) 1966-67.
I flew door gunner for Gene several times while in Vietnam. He was one of the best low keyed pilots I ever flew with. Nothing
seemed to shake him up, that he couldn’t overcome. I always felt safe and secure when I gunned for Gene. I think he felt safe and
secure when I gunned for him. Gene and I had plans to share a room at our “A” Company, 229th AHB 50year reunion in October.
Unfortunately I received an email from his wife Emi, about his death due to a plane crash last month. I am still trying to process it,
especially when I look back on our emails about the reunion. Gene will never be forgotten and will always be remembered about
his care for other’s interests first and his wonderful sense of humor. I will miss his emails and our phone conversations. Emi has
been a trooper and stayed in touch with me when I have had a question, or needed to leave her a message.
May God continue to Bless both Emi and Gene, and all of their family and multiple friends. I’ll miss you buddy.
Pictures of Gene in Vietnam
Gene is on the right in both pictures.
Pictures are courtesy of Emi Wilkie, Gene's wife.
The following tribute to Gene is from his wife, Emi, dedicated to Gene on the
Wall Of Honor of the " Flying In Hawaii " website.
I flew door gunner for then, WO2, Glen Granberry from the time I got
to Vietnam in 1966 until I left Vietnam in 1967. He was one of the
finest men I have ever known. Several years ago, in 2001, I went to a
VHCMA reunion in Louisville, KY. I was reunited with Glen and
Claude Shaw who flew with Glen regularly. We were a great team
and those guys saved our lives several times. It was an amazing
reunion running into both of two of my favorite pilots in Vietnam.
Glen owned a manufacturing company in Tyler, Texas, and in 2012
he retired. Not long after that I received an email that Glen had
passed away. I was very saddened by that news and still am. This
year I will be reunited with Claude Shaw again at a 50 year reunion
for Pilots and Crew Members who worked together in Vietnam. We
were all very close in Vietnam and we are still that way even though
we've not seen each other in 50 years. You go to war with strangers
and come out family. That's just the way it is and always will be. May
God continue to Bless all of our family and keep us safe.
Glen is also in the picture below, squatting down next to Gene
Wilkie, who was another fine man, pilot, and friend to everyone.
Please Visit my page for mine and Connie's reunion.
Some More Vietnam Brothers
Jerry Preston Denham 02/15/1947 - 07/15/1989 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Roger Hogan 12/14/1948 - 11/14/2000 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Charles (Dutch) Covert - 12/27/1951 10/25/2000 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Raymond Horace Pike - 03/03/1948 - 01/31/1968 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Ron Timberlake - 12/27/1951 - 05/05/1999 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Larry Tweedie - 10/27/1949 - 05/26/1999 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Terry Lanier Alford - 10/22/1947 - MIA 11/04/1969 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Jesus DeLarosa - 05/07/1942 - 07/19/1966 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
Dennis M. Fair - 11/19/1946 - 08/20/2010 U.S. Marine-Vietnam Veteran
*Bealer Caudill - 04/26/1942 - 02/17/2012 U.S. Army-Vietnam Veteran
*Served With Connie Mack Pearson
In Memory of CWO 3 David Edward Impola
March 14, 1942 - June 18, 1981
CWO 3 Impola was a UH1-D Huey Pilot with
"A" Company 229th Assault Helicopter Bn.
He was another great friend to all of us and a
fantastic pilot. He was funny, and awesome to
Sadly, in 1981, while flying a helicopter as a
profession, there was a tragic accident and all
aboard died in the crash. He was 22 years old
in Vietnam and died at age 39, 14 years later.
Gene Wilkie, who died 2 months
ago in a fixed wing accident,
while test flying his kit plane.
Ironic isn't it?
Both men died doing what they
loved doing. God Bless 'em.
Lee was born to Elzie and Dorothy Horton in Post, Texas. Lee graduated from Bakersfield College. He joined the army in 1967. He was
proud of his service as a Crew Chief on a helicopter in Vietnam. He distinguished himself by receiving the Bronze Star Medal with Valor
Device for acts of heroism in a combat zone. Lee was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He leaves a legacy of
Christian faith and patriotic love of his country to his family. Lee loved nothing more than traveling with Donna. He also loved jamming
on his guitar with his friends, fishing with his son, or hitting up the casino with his buddy, Ger.
Those who mourn his passing include his wife of 45 years, Donna; his son, Michael and his wife Nicole; his son, Doug; his grandson,
Gavin; granddaughters Brandy Cobb, Brittney Farinas and husband, Kennedy, and many other family members and friends.
Services at National Cemetery
on February 24, 2015 at 2:00 p.m.
Published in Bakersfield Californian on Feb. 19, 2015
In Honor And Memory of Thurman Lee Horton
01/27/1947 - 02/16/2015
Lee and I were like brothers. I was Lee's door gunner almost my entire tour. Lee was one of the finest men I had ever met. He
was an ace CE and took excellent care of his Huey. He was hilarious to be with, serious when he needed to be, and we just
clicked. As I sit here writing this, my heart swells with pride that I knew, served in combat with, and was best friends with Lee
Horton. I left Vietnam before Lee did.
Lee and I were together when we rescued seven men caught in an ambush on a dark night in An Loa Valley, Vietnam. On the
way to the hospital in Pleiku, our pilots told us there were a lot of reporters waiting for us to land, and to get them out of the
way, whatever it took. When we opened the doors, we had to kick them out of the way, to get the injured out of our ship and on
to the waiting gurneys. My thoughts now are, they weren't waiting because seven men were wounded, one near death, but
because one of the men was the Bn. Commander, Major. Canham. His right leg had been blown off by a rocket fired by a Gun
Ship, because Major Canham popped the wrong color of smoke. He was in the field to get a medal, and he did. He got two,
but the PH wasn't part of his plan.
The man near death was Connie Mack Pearson. He had been shot nine times while he was running in the line of fire to
rescue Major Canham. Connie told me the first bullet took off his right index finger. The second bullet hit him in the middle of
the back, and he was immediately paralyzed. The next seven bullets hit him while he was laying on the ground. He told me "
they used me for target practice." The other five men were shot while attempting to rescue Connie and Major Canham.
As soon as our ship landed, Lee and I ran towards the men coming with the wounded. The first man loaded was Maj.
Canham. I used my steel pot to rest his shattered leg on. One of the shin bones was exposed and a huge chunk of meat was
hanging down from the bone, bleeding profusely. I tied a knot in the blood vessel to slow down the bleeding. He told me he
didn't smoke, but he asked me for a cigarette. While I was doing that, Lee was helping load the other men. Connie had been
laid on the ground while the others were loaded. He was the most serious and I never understood why he wasn't loaded first.
He told me he had been passed over twice* and if we didn't get him on our ship, he was dying. I was trying to get the cargo
seat off , to make more room, but couldn't get it to move, Lee stepped in and unlocked the twist locks to get the seat out. We
loaded Connie, and took off. Years later, Connie, his wife, and my wife would be reunited in a documentary called " In The
Shadow Of The Blade".
* A Medivac helicopter had attemted a rescue, but the LZ was too hot, so it left. Another Huey tried a rescue but it was shot
down. When made our first attempt, we were receiving too much fire to land so we went to the opposite side of the LZ to land.
Both pilots were awarded a DFC and Lee and I were awarded a Bronze Star. I'll never forget, while the CO was reading the
award letter, Lee and I looked at each other, shook our heads, and shrugged our shoulders, like, Whats the big deal. That's
just the kind of man Lee was. Very unassuming, but very professional, and very brave.
In Memory Of Faron Fipps
March 18, 1946 - April 15, 2015
Funeral services for Faron Fipps, 69,
of Lufkin will be held Saturday, April
18, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in the Carroway
Funeral Home Chapel with Pastor
Randy Brown officiating. Interment
will follow in the Largent Cemetery.
Mr. Fipps was born March 18, 1946 in
Lumberton, North Carolina to Odell
and Malise (Rhodes) Fipps, and died
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 in a
Nacogdoches hospital. Mr. Fipps had
resided in Lufkin for 31 years. He
served in the U.S. Army, completing 3
tours in Vietnam. Mr. Fipps was Plant
Manager for Sure Alloy Steel. He
loved drag racing and was very
involved in military events. He was a
member of Calvary Baptist Church
and the Victory Sunday school class.
Faron and I became close friends in
Vietnam. We remained close friends after we
returned to the states. I ran into him at Fort
Bragg, NC. in July 1967. We were so close
he invited me to move in with him and his
with Dale, off post into their home. After I was
discharged we remained in contact and he
eventually moved to Texas, and stayed with
me at my home until he found a job and his
own home. Later, he moved to Lufkin, Texas
and lived the rest of his life in Lufkin, with his
wife ,kids, and grandkids. I was sad to find
out he had passed away in 2015, but our
memories will live on until I'm gone.