James Leslie Dayton
Sketch by Cliff Wheeler
Chief Warrant Officer-3, Aviator
281st Assault Helicopter Company
10th CAB, 17th CAG, 1st AVN BDE
From Granite City, Illinois
Date of birth: February 23, 1947
Shot down on May 8, 1968
in Quang Nam, South Vietnam.
Presumed to have died while missing.
VN Wall Panel 57E - Line 1
James "Jim" Leslie
King Dayton was born in Hawaii on Feb. 23, 1947. His
parents, Col. Kenneth and Mrs. Dorthy Dayton were stationed
in Hawaii at the time of his birth. Col. Dayton was a
career army officer and as such Jim grew up as an army
"brat". He attended Alexandra and Arlington
Virginia public schools, graduated from high school in
Florida and attended Richard Bland College in Petersburg, VA
before joining the army.
Jim entered the army, completed basic training and was immediately assigned to the Warrant Officer training program. During a break in training in July of 1967 Jim and his fiancé, Eileen Lucille Dewer were married in Greenville, South Carolina. He then completed his aviation training and on the 26th of September 1967 he received his commission along with the silver wing of an Army Aviator, graduating with his classmates in WORWAC 67-15.
WO Jim Dayton's next assignment was to the 281st Assault Helicopter Company located in Nah Trang, South Vietnam. He soon developed into a skilled pilot who could be counted on to perform the most difficult missions and on March 16, 1968 he was awarded the designation of Aircraft Commander with the Armed Helicopter (Gun Ship) platoon. Jim was a skilled gun ship commander and a credit to the "Wolf Pack" Platoon and the "Intruders". He was at home among his fellow crew members and was respected by his subordinates and his superiors. He is shown here with his other 281st "Wolf Pack" pilots.
Front row L- R, Harry Whitmore (setting on box), Charles Daniels, Tommy Condrey, Mike Hart.
Back row L- R, Lance Ham, Jim Dayton, Stephen Kay
Jim was known to be a kind and caring individual. As early as 1958 he joined the First Christian Church in Alexandria, Virginia and continued to practice his faith throughout his military service.
Photos by John Galkiewicz
To read John's story of their visit to Marble Mountain
please go to: Marble Mountain Story
On May 8, 1968, Jim and his crew were assigned the mission
of supporting the recovery of a Special Forces Long
Range Reconnaissance Team (LRRP) that was engaged in a fire
fight with a large hostile force and as such were in danger
of being captured. When Jim and his crew arrived on the
scene their gunship immediately came under intense enemy
fire. As the pickup helicopter approached the Landing
zone The crew flew close fire support placing suppressive
fire on the hostile forces and at the same time by placing
the themselves between the lightly armed pickup
helicopter and the hostile force they were able to draw the
ground fire away from the pickup helicopter. Although
drawing heavy fire from the hostile forces on the ground Jim
and his crew continued to provide cover for the pickup
helicopters until their own helicopter gun ship was hit by a
barrage of enemy fire that caused it to explode in mid-air
and crash on the bank of the Buong River. The violent midair
explosion of the aircraft indicated that it had been hit by
a rocket type explosive projectile.
Shortly after the incident, recovery personnel landed in the vicinity of the crash, but were unable to find any signs of life. On 12 May a ground patrol located the remains of 4 individuals in the vicinity of the crash site. However, due to heavy enemy activity the remains could not be recovered.
WO1 James Dayton was one of four Intruders lost when UH-1C, 64-14172 was shot down. George Thomas Condrey III, the aircraft pilot, Daniel Jurecko, crew chief, and Robert Jenne, gunner, were all highly respected members of the 281st AHC and they along with Jim shall always be remembered. (You may visit remembrance sites for each of the other crew members by clicking on their name)
For service to his country and his actions in combat Chief Warrant Officer 3, James Leslie King Dayton was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (posthumously), the Air Medal with sixteen Oak Leaf Clusters, the Purple Heart (posthumously) and various US and Vietnamese Service awards.
On Sunday, November 11, 2001, Jim Torbert, who served with Jim Dayton in the 281st AHC presented a 281st AHC "Book of Remembrance" to Jim's mother, Mrs. Dorothy Dayton, his brother Kenneth and his sister Diane. James Torbert developed the book as part of the 281st AHC program to remember each of it's 45 members who were lost in South East Asia. If you knew or served with Jim and would like to add your remembrances of him please email Jim Torbert at: email@example.com or the 281st AHC at: We remember Jim Dayton.
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
ONCE AN INTRUDER....ALWAYS AN INTRUDER