PATRICK JOSEPH RONAN
Sketch by Cliff Wheeler
Sergeant, Combat Aviation Crew Chief
281st Assault Helicopter Company
10th CAB, 17th CAG, 1st AVN BDE
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Born September 2, 1948
Tour of duty began September 12, 1967
Killed in action on February 18, 1969
at Phu Yen, South Vietnam.
His helicopter crashed as a result of engine failure
while hovering to pick up Long Range Reconnaissance team
using ladders to board the aircraft.
Vietnam WAll Panel 32W, Line 56
SGT Patrick Ronan, a 20 year old single soldier
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania joined the 281st.
AHC on September 12, 1967 as a UH-1 Helicopter Crew Chief.
On 18 February 1969, the crew of his helicopter UH-1H 715 were
performing a recovery mission for a Long Range Recon Team from the
173rd Infantry Brigade in a hostile area in the vicinity of
PHU YEN, South Vietnam, approximately 25 miles southwest of
Tuy Hoa Air Base. The crew of 715 consisted of WO Vick Rose,
WO Frank Martin, Pilot; SGT Ronan, Crew Chief and an unidentified
Door Gunner. The crew maneuvered the helicopter over the pickup
point and were preparing to recover the recon team when the
aircraft engine failed. WO Rose maneuvered the helicopter
away from the ground troops and crash landed it in the vicinity of
the pickup point. SGT Patrick Ronan was killed in the crash and
the remaining crew members were seriously injured. Recovery
assistance was requested. A USAF CH-53 of the 38th ARRS (USAF)
reached the scene and lowered Sergeant Michael E. Fish and a
firefighter to the ground. Despite intermittently heavy enemy fire
and pressure, three of the trapped crew members were freed after
considerable effort on the part of the rescue team and hoisted
aboard the CH-53 just before darkness fell. WO Rose and the Door
Gunner sustained major injuries and were medically evacuated.
SGT Fish, USAF The pilot of 715, WO Frank Martin, was trapped in the wreckage and could not be freed. With night approaching and WO Martin still trapped in the wreckage, the rescue aircraft was forced to leave the area. Sergeant Fish and the Recon Team, despite being low on ammunition and claymore mines, remained on the ground with WO Martin overnight. Covering fire was provided into the night by supporting gun ships and "Spooky" aircraft [armed C-47] along with the remaining 281st helicopter which continued to fly covering support until past midnight. Early the next morning the recovery task force returned and continued to encounter small arms fire. However, they were able to free WO Martin; both he and SGT Fish were evacuated from the area. For his actions SGT Fish was awarded the Air Force Cross.
SP4 Patrick Ronan was promoted posthumously to grade of Sergeant E-5, AUS, as of 17 February 17, 1969, under provisions of Public Law 680, 77th Congress, as amended. His name is inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial wall on panel 32W-line 56.
Patrick's body was escorted home by his friend and fellow Philadelphian,
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
ONCE AN INTRUDER ... ALWAYS AN INTRUDER