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August 14, 1947 - August 30, 2016
281st AHC 1967

Tom Land

From the obituary on findagrave.com:

Thomas Claiborne Land of Madison finished his duties here on this earth and went home to be with his beloved Savior early Tuesday morning.
Tom was born in Memphis TN on 8-14-1947. He loved life and lived it to its absolute fullest. He grew up in Madison and watched it grow from a humble railroad stop to the beautiful city it is today. Tom was an accomplished musician and after college, he answered his country's call and volunteered for service in the United States Army. He became a helicopter pilot and was decorated while serving with the gallant 281st Assault Helicopter Company and the Fifth Special Forces in the Republic of South Vietnam.
He came home in 1970 and within two weeks married the love of his life, Melanie Cheri Knox who waited patiently for his return. He spent nearly his entire life self-employed following his heart into countless skills and disciplines and mastered them all.
Tom and Melanie were married for 47 years and had three children, Elaine Louise Sumrall, Louis Claiborne Land, and Van Thomas Knox Land. His family always came first and he was the greatest husband and father that could have ever been imagined, and was also the kindest of souls to each and every man, woman, child, and creature that crossed his path. He is loved and sorely missed by countless friends and family.
Tom is survived by his beloved wife Melanie, his two sons Clay and Van, and his grandson Joseph Landon Sumrall.
Tom was predeceased by his daughter Laney, his mother Alice, and his father James.
Tom was a member of the United Association of Pipefitters local 619 and the Mississippi Wing of the Commemorative Air Force.
Funeral services will be held at Parkway Memorial Cemetery 1161 Highland Colony Parkway Ridgeland, MS 39157. Visitation will be Saturday from 11-1 at the parkway funeral home and grave side services will follow immediately after.

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1935 - 1980
281st AHC 1967

Award for heroism while serving in the 281st AHC

Award Orders

Allen served over twenty years in the US Army and was then hired by Bell Helicopter to train Iranian Nationals to operate and maintain the equipment we had sold to the Shah of Iran.  After about a year in Iran he was diagnosed with cancer and returned to the States for treatment. Following his treatment, he went back to Iran and was there when the Shah fell. Allan had to hike across the desert to get out of the country. Soon, his cancer returned and he died in June, 1980. Internment is at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens, Savannah, Georgia. If you knew Allen please contact his nephew, Karl Anderson, wordprchr@netscape.net.

March 11, 1948 --- February 23, 1998

Tom Lawson

Staff Sergeant Thomas Lawson, Jr served in the 281st AHC during the Vietnam War. 
He is interned in the Florida National Cemetery Bushnell, Sumter County, Florida.
He shall always be remembered by the Intruder Family.

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Died after his tour on February 1, 2010
Bandit CE 07/69 - 07/70

Ron Lee 1  Ron Lee 2

Silver Star
Silver Star

Ron served in the 281st AHC as a Bandit crew chief from 07/69 - 07/70. He was a highly respected member of the Bandit Platoon and one of five Intruders to be awarded the Silver Star for bravery in combat in Vietnam. In the above picture Ron is advising the Aircraft Commander of the position that the helicopter Rotor Blade had stopped in. If the blades did not stop in the front, or tie down position, it was customary for the pilots to buy the crew a beverage of their choice. Ron was an active member of the 281st AHC association and will be missed by all.

A loving husband, devoted father and proud grandfather, Ron Lee died Monday, Feb. 1, 2010, at age 60. He was a native of Dandridge, Tenn., and a longtime resident of Baton Rouge. Ron spent his childhood days in the hills of Tennessee and graduated from Maury High School. He left in 1969 to serve in the Vietnam War, during which he earned several medals, including a Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Silver Star Medal. He was a member of the 281st Aviation Company Assault Helicopter Unit-Bandits. After serving his country, he found his way to Baton Rouge, where he met his wife, Charlene, and reared his two children. He became a member of the Army Reserves and then Navy Seabees. Ron worked as a site manager in industrial insulation for 35 years and was a volunteer coach for various sports throughout his life. He was an active member of the Central Community and loved the Wildcats. He never met a stranger and without a doubt will be missed. Burial will be in Port Hudson National Cemetery, Zachary. Survivors include his loving wife, Charlene Bozeman Lee; a daughter, Michele Weber and husband Brent; a son, Todd Lee and wife Shavon; and six grandchildren.

From Bob Mitchell:

My wife, Sherry, and I attended the wake and funeral for Ron Lee in Baton Rouge along with Marshall Hawkins and Jack Green. There was time set aside for Marshall and me to speak to the family and friends about Ron's service and his time in the 281st. Marshall spoke on the Vietnam War and the standing of the Silver Star awarded for Heroism. I spoke on the particular mission that Ron was awarded the Silver Star. The folks were very receptive and appreciative of our coming and sharing Ron's story with them. Many of them came to us after the ceremony and thanked us for coming; the several Vets in the room welcomed us home.

After Ron left the 281st he ETS'd and went into the USAR where he was a Crew chief on a UH1. In time the unit was disbanded and Ron joined the SEABEES in the Navy Reserve where he served out the rest of his time in the military.

There was a large turn-out for the evening wake and the funeral itself that followed the next morning. Ron was very well liked and respected within his community and spent many hours of his time coaching and attending sporting events with his children. His job caused him to be away from home for extended periods of time, but that did not affect his life with his family and friends.

Ron was laid to rest at Port Hudson National Cemetery near Baton Rouge with military honors. The burial Flag was presented to his wife Charlene as well as the medallions from the casket. An engrave display case for the flag is being sent to Charlene to encase the Flag.

We left after the burial and drove back to Tennessee, arriving home about 2245. Ron was a great friend and will be missed not only by myself, but by countless friends and relatives.

There are now only two members of the crew who picked up CPT Roger Green and CPT Steve Bovio left, myself and SP4 Fred Howard. 1LT Ned Hientz was KIA about two months later at Plieku. Ron and I spoke with Fred several years ago, but he did not connect with the association and we have not heard from him since. I do not know the names of the Crew chief and Gunner on the downed aircraft. COL Roger Green is an active member of the association and lives in Kentucky; he was ill and unable to make the trip to Baton Rouge.

Bob Mitchell

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March 8, 1950 - April 4, 2011

Paul Leonard   

Paul James (Smokey Joe) Leonard passed away on April 28, 2011 at his home in Willows, California. Paul served in the 281st AHC as a Door Gunner from February to December of 1970. He was a life member of the 281st AHC Association and an avid supporter of the association. Paul fought the Intruder fight against cancer and left his hospital bed to attend the 2010 reunion with his son. He shall be missed but never forgotten.




Obituary For Paul "Smokey Joe" Leonard

Paul James Leonard. Born March 5th 1950, to Doyle and Nadine Leonard in Richmond, He was the second born of four children. His family was very close. His family moved a lot. He lived in several places such as, Richmond, Las Vegas, Modesto, and Antioch. As a child he was always happy, full of energy, and kind. He was very close to in his Richmond family.

After turning 18 he decided to dropout of high school to be a full time employee at the local paper mill. Shortly into employment he got a draft notice and was to report to the US Military.

He entered the military in September 1969. He served with 281st Assault Helicopter Company. He served in Vietnam from March 1970 through January 1971. (That's what I got from the DD214)

After returning home from the war he stayed with his parents whom had moved to Northern California. He worked for his dad and with his younger brother cutting and selling firewood.

He was married in June of 1974. Had his first child, Abbi, in 1975. He then had his second child, Justin, in 1978. He worked a variety of jobs. He worked a number of years on natural gas drilling rigs. He was an agricultural truck driver for the last part of his life. In March of 1995, he was given his first grandchild, Tyler James. He was divorced in 1996. He applied for VA Benefits in 1997. He was granted 100% and was now able to spend time with family and visit friends. He stayed in touch with Paul Swol and Bill Henderson. All served together in Vietnam. At this time he was able to reconnect with his Brothers.

In 1999 he was given a second grandchild, Mallary, his little princess. He was a wonderful, loving grandfather.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with Cancer due to Herbicidal Exposure in Vietnam. He had fallen victim to the wonderful Agent Orange. He started the first series of chemo in 2009. After 8 treatments he was in remission for 4 months. The cancer came back again, this time more aggressive. He moved to live with his daughter and grandchildren in 2010. In April of 2010 he started another series of chemotherapy. After that session the cancer was gone for 1 month. He started his 3rd session of chemo on April 22nd 2011 at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. On the 24th he had a bad reaction to the chemo.
He passed away on April 28th 2011 in the VA Hospital. He is remembered by his siblings, Linda, Debbi, and Russell; and by his children Abbi and Justin and by his grandchildren Tyler and Mallary.
And surely missed by all of his brothers of service.

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January 6, 1948 - March 27, 2014

Neal Lobin

Neal Served with the 281st AHC from 10-68 until 10-69 as a Maintenance Tech and Crew Chief. He shall not be forgotten.

His obituary follows:
Neal Frank Lobin, age 66, of Chaska, MN, formerly of Little Falls, MN, died Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 212 Medical Center in Chaska.
A private family Graveside Service was held at Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN. Neal was born January 6, 1948 in Little Falls, MN, to James and Elizabeth (Witucki) Lobin, one of four children. He graduated from Little Falls High School in 1966 and then served in the United States Army from 1968-1969 in the Vietnam War. On July 6, 1974 he married Alyce Rabine in South Dakota. He was employed at Metro Machine and Engineering in Eden Prairie, MN, for 40 years. He and Alyce have been residents of Chaska for 39 years. He loved to hunt, fish and garden with his wife and constant companion.
Survivors include his wife, Alyce; sister and brother-in-law, Judy (James) McConico, of Minneapolis; nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.

November 16, 1947 - December 10, 1999

His last residence was Sacramento, California.


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