MICHAEL ANTHONY GOFFREDO
Private First Class, Combat Aviation Crew Chief
281st Assault Helicopter Company
From: Griffith, Indiana
Born: October 7, 1948
His tour of duty began May 12, 1967.
Killed in action on August 6, 1967, as the result of
an unsuccessful attempt by the U.S. Air Force to rescue
he and his crewmates, following the crash of their helicopter.
Michael Anthony Goffredo was born in Chicago, Illinois on
October 7, 1948. His parents were
Eleanor Trester Goffredo of California - Deceased May 1995, and
Peter Goffredo of Chicago - Deceased November 1986. Michael's
parents met in California just prior to Pear Harbor and were
married there in July of 1942. His father was in the army at the
time of their marriage and was deployed to the Pacific Theater.
Shortly thereafter, he was awarded the Purple Heart for
action in combat. Michael had two older sisters and a younger
brother; Toni Goffredo, five years older than Michael now works
and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Nancy Goffredo Tuning, two
years older than Michael retired from the US Air Force in 1988 and
now lives and works in Northern Virginia. Michael's younger
brother, Pat Goffredo, died in July of 1995. Pat left two sons,
Cary, whom he adopted in 1977, and Michael, born in 1979 and named
for his Uncle Michael. Both now live in Indiana not far from the
town where the Goffredo family grew up.
Michael's sister Nancy recalls that growing up Michael was always surrounded by friends. He was a class officer in Griffith High School where he graduated in 1966. In School he acted in several school plays and planned on attending college to study law. However, he volunteered for the Army as soon as he graduated from high school. The Army offered him flight training leading to the rank of Warrant Officer with duties as a helicopter pilot, but he chose to become a Crew Chief. Nancy remembers that he enjoyed his training and that he volunteered for duty in Viet Nam. Once there, he communicated to her that he was convinced that his chances of returning home alive were slim, although he never mentioned this in his letters to his parents.
On August 23, 1966 Peter and Eleanor Goffredo signed the consent forms that allowed their then 18 year old son Michael to join the US Army. On October 25, 1966, he was assigned to Fort Campbell Kentucky for basic training with Company A, 8th Training Battalion, 2nd Brigade of the US Army Training Command. Michael completed basic and advanced training at Fort Campbell and was transferred to Fort Eustis Virginia for training as a Turbine Helicopter Mechanic, MOS 67N20. Following his training Michael was transferred to Vietnam and on May 17th of 1967 he joined the 483rd Transportation Detachment which was attached to the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, (AHC) where he served as a crew chief on the unit's UH-1D helicopters.
In early August of 1967 PFC Michael Anthony Goffredo was a member of the 281st AHC Project Delta support team under the command of Captain Bob Moberg, operating out of An Hoa South Vietnam under Special Forces Operational Order 7-67, Operation Samurai. On August 6, 1967, PFC Michael Goffredo was assigned as the Crew chief on Helicopter UH-1D 65-09919. The aircraft was under the command of WO Gary Omdahl. WO Daryl Miller was assigned as the second pilot and PFC John Camden Soper was the door gunner. The 281st flight, supported by the Wolf Pack gun platoon was in the process of extracting a reconnaissance team in a pick up zone covered by tall trees with sparse foliage. The recon team was in site with no reported enemy activity. However, the pick up site was located on a long grassy finger running down hill and as such the extreme slope of the site and the high grass made the approach difficult. Viewing this as a routine 281st extraction Captain Moberg released the aircraft commander to make the pick up.
WO Gary Omdahl recalls that he brought the aircraft to a hover over the pickup point and was in the process of maneuvering the helicopter backwards toward the slope with the crew chief and gunner checking the tail rotor for clearance. As he moved the helicopter close to the pickup point, it suddenly dropped straight down and he recalls that it felt as though it tumbled end over end before coming to a stop down the hill from the pickup point. The crew exited the aircraft and at about the same time it burst into flames. At that point the only injury was to a member of the recon team who was hit by a skid when the helicopter initially lost power. Gary recalls that the injured member of the recon team was the first to be evacuated from the site.
Captain Moberg directed the crew to move back to the original pickup location and set the recovery plan in to effect. He then returned to the base camp for fuel and while refueling he was informed that a USAF CH-53 rescue helicopter was in route to the site to recover the crew and the recon team. At this point a Wolfpack gun platoon section, under the command of Captain Fred Mentzer, had refueled and was on site to provide fire support for the recovery operation. The USAF CH-53 arrived on site and begin recovering the injured individual and at least one other member of the recon team. Following their recovery WO Omdahl placed his three crew members on the hoist for pickup while he remained on the ground. As the pickup of the 281st crew got under way the pilot of the CH-53 reported that he was taking fire and almost immediately thereafter reported that he had an engine fire light. Distracted by these events he maneuvered the aircraft away from the pick up point with the cable holding the 281st crew extended and in so doing the three crew members struck a tree, causing the hoist to swing and lag behind the rescue helicopter. The Ch-53 continued in flight and the cable holding the crew was severed dropping the 281st crew to the ground.
Captain Mentzer marked the crew's location and a 281st recovery aircraft approached and hovered over the site allowing MSGT Joe Singh of Project Delta to jump into the area to assist the downed crew members. The remaining members of the Project Delta recon team rushed to the location and reported that all three crew members were dead. The 281st recovered their fellow crew members and the remaining members of the recon team without incident.
On 0700 hours on August 8, 1967 the members of the 281st AHC gathered at the Chapel of The Green Berets to remember Michael and his fallen comrades.
Warrant Officer Daryl L. Miller
12 November 1942 - 6 August 1967
Private First Class Michael A. Goffredo
7 October 1946 - 6 August 1967
Private First Class John C. Soper
13 March - 6 August 1967
281st Assault Helicopter Company
MAJOR ALLEN L. JUNKO
||8 August 1967
24 August 1967
Major Allen Junko
28lst Assault Helicopter Co.
Dear Major Junko:
During the conduct of OPERATION SAMURAI over the period 15 July 1967 through 18 August 1967 we, the Delta / 281st Team, exacted a heavy toll from the enemy. Today, our combat team enjoys a reputation never approached before and one which my be hard to exceed in future operations.
It is very clear that our successes are directly attributable to the supreme efforts of men such as Warrant Officer Daryl L. Miller, Private First Class Soper and Private First Class Goffredo who lost their lives in aggressive pursuit of their highly dangerous and demanding jobs.
It is difficult to fill the void created by their absences with words of condolence; however, for the lack of any approach more effective, my men and I offer our most profound sympathy.
Charles A. Allen
The account of this incident is based on US Army records of the operation and incident provided by COL Bob Mitchell, Historian, 281st AHC Association and the on site observations of the following individuals:
With the help of the above individuals this document was
COL John W. Mayhew, USA Ret.
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
ONCE AN INTRUDER ... ALWAYS AN INTRUDER