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Paul Bruce Lambertson

Specialist 5th Class, Combat Aviation Crew Chief
281st Assault Helicopter Company
From: Van Nuys, California
Born: July 14, 1949
Tour of duty as a Rotary Wing Mechanic
began on June 26, 1969.
While flying as a door gunner, he was
killed in action on May 20th, 1970
in Binh Thuan, South Vietnam in a
non-combat helicopter crash.

1stAB Army Aviator

guidon Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

Paul Lambertson SP5 Paul B. Lambertson was a 20-year-old single soldier from Van Nuys, California. His tour of duty began on Jun 26, 1969. Paul was flying as a member of the crew of UH-1H 66-16009 when the helicopter crashed near Binh Thuan as a result of pilot error, on the part of the aircraft commander, killing Paul and Arthur G. Qualls. The pilot, a Captain from the Field Forces Headquarters staff, was also killed in the crash. The aircraft commander, a WO from the 281st AHC, was seriously injured and evacuated to the states where he was medically retired. Paul was a skilled and highly respected power train mechanic, who had also cross-trained in the 281st as a hydraulic and rotor specialist. Paul and Arthur Qualls, also a member of the maintenance platoon, volunteered to fly as the crew of 16609. Paul and Arthur were the last individuals lost by the 281st Assault Helicopter Company in the Vietnam war, and they shall never be forgotten.


From the Vietnam Wall of Faces:

Final Mission of SP5 Paul B. Lambertson:

On May 20, 1970, a U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D (tail number 66-16009) from the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, had just been released form a command and control mission for the 44th ARVN regiment at Song Mau, Tinh Binh Province, RVN. The aircraft had a crew of four and four ARVN passengers on board and had just departed the POL (petroleum, oil, and lubricants) at Song Mau with approximately 1235 lbs of fuel on board. The pilot in command, who was flying the right seat, was ten minutes out of Song Mau, enroute to Nha Trang, when he decided to demonstrate to the pilot a method of losing altitude quickly by diving the aircraft toward the ground. He began the maneuver at 1000 ft. AGL by reducing power and slowing the aircraft. He then placed the aircraft in a nose low attitude and proceed toward the ground. He stated that he does not believe he exceeded 95 knots during the maneuver. When the pilot in command attempted to recover from this attitude, at about 300 ft. AGL, he pulled in power but the aircraft failed to respond quickly enough. He remembered seeing the engine RPM passing through 6400 RPM but he did not hear the RPM audio nor did he see the low RPM warning light. At this point the pilot in command states that all he had time to do was level the aircraft and he contacted the ground at approximately 80 knots and with considerable down ward force. At the time if impact both skids tore loose and the tail rotor contacted the ground. The aircraft then apparently cartwheeled forward and onto its left side, causing the main rotor head and left front doors to tear off. It then continued to roll completely over, tearing off the skid undercarriage before striking a gulley, which was three to four feet deep at the point of impact, then coming to a halt. The aircraft was then totally consumed by fire, with the exception of the one ARVN soldier, all persons in the rear of the helicopter were fatally burned, including crew chief SP5 Arthur G. Qualls and gunner SP5 Paul B. Lambertson. The ARVN who escaped fatal injury was severely burned, as were the pilot in command and the co-pilot. Burning wreckage along the path after impact evidenced that the aircraft may have started to burn before final impact in the gulley.


Posted on 11/12/16 - by BF

I just remember so much. Your 57 Chevy. The pets you had were like no other. Betty. I also remember going to Malibu before you went in. I don't mean the beach it was the canyon we explored. Wow. Much fun. I was hoping then it would not be the last time I did something with you but it was. Miss your mom and dad. Mine are gone also. I also remember getting those slicks for your 57 the way some kids did it back then. It was all the adventure. There isn't a year I don't remember you because it is people like you that has let me and others enjoy our freedom. I also before I sign off can remember you chasing others around with a branch of poison oak since you couldn't catch it. I think you had a lot more to offer this world. I actually had your old tool box until a couple of years ago.


Missing You
Posted on 5/25/15 - by addingtonhalie@ ... .com

On this day I would just like to thank you Uncle BUd to you and all of the other men and women for what they have done and all that they do . There isn't a day that goes by you cross my mind I know you and Grama & Grampa are watching over me . I love you so very much .. Thank You


Remembering An American Hero
Posted on 5/20/15 - by Curt Carter ccarter02@ ... .net

Dear SP5 Paul Bruce Lambertson, sir
As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.
With respect, Sir
Curt Carter


Happy Birthday
Posted on 7/14/14

Hi Uncle Bud ,just want to say happy birthday I love and miss you lots ,I know you walk with me each and every day , you are truly a hero for what you did for our country fighting and protecting us all of you guys and your troop are all hero's for what you have done .I love you always . Halie


Like a brother to me
Posted on 8/16/13

Bud and I were like brother and sister from a very early age. I remember playing on his street (Driscoll) for years as his Mother Nancy watched us while my Mother worked. I sat on his bed talking to him and watching him pack for his tour to Vietnam. I just died when his Mother told us he was killed. His parents never were the same again. We all miss him so much.Thank you for you service and you are my hero.


Missing you
Posted on 8/6/13

Even though I was so little I still remember you you are one of my angels I have become a part of operation gratitude helping make para cord bracelets for our troops and I have made friends with one of your old roommates in nam Richard Voyles this is nice I think of you always.


Thank you
Posted on 5/30/13

I was only 3yrs old when you left to go serve our way country I remember you taking me on your paper route through the neighbor hood then you never came home. However I feel you walk with me every day this is your niece Halie I would like you to know because of you and family I get to be a part of operation gratitude make the para cord bracelets for our troops. R.I.P Uncle Bud


Close Friend and Comrade
Posted on 5/26/13 - by Rick Voyles richard.voyles07@ ... .net

Paul and I were roommates and worked closely together prior to him being killed. Paul and I were able to experience a lot together in the short amount of time we knew each other. I think of Paul and his family often.


1 Jul 2004
Although it has been over 30 years, I still remember my roommate Paul very clearly. Paul was a good guy and a great leader. You could always count on Paul to pick up the slack in the unit and do any job that needed to be done. From one who will never forget.
From his roommate in Nha Trang,
Rick Voyles


From: BEN GOWDY [ben398@ ... .net]

Even today, after all these years I still have a real tough time talking about Paul. We got acquainted during AIT in Fort Eustis, Va, as we were in the same class, and we rapidly became best friends. I was from the mountains of Colorado and he was from the beaches of California. We did everything together even met in Oakland and shipped out together to Nam. We were separated at 90th Replacement. I met his dad in Oakland for just a brief few minutes but I think he was about 55 in age then and Paul was an only child. I have tried several times and different ways over the past ten years to find a family survivor and have not had any results. I was at one time put in touch with his Nam roommate and we stayed in touch for a long time, but when my old computer crashed, I lost his info. Paul was a school trained power train mechanic, but he cross trained at your company to be a hydraulic and rotor specialist also. I also went thru that training because the school training we had was for depot level, not company, so our hands were tied to do power train work cause we could not get parts at the company level. Paul was down in Long Binh about a month before his crash and we spent several days catching up, even snuck over to Bien Hoa to a depot company where 6 of our classmates were stationed and spent the day with them. A month later, even though I was a hanger jock, I was assigned to the maintenance ship as crew chief for one day to go on a recovery mission to An Loc to search for one of our ships that did not come the night before. We finally found it upside down mostly burned within a NVA bunker perimeter that had twin 51 cals set up etc. We went, recovered as many of the bodies of the 14 on board as we could and returned to Long Binh. As I approached the hanger that eve, I saw two officers that had Paul's unit patch on, they informed he had gone down two days prior. When I got to company headquarters, I had a letter from home that my high school basketball coach which was also my next door neighbor and great friend had died of liver cancer. The next few days were lost in many bottles of booze. I have not yet been able to find any pictures of Paul but I will not give up the search. I know that Paul's high school sweetheart and fiancé dumped him while he was home on leave just prior to Nam, she didn't want to wait for a Nam solider. He was pretty lonely when we shipped over. He was a very great guy and I still ask today, why Lord did I make it home and not him.



huey sunrise

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