HARRIS, PAUL WINIFORD
Name: Paul Winiford Harris Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/E2 Unit: HMM 163 MAG 16 Date of Birth: 24 June 1947 Home City of Record: CHILLICOTHE OH Date of Loss: 13 March 1967 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 164451 North 1065813 East Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:UH34D #150574 Missions: Refno: 0620
Other Personnel in Incident: LCpl Virgil Terwilliger KIA/BNR; Maj. Peter Nicholas Samaras (Wounded, Died 03/19/67); co-pilot, 2dLt Robert E. Swete, survived, rescued.
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File. Updated 2000 with information provided by the USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association [http://www.popasmoke.com/kia/] through Linda Terwilliger Bleschke. Udated 2006.
Neither Harris nor Terwilliger were married.
On the anniversary of this loss, we received the following information:
March 13, 2000
Comments on the Incident:
During a hot recon extract, aircraft from HMM-163 received intense enemy fire on approach to landing zone. Aircraft crashed and burned (extrmemely high heat - the Marine Sikorsky H-34 was made of magnesium), crewmembers Paul Harris and Virgil Terwilliger were KIA at the scene of crash. A/C Maj Samaras received 2nd and 3rd degree burns over a substantial portion of his body, died within a week or so of a heart attack due to burn related stress. The unknown co-pilot was the sole survivor of the incident.
Terwilliger was the machine gunner on the mission.
His sister says, " He was my best friend as well as my brother. I have no grave to put flowers on and I don't think I ever will. I just want you to know he wasn't captured....."
This is the "official" report in Marine Command Chronolgies....
From - Tue Mar 21 14:05:42 2000 Return-Path: <xxxxx @ hqmc.usmc.mil>
I reviewed the monthly reports submitted by HMM 163 for March 1967 and was able to determine the following: On 13 March 1967, Major Peter N. Samaras, while on an emergency recon team retraction, received fire as he was touching down in the landing zone, The aircraft received several hits and the pilot immediately lifted off. He continued to receive fire and the aircraft subsequently lost power and crashed into the trees. The aircraft exploded before the other two crewmembers could be freed. The pilots were retrieved from the area the following day and were taken to the USS REPOSE.
The list of squadron casualties reports that Major Samaras died of wounds and burns on 19 March aboard the Naval Hospital Ship USS REPOSE. 2dLt Robert E. Swete was treated for second degree burns on the REPOSE and survived. LCpl Virgil B. Terwilliger and PFC Paul W. Harris both died when the helicopter crashed and burned.
'Missing' Vietnam Marine finally honored The Gazette staff
More than 39 years after he was listed as missing but presumed killed in action in Vietnam, a Chillicothe native will be honored at a memorial service next week.
Pfc. Paul W. Harris, a 1965 graduate of CHS, will be honored at a 10 a.m. public service on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Greenlawn Cemetery in Chillicothe..... .