Name: Virgil Byron Terwilliger
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/E3
Unit: HMM 163 MAG 16
Date of Birth: 08 May 1946
Home City of Record: MCCLURE 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
Refno: 0620

Other Personnel in Incident: PFC Paul Harris, KIA/BNR; Maj. Peter Nicholas
Samaras (Wounded, Died 03/19/67); co-pilot, 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.  2020




On the anniversary of his 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....."



From: "Linda Bleschke" <llb72549@henry-net.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 21:58:08 -0500

Today is the anniversary of his death and this my way of putting flowers on
his grave.


    Today is March 13th.  The day you died 33 years ago.  How can I begin to
describe the impact your lost had on us.  For the longest time I use to
blame myself for your death.  Why?  A few days before we were notified of
your death, I had a dream [nightmare] that Loretta came in the back door of
the cafeteria at school to tell me you had been killed.  That is exactly
what happened.  The minute I saw her that day, I fell to my knees screaming.
If I hadn't had that dream.  Did it come to me at the moment of your death.
Who knows?

    We all miss you and talk of you often.  All the boys live out of state
now, so it is just us three girls who live here to take care of Dad.  Mom is
with you now so take care of her.  Give her my Love also.  I have a feeling
Dad will be joining you soon, so watch for him.  Oh, don't walk to fast on
your journey because someday I want to give you a hug again.  When it is my
time, come and get me please.  We have so many years to catch up on.

    I love you and miss you so desperately.

                                                Your loving sister,


Virgil was the 7th child of 12 children.  He is survived by his father, 5
brothers, and 3 sisters.  He is preceded by 2 brothers and 1 sister.  Our
mother passed on in 1989 and she was buried with her Gold Star Pin.

We will celebrate his life and mourn his death forever.





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On March 13, 1967, a UH-34D Choctaw (bureau number 150574) conducting an emergency extraction mission was downed by hostile fire in the vicinity of grid coordinates YD 100 525 in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Several search and rescue (SAR) helicopters attempted to reach the crash survivors, but they were driven off by intense enemy fire. The following day, the crash survivors were rescued; however enemy presence prevented the SAR team from recovering the bodies of two Marines who had not survived the crash.

Lance Corporal Virgil Byron Terwillinger, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps from Ohio, served with the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 163, Marine Air Group 16, 1st Marine Air Wing. He was a crew member aboard the Choctaw when it crashed and his remains have not been recovered. Lance Corporal Terwillinger is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.   

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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