Incident Date 19660616-1 VMO-6 UH-1E 151871+ - Hostile Fire
Goodsell, William Joseph Maj Pilot VMO-6 MAG-36 1966-06-16 (vvm 08E:051)
MAG-36 Command Chronology - June 1966
The most significant action during June began the evening of the 13th when SSgt Jimmie E. HOWARD’s 18 man team CARNIVAL TIME, from the 1st Reconnaissance Bn was placed on HILL 488 (BT 130205) by 4 HMM-362 aircraft, 2 UH-1E’s from VMO-6 and 2 A-4’s from MAG-12.
During the early hours of the 16th, the team was attacked by an estimated Battalion of enemy troops. The team took some casualties during the initial assault and they sent out a call for the Med Evac choppers from Ky Ha.
At 0250, 1stLt T E Parsons, flying the HMM-361 medevac UH-34D and Capt J M PERRYMAN in the armed UH-1E escort launched from Ky Ha. The flight was unable to pick up the medevacs because of the intense enemy fire in the area. A flare ship and fixed wing aircraft were immediately requested for the team. Fixed wing aircraft from MAG-11 and MAG-12 pounded the VC under direction of Capt Jim PERRYMAN and Capt J M SHIELDS. These pilots relived each other on station throughout the night to keep continuous airstrikes on the enemy.
At 0300, four UH-34D’s fromHMM-363 escorted by 2 UH-1E’s from VMO-6 and 2 A-4’s departed from Chu Lai to attempt to retract the team. Enemy fire was so intense in the zone that the flight had to wave off. One of the H-34s took seven hits from an automatic weapon.
At 0615, 32 UH-34D aircraft from HMM-362, HMM-363 and HMM-361 escorted by six armed UH-1E’s from VMO-6 and two more from VMO-2 picked up C/1/5 from HILL 54. By the time the entire flight had joined up over Tam Ky, Capt John SHIELDS, the TAC(A), had selected a landing zone on a ridge line about 150 meters from the team. Capt SHIELDS worked several flights of attack aircraft in the desired zone and when he had one A-4 left, the UH-34D’s were called in. The last A-4 salvoed his load of bombs into the zone just prior to the landing of the first wave of transport helicopters.
Shortly after “C” Company 1/5 had been landed, Capt SHIELDS was relieved on station by Maj GOODSELL. Maj GOODSELL was killed shortly thereafter while making a low pass over the recon team’s location to mark it with smoke so the relieving company would not fire into their position. The aircraft was severely damaged, and was landed by the copilot, 1stLt D BUTLER, about 3 miles east of the landing zone. The crew was picked up by the wingman and returned to Ky Ha. The aircraft was destroyed by the VC before a reaction force could be moved into the area.
One UH-1E from VMO-2 was also hit and forced down at BT 195222. The gunner, PFC Leo B. BUCKHOLDT, was killed by hostile fire. The crew was picked up by a MAG-36 helicopter and brought to KY Ha. A reaction force was landed to secure the area and this aircraft was recovered.
At 0750, siz UH34D’s from HMM-362 evacuated the KIA’s and WIA’s from the zone at BT 130705. This flight was escorted by armed UH-1E’s from VMO-6 and VMO-2, and A-4 aircraft from MAG-12. At 1100, 36 UH-34D’s from MAG-36 with armed UH-1E’s and A-4 escorts retracted C/1/5 from Hill 488 to conclude a short, but hard fought battle between 18 Marines and a VC Battalion.
Maj. William Goodsell was my grandfather. He died in Vietnam when my father was 12 years old. My dad name me after him. I never got to meet him face to face but the stories I have heard from family and friends potray him as a hero. I just wanted to leave a few words on the net in memory of his life.
"You'll always be in our thoughts and hearts,
Your Grandson, William Goodsell"
If anyone has any information about my grandpa, MAJOR Goodsell, please notify me. I would love to hear to what you have to say.
I was the bodyguard for the Group CO, Colonel Johnson, but subbed as a 7041 for Group S3 Operations.
I don't know why so many accounts miss this, but Major Goodsell had transferred to Group S3 Operations two weeks prior to the Hill 488 event. He was S3's Operations Officer on the night of the 15th when the attack started. Following my normal duties, which occurred frequently because there were many such events, I awoke Major Goodsell at just after midnight when the second layer of calls came in. The first came in one and a half hours earlier, but the call sheet was buried because it was a night med evac and the operator was new. He did not turn over the slip to the preceding shift of operations staff and was keeping it for morning when he thought the helicopters were to go out on med evacs.
In his capacity as assistant Operations Officer, the Major ordered me to awaken Colonel Johnson and squadron leaders. VMO6 was already on station. Major Goodsell made contact with the division and began with Col. Johnson to bring about a night company level insertion. The Major worked throughout the night to manage all Group operations activities. He did not have to go up but volunteered because of his skills in command of the huey VMO-6 squadron and because the other huey pilots already referenced had been on station for a number of hours.
From midnight until the early hours I followed the Major's orders bringing squadron leaders to the briefing map room and then ferrying them to their other crews of the UH-34D helicopters. I offered to go with the Major and he ordered me to stay and continue facilitating operations.
As the sun was rising or shortly thereafter, I received notification from LCpl Wolf that Major Goodsell had been killed. I helped to clean out his desk and personal items. We were all very sad for many days as he was our acting Operations S3 Exec.
30 years later on June 16, 1996, at the National Cemetery in Santa Fe, NM, I held a memorial for the Major. Several Vietnam veterans attended. I was afraid that he was not honored adequately for what he'd done. A year later, I found out about the Navy Cross. I learned of the Pop a Smoke group and spoke with then Col Perryman. I tried to reach Captain Shields, the other primary pilot according to Perryman. I was also attempting to find others, including Lt. Butler, Major Goodsell's copilot. I was told he had died of a heart attack earlier.
A special R4D flight piloted by LtCol Mooney to Bangkok took people involved in the battle that night on an extra 2 day R&R. I was the only enlisted (LCpl) Marine with the SgtMaj to go. I did my traveling through the city in a shared taxi with Lt. Butler. He was very noticeably upset, eventually finding his room and not making any of the meetings in the Erawan hotel. I now communicate with Captain Downey who flew in the battle that night and early morning.
Major Goodsell was unlike most Marine Corps officers in his quiet, non tough acting demeanor. He was an officer that I respected greatly and it hurt to lose him, albeit, no one knew what "hurt" meant in those days.
To his grandson, William, your grandfather was more of a hero than most realized.
I was a pilot with HMM 362, the Ugly Angels. We were briefed on an emergency recon extraction. We learned that Howard and his team were all hit and were out of ammo. We were told that either, "You get them out now, or they don't come out at all." The Ugly Angels weren't the most spit-shined Marines; many were MARCADs--former enlisted pilots. But if you were in trouble, you wanted the Uglys overhead. We flew in six H-34 helicopters with M-60 side guns blazing, and evacuated all the dead and wounded. I wrote my Dad that they had just 18 rds. left when we pulled them out. Years later, I tried to reach Jimmy Howard but his widow told me he had passed away about a year before.
Semper Fi to all who fought and flew that day!
As a "Marine now in another uniform", I communicate to the public about the Hill 488 Battle in the then Republic of South Vietnam.
It has now been over 50 years since 16 June 1966, the date that Major Goodsell was KIA. Fifty years has a way of eroding memories about a certain thing, especially like an emotional thing that occurred that happened to the Major and VMO-6.
I read within this site, that the Major had recently been transferred to MAG-36 S-3. From my memory, and as can be verified by VMO-6 Command Chronologies, Major Goodsell was the Commanding Officer of VMO-6, and had been for five days. Prior to that he was also listed as the Executive Officer of VMO-6. The Major's Navy Cross citation also shows he was the Commanding Officer of VMO-6 on 16 June 1966.
This writer vividly recalls on the day the Major was KIA, he was in the VMO-6 S-1 office at his desk when several officers quickly entered the office and went directly to Major Goodsell. He and the officers quickly left the S-1 and headed to the S-3. That was the last time this writer ever saw Major Goodsell, as he was KIA soon after he left the S-1 in 1966.
While the Major and the officers were in the S-3, the helicopter and crew the Major piloted after leaving the S-3, was being rearmed and refueled.
Additionally I further read on another major site, that the Major was killed when his helicopter crashed, after his bird was seriously damaged by enemy, indicating the Major died in the helicopter crash. The Major died from the wound he received above Hill 488, not from having crashed.
LCpl James E Antone, USMC later told me what happened after the Major was wounded. He indicated that he helped the Major out of the pilot's seat and had to assist the co-pilot to fly the bird, because it had been seriously damaged. He further stated the Major had been hit seriously in the leg by a large caliber enemy machine gun. The Major passed prior to getting him to the nearest medical field facility.
It should be noted that LCpl James E Antone, USMC earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions that day above Hill 488 and for his attempt to assist the Major, that helped saved the lives of three of the aircrew because of the battle damage to their bird. Many years after the incident, I introduced myself to LCpl Antone's older brother.
During the several conversations I had with the brother, we always talked about LCpl Antone and what he tried to do to help keep the Major alive. His brother was aware that LCpl Antone had earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and sent me a copy of the citation for the medal earned; the Distinguished Flying Cross. I forwarded that citation to the "Hall of Heroes".
This is what this then Marine remembers about the Hill 488 incident regarding Major Goodsell and LCpl Antone.
Major Goodsell was an outstanding Marine Officer, pilot, and would have made an outstanding Commanding Officer wherever he was to be assigned. I respected him for who he was and for the way he was towards his Marines; a caring Marine and officer that would go out of his way to assist another person. The Major had about five weeks left in country, yet he did what he did, to assist the Howard Team on Hill 488. By his actions on that day in 1966, he unselfishly gave his life for his fellow Marines.
The Major left behind a wife, three children, his mother, and brother.
Raymond L Britt
Comment on Incident
GySgt Jimmie HOWARD (C/1stRecon) was awarded the CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL OF HONOR.
Maj W. GOODSELL (VMO-6), LCpl John T. ADAMS (C/1stRecon)(Posthumous Award), Cpl Jerrald THOMPSON (C/1stRecon)(Posthumous Award) and LCpl Ricardo BINNS (C/1stRecon) were awarded the NAVY CROSS.
Capt Jim PERRYMAN (VMO-6) and Capt John SHIELDS (VMO-6), along with many of the members of Recon Team CARNIVAL TIME, were awarded the SILVER STAR for their part in the action.
CARNIVAL TIME Team Members killed in action that night on HILL 488 were:
LCpl John T. Adams (Navy Cross)
PFC Ignatius Carlisi (Silver Star)
PFC Thomas Glawe (Silver Star)
LCPL Alcadio N Mascarenas (Silver Star)
PFC James O McKinney (Silver Star)
Cpl Jerrald R. Thompson (Navy Cross)
Navy Cross Citation - Maj William J. GOODSELL
“For extraordinary heroism while serving with Marine Observation Squadron SIX in the Republic of Vietnam on 16 June 1966. Serving as Tactical Air Coordinator (Airborne) in an armed UH-1E helicopter, Major Goodsell made repeated rocket and machine gun attacks against an enemy battalion that had encircled and trapped a Marine reconnaissance unit. When a relieving force was airlifted into the battle, he guided the transport helicopters to the landing zone and delivered such devastating attacks on the enemy positions that only one aircraft in the assault force was struck by hostile fire. He then proceeded to fly dangerously low to seek out enemy positions and aid the assault force in their rescue of the beleaguered reconnaissance unit. When a juncture of the units was accomplished, he guided the medical evacuation helicopters to the friendly positions where eighteen wounded Marines lay waiting. Realizing the necessity to accurately mark the Marine positions because of the close proximity of the enemy, he courageously elected to fly very low and slow over the position to mark it with a smoke grenade. As his mark landed directly on target, he was taken under fire by several automatic weapons positions and although mortally wounded he maintained control of his aircraft until relieved by his copilot. By his bravery and fearless devotion to duty, Major Goodsell reflected great credit upon himself and the Marine Corps and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.”
Congressional Medal of Honor - GySgt JIMMIE E. HOWARD
"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty. G/Sgt. Howard and his 18-man platoon were occupying an observation post deep within enemy-controlled territory. Shortly after midnight a Viet Cong force of estimated battalion size approached the marines' position and launched a vicious attack with small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. Reacting swiftly and fearlessly in the face of the overwhelming odds, G/Sgt. Howard skillfully organized his small but determined force into a tight perimeter defense and calmly moved from position to position to direct his men's fire. Throughout the night, during assault after assault, his courageous example and firm leadership inspired and motivated his men to withstand the unrelenting fury of the hostile fire in the seemingly hopeless situation. He constantly shouted encouragement to his men and exhibited imagination and resourcefulness in directing their return fire. When fragments of an exploding enemy grenade wounded him severely and prevented him from moving his legs, he distributed his ammunition to the remaining members of his platoon and proceeded to maintain radio communications and direct air strikes on the enemy with uncanny accuracy. At dawn, despite the fact that 5 men were killed and all but 1 wounded, his beleaguered platoon was still in command of its position. When evacuation helicopters approached his position, G/Sgt. Howard warned them away and called for additional air strikes and directed devastating small-arms fire and air strikes against enemy automatic weapons positions in order to make the landing zone as secure as possible. Through his extraordinary courage and resolute fighting spirit, G/Sgt. Howard was largely responsible for preventing the loss of his entire platoon. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his platoon to heroic endeavor in the face of overwhelming odds, and reflect the highest credit upon G/Sgt. Howard, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service."Submitted by: N/A, 20030901
Looking for the family of Maj. Bill Goodsell. My father was a fellow Marine Aviator, and I have the Flag that flew over the Airfield in Bill's honor. Please call or write Scott Chambers at Ghoststone@compuserve.com, or 503-781-0547Submitted by: Scott K. Chambers, Son of fellow Aviator Dwight (Twig) Chambers, USMC, 20050327
I am overwhelmed at what I've just read about my father. For so many years I wanted to know the facts surrounding the death of my dad. It just hurts me so much each time I learn a little more. I miss my dad to this day; he's in my heart and on my mind always.
I was 8 yrs. old when the Marines came to our door in Garden Grove, CA to tell us the news. I remember it clearly, I remember sobbing, while I sat on one of the Marine's lap. He tried comforting me. My mother, Jeanne, held it together, enough to make some calls, one of which was to my dad's mother, Kay Leslie.
Being as young as I was, my time with my dad was short. But I remember how he would pick me up, and I would stare into his eyes, and I can still see the love in his eyes. My sister Debbie, brother Chris, and myself have alway been proud to be "Marine brats". I admire and respect our Marines.
To read about my dad from those who knew him is such a wonderful gift to me. Thank you for taking the time to enlighten the Goodsell clan.
God Bless and Semper Fi
Thank you to those whom replied and shared information in regards to Major William Goodsell "Goodie" USMC. I am grateful for your stories. I was 11 yrs old when my father was killed in action. The 1st day of summer vacation from school; the 3 of us kids, Chris then 9, Terri then 8, & myself were in the living room watching "Hobo Kelly" a kids show. I looked out the window when I saw the marines drove up and came to our door. Mom was sleeping. I ran to her room and said, "Daddy's coming home!" not knowing what the visit was really about. I remember she collasped & sobbed when she got the news, and I thought I did something wrong. I'll never forget that day. That day, June 16, 1966 changed all of our lives forever. Please...those that have any information about our father & grandfather would be much appreciated and valued.
Thank you & Sincerely,
Maj William Joseph Goodsell, VMO-6
I have attempted to contact Major W. Goodsell's grandson, but his email address is no longer valid. I am the widow of Capt. Iver W. Trebon, who was stationed with Major Goodsell at Whiting Field, Fla. in 1955. Major Goodsell was the Best Man at our wedding on March 17, 1955. We lived next to each other and were very close. If Major Goodsell's grandson or any of his family receives this note, would love to hear from them.Submitted by: pauline Trebon, friend of Goodsell family, 20090308
I am the proud son of Bill Goodsell. There has not been a day gone by where I have not thought about dad. Although I had only shared ten years of my life with him I can say that he taught me how to live my life as a man with integrity and honor. I have many fond memories of spending Saturdays on the tarmac at the various airbases that he was stationed at. I remember sitting in the cockpit of his plane giving the thumbs up to some other pilot's kid sitting in his dad's plane next to me. I have seen a lot of the country coast to coast due to moving from base to base. Dad was a history buff that enjoyed giving my sisters and I a lesson or two as we would drive through the nation. My sisters and I are lucky to have been raised in a family where both parents were in love with each other and life itself. Due to Dad's early departure from this life, I value most of all, my relationship with my own kids. I love you Dad...Submitted by: Chris Goodsell, son of Bill Goodsell, 20090430
This message is for Pauline Trebon. I tried to send you an email with no luck. If you read this, will you please contact me via my email. I visited my mom and during lunch I mentioned your name/email on Dad's profile. She would love to connect up with you. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope to hear from you soon!Submitted by: Deb Goodsell, Eldest Daughter, 20090602
This message is for Debbie Goodsell. I've read your message and attempted to contact you by email and have had no response. You indicated your mom, Jeanne, would like to get in touch with me. Looking forward to that. Thanks! Semper Fi!!!Submitted by: Pauline Trebon, friend, 20090615
My sister and I, like many others, lost our father in the battle of Hill 488. Thanks for the information. These men were heroes to us all.Submitted by: Kathy Thompson, Youngest daughter of Cpl Jerrald R. Thompson, 20100303