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USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER & TILTROTOR ASSOCIATION - KIA DATABASE
USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION
Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter or Tiltrotor Squadrons in Vietnam



680423   HMM-363     Vietnam

Incident Date 680423 HMM-363 UH-34D - BuNo unknown (YZ-5) - Hostile Fire

[CREW]
Wiseman, John Samuel Cpl Crew Chief HMM-363 MAG-36 680423 (vvm 51E:043)


WISEMAN JOHN SAMUEL : 2176639 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6332 : 23 : ST LOUIS : MO : 19680423 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19450208 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 51E : 043


HMM-363 Command Chronology - April 1968:
23 April 1968 - At 1845H at coordinates YD 965150 the lead aircraft was hit with automatic .30 caliber fire. The crew chief, Cpl John S. Wiseman 2176639/6332 was killed. The aircraft was shut down in the zone while the wingman returned to Phu Bai. The second aircraft and another returned to the zone where the plane and crew were evacuated.

HMM-363 Command Chronology - April 1968:
Casualtiesa for the Month -
Cpl John S. Wiseman, KIA, 7 miles east of Phu Bai, Thua Thien Province, RVN
Capt Brian W. West, WIA, 7 miles east of Phu Bai, Thua Thien Province, RVN

Personal Recollection ofr Incident:
We were based out of Phu Bai with HMM-363, "Lucky Red Lions", flying the H-34. We were the lead helicopter of a two aircraft section supporting the Marines in "Operation Baxter Garden". The Marines were making a south to north sweep along the coast of the South China Sea about 7 miles east of Phu Bai. Major, Tom Hill was the HAC, I was the co-pilot, Captain Brian West. Corporal John Wiseman was the Crew Chief of YZ-5.

The terrain was very flat, wet, and sandy with hundreds of rice patties and many low tree lines. The temperature was very hot. We flew 9.4 hours that day going back and forth between the base at Phu Bai and the Marines making their northward sweep. We carried resupplies, food, drinks, and medivacs, etc. whatever was needed to support the Marines. Because of the repetition of making many trips between Phu Bai and the Marines, we varied our flight path as best we could. We either flew above 1,500 feet to stay out of effective small arms ground fire, or flew low level in a zigzag fashion over the ground and tree lines to give the enemy no time to aim and shoot their weapons. We changed the pattern each trip, but by the end of the day we had gone over the same territory many many times in different configurations.

It was early evening, dusk, at 18:45. Major Hill was at the controls in the right seat. We were low leveling and zig zagging over the rice patties and tree lines. I was sitting in the co-pilot's left seat, leaning forward resting my elbows on my knees drinking a can of grape soda. Suddenly a burst of semi-automatic fire (8 rounds)is heard striking the aircraft. The first round enters the lower left corner of the windscreen in front of me splattering Plexiglas into my lower portion of my face, mustache, and mouth. (I first thought that I was hit in the teeth because of the grit from the Plexiglas. Another round passes through my open side window, knicks the visor knob off of my helmut before exiting out the upper right side of the cockpit. Still, another round enters the side of the aircraft just below my seat glancing off the steel plate in the seat, hitting the counsol between the pilots' seats and knocking out the intercom bundle of wires. The schrapnel from the metal skin of the seat bounces off the console and flys up and hits me in my right cheek of my hip. It felt like I was hit by a baseball bat with a nail sticking out of it. The wound was not very deep and superficial.

The next round entered the fuselage further below me and was the fatal shot to John. The round either entered his side or back and come out near his heart. He was killed instantly and didn't know what hit him. The gunner at the rear of the chopper had his seat knocked out from under him when a round struck one of the aluminum pipe support legs. It was all over in seconds, not even time enough to get scared. We had flown over the shooter's position. He had to have been laying for us in the tree line waiting for us to come his way. John was not visible to the shooter, as John was on the other side of the aircraft.

Within a minute we landed at our destination with the Marines on the ground. When I climbed down to the ground (my legs and knees shaking) and went around to the other side of YZ-5, they were already loading John on the other helicopter to take him to medical aid. The other chopper wisked away to Phu Bai. Later, we lifted out after checking out the aircraft for further damage. It was now dark. We encountered heavy fire with tracers flying everywhere lighting up the sky. I don't know how we escaped from not getting hit again, but we weren't.

I only knew John as an officer and enlisted would know each other. We were in the same squadron HMM-162, in New River, NC and again in HMM-363 in Vietnam. He went about his business in a professional way. He was well respected by the officers and enlisted. He was extremely well liked within the ranks. You could always count on a good aircraft with YZ-5. He always had a smile on his face and it was obvious that he enjoyed life. He was a good Marine and an exceptionally fine young man. His family should be proud of John for the person that he was, his accomplishments and the service that he gave to his country.

I think of John and this incident on a regular basis. Still 44 years later.

Submitted by Brian West, Co-Pilot of the helicopter

Personal Narrative:
On April 23rd 1968 John Wiseman and I were flying supplies out of Hue. John's copter was flying wing most of the day and my plane flew lead. The LZ was very close to the base so we flew at tree top level. We flew the route all day without incident.

As evening closed in our pilots decided to switch leads. When we landed in the LZ, I looked over at John's plane and saw him lying face down and I could see several hits on his copter. John was carried to my plane. When we took off we took heavy, heavy fire. Once out of the LZ I tried hard to revive John but the bullet had caused too much damage.

John was a very fine human being with a great sense of humor. I wonder about his family often. We were very good friends.

Submitted by Victor L. Avery, Sgt., CrewChief, HMM-363, Vietnam,

Personal Narrative:
This incident happened on my first of three tours in Viet Nam. John was a great guy, a true friend. He was shot in the lung by a sniper. We all called him "Big John. He had many friends. I think of John all the time. He is missed!
Submitted by MGYSGT George T. Curtis USMCR (Ret), Fellow Crew Chief HMM-363

Personal Narrative:

This incident happened on my first of three tours in Viet Nam. John was a great guy, a true friend. He was shot in the lung by a sniper. We all called him "Big John. He had many friends. I think of John all the time. He is missed! Submitted by MGYSGT George T. Curtis USMCR (Ret), Fellow Crew Chief HMM-363

Comments on Incident:
On April 23rd 1968 John Wiseman and I were flying supplies out of Hue. John's copter was flying wing most of the day and my plane flew lead. The LZ was very close to the base so we flew at tree top level. We flew the route all day without incident.

As evening closed in, our pilots decided to switch leads. When we landed in the LZ, I looked over at John's plane and saw him lying face down and I could see several hits on his copter. John was carried to my plane. When we took off we took heavy, heavy fire. Once out of the LZ I tried hard to revive John but the bullet had caused too much damage.

John was a very fine human being with a great sense of humor. I wonder about his family often. We were very good friends. Submitted by Victor L. Avery, Sgt., CrewChief, HMM-363, Vietnam, September 1967 to October 1968


Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, fellow Crew Chief, HMM-363

Cpl John Wiseman:

John was KIA, 23 April 1968, shot by a sniper while flying a mission out of Phu Bai. His mother supplied this picture of her proud son in his dress blues.
Submitted by webmaster@popasmoke.com, POPASMOKE webmaster

Personal Comment:
I read all these comments and I can feel the deep respect and friendship everyone of you had for johnny. I am the only living relative of johnny's left. I still can remember the day we were informed of his death. I was 15 at the time. Love and miss him so much.
Submitted by Cathy Wiseman Schall, sister

Pictures of Incident:

Captain Brian West,co-pilot, on left, Major Tom Hill, aircraft commander (HAC) on right pointing out bullet holes.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Incident:

Bullet hole left front windscreen that splattered plexiglas in face and mouth of Co-pilot.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Incident:

Entry hole of bullet below Capt. West's seat.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Incident:

Bullet exit holes right front corner of cockpit from inside. These five bullet holes passed through the co-pilot's open left window and passed by Capt. West's head.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Incident:

View of bullet holes in windscreen from outside of aircraft.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Incident:

Bullet holes caused by one bullet in bottom of Capt. West's seat.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Pictures of Remembrance:

Brian West pointing to John Wiseman's name at "The Wall", year 2009.
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot

Cpl John Samuel Wiseman, HMM-363:


Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Cpl John Samuel Wiseman, HMM-363:


Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Family Narrative:
"Big John" is my uncle. I was very young when he died and did not get the chance to know him. What I do know is from stories from my family. I want to thank you for your nice comments about him. I have spoken with Hank Amparan and John Streeter a few times in the past year. I want to thank you for not only being a great friend to my uncle but also for your great service to our country.

Submitted by Jim Wiseman, nephew

Pictures of Remembrance:

Commemorative brick at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. It reads: CPL.JOHN WISEMAN,HMM363 YZ5 CREWCHIEF,VIETNAM KIA 23APR68
Submitted by Brian West, Co-pilot


USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER & TILTROTOR ASSOCIATION