Chief Warrant Officer-3
George Thomas Condrey III
was shot down
George Thomas (Tommy) Condrey, III was born in Atlanta, Georgia on February 12, 1944. He grew up in the Atlanta area and was a very active young man from an early age, participating in Sports, Boy Scouts and fishing with his Father and Grandfather, George Thomas Condrey
Tom with his father fishing and as a Boy Scout
Tommy Graduated from North Fulton High School in 1962 where he was the Cadet Commander of the Army Jr. ROTC program, was a member ofthe basketball team and was the starting quarter back for his High School football team. After high school Tommy attended Young Harris and Georgia Southern Colleges until he joined the Army in June of 1966. He completed basic training, was sent to Fort Walters, Texas for initial rotary wing training and on to Fort Rucker, Alabama for advanced training. On June 6, 1967 he was awarded the silver wings of an Army Aviator.
Following graduation Tommy was married to Jo Ann King in the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. Tommy and Jo Ann were active in the Covenant Presbyterian Church where Tommy participated in the church's youth activities and sang in the choir.
In early July Tommy left his new bride and his family for the trip to South Vietnam where on July 13, 1967 he joined the 281st Assault Helicopter Company. His initial assignment was with the Bandit Platoon in support of the 5th Special Forces and Project Delta, where he became a highly skilled and respected Aircraft Commander. Tommy was a natural leader and was held in high esteem by his fellow crew members and his superiors. He earned the respect of all, and was a friend to all.
Shortly after the incident, recovery personnel landed in the vicinity of the crash, but were unable to find any signs of life. On 12 May a ground patrol located the remains of 4 individuals in the vicinity of the crash site. However, due to heavy enemy activity the remains could not be recovered.
CWO George Thomas Condrey III, was one of four men lost when UH-1C 64-14172 was shot down. Condrey, James Dayton, the aircraft commander, Daniel Jurecko, crew chief, and Robert Jenne, gunner, were all highly respected members of the 281st AHC and they shall always be remembered. (To visit the other crew members remembrance sites click on their name)
For service to his country and his actions in combat Chief Warrant Officer 3, George Thomas Condrey,III was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (Posthumously) The Air Medal W/16 oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart (Posthumously) and various US and Vietnamese Service awards.
Remembrances from Tommy's fellow members of the 281st. Flight:
Tommy will always have a special
place in my heart. I had just been shot down the day before with Dan
Digenova and Don Creed and then Tommy went out the next day with Dayton
and both were killed. It hit us all hard. That was a bad week for all of
us in the Ashau.
Wolf Pack 33
With all the pictures of Condrey being shown and his Remembrance site now up I feel a little more on Condrey is warranted. Tom was my primary AC (67-68) and pretty much taught me how to "really fly" that slick. The guy was sharp and had a sense of humor and at the end of the day wherever he sat others gathered. He was at home as much with the guns as with the slicks and did the stories ever fly when he got both of them together.
Condrey holds a little known 281st record and was given a "plaque" for his achievement of such. The avionics guys gave Tom a plaque for saving them the trouble of replacing all the radios in the aircraft that he was shot down in. After being shot down behind enemy lines Tom emptied his 45 into the radio compartment from approximately 6 feet away and managed to miss every single one. With the exception of one bullet, every one of his shots went in-between the radios. The one bullet that did hit a radio just wedged in front of the case in the deep dent it had made. Didn't say he could shoot, just fly the heck out of that thing.
Tom had a keen sense of self-preservation matched by few in the 281st. He had a set of black pajamas made to his size and wore them to bed each night whenever he was in the field. He also had a big radio that would pick up "Hanoi Hanna" and he would listen to her for the latest news, even the arrival of the "famed" 281st to their newest Delta site. He told me not to worry about being attacked until Hanna was through because Charlie liked listening to her too. Tom's view of things was that the security at some of the bases we were stationed at was down right shabby. If the place was going to be overrun those black pajamas just might be the thing to get him to the tree line without getting shot if it finally came down to that.
When we heard of his death I went to his room, I wanted something of his to remember him by. An officer was already there taking care of things and packing things away. I asked him if there was something of his I could keep and was given Tom's beloved popcorn cooker because it had not been packed yet. I still have it to this day and with me it will stay until I die. When my son is ready he will be told the story behind that old popcorn cooker that use to fill the barracks with it's aroma.
A "lucky" shot got Tom. That's something even Tom couldn't cover. Every December 15th (shot down day), every Memorial Day, and every Veterans Day his memory has been with me and for all these years he has been remembered. There was much more to Tom and I tried to do him justice, as best I could, in the stories section of the 281st. How lucky I was to have him as my AC.
"Galkie" John Galkiewicz
Typical recollections of Tommy are contained in the stories written by John Galkiewicz, who joined the 281st as a new pilot and was assigned to fly with Tommy's crew. John recalls that Tommy not only took him under his wing and gave him the tools and confidence to develop into a skilled aircraft commander, but of equal importance, he became a friend. John's stories about his experiences in the 281st AHC contain several references to the leadership and guidance that Tommy provided him, and others, during his tour of duty with the unit. John's stories can be seen at: John Galkiewicz John can also be reached at: 115 Nevils St., PO Box 20 , Harrogate, TN 37752-0020, Tel: 423-869-8138 (FAX same) or by e-mail at: email@example.com
Remembrance by a college classmate
This remembrance was assembled by Jack Mayhew, with
help from Tommy's sister, Mary Ellen Nabors His
parents, Mrs. Betty Johnson Condrey and Mr. George
Thomas Condrey, Jr. have both passed away.
His Mother died 1993 and his
father in 1996.
If you have questions,
comment or materials that you
would like to contribute to WO Condrey's remembrance, or would like to contact his family, please contact us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-451-4087
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
Young Thomas (Tommy) Robert Turner at his uncle Tommy's memorial stone. (CW3 George Thomas Condrey, III Memorial Marker, Lenox Towers, Peachtree Road, Atlanta, Georgia) Tommy, 6 years later at at his uncle's memorial grave site in Arlington National Cemetery
observing Memorial Day 2005 and giving proof to our belief that:
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
ONCE AN INTRUDER....ALWAYS AN INTRUDER