Fred's obituary retyped for clarity below our comments. The original is below.                                                                           281st Home --- Back

Major Frederick (Fred) Forrest Mentzer

April 14, 1937 --- November 15, 2014


Fred served in the 281st Assault Helicopter Company during 1967 as the commander of the aerial weapons platoon known as the Wolf Pack. His call sign was Wolf Pack 36. Throughout his tour with the 281st Fred was known to be a fearless leader who had the respect of his command, his fellow Intruders, the members of the 5th Special forces, and the Korean forces for whom his unit provided close-in areal fire support in combat operations. Fred was known as a calm, collected, easy-going leader that built and lead a unit that consistently delivered under fire. The 281st is officially known as the US Army’s first special operations helicopter company. Correspondingly, Fred’s Wolf Pack is known as one of the top combat aerial weapons platoons of the Vietnam War.

Following the war Fred commanded the US Army Standardization Board for U.S. Army Europe followed by a tour of Duty as the commander of the Aviation Support unit for the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), where he also served as the personal pilot for the Commanding General. After several military positions in aviation in various countries, Fred returned to the states where he took on the task of reorganizing the 281st Association. As a result of his efforts the Intruder Association is now very active with a formal organization connected to and serving all former members of the unit. Fred served as the Association's first president and until his untimely death was active in all aspects of the organization .

Major Fredrick Mentzer was a natural leader and one who was respected by those who served with him and those whom he served under. Fred shall never be forgotten by the Intruder family.

His obituary follows:

Frederick Forrest Mentzer
April 14, 1937 -- November 15, 2014

Fred was born in Sacramento, California. At a young age he moved with his mother and sister to Medford, OR, where he enjoyed "hanging around" with his Uncle Glen, who remains to this day a beloved friend and mentor. His mother later married Donald O. Mentzer, who was in the Army. In later years Fred took his stepfather's name of Mentzer. Fred attended George Washington High School San Francisco, CA where he excelled in competitive swimming. He wore the title of the champion Bay Area swimmer during the mid-1950s.

Being the son of a military man, Fred lived in many places and gained a lot of insight into the "world at large", especially when he enlisted in the Army after a few years of college in California.

Fred is preceded in death by his paternal father Charlie Williams, mother and adopted father Donald O. and Louise Mentzer (Cornwall), brother Michael and daughter Rebecca Mentzer-Learman. Fred is survived by his wife Karen, his daughters Tatjana Trueman and Lavina Kiernan, as well as his sisters Sonia Sprabeary and Terri Gargis. Also recognized are his many beloved grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Fred had an exmplary career as a helicopter pilot and was especially close with the men in 281st Assault Helicopter Company in one of his Viet Nam tours. He was instrumental in helping to establish the 281st AHCA group, which has brought this band of brothers together, honing their friendship and remembrances at an annual reunion. Fred handled the group's newsletters thoughout the year, as well as their website. These men have had "the backs" of their brother for many, many years. In addition, Fred continued to hone his skills by taking various classes, especially those that aided him with his advanced computer skills.

Being a true people person gave Fred the ability to visit with anyone, as well as listen. He maintained the countenance of a quiet man, and was always willing to help and offer a quip or two to the delight of many. He especially enjoyed the men with whom he had coffee two or three times a week, and regular treks to the Keizer Elks Lodge.

A memorial serivce will be held at the Keizer Elks Lodge, December 11, 2014 at 2" pm. Fred will be interred at Arlington National Cemetary, April 14, 2015, which celebrates his birthday. Arrangements are by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

 

 

Here below are three photos of the Arlington funeral;
Click here to see all of the Arlington photos.

last ride
Photo courtesy of Angela Woolfolk

 


Photo courtesy of Angela Woolfolk

 


Photo courtesy of Angela Woolfolk

 


Photo courtesy of Angela Woolfolk