"A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN"
THEODORE J. "TED" NILSSEN
Ted served in the 281st AHC as a combat aviation gunner
from 2-68 until 9-69 in both the Bandit and Wolf Pack Platoons.
Theodore Joseph Nilssen was born in Bay Shore, New York, 1947. Ted died suddenly
on April 25, 2011 at Memorial Hospital. In Bakersfield, CA. He is survived by
his wife, Jean Lourie Nilssen, and his children and their spouses.
Ted entered Northeastern University in Boston upon a full-ride scholarship,
having graduated from high school with Honors in Science and top marks on his
SAT tests. He was also a New York State Regents Scholarship winner with
Commendation from the National Merit Program. However, Ted voluntarily
interrupted his higher education to enlist in the United States Army, feeling a
strong calling to serve his country in the Vietnam War. He then served in the
Army's Special Operations Unit, participating in the 281st Helicopter Assault
Unit, for which he received the Air Medal for participating in more than
twenty-five aerial missions over hostile territory in support of operations
against communist aggression. After two years of military service in Vietnam, he
subsequently received his BS Degree from Stony Brook University in New York.
Ultimately, Ted completed his MA at the South Dakota School of Mines.
Ted embarked upon his professional career as a mining engineer in Lafayette,
Louisiana but later accepted a job in Las Vegas. About 1982, Ted began working
in the oil industry and accepted a position as a petroleum engineer in Ventura.
In the late 1980's, he began working in Bakersfield, later working as a
consultant in Santa Maria and various other areas. Ted ended his professional
career as the Drilling Manager for E and B Natural Resources in Bakersfield,
where he had enjoyed working for the last several years.
Ted struggled with chronic conditions probably related to Agent Orange , and as
his system became more and more compromised, a final struggle with an acute
illness and heart issues took their toll. Nevertheless, Ted, was a high-achiever
still monitoring the company oil rigs and the family's children up to a few
short days before his death, remained positive and goal-driven to his last few
days. When he was asked when he planned to retire, he would reply that he would
be working until the day he died, which proved to be true.
Ted's military experiences were central to his self-concept and value system; he
focused solely on the positive and was a self-starter from beginning to end, a
highly independent and self-actualized man. Attending the Special Operations and
281st Reunions highlighted his life as these vets constituted his closest
friends and a special sense of family. As Agent Orange ultimately cut short his
lifespan, he was a fallen hero who sacrificed his golden years for his country.
A true hero, Ted was always a modest and unaffected dynamo. He died as he lived,
with his courage and dignity intact. His loss is profoundly felt, but the good
that he did will long survive him.
GERALD F. NOREAULT
Gerald served in the 281st AHC during 1966 & 1967. The intruder family shall not forget him. His obituary follows:
Gerald F Noreault, 67, of Bombay, N.Y., passed away unexpectedly Wednesday, November 21, 2012, in Loon Lake, New York. He was born in Malone, New York in March, 1945. He was the son of the late Leon and Charlotte Noreault. He graduated from Franklin Academy in 1964. From 1965 until his honorable discharge in 1967 he served in the United States Army stationed in Vietnam.