JOSEPH W. CUNNINGHAM, Jr.
Specialist Fifth Class, Combat Aviation Crew Chief
281st Assault Helicopter Company
From: Oceanside, California
Born: May 19, 1947
Killed in Action on May 11, 1970 in Pleiku, South Vietnam,
when a rocket attack struck his tent.
On May 11, 1970, the 281st AHC established a forward operations base at Camp Holloway, Pleiku, in preparation for aerial operations into Cambodia. At approximately 8:55 p.m. on May 11, 1970, the tent they were living in came under an enemy attack, and Joseph was killed when a rocket exploded in his immediate area. The same rocket also killed three of his fellow crewmembers; Specialist 5 Daniel J. Vaughan, Specialist 5 Scott E. Southerland, and Specialist 4 Danny J. Taulbee. 1st Lieutenant Jared H. Bahre and 1st Lieutenant Ned Heinz were seriously wounded. Both Intruders were immediately taken to the 71st Evacuation Hospital in Pleiku, Vietnam. There, despite the efforts of doctors and skilled medical personnel, Ned succumbed to his wounds at 3:20 p.m. on May 16, 1970. Jared recovered from his wounds.
The 281st Assault Helicopter Company lost five of its top Intruders in the rocket and mortar attack on their compound. Each of these individuals distinguished themselves as highly respected crew members and trusted friends to all, and they shall not be forgotten.
A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN
ONCE AN INTRUDER ... ALWAYS AN INTRUDER