Thanks for the email chain regarding Colonel Campbell’s comments. From my experience helping veterans, I would think it would be impossible to be in Vietnam for any time at all without seeing a great deal of heroics. From such callousness toward a fallen hero he expresses here, one would think that Col. Campbell could have gone on to have quite a career for himself with the VA.
We did come across some more crash reports for 1966 in 1st Aviation Brigade documents, but, unfortunately, there were no records for Captain Nelson’s incident. It was odd—there were a few other combat-related crash reports for Vietnam for June 5, 1966, but not his. It must have been a very violent, combat-filled day, as so many were in Vietnam, as is witnessed by the two Silver Stars also awarded that day. Right now, we are trying two final things before writing a report for the Board about the records not existing. One is the Army Regulations that were in place contemporaneously with the processing of the award package and the most recent one Archives has. This will enable us to check whether what the Army did was correct or was characterized by shortcuts, which, in context with Campbell’s remark, is quite possible. Another route we are taking is working with the Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at Fort Rucker in Alabama, as they have a number of documents relating to crashes (Ft. Rucker is the repository for Army Aviation Accident Reports from 1957 to the present.) I would add that the majority of what they have deals with non-combat incidents, but it is worth a look before we make a determination that, indeed, no correspondence relating to Captain Nelson’s death exists. After all, the tenor of Colonel Campbell’s flippant remark could suggest that he would have filed it a simple accident report rather than it being shot down by combat fire.
I’ll be in touch.