George Thomas Condrey, III

Chief Warrant Officer 3
PILOT  UH-1C #64-14172

24 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on Feb 12, 1944
From: Atlanta, Georgia
Length of service 1year and 11 months
His tour of duty began on June 13, 1967
Casualty was on May 08, 1968 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam
Hostile, helicopter - pilot air loss, crash on land
Killed in Action - Body not recovered
Religion: Protestant
(Panel 56E - Line 37)


George Thomas (Tommy) Condrey, III was born in Atlanta, Georgia on February 12, 1944. Tommy grew up in the Atlanta area and was a very active from an early age,  participating in Sports, Boy Scouts and fishing with his Father and Grandfather, George Thomas Condrey, Sr.



Tommy Graduated from North Fulton High School in 1962 where he was the Cadet Commander of the Army Jr. ROTC program, was a member of the 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.  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.



Photo by John Galkiewicz

Galkie'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.  His stories can be read at 
John  Galkiewicz  

It was in this Wolfpack assignment on May 8, 1968, that Tommy and his crew were assigned the mission of supporting  the recovery of a Special Forces Long Range Reconnaissance Team (LRRP) that was engaged in a fire fight with a large hostile force and as such were in danger of being captured. When Tommy and his crew arrived on the scene their gunship immediately came under intense enemy fire.  As the pickup helicopter approached the landing zone Tommy and his crew flew close fire support placing suppressive fire on the hostile forces and at the same time by placing the themselves between the lightly armed pickup helicopter and the hostile force they were able to draw the ground fire away from the pickup helicopter .  Although drawing heavy fire from the hostile forces on the ground Tommy and his crew continued to provide cover for the pickup helicopters until their own helicopter gun ship was hit by a barrage of enemy fire that caused it to explode in mid-air and crash on the bank of the Buong River. The violent midair explosion of the aircraft indicated that it had been hit by a rocket type explosive projectile.

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.

WO 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. 

For service to his country and his actions in combat Warrant Officer 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 U.S. and Vietnamese Service awards.

This remembrance was assembled by Jack Mayhew, with information and photos provided by Ms. Mary Ellen Nabors, Tommy's sister.  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.  

CW3 George Thomas Condrey, III Memorial Marker
Lenox  Towers, Peachtree Road
Atlanta, Georgia

2 July 2002
A little more on Condrey:

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 AHC "Intruder" Website. How lucky I was to have him as my AC. 


John Galkiewicz
PO Box 20
Harrogate, TN 37752
1 (423) 869-8138


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.

Joe Anderson,
Wolf Pack 33


Joe Bilitzke
"WolfPack 34" - 1/68-4/69

I was in Wolfpack putting mini gun underneath them when they got hit. We watched them go down and burn.  Couldn't get the bodies out until a team was put in the next day. Not a whole lot left to recover. DoD showed them as "missing" but we raised hell.  It was changed to KIA so the family could get some closure.