23 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on Oct 30, 1942
From Fairfield, South Carolina
Length of service 2 years.
His tour of duty began on Nov 06, 1965
Casualty was on Jun 17, 1966 in South Vietnam
Hostile, ground casualty, misadventure
Body was recovered
(Panel 08E - Line 56)
1LT Leon Darvin Flanders has the distinction of being the first member to be killed in South East Asia of what would become the 281st AHC on 17 July.
LT Flanders preferred to be called Darvin and was known as Darvin or "Darv" to his friends. He was born in Columbia, SC and raised in Winsboro, SC, where he attended local schools playing football, basketball and Baseball. Following high school Darvin attended Clemson College, graduating in 1964 with a degree in economics. After college Darvin attended the Inf. officers basic course at Fort Polk, LA and upon completion was transferred to Fort Walters, Texas for initial rotary wing training. Darvin went on to Fort Rucker, AL where on July 6, 1965 he graduated with Rotary Wing class number 65-8. Following graduation he remained at Fort Rucker as a rotary wing aviator with the Department of Tactics. In September of 1965 Darvin left Fort Rucker and on November 11, 1965 joined the 145th Airlift Platoon which was to become part of the 281st AHC.
On June 17, 1966 1st LT Flanders and his crew were supporting a special forces camp in the highlands of South Vietnam when a mortar round struck and exploded in the tent being used by them as a waiting area. Darvin was hit by metal fragments and died instantly.
At some point in his short career Darvin married Gloria J. Flanders who along with his father, Mr. Ridge W. Flanders survived him.
FROM: Fred Phillips
I think I was working out of Det. C3 in Bien Hoa when Darv was killed. As I recall he had flown some SF people to a site near Buen Me Thuet where a new camp was to be. There was a secure perimeter with tents inside. The mess area was a GP tent with Reefer units and other mess equipment. The crew, including Darv was hanging out in the tent area waiting for the passengers to finish their business. Some ARVAN or VN SF were firing mortars from a position near by-possibly inside the perimeter. One of the rounds was short, some one called "Short Round" and everyone hit the ground. Rather than go completely down Darv knelt near one of the reefer units. A piece of shrapnel from the short round struck him in the neck- in one of the arteries. Before anyone noticed and administered aid he had bled to death.
I don't know how accurate this is. I do not know who was flying with Darv that day. If we could find out it would be a big help. Maybe Kevin Murphy or one of the other 145th members might have better information, maybe Lou Lerda.