Daniel Edward Jurecko

Specialist Fourth Class
CREW CHIEF  UH-1C #64-14172
19 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Born on Aug 19, 1948
From: Corpus Christi, Texas
Length of service 1 year.
Casualty was on May 08, 1968 in Quang Nam, South Vietnam
Hostile, helicopter - crew air loss, crash on land
Killed in Action - Body not recovered
Religion: Roman Catholic
(Panel 57E - Line 5)



On May 8, 1968, Daniel was Crew Chief on UH-1C helicopter #64-14172, and his ship was 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 the aircraft arrived on the scene their gunship immediately came under intense enemy fire.  As the pickup helicopter approached the Landing zone The 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, the 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.

Daniel Edward Jurecko, 19 years old, was one of four men lost when UH-1C, 64-14172 was shot down. They were:

WO James Dayton, pilot,
WO Tommy Condrey, pilot,
SP4 Robert Jenne, gunner


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

I was in Wolfpack putting mini gun fire 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.


My name is Debbie, my brother is Daniel Edward Jurecko.  I'm 4 years younger then my brother and I'm now 53 years of age.  It is the year 2006 and my brother would have been 57 years of age.  Thirty eight years have passed since I have seen my brother, but yet it was just yesterday when he was leaving to return to Vietnam after he had come home for a brief period and he hugged me and whispered into my ear that he would not be coming home again.  I was 16 and could not comprehend the meaning of his words, but yet felt a loss as he turned away from me and waved goodbye.
My brother was my best friend.  He took me under his arm and carried me throughout my years of growing up.  He showed me so many things, taught me so many things and most important showed me who he was, my big brother, my protector and my hero.  I can remember not being more than 5 years of age when my brother would take me exploring with him.  He would show me so many new adventures and take time explaining each and every one of them so I could understand and see through his eyes until they became my own.
My brother was my best friend.  He carried me, as if he had wings way before he even thought about flying with the 281st.  Danny's hobby was raising Pigeons and he and I spent hours upon hours of studying their every move.  I remember the many, many nights in the wee hours of the morning sitting with him in the Pigeon coop that he had made from scratch and explaining to me every little detail about his Pigeons, their habits, their flights and their always returning to home, no matter where he took them, they always came home.  My father would drive him miles and miles away from our house and they would release some of Danny's prize Pigeons.  Danny would arrive home and sit with me, both of us in anticipation of waiting for their return.  Here they would come, one by one.  He was so proud and yet so fascinated with them and the magnificent journey they made back to their home.  Danny would sigh with relief when they all returned safely.
My brother will never be forgotten and I will continue to believe that someday he too will return home.  Home is where he belongs.  Not MIA, Not KIA, but home, home with his family.  I will never stop praying and will never give up hope that someday my brother will return home.  All I have now is hope and that is something that will never leave me.  Danny is with me everyday, just as he was when I was only 5 years of age.  I wished that some closure could happen soon because Mom and Dad do not have much longer and there too isn't a day that doesn't go by that they express their broken hearts.  God, please hear me and grant me one last prayer, please bring Danny home.

....to be continued.

June 28, 2006