Chief Warrant Officer 3
Walter Francis Wrobleski was born on August 28, 1945. In December 1966, at the age of 21, he was assigned as a pilot with the 281st Assault Helicopter Company, at Nha Trang, Republic of South Vietnam. On May 21, 1967 he was shot down in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, while flying as a pilot on UH-1C gunship 65-09480, assigned to the 281st Assault Helicopter Company. Walter was carried as MIA until February, 1978 when he was officially declared dead by an Act of Congress. During the time of his “missing status” he was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3.
Walter’s home of record is Freehold, New Jersey. The town of Freehold established a memorial of crosses near their downtown area for all of the Freehold persons who were killed or missing in action during the Vietnam conflict. Walter’s religious preference was Protestant.
Walter was initially assigned to the 1st Flight Platoon, (Rat Pack) flying UH-lD Huey slick helicopters. Later, after gaining flight experience he was transferred to the gunship platoon (Wolf Pack). His 1st Platoon Commander, Jack Serig, recalls giving Walter his first local orientation ride. Walter was relentless in demanding that he be sent to the gunship platoon (Wolf Pack) right away, as he wanted to kill the communist enemy. Every time he flew with his Platoon Commander he insisted he should be transferred to Wolf Pack. He eventually accomplished his wish. He was assigned to Wolf Pack when he became MIA.
The crew members flying with Walter on the day of his loss were Donald Corkran, Aircraft Commander; Craig Szwed, Crew Chief, and Gary Hall, Gunner; all of whom were rescued after their aircraft crashed rolled and burned. Corkran and Hall were knocked back into the jungle as the hoist from their rescue helicopter carried them through the jungle canopy on their initial rescue attempt. The rescue of these three surviving crewmen took place over four days. (Suggest the reader check out the Personal Stories on this web site of Donald “Corky” Corkran and Craig Szwed which provides more harrowing details of the crash and their eventual rescues.)
Read CWO Don "Corky" Corkran's personal account
Another 281st Huey door gunner, Private First Class Michael Patrick Gallagher, was also killed on the same day, 21 May, 1967, engaging the enemy during the time his ship was heavily involved in the rescue effort.
CW3 Walter Wrobleski is survived by his mother and brother, Harry. Contact with Harry several years ago revealed that Walter excelled in baseball and had the stuff to become a pro-player.
Walter’s listed on Panel 20E, Line 80 at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
On Memorial Day, 1994, an article written by his former Rat
Pack Platoon Commander, regarding Walter’s loss, was printed in the Miami
Herald. That article is also
carried on this web site under the Personal Stories of Jack Serig.