LTC (Ret) John Berrien Whitehead, III
April 28, 1942-August 10, 2011
LTC (Ret) John Berrien Whitehead III, age 69, resident of Columbus, passed away at his residence in Columbus GA on Wednesday, August 10, 2011. LTC Whitehead, son of the late John Berrien Whitehead, Jr., was born April 28, 1942 in Douglas, GA. He graduated with Flight Class 67-22 and first went to Vietnam in 1968-69 with the OH-6A NETT Team. He returned to Vietnam in 1971-72 where he flew with A Troop 7/1st Cav, D Co. 229th Avn Bn and F Troop/9th Cav of the 3rd Bde 1st Cavalry Division His awards were the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star; Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star, Presidential Unit Citation, Legion of Merit; Meritorious Service Medal and numerous Air Medals. John will remain a legend to those of us who flew in the III Corps area during the Easter Offensive of 1972, when in April, he and Dave Ripley flew OH 6s from D-229 to rescue the Loc Ninh MACV advisors who were escaping and evading towards An Loc. In the chaos of finding and bringing them out, 3 American Advisors, 4 ARVN, John and his gunner SGT Waite flew out under heavy ground fire in Loach 243. This is the only account I have ever found as VHPA historian of 9 souls on board an OH 6 and it still could fly. John was awarded the DSC for this action and a life time of gratitude from Marv Zumwalt one of the three MACV advisors in the back. John will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in September 2011. Check the Arlington National Cemetery website for phone number that will provide the exact date.
- Mike Sloniker