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First Name: Dennis

Last Name: Hamilton

Birthplace: USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Barnes City, IA
Middle Name: Clark

Date of Birth: 04 May 1946

Date of Death: 08 January 1979 (Official)

MIA Date: 05 January 1968

Rank: Chief Warrant Officer 3

Years Served:
Dennis Clark Hamilton

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Dennis Clark Hamilton
Chief Warrant Officer 3, U.S. Army

Dennis Clark Hamilton was born on 4 May 1946, the son of Charles and Hazel Hamilton. Charles had served a medic in the Army during World War II and was at Normandy on D-Day.

On 5 January 1968, Warrant Officer Dennis Clark Hamilton was serving with the 176th Assault Helicopter Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 16th Aviation Group, Americal Division, in South Vietnam.

On that day, while on a mission in Laos, the helicopter in which WO Hamilton was aircraft commander crashed as a result of enemy fire. WO Hamilton was listed as Missing on 5 January 1968.

Synopsis of Helicopter Crash

The following synopsis was prepared by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilot’s Association and it can be viewed at http://www.vhpa.org/KIA/incident/68010501TXT.HTM.

On January 5, 1968, WO Dennis C. Hamilton [Honoree Record ID 251266], aircraft commander; WO Sheldon D. Schultz [Honoree Record ID 276008], pilot; SP5 Ernest F. Briggs, Jr. [Honoree Record ID 236238], crew chief; SP4 James D. Williamson [Honoree Record ID 286335], crewman, and SSgt. John T. Gallagher [Honoree Record ID 248040], passenger; were aboard a UH1D helicopter (tail # 66-1172) on a mission to infiltrate an indigenous reconnaissance patrol into Laos. The reconnaissance patrol and SSgt. Gallagher were operating under orders to Command & Control North, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions. As the aircraft approached the landing zone about 20 miles inside Laos south of Lao Bao, it came under heavy 37mm anti-aircraft fire while at an altitude of about 300 feet above ground level. The aircraft immediately entered a nose-low vertical dive and crashed. Upon impact with the ground, the aircraft burst into flames which were 10 to 20 feet high. No radio transmissions were heard during the helicopter's descent, nor were radio or beeper signals heard after impact. Four attempts to get into the area of the downed helicopter failed due to intense ground fire. During the next two days more attempts to get to the wreckage failed. The pilot of one search helicopter maneuvered to within 75 feet of the crash site before being forced out by enemy fire. The pilot who saw the wreckage stated that the crashed helicopter was a mass of burned metal and that there was no part of the aircraft that could be recognized. No signs of life were seen in the crash area. Weather delayed further search attempts for a couple of days. After the weather improved, the successful insertion of a ground team was made east of the crash site to avoid enemy fire. The team was extracted after the second day, finding nothing. The crash site was located near the city of Muong Nong in Savannakhet Province, Laos.

On 8 January 1979, Hamilton’s status was changed to Missing, Presumed Dead, Body Not Recovered. During the time that he was in MIA status, Hamilton was promoted to Chief Warrant Officer 3.

Chief Warrant Officer Hamilton’s remains were returned to U.S. soil on 15 November 2002. The remains were identified on 13 November 2006.

Medals, Awards and Badge

Purple Heart
Air Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Army Aviator Badge


The name Dennis C Hamilton is located on Panel 33E Line 49 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.


On 14 August 2007, Chief Warrant Officer Dennis Clark Hamilton's remains, along with those of Chief Warrant Officer Sheldon Duane Schultz; Sergeant First Class Ernest Frank Briggs, Jr.; and Sergeant First Class James D. Williamson, were interred together, with full military honors, at Arlington National Cemetery. The remains of the other passenger, Sergeant First Class John Theodore Gallagher, were buried with full military honors at Central Burying Grounds in Hamden, New Haven County, CT.

Honoree ID: 251266   Created by: MHOH




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