3/17 ARC Crest.Gif



Courtesy of Spur 21, Randy Little




Panel 07W
Line 091



ID No. 311429518

Branch: ARMY

Component: RESERVE

Grade: W1

MOS: 100E

Posthumous Promotion: {n/a}

Birthdate: 08/30/43

Tour Date: 07/04/70

Casualty Date: 09/26/70

Length/Service (yrs):

Processing Date: 09/70

Age: 27

Home of Record: SELLERSBURG



Marital Status: SINGLE

Sex: M



Casualty Type: HOSTILE, DIED




Province: GINH LONG

CACCF Comment: {n/a}

CACCF Ref No.: 28385





Name: WO1 Thomas Martin Barnett

Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 09/17/1970 while performing the duty of Pilot.

Died 9 days later on 09/26/1970

Age at death: 27

Date of Birth: 08/30/1943

Home City: Sellersburg State:IN

Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army

Unit: A/3/17 CAV

Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade

Flight class: 70-13/70-11

Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army

The Wall location: 07W-091

Summary: Shot down by .51 cal near Quan Loi while flying front seat

Aircraft: AH-1G tail number 67-15862

Call sign: Silver Spur

South Vietnam

MOS: 100E = Attack Helicopter Pilot

Primary cause: .51 Caliber

Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea

Compliment cause: vehicular accident

Vehicle involved: helicopter

Position in vehicle: pilot

Vehicle ownership: government

Started Tour: 07/04/1970

Official listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot

The initial status of this person was: no previous report

Length of service: --

Location: Binh Long Province

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed

Casualty type: Hostile - killed

Single male U.S. citizen

Race: Caucasian

Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference

The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.

Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: warrant officer

This record was last updated on 02/21/1994


Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.

KIA statistics

Date posted on VHPA site: 05/31/2009



Sgt Neal,

I was a scout pilot in A Troop when your uncle and my friend, Tom Barnett, was flying Cobras in the weapons platoon. I was there when Tom died.

In about the August to September 1970 timeframe, we were flying visual reconnaissance (VR) missions out of Quan Loi, which was northwest of Saigon near the Cambodian border. The normal VR mission configuration was one scout and one gunship, which was called a pink team.

On the day that Tom died, we were encountering the lead elements of a NVA unit north of Quan Loi. I was in one pink team and your uncle was in another. He was flying as copilot (front seat) with CW2 Dave Toms and their scout pilot was WO1 Lou Chadara. Your uncle's team got into contact with a well dug-in NVA unit with three .51 cal machine guns. The gunship from my team and your uncle's ship engaged the position repeatedly. My team's gunship got shot up pretty bad and had to break station. Another gunship joined your uncle's. As your uncle's Cobra was breaking after completing a devastating rocket attack, the NVA gunners hit their engine, rocket pods, and ammunition bay.

CW2 Toms did a magnificent job in getting the aircraft on the ground in a controlled crash given the fact that the cockpit was filled with smoke. Both your uncle and CW2 Toms were hurt pretty bad on impact. One of our slicks, with ARPs on board, landed to assist the extraction of the crew in the downed gunship; WO1 Chadara in his OH-58 also landed to help extract the crew. An E-6 [SSG Parsell] and a couple of other guys pulled both your uncle and CW2 Toms out of the burning Cobra---a couple of them were injured when a few of the rockets cooked-off in the tubes. They flew both injured pilots back to Quan Loi. Special Forces A-team medic was at our location and he tried everything that he could to save Tom,but he couldn't; he was too badly injured as a result of the crash. CW2 Toms did survive, but it took him a long time to recover.

By the way, even as your uncle's aircraft was still burning in the clearing, more Silver Spur gunships arrived and they finished the mission by eliminating the NVA unit.

Tom was a good friend and was always a great guy to be around. Because the scouts and the guns had such a close working relationship, we also got together after the flying was done for the day. Everyone liked and admired your uncle, not only for his professional skills as a pilot, but because of his great sense of humor and positive outlook.

SGT Neal, it was a pleasure and honor to serve with your uncle and I will never forget him.

As for Tom's DFC, I will ask Roger Young, who is our Troop's webmaster, historian, and friend, to check with his sources to see if anyone has a copy of the original orders.

Tom White, Spur 13


Tom, Sgt. Neal:

I'm afraid I don't have a copy of Tom's (Barnett) DFC. I will ask the other troopers that we are in contact with if they might just have a copy -- probably unlikely -- but certainly worth a try.

Sgt. Neal, my recollection of the tragic loss are very similar to my good friend, Tom White. I was a scout crew chief at the time.

I was one of those who helped to carry your uncle from the location where the Special Forces A-Team medic was working on Tom to the medevac chopper. We exchanged a few short words and at the time he was very alert, conscious, and your uncle was more concerned about CW2 Toms than himself. When we loaded your uncle aboard the chopper he did not appear to be in any pain.

I did notice your uncle's chest had been injured, probably by the gunsight when the Cobra made a very hard landing. It was a shock to all of us days later when we got the word later that your uncle had passed away. I took a rubbing of your uncle's name the last time I was in D.C. on Veteran's Day, 2000. I and other fellow 3/17th troopers placed a wreath at the Wall in honor of our fallen troopers. Your uncle's name was included in the laminated dedication that we had placed in the middle of the wreath.

Tom was very well liked and respected by all who had the honor of serving with him. As long as those like Tom White and myself are still around, your uncle and our other fallen brothers will not be forgotten.....

God Bless, and I want to personally thank you for serving our beloved country.

Roger "Bear" Young


16 September 2011:

My account of Dave Toms (Moose) and Tom Barnett is a little different. As I remember it, the Slick that Tom White talks about was me. We scrambled and I was the only one that made it to the crash scene. I was the AC and I had with me a brand new Capt just assigned to the unit. I can not remember his name but he later took over as Commander of A troop.

I had with me on the slick the ARP leader and 5 grunts. Can not remember the LT's name. My AC went directly to the scene and dropped off the troops right on the Cobra, which was burning at that time. Charlie had got delayed and arrived later.

The scout landed and went to assist the ARPs extract the men from the bird. I took off and circled the scene waiting for the extraction. Red Horse 6 came on and landed and his bird was the aircraft that Tom and Dave were transported back to Quan Loi.

When they were in route to Quan Loi, I landed and picked up the ARPs and their LT. The ARP leader and the scout pilot both received awards for their action. (Soldiers Medal for both and a Purple heart for the scout for burns received. Moose and Tom were transported back to a base and were later transported to 24th Evac. Tom died of his wounds received in this action.

The 51 site that the Cobra had engaged was later destroyed and numerous KIA's claimed in the battle were notated. Red Horse 6 and his Copilot also received medals for their actions My account is a bit different but together they tell the story.

Pat Ramsey, Spur 29





Toms and Barnett Shootdown: a Pilot's Perspective by R.D. Toms, Jr. - May 2015





20 May 2015:

Dave Bonello and I were sent to investigate a report a report that and ARVN troops had come in contact with and enemy force. The estimate of "10 to 20" enemy turned out to be inaccurate. When we fired some rockets on the target, we started receiving fire from .51 cal. Our Cobra was hit numerous times and one round smashed into the ammo bay and tore up the 7.62 ammunition. We could smell the gunpowder and I was afraid we were on fire. We landed in a clearing behind the friendly forces. Luckily there was no fire and we determined the aircraft was still flyable and we took off again. Dave Toms and Tom Barnett were already on the scene and covered our take off. We expended the rest of our rockets on the target and went back to Quan Loi. I will always be grateful for the sacrifice that Dave Toms and Tom Barnett made it coming to our aid that day.

Ed Marzola




23 May 2015:

An Interesting follow-up:

Myself and Rick Normand were were called shortly after Dave and Tom went down, to help support the mission in our Cobra. Very busy afternoon for all of us....

I would like to pass this along:

In 1983, while in the Nevada National Guard and on an SME project for Guard Bureau in D.C. I decided to revisit the Vietnam Memorial Wall. The first time I visited, a year before, I felt so strange about it that I couldn't go forward with it and turned around.

So, on my next D.C. trip a year later, I decided that whatever the mental force was that prevented me from seeing the wall was not going to stop me.

Off I went, walking down the path looking at each panel. Ahead of me and several panels down I saw a National Park Service Officer doing a tracing for a couple. As I walked by, I discreetly looked on as the park service officer finished the tracing and handed it to the couple. The couple then continued down the path toward the end of the panels. I stood there in shock and disbelief! The name that was traced was Tom Barnett's! Stunned, I regained my composure and chased after the couple. I excused and introduced myself to them, saying that Tom was in my Vietnam unit and I was present during the action where we lost Tom. They, of course, were as shocked as I !

We decided to cross the street and go to a sidewalk cafe to chat about the circumstances. It turned out that the guy was Tom's best friend in high school. He knew that Tom had enlisted for flight school but knew nothing more about what he did or what happened to him. We chatted for at least an hour, shook hands and left.

I was so moved by the experience that I returned to the Wall and spoke with one of the Vets who helped with locations etcetera. I told him about what I had experienced and he remarked "Oh! That kind of thing happens all the time here!"

Happy Memorial Day to all the Spurs; never forgetting the brothers we lost!

Mike Billow
Spur 38