|Birth: ||Aug. 1, 1941|
|Death: ||Jan. 2, 1963, Vietnam|
Spc4 Donald L. Braman of Mystic, Conn., is honored on Panel 1E, Row 15 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. On 02 Jan 1963, the 93rd Transportation Company was tasked for an air assault by troops of the ARVN 7th Infantry Division. All ten CH-21 helicopters were used in the lift. On the fourth lift, the landing zone (near Ap Bac) was ambushed by an entrenched and reinforced VC battalion. Although the first four CH-21s were hit by ground fire, they were able to take off again. The #5 helicopter was shot down. The #6 CH-21 unhesitatingly diverted its take-off and attempted to pick up the crew of the downed CH-21 but was itself shot down. The landing zone was judged untenable due to enemy fire, preventing further rescue attempts, and the remainder of the flight departed for the staging area at Tan Hiep. The #2 CH-21 made a forced landing enroute due to damage, and its crew found themselves under enemy fire for the next eight hours. At the staging area, only two of the remaining seven remaining helicopters were flyable. Approximately one hour later information was received from ground troops in the area that the VC firing had subsided and evacuation of the downed crews was possible. A CH-21 was dispatched and landed despite sporadic ground fire. While attempting to load the downed crews and wounded, the tempo of enemy fire increased and the pilot was wounded. The copilot immediately lifted off, leaving the wounded and crews behind, but had to make a forced landing about 1/2 mile away. At Tan Hiep, two other helicopters had been repaired by cannibalizing other aircraft. The three flyable aircraft spent the rest of the afternoon in ammunition resupply and medivac missions into the first three landing zones. Approximately eight hours after being shot down, the downed aircrews were picked up by ARVN armored personnel carriers and moved to an area where they could be evacuated by helicopter. At day's end, nine [93rd TC soldiers] had been wounded and one killed in action. Of the ten helicopters committed on the mission, all ten had been hit by enemy fire, four had been shot down, and only three could be flown back to base. SP4 Braman, gunner in the #6 CH-21, was the dead American. He received a posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions during the attempt to recover the downed #5 aircrew. Fort Rucker's Braman Hall (classroom Building 6022) is named in his honor.
The 93rd Transportation Company was redesignated the 121st Aviation Company (June 1963) and eventually became the 121st Assault Helicopter Company.
Knoxville National Cemetery
Created by: Elizabeth Reed
Record added: Jan 02, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 23701218