|Birth: ||Dec. 6, 1938|
|Death: ||Dec. 24, 1965, Laos|
In Memory of ......... Capt. Dennis Lee Eilers.
*** Lt. Col. Dennis "Denny" Lee Eilers, 27, will be buried on Saturday, June 30, 2012, at the First United Church of Christ in Tipton, military honors at the Tipton Masonic Cemetery in Cedar County, Iowa.
*** Lt. Col. Eilers and the remains of the other crewmen will be honored and laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 9, 2012 accompanied by the families of each flight crew member.
*** His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you! ***
DENNIS LEE EILERS - Air Force - CAPT - O3
He was active in many sports and school activities and graduated from the Tipton High School in 1957 and also graduated from Coe College in 1961.
Date of Birth Dec 6, 1938
From: CEDAR RAPIDS, IA
Marital Status: Oldest son of Walter F. and Leone M. Wentzel Eilers. Dennis was united in marriage to Belva Schnack in 1961. Lt. Col. Eilers is survived by his wife, Belva Jean (Duffy) Schnack Schamberger of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; sons, Curtis Lee (Jodie) Eilers, Born Dec. 6, 1962 in Lubbock, Tx. and now of Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Brett (Rebecca) Eilers of San Francisco, California; his younger brother, Dean Eilers of Tipton, Iowa; grandchildren, Danica, Shana, Colton, Ruby and Hazel.
******* Although Denny's status was changed from MIA to KIA in 1977 nearly 4 ½ decades later the United States Air Force has positively identified the remains and other items found at the crash site as those members of the missing 6 man crew.
The Patriot Guard will escort the funeral procession to the Tipton Masonic Cemetery for the symbolic burial and military graveside rites will be given to honor Denny who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Lt. Col. Eilers and the remains of the other crewmen will be honored and laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 9, 2012 accompanied by the families of each flight crew member.
***** The service drew hundreds of people, including Air Force and Vietnam veterans unrelated to the families.
Curtis Eilers, who was 3 when his father died, admitted he was taken aback that so many people have been interested in his father's story and attended Monday's service. Many strangers also attended a service for his father in Iowa.
"I didn't know that anybody else would be interested," he said. "I never thought of my dad as a hero."
He said he was impressed by the efforts to identify the crew members.
His tour began on Dec 24, 1965
Casualty was on Dec 1, 1977-Actual day is Dec.24, 1965.
In LZ, LAOS
Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - PILOT
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was not recovered
Panel 04E - Line 37
Other Personnel In Incident: Arden K. Hassenger; W. Kevin Colwell; Joseph Christiano; Larry C. Thornton and Derrell B. Jeffords (missing)
*** The remains are representative of six Air Force servicemen:
Col. Joseph Christiano of Rochester, N.Y.
Col. Derrell B. Jeffords of Florence, S.C.
Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell of Glen Cove, N.Y. Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger of Lebanon, Ore.
Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton of Idaho Falls,Idaho
On 24 December 1965, a SPOOKY gunship piloted by Col Derrel B. Jeffords and Capt Dennis L. Eilers, with crewmen Maj Joseph Christiano, MSgt Larry C. Thornton, TSgt W. Kevin Colwell, and SSgt Arden K. Hassenger, was an armed reconnaissance mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in eastern Laos.
SPOOKY 21 first was directed to a location approximately 32 miles northeast of Saravane City, then diverted to a second location 18 miles east-northeast of Saravane. Shortly before contact was lost with the gunship at 1050 hours, one of the crew broadcast a "Mayday" message on UHF GUARD. The aircrews of two other aircraft operating in the area heard the gunship's final radio transmission.
An extensive search and rescue (SAR) operation was initiated at 1448. During the entire search effort, SAR aircraft received intense enemy ground fire from the jungle below. SAR operations terminated two days later with no trace of the aircraft or crew found.
The six crewmen were placed in "Missing in Action" status. Captain Eilers' status was changed on 01 December 1977 to "Died while Missing".
None of the SPOOKY 21 crew has yet returned from their last mission.
**** ( Lt. Col. Eilers and the remains of the other crewmen will be honored and laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 9, 2012 accompanied by the families of each flight crew member. )
AIRMEN MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IDENTIFIED
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of six U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, were recently identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Col. Joseph Christiano, 43, of Rochester, N.Y.; Col. Derrell B. Jeffords, 40, of Florence, S.C.; Lt. Col. Dennis L. Eilers, 27, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Chief Master Sgt. William K. Colwell, 44, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Chief Master Sgt. Arden K. Hassenger, 32, of Lebanon, Ore.; and Chief Master Sgt. Larry C. Thornton, 33, Idaho Falls, Idaho, will be buried as a group July 9, in a single casket representing the entire crew, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.
On Dec. 24, 1965, the crew was aboard an AC-47D aircraft nicknamed "Spooky" that failed to return from a combat strike mission in southern Laos.
In 2010, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. recovery teams again excavated the crash site. The team recovered human remains, personal items, and military equipment. Three additional excavations in 2011 recovered additional human remains and evidence. Scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command used dental records and circumstantial evidence in the identification of their remains.
Walter F. Eilers (1908 - 1978)
Leone Maxine Wentzel Eilers (1913 - 1998)
Dennis Eilers (1938 - 1965)*
Dennis Lee Eilers (1938 - 1965)
Note: June 26, 2012 laid to rest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and then Lt. Col. Eilers and the remains of the other crewmen will be laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery on July 9, 2012
Arlington National Cemetery
Plot: Section 60 Grave 10047
Created by: Eddieb
Record added: Oct 26, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60666717