Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Historical

Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Historical (HM1VS3)

Location: Hurlburt Field, FL 32544 Okaloosa County
Country: United States of America

N 30° 24.931', W 86° 42.038'

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21st Tactical Air Support Squadron

On the evening of 24 February 1967, Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks was flying his 488th combat mission as a Forward Air Controller. While covering South Vietnamese Army Rangers and their American advisors in the O-1E Bird Dog, he discovered a well-concealed enemy force about to ambush lead elements. He radioed a warning and called for tactical air support. With their trap compromised, the enemy launched an assault and trained heavy machine gun fire on Captain Wilbanks. Disregarding the threat, he continued marking targets for helicopter gunships until they were forced to withdraw. Then, with no other option available, and determined to distract the attackers, he flew low over the battlefield while firing a rifle from the window of his aircraft. This courageous action finally disrupted the attack allowing the Rangers to escape. On his final pass, Captain Wilbanks was mortally wounded, and his bullet-riddled aircraft crashed between opposing forces.
Captain Wilbanks was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 24 January 1968.
HM NumberHM1VS3
Placed ByThe Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park Council
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, November 19th, 2016 at 5:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16R E 528752 N 3364867
Decimal Degrees30.41551667, -86.70063333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 24.931', W 86° 42.038'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 24' 55.86" N, 86° 42' 2.28" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)850
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 315 Independence Rd, Hurlburt Field FL 32544, US
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