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Major Michael Davis O’Donnell (American)

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, from Springfield, Illinois, was a helicopter pilot assigned to the 52nd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, based at Dak To and Pleiku. On 24 March 1970, while attempting to rescue eight soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces, his chopper was shot down. Although crew in other choppers reported … Continued

Major Michael Davis O’Donnell, from Springfield, Illinois, was a helicopter pilot assigned to the 52nd Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, based at Dak To and Pleiku. On 24 March 1970, while attempting to rescue eight soldiers surrounded by attacking enemy forces, his chopper was shot down. Although crew in other choppers reported that his craft had been engulfed in a ball of fire that no one could have survived, he and three crew members were declared Missing In Action, perhaps in part because his chopper was downed in Laos. In 1977, he was promoted to major. A year later, he was officially declared Killed In Action. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.

If You are Able

If you are able,
save them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.

Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.

And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

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