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Info Sheet - Edward Lewis Mortimer, Jr.
Killed in Action 5 July 1971
see Eulogies from friends, David Whitley, Helicopter Information & Steve Borden Letter

Accident Report Information from VHPA:
Name: CW2 Edward Lewis Mortimer, Jr.
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 07/05/1971 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 21.7
Date of Birth: 11/02/1949
Home City: Severna Park, MD
Service: AV branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: F/4 CAV
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 69-29
Service: AV branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 03W-101
Aircraft: OH-6A tail number 69-16043
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 100B = Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: small arms fire
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 12/09/1969
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
The initial status of this person was: no previous report
Length of service: *
Location: Binh Duong Province III Corps.
Military grid coordinates of event: XT615305

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died of wounds
single male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: unknown or not reported
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 10/31/2005

Return to the Helicopter Pilot KIA name list


Helicopter Data:

Helicopter OH-6A 69-16043
Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 69-16043
The Army purchased this helicopter 0670
Total flight hours at this point: 00000802
Date: 07/05/1971
Incident number: 71070505.KIA
Unit: F/4 CAV
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XT602292
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: OPERA (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

CE SP4 Nicholas, Glenn Randy WIA


Eulogy Input from Friends:

David Whitley (Aerorifles): You were a friend & a good pilot. We responded to the crash when Ed Mortimer was shot down. I was beside him holding his hand & trying to tell him he'd be okay while he was being lifted out, but it was obvious he wasn't gonna make it. It took me 20 years to get the courage to contact his family because I didn't want to have them experience that pain & loss again. I eventually did find his (what had been) fiance. I told her what the situation had been when he was shot down and much to my relief, she was very gracious & kind to know the details and that someone was there with him. I was surprised to find out they had been given no info on what had happened. It was a weight off my shoulders & a sort of closure for his friends & family.

03 Nov 2003
When I got to F Troop, I met Ed. He lived in the room next to mine. Ed was an "Old Guy" as he had been in Vietnam "forever." He was just finishing his 6 month extension. I must have looked like a drowned pup. Ed took me under his 'wing' and helped me get settled at 'Camp Courage.'
A few days later, the harsh reality of war came crashing down on me. Ed was shot down, and expired before we could rescue him.
'Mortimer Snerd' was his nickname but not his disposition. He was a caring individual and a good friend whom I will never forget.
From a friend,
Steve Borden

4 Jul 2006
Growing up in Manhattan Beach during my teen years, I remember such names as Louie Mortimer, Harry Simmons, Steve Dawson, Dave Muller, Ratcliff, Thompson brothers, Horsley brothers. I always thought these guys where cool, but Louie & Harry where the coolest. I meet Louie through his brother Denny. I still remember the first day that I meet Louie, he was in the back yard with Harry and Denny jumping on a trampoline. I remember him playing is 8 track tapes music. The Beach Boys, Donavan The Beatles, and of course Louie Louie by the Kingsman. I remember how much Denny respected and loved Louie. I miss you both!I was at your house the day you left for Nam, and the day you returned. Your Mom and Denny where so happy. I was out partying with you the night before you left for your 2 tour of Nam. I remember you telling me you where afraid for your brother if you did not return, years to come we all found out the reason for that fear. I want to let you know that I always respected you and your friendship, and I will always remember you.
Your Buddy: Randy Fear.

6 Nov 2010
Louie - you were my first boyfriend- in the old neighborhood you were the one who always had a smile -I will remember your laughter always - I think of you often and know the world was a better place with you in it. Miss you. Love – Toot Relationship: We grew up togetherRelationship: We grew up together
Kathryn Perkins

5 Nov 2011
We grew up togetherI have visited you twice at the wall. It was very compelling. To remember you, touch your name and feel a presence there that cannot be explained. I have remembered you always, from your role in 6th grade, playing Scrooge in the play at Folger Mc~ to the one kiss we shared in HS when I was helping you with some homework. The year forgotten but, not you. Although forever was not meant for us back then, I never forgot you, Little Pigmy. You were a great friend and this country, we the people, remain free because of your sacrifice, your family's sacrifice, as well as the sacrifices of many more Comrades and their families. When I see Military personnel, I will go out of my way to shake their hands and thank them for their service and my freedom. We still remember, think about and love you Louie.
Claire Zahn


Letter from Steve Borden to Ed's friend Ginnie

Steve's note: Ed had a younger brother named Dennis. Dennis was always called Denny. Ginny was Denny’s girlfriend and absolutely adored Ed. That group called Ed ‘Louie.’ We always called him Mortimer Snerd. Crazy, eh?

Hello Ginnie,  

Ed, or as you knew him, 'Louie,' was a hero in every sense of the word. Officially, he should be considered a hero because he was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) which is the third highest award that can be bestowed upon any member of the armed forces. However, to guys like me, Ed or "Mortimer Snerd' will always be regarded a hero because he gave selflessly of himself to his fellow pilots and crew members, as well voluntarily placing himself between harm and a nation of individuals totally undeserving of dedication such as his for which he paid the ultimate price. Your pride in him is not misplaced. I too am proud of him and grateful for the few days I was allowed to know him.
I wish I could tell you that he told me all about his family and friends back home, but, unfortunately, it would not be the truth. It was indeed a rare occasion that someone would mention someone we left back in "the world." Those rare moments were usually one of the guys showing a picture of the 'girl' that was waiting for them. That was usually after a large intake of alcoholic beverages. In hindsight, I think it was a defense mechanism. No one enjoys being away from their loved ones, and talking about them reminds one of the distance as well as the emptiness it leaves inside. That hurts too much. Instead, our discussions mostly seemed to revolve around the situation we were in. Which missions were better than other, which weapons were more effective and how our 'expertise' in certain events brought about great success. They are also referred to as 'War Stories' and begin with the words, "No S--t, there I was. . ." So, he never got to tell me about his family and friends back home. 

'Louie' was a "Scout" or 'Little Bird Pilot' and he flew an OH-6A helicopter. He flew in what was called a "Pink Team" which consisted of a 'little bird' and a 'big bird.' The 'big bird' was an AH-1G or Cobra gunship. The little bird flew very low and scouted out the enemy. When he found the enemy, he dropped a smoke grenade and alerted the gunship who would then do battle with the enemy. As a gunship pilot, I always thought the little bird pilots were the bravest people on earth. I was later told that some of the scout pilots thought the same about us because we would deliberately attack a known position. You might call it a mutual admiration society.  

On the 5th of July, I was not flying Cobra's. I was in the 'Slick platoon' which means I flew the UH-1H or 'Huey' helicopter. We flew the soldiers into and out of battles, plus we retrieved the injured ones so they could get to the hospital for treatment. That morning, minutes before sunrise, Ed and his crew chief 'Sgt Rock' took off with their big bird to do a "first light VR" of an area known as "The Mushroom." That means he was going to do a Visual Reconnaissance of a suspected enemy position at daybreak. "The Mushroom" was a place South of the base called Lai Khe (pronounced lie kay) where a river formed what looked like a mushroom when viewed from the sky. 

The mission started normally. Ed went down "on the deck' and started hunting for signs of the enemy. He was flying over a relatively flat area when he found them. Unfortunately, they found him at the same time. He started to turn away and radioed the situation to the Cobra when the enemy opened up with considerable firepower on him. His bird was struck with sufficient force as to cause it to lose power and crash. Ed took a round through his leg, which severed an artery. Sgt Rock received a broken back during the crash sequence. The Cobra radioed our operations to let us know a bird was down. This caused the Troop to launch everything flyable. The Cobra's took off first and helped relieve the ship that was with Ed when he was shot down. Sgt Rock had pulled Ed from the wreckage and was talking to the ships overhead on an emergency radio. The cobra's kept firing on the area around Ed to keep the enemy away while we loaded the huey's with troops and a doctor to rescue Ed and Sgt Rock. Two times, we tried to land near them and both times we were driven away by extremely heavy fire. Almost all of our ships were hit, and two had to return to Lai Khe, barely making it before they quit. Third try was a success. 
We got the troops on the ground to secure the area, and the bird with the doctor got in to make the "pick-up." The bird that made the pick-up immediately headed for the hospital probably at a speed the huey was not supposed to be flown at. We went back in and pulled out the troops then went back to Lai Khe to await the news. 

It was close to lunch when the crew of the pick-up ship came back. We were told that Sgt Rock had a broken back, but would make it. Ed died enroute to the hospital. He had lost too much blood from the injury to his leg.
I don't remember much about the next few days. I know we had a memorial service for him, but I can't seem to remember who spoke and what was said. I remember someone offered me his room, but I couldn't make myself move into it. It's like there's a black cloud blotting out those days. I can't explain how hard it is to lose a roommate. We didn't live in the same room per se, we were in the same building, sharing a bath with just a door between us, but I considered him a roommate. My buddy Jim Delaney moved into Ed's room. Four and a half months later, I lost Jim too, but that's another story. 

I don't know if I could be called an advocate of Viet Nam vets. You might say I'm an advocate of all Combat Veterans. I do everything I can to ensure that the boys coming home now NEVER get the reception or treatment I got when I came home. I want to make sure that the filth traitors like John Kerry spread can never again cause our nation to treat our Combat Veterans like dirt again. I'm grateful for people like you. Because of you and others like you, I can now be proud about being there. It seems like fewer and fewer people avoid the subject of Viet Nam or speak about it like it was a bad taste in their mouth. That couldn't happen with people like you. You have my heart felt gratitude. Good Grief! I've written a book instead of a note. I better quit while I'm ahead. I hope I've filled in a few of the blanks for you. It's really great hearing from you too.


For those who have had to fight for it, Freedom has a flavor, the protected will never know.