In 1998, Elmer Wetzel made his first trip to the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. and looked for the names of his buddies from the 196th Helicopter Assault Company.
“I was crying so hard,” Wetzel said.
Amidst the tears, he was able to find the name Vidal Sanchez, Jr. on panel 19E, row 112. Spc. Sanchez was a beloved aircraft repairman who died in a helicopter crash on May 13, 1967. Known for his big smile, he was a fellow member of the Army’s 196th Helicopter Assault Unit after joining from Shiloh, N.J.
Moments later, Wetzel found the name of the friend he new as “Tiny.” On panel 25E, row 16 “Tiny” is listed by his birth name: Randall G. Jacob. Spc. Jacob was killed while securing a perimeter after the crash landing of his Army Chinook helicopter. Tiny was known by his friends as a smart…
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