Richard Alwin Weske

Vietnam May 1967 - May 1968
US Army 191st AHC - 1st Platoon
assimilated by: Reid Weske (Weske's brother)
The following information is what I have been able to gather about WESKE during his time spent in Vietnam.
I am expecting more information which will populate this page. Don Sandrock is going to send details about his command with the Bat Ship and Richard. When received, it will be displayed on this page. Aalso any other info received from the 191st AHC.
May 14, 2017
Okay - how this all started …. it was raining here in Oregon (no surprise) and I was on google and saw a picture of Richard and it lead me to a site I hadn't seen before and there was a picture of Richard alongside his helicopter (they called it the bat ship). I noticed that the picture was posted by somebody named Ed McKee. I went to the 191st AHC web site (that's the unit Richard was in) and found this his (Ed) email address. I email him saying I has Richards brother and asked if he new of any one with more pictures or information about Richard. He send out an email blast to all the people on the email list for the 191st AHC and told me that I'd probably hear form some people.

May 15, 2017
I got a call from Don Sandrock and after a brief talk about who are you - who am I... he told me that he was the pilot of Bat Ship when Richard was shot. He told me the whole story in all it's details and all about the involvement with him and Richard. He was not aware that Richard had a brother and was surprised to hear about me. The conversation lasted about 1 1/2 hours - at times I felt I was getting so much information - it was like drinking from a fire-hose.

One of the things Don mentioned was all the art work Richard did on the doors and nose of the Huey's. Their (Don's and Richard's) particular craft, was the Bat Ship. After years of Don being home, he saw this yellow car - had to have it and went in to buy it because it reminded him of the Bat Ship. He talked to the dealer and wanted to have the Bat logo painted on the car. At first the dealer balked because of copyright laws but after hearing the story and seeing pictures, he painted it.


Received May 16, 2017 from Don Sandrock

Here is one of the bricks I donated for Richard. I have given for several, this one is on Albuquerque, NM. I ordered on for the Welcome Home Plaza in The Woodlands, TX and another in the courthouse square in Belton, TX (co. seat).


Received May 16, 2017 from Pat Boyd

My name is Pat Boyd and I served with Richard in Vietnam . We were in different flight platoons within the 191st. The reason I am E/M you is I have an etching of Richard’s name from the Vietnam memorial wall. I was wondering if you would like to have it

Best Regards,



Received May 16, 2017 from Rodger Barkley

I served with your brother the entire time I was in country. We were both crewchiefs in the first platoon of the 191st. (although I think he may have started as a gunner and then became a crewchief) How this worked was the gunner was an infantry MOS and was responsible for the guns, the crewchief’s responsibility was the helicopter. Both manned M-60 machine guns on either side. Both worked together though. The 1st Plt helicopters were “Slicks” meaning we primarily flew men and supplies in and out of LZ’s, etc. Whatever the ground troops needed. We only had one M-60 on each side that we manned, not all the heavy ordinance the gunships, which flew cover for us had, hence the term, “slick ship” .

First let me tell you that Weske, (pardon, but we usually referred to each other by last names and I just feels awkward referring to him by any other name), was one great guy. He was the proverbial West coast hippie, love beads, laid back, fun, cool, and all the trimmings.. And a damn fine solder, (although he would most likely argue that). He was very well liked by all… pilots, comrades, everyone.

I'm attaching a few pictures, Him with a brush after painting an “S” on my doors for Supership. (I believe he crewed Batship?). He did all the door art in the 1st Plt. As well as some more including our Company sign and logo. Another picture is of him and myself on the beach, South China Sea behind us. Apparently our CO felt we needed a little R&R and landed the entire flight, 10 slicks & 4 gunships on a stretch of beach across a small bay from a fishing village. (Was probably a little risky, but we enjoyed the break). Kids came over in these round boats, and it wasn't long until we were in them. Weske is sitting on the edge of one.

I have included a picture of the Embassy in Saigon. On Tet morning 1968 it was under attack, (as well as everywhere else). We were assigned single ship missions that morning. The helicopter Weske was crewing had to resupply the Embassy. (We, the crew, wore armored vests that we referred to as “chicken plate”. We would take the back out and sit on it for obvious reasons). The Embassy was under heavy fire, but they were able to land on it and kick out ammo and supplies. In and out, they received multiple hits and were shot down, but were able to land safely. Weske had a round hit the armored plate he was sitting on. The chicken plate worked. I believe he received a citation for that action. We believe they were instrumental in keeping the Embassy from being overrun.

The 191st was formed at Ft. Bragg, NC where we joined it. We shipped over as a unit around May 20th, 1967. We who shipped over were scheduled to return to the states a year latter. If you had less than 90 days to serve after returning, the Army would give you an early out, or separation. I returned on May 20th 1968. Rich extended so as to have less than 90 days left when he returned to also get an early out… As you know, he was killed on May 21st….. I didn't find out until we started having reunions about 25-30 years ago. His name always comes up as we tell stories at our reunions.

Your brother was a good man, good solder, (although he would deny that), and friend. He often comes up in my thoughts and memories…..

Roger Barkley
Moscow, Ohio

GreeseGun work with his greese gun
painting an “S” on my doors for Supership
The Maltese Cross - painted by Richard
Mother Goose - painted by Richard
Company sign and logo - painted by Richard
Beach, South China Sea (Richard and Roger Barkley)
Basket Boat borrowed from local kids
US Embassy in Siagon

The following is the information I was given to by Don over the ohone during our initial conversation, to the best of my recollection:

On May 21st, 1968...

Don Sandrock: pilot-in-command
Ray Rug: first officer
Richard Weske: crew chief

Flying in a 10 ship operation and after landing to refuel, they took off. Sandrock instructed Rug not to fly over the river. Shortly after lifting off, all hell broke loose and the ship was under intense fire, being struck several times with enemy weapons fire. Someone in the back said that the chief was hit. Sandrock took control of the ship and stabilized their flight and proceeded to the nearest base to get medical help for Richard. The ship was in bad shape and he couldn't see the instrument panel and the windshield was covered in blood, with only a small basket-ball size area for him to see out. Upon landing, Richard was taken right off and given medical assistance. Sandrock flew the craft back to the home base to unload the other solders and get medical attention for Rug who also took a gunshot wound to the leg. Sandrock went back to his craft to go get Richard and he was told that Richard didn't make it.

Don said that he started out as an enlisted man too and entered flight school and got his ratings and became an officer but always had a soft spot for other enlisted men. He took a liking to Richard right away and selected Richard to be his crew chief. Don said that Richard was not your typical Army soldier and was definitely a southern California boy, with long hair and most other flight officers did not understand him. Richard and Don became close buddies and a lot of times when the bell would go off, Don and Richard would be the only ones to go out and fly the mission. Don taught Richard how to fly. Richard asked Don, why would you teach me to fly. Don’s response was that a lot of time it’s just you and I and if anything happens to me, I want you to be able to get us back. Don, said a lot of the other air crews didn't understand Richard but that Richard was the best. There was no one he would rather have work on his craft but Richard and that Richard kept the craft flying. During some missions, before departure and during the crew briefing, Richard would go to the other side of the ship and take a few hit off a number. Don would be sure that no one interfered and would keep others away.

Don said that on the morning of the 21st, before their flight Richard ask to speak privately to Don and told Don that he reenlisted, saying to Don, as long as your staying here, I’m staying too. The only thing he said was that after the mission, he wanted Don to fly him to Hotel 3 and Richard was going to go home and spend a few weeks there before he returned. Don said that reenlistment is nothing he would have ever expected of Richard, not being a true soldiers soldier and having his long hair and always talking about be home and out of the Army. (I might add that I never heard anything about Richard reenlisting and really couldn't imagine him doing it. I also have no official or unofficial records that indicated he reenlisted. This was a surprise to me. I do know that Richard extended his stay in Vietnam so that when he did return to the States, he would be home and not on duty elsewhere.)


Other Sites of Interest about Richard

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund
The Virtual Wall * Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Find A Grave
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