Rattler/Firebird Association

Remembering William (Bill) Francis O'Connell

Served with Rattlers & Firebirds in: 65-66
Died: 29 March 1976
Cause: Acute pancreatic hemorrhage

William (Bill) Francis O'Connell

William (Bill) Francis O'Connell, died March 29, 1976, at the age of 42 years, of an acute pancreatic hemorrhage, only ten years after his first tour in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged in 1974 after serving 21+ years with the U.S.Army, USAR, in Vietnam, Korea, and Europe, among other locations.

Bill served with A Company 501st Aviation Bn, HHD 145th Avn Bn, from Nov. 1965 to Oct. 1966 in the Vietnam Defense Campaign, CounterOffense Campaign, and CounterOffense Phase II Campaign. At that time he was a Captain stationed at the Bien Hoa Air Base as a Rotary Wing Aviator (Counter-Insurgency) and Assistant Division Ln Officer (Counter-Insurgency). He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal and several Air Medals w/6 Oak Leaf Clusters during that same period. He was later promoted to Major and served another Vietnam tour, in 1969 with a different unit in which he received a second Bronze Star, before he retired.

User Comments

Posted by: Karen O'Connell Bourland

Date: Jan 29, 2007

Comment: O'Connell Family After Dad left for duty in Vietnam in the fall of 1965, I remember Mom loading all of us kids into the car in early December so we could go to the local Red Cross office. Volunteers were recording messages on a huge, old-fashioned tape recorder from the families of service members and sending the troops an audio tape and family photograph from home for the holidays . As each of us, from the littlest to the eldest child, lined up to record our simple, but heartfelt, greeting, it was always the same sentiment "Merry Christmas! - We love and miss you, Daddy!." Now, more than forty years later - we still do.

In memory and honor of William F. "Bill" O'Connell
With much love, from his wife, children and family

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