Each day, the VA honors a special military veteran for their dedicated service on their blog, VAntage Point. Today’s veteran is Army Veteran Paul Magers from Billings, Montana, who was missing in action and later declared killed in action in Vietnam.
Paul Gerald Magers joined the Army in 1969, graduating from Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia in January 1970. He graduated from Helicopter School the following October and from the Rotary Wing Aviator Course in February 1971 at Fort Rucker, Alabama.
Magers left for Vietnam on May 12th, 1971 where he served with the 158th Aviation Battalion, 160th Aviation Group, 101st Airborne Division in Quang Tri province.
In June 1971 during his second week in the country, Magers and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Donald L. Wann flew to a hill near Dong Tri with another aircraft to rescue a team of Army rangers. Magers and Wann hovered overhead in their AH-1 Cobra gunship while another helicopter extricated the Rangers and then attempted to destroy the mines left behind by the Rangers. As they flew lower, fire from the enemy hit the underside of the helicopter, causing a fuel leak that then ignited, and the helicopter crashed into a slope.
Following the crash, both Magers and Wann were listed as MIA until 2009, when a Vietnamese excavation team discovered remains from the crash site. The Defense Prisoner of War and Missing Personnel Office identified the remains of Magers and Wann.
Magers was laid to rest at Yellowstone National Cemeteryin Laurel, Montana, Section A, Row 2, Grave 4 in 2010.
We honor his service.