U.S. Advisor to the ARVN and U.S. Army 101st Assault Helicopter Battalion
Service: Summer 1964 – Summer 1965 and Spring 1970 – Summer 1971
A farm boy from rural Ohio, Bob Clewell grew up listening to his father and uncle relay heroic tales of World War II, so when as a teenager he found himself ‘bored with life’ the military seemed like the perfect solution. Arriving just weeks after the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August of 1964, Clewell was one of over 16,000 American military advisors serving in Vietnam. After his advisor tour, Clewell remained in the army and rose through the ranks, returning to Vietnam first in March of 1967 as a fixed wing reconnaissance airplane pilot and then again in 1970 as a company commander of the ‘Comancheros’ in the 101st Assault Helicopter Battalion. Clewell saw intense action in Operation Lam Son 719 – the largest helicopter operation of the entire war. Narrowly surviving, Clewell eventually returned to his home in Ohio. Today he remains active in veterans groups, and regularly gets together with his fellow Comanchero pilots and crewmen.