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Patriots Point To Dedicate Huey Helicopter to Memory of Soldier Who Was Killed Onboard the Aircraft During the Vietnam War

Chris Hauff Jun 11, 2015

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – On Monday, June 22, at 7:00 p.m. Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will host a special free ceremony to dedicate the museum’s Huey helicopter 66-15005 to the memory of Army Specialist Four Kenneth Plavcan, who was killed in action while onboard the aircraft on Oct. 1, 1968 in the Vietnam War.  Through intricate research the museum has been able to determine the detailed history of this aircraft.

After his death, the 21-year-old Plavcan was awarded the Army’s Distinguished Flying Cross, an Air Medal (first through seventeenth Oak Leaf Cluster), and a Commendation Medal with “V” Device for his heroic actions that saved the lives of his helicopter crew and the ground troops he was asked to protect during his final combat assault mission.


Army Specialist Four Kenneth Plavcan was killed in action on Oct. 1, 1968.

“Kenneth Plavcan paid the ultimate sacrifice to save his fellow soldiers onboard a helicopter that is still with us today on display at our museum,” said Executive Director Mac Burdette.  “It is extremely rare to be able to tell the stories of our heroes and relate those stories to one of our artifacts.  We want to make sure everyone who sees this helicopter during their visit will think about Specialist Plavcan and his sacrifice.”

The combat assault mission in which Plavcan was killed took place near the Cambodian border of Vietnam.   The Army Specialist was a door gunner providing support to troops from the 25th Infantry Division on the ground.  At one point during the attack, the ground troops became pinned down.  To suppress the hostile fire, Plavcan leaned outside of the helicopter and fired at the enemy.  In doing so he was fatally wounded.   His actions resulted in the enemy ambush being neutralized.

“We are extremely proud that his family will join us from Ohio for our ceremony,” said Mac Burdette.  “As we dedicate this aircraft to Kenneth, we will also remember the thousands of helicopter crew members and pilots who gave their lives in the Vietnam War.  We also will use this ceremony as a way to pay tribute to the most important aircraft of the Vietnam War.”

Plavcan was raised in Parma, Ohio.  He enlisted in the Army in January 1966 and was sent to Vietnam in May 1967.  Just days before he was killed, Plavcan had volunteered to serve an additional six months in the war.

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