John A. Jelich

Posted on February 7, 2010

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   John Jelich was a scout Pilot in Charlie Troop . After completion of his tour of duty he went back to the States. John served a second tour of duty, this time as a Scout Pilot with Delta Company 299th Attack Helicopter Battalion. It is on this tour that he was shot down. John was married and had one daughter  and a son on the way. This is how his sister, Maggie, remembers him. 

             

We grew up in an average town, USA. Attending an all boys high school meant a lot of discipline, hard work and some fun. Most of our dads had been in WWII. This made the VW Bug an object of jokes. “Hitler’s Revenge”. One sunny spring day John and a few of his friends carried a VW and placed it on the front steps of the school. It meant it wasn’t big enough or strong enough to be a real car.  

            

John was quiet. When interviewed by the AP in between tours ( he was a hero who was highly decorated) he was described as taciturn. But he loved fun and he loved his family. His dad was his best man at his wedding. 
 
     He got married in between deployments. They lived in L.A. while he finished his degree and taught Flight School. They had a beautiful daughter named Deidre. Just for fun he sent me a gift from California. A diaper full of poop.  

        

          John was killed while his wife was pregnant with their handsome son (John Anthony) who was named after him. His last conversation with just me was in our driveway. I was upset because he was going back to Vietnam. He told me very clearly that after knowing the love he has for his daughter, he had to go back to help the children of Vietnam.            

        

So much heart ache when he was killed but when I get morose I think about how even though he died so young at least it was honorable – doing something he believed in. That thought has gotten me through watching his kids grow up. They are spectacular and his grandson is just as mischievous as his grandfather. I expect he will carry  a car up some step too.       

       

John was assigned to Charlie Troop 1st Squadron 9th Cavalry 1st Cavalry Division (AM) from 1968 to 1969. He was assigned to “D” Company 229 AHB on October 31, 1971 and was Killed in Action on April 1, 1972.  John was awarded the following medals for his heroism: Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and a Set of Army Aviator Wings.        

      

 

     

     

  

    

 

   

 

  

 

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