Van J. Joyce

Posted on March 29, 2010


Troop memorial For Van Joyce and Joel Hageman

Troop memorial For Van Joyce and Joel Hageman

 Van in his ROTC uniform. The memorial page at the top of this post was given to me by Gary Pope a Charlie Trooper 1970-1971. Van was assigned to Charlie Troop on February 2, 1969 and was Killed in Action on March 12, 1971. Van was a Pilot of an AH-1G Cobra Attack helicopter. Van was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal w/25 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and a set of Army Aviator Wings. If any family member or friend reads this blog, please contact me as I am looking for pictures and personal stories about this brave man. The following pictures were sent to me By Van’s brother, Ed. Van and Dad 1517X1143   Van and his Dad Frederick.

Van and his Mom, Mary (Betty) and his Dad Frederick at Van's HS Graduation.

Van and his Mom, Mary (Betty) and his Dad Frederick at Van’s HS Graduation.

Most I never knew. Just Lt. Joyce. If I remember right something happened to his back in a Lift bird. Not a crash so I guess a hard landing. He was a very nice person, a brave man, and a excellent officer as well as fine pilot. Lift platoon liked him a lot. He and CPT Cabarra flew me down to Bien Hoa to DEROS I salute all of these brave Trooprs as well as the bravest of the brave who are still with us. Thank you again Patrick. God bless  Comment was made by Larry Donaldson

Van and Joel were shot down in Cambodia by a fifty cal in the tree line of a rubber plantation on which we later dropped napalm.
I was flying right next to them as the rounds marched up the side, onto the engine cowling, finally hitting and severing the main rotor. Van looked over at me and then they fell out of the sky. The gooks were immediately turned into crispy critters and I could feel the arch-lite we called in from bed that night in Tay Ninh.

BDA showed no survivors on the gook side.

They were two really good guys, fine pilots, and brave men.

Donut 46 (Donald Armstrong.C, 1/9

I see below we lost 4 on 15 March, 68, I was there …a sad, sad, day… we parked at Calu and worked our way to the West to Khe Sanh, Calu was about 8 or so km E of Khe Sanh.. Mountains were loaded with NVA.. CP brought Jack Sundquist into Calu.. they were shot up but still flying.. I helped pull Jack out of the gunship.. Jack and I went way back.. knew the family well…As you have noted, we lost others that day also.. We should have arclighted those mountains..Marines at Khe Sanh were pinned down and couldnt move, NVA had Russian tanks at their door step, pounding them…. eventually 1st Cav pulled them out, boy, they were a happy group to get out of there..

15 March, I was flying a Cobra with WO Gibson (Gibber), the 12.7, 4 and 1 flaming rounds were pounding around us.. You always knew there were 4 other bullets you didnt see, with Gibber up front he got a good, scary view of the rounds coming at us that we could see..we always unloaded what we could, TAT jammed of course, and we went to rearm/refuel.. That is when Jack came in.. dont remember much else..I know we had to fly all day and into the nite.. landing on a Calu jungle trail at nite, lights out, was real fun! Guess I’m still screwed up from that day!! I think Art Deel was CO?? Then I think he went to Sqdrn 3? Maybe some of you C troopers can fill in the blanks for me??

Tom, Cav Red/3 (Tom Rankin)