Michael Joseph S. DePaul – Chief Warrant Office Two, United States Army

Date of Birth: 8/1/1947
Date of Casualty: 3/17/1971
Branch of Service: ARMY
Rank: CWO 2
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: VINH LONG

CW2 Michael J.S. DePaul (Aircraft Commander)

CPT Robert C. Green (Co-Pilot)

On 17 March 1971 an AH-1G COBRA, tail number 67-15676, of C Troop, 16th Cavalry, was conducting a night check flight at Can Tho. An air traffic controller cleared an Air America PC-6 PORTER to a final straight in approach and cleared DePaul base to an autorotation final at the same time. The two aircraft collided in midair and crashed, killing all aboard. While the names of those aboard the PC-6 are not known, the two crewmen of the AH-1G were
CW2 Michael Joseph S. DePaul, Aircraft Commander
CPT Robert Carrell Green, Co-pilot

From the Accident Summary:

“DARKHORSE 32 (CW2 Michael J. S. DePaul, IP in AH1G 67-15676) had been working in the traffic pattern at Can Tho landing to the east with closed right hand. He was 0.8 hrs (estimated) into the AC check ride with LT Green. The Air America PORTER call sign 93R had called in to Can Tho tower for landing instructions 6 miles west on VHF. The tower stated “93R straight in runway 08 winds 090/15 altimeter 29.83 report 2 mile final”. This was acknowledged by 93R. At this point, for clarification sake, it is stated that the AH-1G was transmitting and receiving to the tower on UHF. His VHF was not being utilized. The PORTER has only VHF therefore neither aircraft could hear the other’s transmissions although they could hear all the tower transmissions. DARKHORSE 32 (DH32) called on down wind for an autorotation to the active. DH 32 was cleared number 2 for an autorotation on the active. Number 1 in the traffic was an OH-58 just touching down on B Row helipad. DH 32 entered the maneuver on final when the tower saw a fixed wing on final less than a mile from the airfield boundary. The tower asked the fixed wing for his I.D. response was “93R one mile out here.” The tower then instructed 93R to slow his approach. Flaps were applied to an intermediate setting (examination of wreckage); airspeed of 70 to 80 knots was then attained (80 knots being maximum flap speed). The COBRA’s airspeed at this point in a straight-in autorotation would be 60 to 70 knots indicated. The tower then realized that the two aircraft were dangerously close. DH 32 was instructed to “Go around”. Reply was “this is DH”. The tower immediately repeated “DH 32 go around”, reply “DH 32 on the go”. Immediately following that last reply by DH 32, 93R was asked if he saw the COBRA reply “Negative” call immediately repeated “93R do you see the COBRA” reply “Negative going around 93R”. The tower then called “93R make a –oh””. Impact occurred at that time. The COBRA fell forward and to the north side of the active, the left skid contacting a seven foot high pile of PSP (remains of the old runway which had been bulldozed into a pile). The COBRA at this point was in a left bank. It then slid forward off the PSP pile and came to rest on its left side. The PORTER after impact with the COBRA rolled to the left to an inverted position nose low and impacted into an empty revetment 50 meters east of the COBRA.

All died on impact except DePaul. He tried to chop through the canopy with his survival knife, but smoke and heat from the fire overcame him.”


  • CW2 U.S.A.
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 08/01/1947
  • DATE OF DEATH: 03/17/1971

Read our general and most popular articles

Leave a Comment