HARGROVE, JAMES WELDON
HARGROVE, JAMES WELDON
Rank / Branch:
CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER 2
FIRST AVIATION BRIGADE
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, CRASH HELIC
Awards & Decorations:
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JAMES WELDON HARGROVE, CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER, 2ND CLASS, U.S. ARMY, ROTAN, FISHER COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Army Aviator's Wings, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 18 clusters, Army Commendation's Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, RVN Campaign Medal, Vietnam Military Merit Medal, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm.
Jimmy was born in Rotan, Texas, the son of Maude Coppedge and Robert Hargrove. He grew up on a farm near Rotan. He attended Rotan schools and graduated from Rotan High School in 1947. He then attended Texas Tech in Lubbock and earned a B.S. degree in Agronomy.
He entered the United States Navy and was commissioned an ensign. He entered Naval aviation and flew A3D jets. He served 13 years from 1952 until 1965 as a pilot and held a Navy rank of Lieutenant Commander. Jimmy wanted to serve in combat in Vietnam. At the time, the Navy would not assign him to that theatre. The U.S. Army was recruiting men to learn to fly helicopters in the mid 60's and Jimmy left the Navy in 1965 and joined the Army to enter this program with a rank of Warrant Officer One. This was quite a cut in pay and a reduction in rank. He went through flight school from the beginning at Fort Wolters, Texas and then to Fort Rucker, Alabama as a member of Class ORWAC 65-16.
At the Controls of a Huey-Co-Pilot, Vietnam 1966
He began his tour in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot on February 4, 1966. He was with the 121st Aviation Company, 12th Aviation Group. The unit was based at Soc Trang. Because he had been in the Navy, most of his fellow pilots referred to him as "Old Salty." He received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions on October 18, 1966, when he was aircraft commander of his platoon leader's UH-1 helicopter during airmobile operations near Vi Thanh. He first helped provide cover for four simultaneous troops landings . Immediately after landing, two ground troops were wounded and Hargrove and his crew returned to provide covering fire for their evacuation despite heavy ground fire and rain. After the rescue helicopter was forced away with ten hits, Hargrove and his crew attempted the evacuation. The helicopter received intense hostile fire and crashed as it attempted to take off. CWO Hargrove was killed in the crash. He was the only fatality. The remainder of the crew spent the next 18 hours escaping and evading the enemy.
After a Hairy Mission-1966, Showing Bullet Holes in Windshielf of UH-1C, he was flying
Jimmy was buried with full military honors in the Belvieu Cemetery, Rotan, Texas. He was awarded a Posthumous Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart posthumously. He was survived by his wife, Nora of Mineral Wells, his son, James Belton Hargrove of Kingsville, three brothers, Dr. Robert Hargrove of Snyder, Bernice Hargrove of Rotan and Laverne Hargrove of Farwell, Texas.
Belvieu Cemetery, Rotan, Texas