WOOLLEY, JAMES NED
Rank / Branch:
SP5 E-5, U.S. ARMY
FIRST AVIATION BRIGA
Date of Birth:
GUNSHOT-DIED OF WOUNDS
Awards & Decorations:
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JAMES NED WOOLLEY, SPECIALIST FIVE, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Army Aircrew Wings, Bronze Star with "V" Device, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendations Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Military Merit Medal
James was born in Kermit, Texas, the second child and only son of Willie Fae Hudson and Ned Sanford Woolley. At the time of his birth, the family was living in Monahans. In 1951, the family moved to Odessa where his father was the founder and chief operating officer of Woolley Tool Company in Odessa. He had an older sister, Barbara and a younger sister Janet.
James attended Odessa schools. In 1956, his older sister, Barbara, a student at Odessa High School was killed in a car accident in Odessa. She was 16 years old. James attended Bonham Junior High School and Permian High School. He was an honor student and graduated with the 1964 class.
Permian High School-Class of 1964
After high school, he attended Texas A&M for his freshman year, 1964-65 and was in the Corp of Cadets and was a mechanical engineering major. He returned to Odessa after his freshman year and enrolled at Odessa College, where he continued his studies and worked for his father's business at Woolley Tool.
He enlisted in the Army in the summer of 1967 to fulfill his military obligation. He completed basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana and Machinest Training and Helicopter Maintenance Training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He began his tour in Vietnam on September 21, 1968 and was assigned as a machinest and helicopter maintenance mechanic for 334th Aerial Weapons Company, 145th Aviation Brigade, 12th Aviation Group, First Aviation Brigade.
He completed his one year tour in September and extended his tour six months to take advantage of the early out program. On October 13, 1969, he was involved in a helicopter recovery effort in a hostile fire area. He was shot in the chest by a sniper and was medevaced to the 12th Evacuation Hospital, where surgery was done and he was listed in critical condition. He developed pneumonia and died from his wounds on October 30, 1969, a little over 2 weeks after the incident.
He was buried with full military honors at the Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery in Odessa. He was survived by his parents and his younger sister, Janet Gooch. The tragedy of the family continued in 1973. His parents were flying to California aboard a company plane. His father was piloting the aircraft and they were flying to Long Beach, California to meet with customers. Mr. Woolley was piloting the aircraft and at a point east of El Paso, he diverted the aircraft over the State of Chihuahua Mexico due to a thunder storm. The plane went down near a small village about 43 miles southwest of El Paso and both he and his wife died in the crash. They are buried in a family plot at Sunset with Barbara and James.
Janet Weston, his younger sister is remarried and now lives in Austin with her husband.
Family Headstone-Sunset Memorial Garden's Cemetery-Odessa, Texas