WORTH, ROBERT EARL
Rank / Branch:
ADJ2 E-5, U.S. NAVY
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, CRASH HELIC
Awards & Decorations:
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list by County
ROBERT EARL WORTH, ADJ2, U.S. NAVY, BIG LAKE, REAGAN COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Navy Aircrewman Wings , Purple Heart, Air Medal, Naval Achievement Medal w/V device, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Campaign Medal
Bob Worth was born in Tulsa, OK, March 4, 1947 to Tomma and Melivn B. Worth. His parents divorced and his mother remarried to A.J. Sonny Duncan. He was in Kermit during his freshman year and sophomore years, then attended Reagan County High School his junior and senior years. Worth was a talented artist, musician, wood-worker, and auto mechanic. He built a speedboat during a shop class, testing it successfully at Lake Nasworthy in San Angelo. He also helped form an auto racing club while in Reagan County. While he was a senior, he worked at the Big Lake Wildcat Newspaper.
Reasgan County High School-1965
Entering the service in 1966, he was trained as a jet engine mechanic. While serving on the USS Yorktown, he participated in the pick-up of the Apollo 8 mission crew. On the USS Princeton, he was part of the pick-up crew for the Apollo 10 astronauts. His duty took him to Singapore, Japan, Guam, then to both sea duty and shore duty in Vietnam. Worth was a member of the Blue Beret Force.
During the early days in Vietnam, Naval forces operating in Military Regions III and IV relied on Army helicopter units for support, a situation that was less satisfactory for both groups. The Army and Navy determined that is would be more effective to form Navy UH-1 gunship units using ex-Army UH-1B aircraft. Helicopter Composite Squadron 1 (HC-1) was the initial Navy unit involved, establishing four detachments in southern South Vietnam. Within a month of activation, the four HC-1 detachments were able to relieve the Army units from most routine requirements. On April 1, 1967 HA (L)-3 was formed from the four HC-1 detachments. The squadron flew more that 120,000 sorties before being decommissioned at Binh Thuy in March 1972. Forty-five aircrewmen were lost during HA(L)-3's five years of existence.
The picture was taken on the airfield in Ca Mau in the Fall of 1970. It is believed to be taken by Lt. Richard Buzzell, who was killed with ADJ2 Bob Worth and Chief Ratliff. Front Row: Left to Right: ADJ2 Bob Worth, Tony Nelson, Back Row: Lt. Jon (Buzz) Smith, LT. Jim Thompson, Lt. Milo Mizel, AEC Johnnie Ratliff (KIA)
Robert volunteered and was assigned to HA(L)-3, TF 116 on September 15, 1970 as a crew chief of one of the gunships. On December 19, 1970, Seawolf 312 (UH-1B tail number 63-12929) went down. Robert was a crew chief and door gunner on this aircraft. Although the casualty records indicate it was a combat loss, the Vietnam Helicopter's Pilots' Association database contains the following comment: "Crashed at WR31242 S/E of Kien Long, Xugen Province, IV Corps, South Vietnam. The aircraft hit the ground inverted. It was surmised that it may have been due to Blade Failure overhaul errors at Bell Helicopter. The four on the aircraft were:
LTJG Richard H. Buzzell, Arlington, Ma, pilot
LTJG Antonio O. Ortiz, Pirtleville, AZ, copilot
AEC Johnny Ratliff, Washington Court House, Ohio
ADJ2 Robert E. Worth, Big Lake, Texas
Robert Worth is on the Wall at Panel 06W, Line 133. He was survived by his wife, Lavenia Lee of Big Lake; his mother and step father, Tomma and A.J. Sonny Duncan also of Big Lake and by his father, Melvin B. Worth of Bixby, Oklahoma.
Big Lake Cemetery