Gabriel “Gab” Trujillo, K/75 Ranger, L/75 Ranger, KIA Feb 15, 1971

Gabriel “Gab” Trujillo

SGT – U.S. Army
101st Airborne Division – Company L (Ranger), 75th Infantry

4th Infantry Division – Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry

09 March 1950 – 15 February 1971
Raton, New Mexico
Panel 05W – Line 110

Trujillo pic 1Trujillo grave marker


Service:               Army (Regular)

Grade at loss:   E4

Rank:                     Specialist Fourth Class (promoted to Sergeant posthumously)

  ID No:                   585424784

  MOS:                       11B1P: Infantryman (Airborne Qual)

Len Svc:               1 to 2 years

Units:                   101st Airborne Division, Company L (Ranger), 75th Infantry

4th Inf Div, Company K (Ranger), 75th Infantry


Start Tour:         09/07/1970

Cas Date:             02/15/1971

  Age at Loss:       20

Remains:               Body recovered

Location:             Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam

Type:                     Hostile, died

Reason:                 Air Loss, Crash – Land – Helicopter – Noncrew


Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman

Badge, Parachutist Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign

Medal, Vietnam Service Medal


Fairmont Cemetery, Raton, New Mexico

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Links to Remembrances:

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Sergeant Trujillo’s brother, PVT Paul Trujillo, also died in Vietnam on 04 Nov 1971.

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Final Mission of SGT Gabriel Trujillo

2/11/16 – by

On February 15, 1971, a U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H (tail number 68-16554) from B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry attempted to extract a wounded Ranger (Sgt Gabriel Trujillo) in stormy monsoon weather and crashed with the loss of seven personnel. The aircraft departed Camp Eagle, RVN, on an emergency night evacuation mission at approximately 1840 hours during a period of marginal weather. The pilot reported 300 to 400 feet and one-half mile visibility. Fifty minutes into the mission, a difficult extraction of the wounded man was made using a McGuire rig and the aircraft lifted off. The aircraft almost immediately encountered instrument flight conditions. Flight was made back to Phu Bai and a ground-controlled approach (GCA) approach initiated with the wounded man still rigged beneath the aircraft. During this phase of the flight, notation has been made of the pilot making a transmission to the effect he was experiencing vertigo and turning over controls of the aircraft to the co-pilot. As the aircraft approached Phu Bai at 5500 feet, contact was made with approach control. An attempt was made to establish radar identification. The transponder and automatic direction finder (ADF) proved inoperative.

After turning the aircraft 030 degrees contact was established. The aircraft was then told to climb to 6000 feet for terrain clearance. Downwind was established and the aircraft was told to descend to 1600 feet. Once under final controller authority the aircraft was vectored with some difficulty experienced in ground track, attributable to the McGuire rig, wind, and 40 knots airspeed, to the final approach course and told to begin a three degree rate of descent. All appeared normal, with the aircraft responding to directions, until approximately three miles on final. At this point the aircraft descended below the glide path in a right turn, and was lost from the GCA scope. Radio contact was also lost at this time. It was later observed by ground witnesses proceeding north of the village of Phu Thu executing a right turn. The impact of the aircraft at approximately 1952 hours indicated as nose low, right front corner of the fuselage first with skid touching simultaneously. Upon impact the aircraft separated, the transmission, rotor head and mast leaving the airframe and the engine staying with the major fuselage portion. The forward fuselage was destroyed by fire.

It is believed that GCA forgot about the McGuire Rig and it became entangled in trees causing the aircraft to go inverted and crash. The lost crewmen included pilots CW2 Richard N. Concannon and WO1 Joseph S. Burke, crew chief SGT James P. Cobb, and gunner SP4 Zebulon M. Johnson Jr. There were two passengers aboard, 1LT James L. Smith and SGT Gabriel Trujillo who was the patient hanging on the McGuire Rig. He was killed when the aircraft crashed 2 miles out on radar approach to Phu Bai after night MEDEVAC. Patient was attached to ropes hanging below. Four crewmen and three passengers were killed in the loss.

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Notes from The Virtual Wall

Seven men died in the crash of a UH-1H helicopter (tail number 68-16554) from B Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry:

  • SGT James Paul Cobb, crew chief, B/2/17 CAV
  • WO1 Joseph Scott Burke, pilot, B/2/17 CAV
  • CW2 Richard Neil Concannon, pilot, B/2/17 CAV
  • SP4 Zebulon Murphy Johnson, Jr, gunner, B/2/17 CAV
  • 1LT James Leroy Smith, passenger, L Co, 75th Inf
  • SGT Steven Glenn England, passenger/medic, L Co, 75th Inf
  • SGT Gabriel Trujillo, patient, L Co, 75th Inf

The UH-1, with four crewmen and medic SGT England aboard, departed Camp Eagle at approximately 1840 hours 15 February 1971 during a period of marginal weather on an emergency night evacuation mission. The pilot reported a ceiling of 300 to 400 feet and one-half mile visibility. Fifty minutes into the mission, a difficult extraction of the wounded man (SGT Trujillo) was made using a McGuire rig and the aircraft departed for Camp Eagle. [NOTE: A McGuire rig effectively is a stretcher lowered by cable; it dangles from the aircraft after pick-up.] 1LT Smith had volunteered as “bellyman” for the McGuire rig extraction.

The flight back to Camp Eagle was in instrument conditions. As the aircraft approached Camp Eagle, the pilot reported vertigo and turned control over to the copilot. A normal ground-controlled approach (GCA) was established with the aircraft proceeding inbound until about the three-mile point, where the aircraft descended below glide slope in a right turn and disappeared from the GCA controller’s radar scope. At about 1952 hours the aircraft impacted nose-low, broke up, and burned. There were no survivors.

According to an informal report, the dangling McGuire rig had caught in trees and pulled the aircraft to earth.

From the VHPA database.

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Charles Reilly, 12555, Euclid Street, #52, Garden Grove, CA., 92840   –

We were, in the same company, together

Airborne Ranger who died, trying, to rescue wounded soldier

Steven England, was killed in a helicopter crash, along with Lt., James Smith, of Company L, Rangers, while trying to rescue, a wounded soldier, Sgt. Gabriel Trujillo. The entire helicopter crew also perished, including Warrant Officer, Richard Concannon. Both England and Smith had volunteered, for this mission and knew how difficult the extraction, was going to be. Because of the thick jungle terrain, the helicopter could not land, but instead, could only lower a McGuire Rig (steel cable Swiss Seat contraption). To make matters worse, the rescue mission, was at night and in the middle, of a monsoon storm. The pilot’s visibility was almost zero, during the entire mission. It would have taken a near miracle, to pull it off. The helicopter crashed on the way back, from the jungle and all were killed, including the man, they were trying to rescue (Sgt. Gabriel Trujillo). Everyone who died that night, was considered a hero, but especially Enland, Smith and Concannon. All three had volunteered, for the mission. The loss of England, who was a medic, for the Rangers and Smith, who had already been wounded once, before on a similar mission, hit our company particularly hard. The loss of Warrant Officer, Concannon, was also felt deeply for he had rescued many Rangers, during some, of the most harrowing situations. Gabriel Trujillo was, the wounded soldier who died, that night, but I do not remember, the names of Concannon’s crew. All told, seven, soldiers died, that night and it was a terrible blow, for both the Rangers and the 2/17, Cavalry. The relatives and friends, of these men can at least take comfort in the fact, that they died while trying, to save another. Concannon, Smith, Trujillo and Steven England, were all friends of mine and they are forever, in my thoughts and in my prayers.

July 31, 2000

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From: Cherie Trujillo –

Comments:   My name is Cherie Trujillo and I am looking for anyone who served with my two uncles. Sgt. Gabriel Trujillo Army B/2/17 Cav 101 Airborne Division in South Vietnam in province Thua Thien in 9-7-70 thru 2-15-71 and Pvt. Paul Trujillo, Army 32nd Arty. Rgt, 23rd Arty Group, 2 Field Force in Lam Son 11-10-70 thru 11-4-71. Both died in Vietnam and my father has talked a lot about them. I would like to locate anyone who might have served with them or knew them. I was born in 1971 and would like any information I can get.

Thank you.


Cherie Trujillo

April Martinez, 408 Martinez Street, Raton, NM 87740 –
My Fathers Friend
Gab was known by my father, when i was younger my dad always had a story about gab, he has been gone for many years, but to my father is feels like not too long, Gab has always been in my father’s heart. Gab will always be remembered to my father as Brother and never will be forgotten. God Bless the Bravery and Strength of Gab Trujillo Sadly Missed and Never Forgotten
May 30, 2006



GABRIEL was lost on 23 February 1971 and PAUL was lost on 4 November 1971