On November 14, 1983 CW3 Donald F. Landmesser and SSG Donald E. Thornton, Jr. died in the line of duty on a cold, wet, dreary wintery Monday afternoon while conducting a maintenance test flight on UH-1H, 65-9975 at 1510 hrs. in a heavily wooded area in lower Richland County. In-flight breakup occurred causing M/R system and T/B separation before high-speed impact into trees.
At the time Don and his wife Gail were expecting his one and only child. This special baby girl, Casey Nicole Landmesser was born on 7 Jun 1984 but sadly passed away on 12 Jun 1984.
Don graduated from Flight Class 67-7 and very quickly was assigned to the 176th Assault Helicopter Company in the Republic of Viet Nam.
He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for safely landing the number six ship of seven ship lift on 8 Apr 1968. (Read the award below) A little over a month later on 12 May 1968 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for voluntary actions above the call of duty. (Read the award below)
After separation from the Army, Don joined the South Carolina Army National Guard and subsequently became a UH-1H Instructor Pilot.