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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Hurlburt Field in Okaloosa County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks

21st Tactical Air Support Squadron

 
 
Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
1. Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks Marker
Inscription. On the evening of 24 February 1967, Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks was flying his 488th combat mission as a Forward Air Controller. While covering South Vietnamese Army Rangers and their American advisors in the O-1E Bird Dog, he discovered a well-concealed enemy force about to ambush lead elements. He radioed a warning and called for tactical air support. With their trap compromised, the enemy launched an assault and trained heavy machine gun fire on Captain Wilbanks. Disregarding the threat, he continued marking targets for helicopter gunships until they were forced to withdraw. Then, with no other option available, and determined to distract the attackers, he flew low over the battlefield while firing a rifle from the window of his aircraft. This courageous action finally disrupted the attack allowing the Rangers to escape. On his final pass, Captain Wilbanks was mortally wounded, and his bullet-riddled aircraft crashed between opposing forces.
Captain Hilliard Almond Wilbanks image. Click for full size.
By Public Domain
2. Captain Hilliard Almond Wilbanks
Captain Wilbanks was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor on 24 January 1968.
 
Erected by the Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park Council.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Medal of Honor Recipients marker series.
 
Location. 30° 24.931′ N, 86° 42.038′ W. Marker is in Hurlburt Field, Florida, in Okaloosa County. Marker can be reached from Independence Road. Touch for map. Located at the Hurlburt Field Memorial Air Park and access to the base is restricted. Marker is at or near this postal address: 315 Independence Road, Hurlburt Field FL 32544, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. O-1E Bird Dog (here, next to this marker); The Forward Air Controller (here, next to this marker); Operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina (a few steps from this marker);
Captain Hilliard A. Willbanks Marker and the O-1E Bird Dog aircraft. image. Click for full size.
By Mark Hilton, November 17, 2016
3. Captain Hilliard A. Willbanks Marker and the O-1E Bird Dog aircraft.
Operation Uphold Democracy (a few steps from this marker); Operation Restore Hope (a few steps from this marker); Operation Provide Comfort (a few steps from this marker); Operation Assured Response (a few steps from this marker); Desert Shield and Desert Storm (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hurlburt Field.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker.
 
Also see . . .  Wikipedia article on Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks. (Submitted on November 19, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
 
Categories. Air & SpaceMilitaryWar, Vietnam
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 19, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 19, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 144 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 19, 2016, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.
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