W0-1 James Eugene Kirby 27 Oct 1941 - 11 Feb 1969
James Eugene Kirby born 27 Oct. 1941 in Ann Arbor Michigan. The son of Mr. and Mrs. Grover P. Kirby. In 1958 he Graduated from Ann Arbor High School.
In 1960 James joined the U.S.M.C. and served for four years.
In 1964 James Joined the U.S. Army. He went to jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia then to Fort Rucker, Alabama for flight school.
2 Nov. 1968 James started his Vietnam tour with the 1st Aviation Brigade, 17th Group, 223rd Combat Aviation Battalion, 203rd RAC Hawkeyes 3rd Platoon Phu Hiep, Phu Yen Province, II corps, South Vietnam.
James was the pilot of Aircraft 51-12116 an 0-1G Bird Dog light observation plane. Bird Dog 116 was equiped with an aircraft mounted XM3 People Sniffer Personnel Detector.
XM3 missions were named Snoopy Missions. The U.S. Army considered the aircraft mounted XM3 a valid indicator of enemy occupation in bunkers and other hard targets. the XM3 could pick up ammonia from human sweat and other effluents unique to humans. Next to visual sightings the aircraft mounted XM3 was the most reliable means of detecting enemy personnel.
11 feb 1969 James and his observer went on a Snoopy Mission. This required the plane to fly at tree top level with a supporting helicopter gun ship behind and at a higher altitude.
Flying at tree top level in a heavy jungle the XM3 picked up a reading and on a second pass James Bird Dog was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed into the trees.
The observer Scott (need name and unit) was able to crawl out from the aircraft just before it burst into flames. The oberver was immediately picked up by the supporting helicopter gun ship.
W0-1 James Eugene Kirby was Killed In Action. He was 27 years old. He left a wife, son, and daughter. He had 10 years service and gave his life for our country. This memorial is for James Eugene Kirby never to be forgotten