WILLIAM M KONYU

WILLIAM M KONYU - WO

  • HOMETOWN:
  • phillipsburg
  • COUNTY:
  • Warren
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • March 18, 1947
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • April 16, 1969
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Army
  • RANK:
  • WO
  • STATUS:
  • MIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


William Michael Konyu was born on March 18, 1947. He lived in Phillipsburg, NJ, with his parents, John and Anna, and a sister, Patricia. He was a 1965 graduate from Phillipsburg High School. He went on to attend Beckley Junior College in West Virginia and the University of Maryland at College Park, MD.

Konyu entered the US Army Reserves in Philadelphia, PA, in November 1967. He received training in Fort Wolters, TX, and at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. He was sent to Vietnam in February 1969 and he attained the rank of Warrant Officer (WO). He also served as his unit's Postal Officer and was working hard to organize the mail service more efficiently.

On April 16, 1969, at the age of 22, Konyu was listed as missing in action.

Konyu was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the Military Merit Medal, the Gallantry Cross with Palm and the Purple Heart.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
Warrant Officer William M. Konyu was assigned to Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division. On April 16, 1969, Konyu was the pilot of a UH1H helicopter on a combat mission in northern Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, about 10 miles from the border of Laos.

As Konyu made his short, final approach to the landing zone, he received intense enemy fire. The windshield on the pilot's side was shattered. Konyu was seen to throw up his hands and slump forward over the controls. The Co-pilot was wounded in his legs. Control of the helicopter was lost. The helicopter subsequently crashed, rolled over on its side and burned. Attempts to reach the helicopter by ground personnel were made impossible because of the intense heat of the burning aircraft. A US ground team reported a burned body in the pilot's seat.

The team was uncertain how to recover what they believed were the remains of the pilot, and left the area, but returned later in the day to prepare to extract the remains.

When the extraction team arrived four days later to recover the remains, they had disappeared. Evidence that enemy forces had been at the site was discovered, and it was assumed that the enemy buried the pilot somewhere nearby, but no graves were located. Konyu was listed among the missing because his remains were never found.

William Konyu is currently listed as missing in action, body not recovered.

Sources: Denise Slattery (niece), POW Network and NJVVMF.

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