The 35th Infantry Regiment Association salutes our fallen brother, PFC Theodore Alan Winowitch, who died in the service of his country on December 30th, 1964. The cause of death was listed as Helicopter Crash (While on TDY as Door Gunner). At the time of his death Theodore was 21 years of age. He was from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Theodore is honored on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Panel 01E, Line 79.
The decorations earned by PFC Theodore Alan Winowitch include: the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm Unit Citation.
From "Unit History of the 334th Armed Helicopter Company"
On 30 December 1964 WO Roy G. Azbill, WO Steve G. Morgan, Sergeant Franklin Porter and PFC Theodore Winowitch were killed in action when their helicopter was shot down by .50 caliber machinegun fire at Binh Gia and crashed in enemy territory.
DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS
Theodore A Winowitch distinguished himself by heroic action in the Republic of Vietnam on 20 July 1964 as crew chief and gunner of a transport helicopter flying in support of counterinsurgency operations. On this date his helicopter was carrying an ARVN Infantry Division commander and his liaison party in Vinh Long province. When the helicopter landed at the locality of Tan Binh, the roar of battle could be heard and the Division commander and his party hurried to investigate. The scope of the battle increased and a thunderstorm threatened. Viet Cong guerrillas were advancing toward the aircraft's position and mortar shells exploded nearby. At this time, Private Winowitch left the aircraft to assist in carrying dead and wounded ARVN soldiers to a medical aid station and render as much first aid as possible. The proximity of the shellfire caused the pilot to take measures to protect his aircraft and while his passengers remained absent, he effected a take off and orbited the battle area despite air turbulence from the onrushing thunderstorm and the danger of automatic weapons fire. The helicopter became a target for exceedingly heavy automatic weapons fire, and the weapons of Private Winowitch and the other door gunner being the ship's only means of defense, he responded heroically to the emergency. Stationed in the gunner's door, exposed to the onslaught from below, he fired his machine gun continuously and accurately. When the ARVN passengers returned from surveying the battle, the pilot landed to take them aboard. During this landing and the ensuing take off, the ship drew more gunfire than before from guerrillas attacking along tree lines. Again Private Winowitch stationed himself in his exposed door gunner's seat and, taking the tree lines under fire, delivered accurate volumes of fire to suppress the guerrillas. His valorous action protected the helicopter and its passengers. His performance was in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects distinct credit upon himself and the military service.
I was his "Shotgun" platoon leader when we deployed to the 68th Aviation Battalion (formerly known as the UTT Helicopter Company) in late 1964. All the platoon were volunteers and Ted was the only member who had previously served a similar tour. We had been in country about a month and, on this particular day, we were flying over a village named Binh Gia. Despite flying over the area all day, we had seen nothing -- although intelligence said there were over 3000 NVA in the village. We had other reports like that in previous missions which didnt pan out, so we were somewhat casual about it. About four oclock in afternoon, all hell broke loose and we were taking fire from everywhere. My roommate at the time, Danny, a pilot in another helicopter, was shot down. Fortunately, other helicopters were able to land and rescue him. Another chopper was hit by anti-aircraft fire and one of my door gunners was shot through the leg. They evacuated him to the hospital and then returned the helicopter to our base at Ton Son Nhut where we cleaned it out and reloaded the ammunition. I was going to go back out on that helicopter but Ted pleaded with me to let him go instead. I agreed because I had to make sure other choppers were manned, and I knew I could go on another helicopter later. The chopper started rotating the engine and rotor blade, but Ted wasn't around so I jumped in the gunners seat and strapped myself in. Suddenly, Ted came running around the corner so I got out. This helicopter was shot down about a half hour later and no one survived. When I went out on a later flight, we flew into the area where Teds helicopter had gone down and we received heavy fire. I remember looking at the rounds coming at us and thinking they were aimed straight at my head, and knowing that there were four rounds I couldn't see for every round I did see. After circling several times and continuing to receive fire, we were forced to withdraw because it was too dark. When we landed in the village two days later, we discovered what an unbelievable job the NVA had done camouflaging their positions, which is why we had been unable to see the thousands of NVA troops. Ted was the guy everyone in my platoon looked up to, and I will never forget him. I have an etching of his name from "The Wall" in my office.
Bill Entringer -- Scottsdale AZ USA -- 04/17/2013
(A Remembrance From Childhood Friend John P Foley)
May I take this opportunity to introduce myself as a childhood friend of Ted Alan Winowitch.
I read with great interest the article that two members of your association wrote about Ted and would like to update you on several facts pertaining to where Ted grew up in Pittsburgh.
He lived on 25th and East Carson Street on Pittsburgh's South Side over a social club on the main street.
He had an older sister named Winnie who passed away several years ago.
He attended South High School but did not graduate.
I was informed that he attended a Military School in Virginia for a short period of time.The two members had difficulty finding information on his last known address in Avalon, Pa.
He spent most of his formative years on the South Side and I lived one block away on 24th ST.I played baseball and basketball with Ted and proud to consider him as a friend.
We were informed of his demise on New Years Day in 1965 with front page coverage in the Pittsburgh Press which has since closed.
Since I was two years older than Ted I lost contact with him around 1959.
He always displayed a competitive spirit in sports and we are all proud of his Military Decorations and his heroic actions in Southeast Asia. Hopefully this will assist you in completing Teds background information.
John P Foley.