Above: CWO Wayne Lanier with a Bell UH-1, commonly known as a Huey, a versatile helicopter widely
used in the Vietnam War. Right: Lanier’s Air Medal with 23 Oak Leaf Clusters. Below: The notification of
Lanier’s death was sent via telegram to his wife.
The following is the Department of the Army’s battle
report with CWO Lanier’s Silver Star Award from that
Department of the Army, Award of the Silver Star. Chief
Warrant Officer Lanier distinguished himself by exception-ally
valorous action while serving as a pilot of an OH-13S
helicopter during a reconnaissance mission in the A Shau
Valley. While flying ahead of an advancing infantry
unit, he spotted several enemy bunkers and foxhole posi-tions.
Although intense enemy ground fire was directed at
his helicopter, CWO Lanier remained over the area relay-ing
information about the enemy positions to the ground
elements. CWO Lanier continued to fly over the insurgent’s
emplacements, even after he and his aircraft received direct
hits. While relaying vitally needed information to the
infantry units, CWO Lanier’s helicopter burst into flames
and crashed, mortally wounding him. CWO Lanier’s gallant action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service, and
reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United Sates Army.
The Silver Star is the nation’s third highest battlefield honor. CWO Lanier was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with
23 Oak Leaf Clusters. He had logged more than 1,300 hours of flight time in Vietnam. There are 2,202 Vietnam helicopter pilots on
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C. Chief Warrant Officer Dayton Wayne Lanier can be found on Panel 57E,
Writer Robert Rehder is a Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. His father was a WWII Merchant Marine deck officer who
sailed in three war theaters. His grandfather, enlisting at age 44, was a WWII Army finance officer who served in France. His brother
was an Army 82nd Airborne artillery lieutenant in Vietnam. The Rehders have two sons who are both United States Marines.