Coyle Hall
Pope AFB

In Memory SSgt Gerald A. Coyle

Nakhon Phanom RTAFB
56th Security Police Squadron

by Charles Hayes,
MSgt, USAF, NKP 1973-1974

SSgt Gerald Coyle Dorm Dedication 16 Sep 03 at Pope AFB NC
The below personnel were beside the dorm sign after the SSgt Gerald Coyle Dorm Dedication,
16 Sep 03, at Pope AFB NC:

Photo, L/R:

Donald Green SMSgt, USAF, (ret.) NKP 1973-1974
Eddy Cowick, CMSgt, USAF, (ret.) Korat 1973-1974 Vietnam (late 60's)
Robert Lawrence, MSgt, USAF (ret) NKP 1973-1974
John Appel, SSgt, USAF -- Thailand 1973-1974 (and one of the truest friends a person can be blessed with)
Charles Hayes, MSgt, USAF, NKP 1973-1974

SSgt - Air Force
31 year old Male
Born on May 14, 1943
56th SPS, NKP Thailand
Casualty was on May 13, 1975
Non Hostile, Helicopter Crash
SS Mayaguez Rescue Operation
Body was recovered
Panel 01W - Line 125

SSgt Gerald Coyle
SS Mayaguez Rescue Operation,
Killed in Line of Duty, May 15, 1975.
Bronze Star
SSgt Gerald A. Coyle

E-mail Received concerning SSgt Coyle:

Author: John Appel
Subject: Mayaguez SP To Be Honored

Hi: I'm John Appel in North Carolina. I'm not a VSPA member, but I read and occasionally post on the Bulletin Board. I was friends with SSgt Gerald Coyle, who was killed in the Mayaguez Operation when his chopper went down out of NKP on May 14, 1975. I was at U-Tapao RTAFB at the time, we were waiting for the SP's from NKP to arrive so we could assault the ship.

Coyle and I had worked together at Pope AFB, NC, just before we were both sent to Thailand, but to different bases.

I made contact with Coyle's daughter almost 2 years ago [see following e-mail]. We've maintained email correspondence since then. She just informed me that Pope AFB is honoring SSgt Gerald Coyle by naming a Security Forces dormitory in his honor. The dedication is to take place in mid September.

I spoke to a MSgt Bryan Saving at Pope AFB today. MSgt Saving is a SF member there, and in charge of the project. His phone number is 919.394.6104. I and several others close to Coyle will have invitations, but I don't know if the ceremony will be open to the public, or what. I didn't have time to ask MSgt Saving today. I thought about posting this on the Bulletin Board, but thought I'd pass it on to you first and see if you wanted to do any more research, or post anything more in depth on it.

I've been out since 1975, but I don't know of any other buildings, etc., that are named in honor of an SP killed in the Line of Duty. That event in history is very important to me and many other SP's, and to have one of our Fallen Brothers honored in such a way has great meaning to me. I know it will to his daughter and other family members. I believe his wife still lives in the Fayetteville, NC/Pope AFB area.

John Appel

Author: John Appel
Subject: My Friend's Daughter

The other night I was perusing a Guestbook on another site about the Mayaguez Incident, and saw a post from the daughter of SSgt Gerald A. Coyle, a friend of mine who was killed on the chopper crash near NKP in May, 1975, as part of the Mayaguez Rescue. Coyle and I had been stationed together at Pope AFB, NC, just prior to us going to Thailand (Coyle to NKP, me to U-Tapao RTAFB). I never knew her or the rest of Jerry Coyle's family, but I sent her an email and told her what I remembered about her dad, and what a great guy and good SP he was.

This was part of her reply, "You can imagine my surprise when I received your email yesterday! It brought tears to my eyes as I was reading. First and foremost I want to thank you for taking the time to email and tell me what you knew about my dad."
I can't tell you guys how good it made me feel to be able to tell her something about her dad, because she was only 6 years old when he was killed.

Well, just wanted to share this.
John Appel, North Carolina

Author: Charles E. Hayes MSgt USAF (ret)
Subject: Re: My Friend's Daughter

In reply to: John Appel 's message, "My Friend's Daughter"

John, thanks for reminding the living of our debt to those who didn't make it and to their families.

Charles Hayes

Author: David Rose (MSgt USAF Ret)
Subject: Re: My Friend's Daughter

In reply to: John Appel 's message, "My Friend's Daughter"

I haven't surfed this site in a year. I was stationed at NPK from Apr 1973 to May 1974. I was friends with several personnel lost in that operation. I was stationed at Plattsburg AFB when at least 10 other friends all previously 56 SPS personnel got the news. I will never forget!

Author: Don Green
Subject: Re: My Friend's Daughter

In reply to: John Appel 's message, "My Friend's Daughter"


It's been a long time. I spoke with Cheryl about eight years ago, then lost touch. I was Jerry's room mate along with "Bod Bob" Lawrence who now lives in Kentucky. I was stationed with you and Jerry at Pope before all three of us made the trek to NKP.

I manage to stay in touch with Mike Lane's mother and always call her on 13 May to let her know I remember.

Take care and email me when you get a chance.

All my best,
Don Green
NKP 74-75

Author: Troy Williams
Subject: Re: My Friend's Daughter

In reply to: John Appel 's message, "My Friend's Daughter"

John... I served at NKP in 75' in live in Fayetteville, NC I was an SP on the night shift. I was in country only a few weeks when the incident happened.

Author: Robert E. (Bob) Merrill
Subject: Re: My Friend's Daughter

In reply to: John Appel 's message, "My Friend's Daughter"

This is particularly touching for those of us with daughters because but for the grace of God it could have been any one of us. Welcome home Brother and thank you.

Author: Terry Sandman
Subject: Re: Mayaguez Incident

In reply to: Jeff Petty 's message, "Mayaguez Incident"


I have found 2 sources that list the Air Force casualties killed in the crash of Knife 13 and also killed in action during the Koh-Tang operation. The first one is a video titled, "Seized at Sea; Situation Critical," at

The second is a book titled, "The Last Battle; The Mayaguez Incident and the End of the Vietnam War," by Ralph Wetterhahn that lists the casualties in an Appendix. The book can be purchased on

The web site for the video lists the Marines, Navy Corpsmen and Air Force personnel killed during the operation. The Air Force personnel listed as killed in the crash on Knife 13 are; Security Police: Jimmy Black, Bobby Collums, Gerald Coyle, Thomas Dwyer, Bob Ford, Gerald Fritz, Jackie D. Glenn, Darrell Hamlin, Gregory Hankamer, David Higgs, Faleagafula Ilaoa, Michael Lane, Dennis London, Robert Mathias, William McKelvey, Edgar Moran, Tommy Nealis, and Robert Ross. The helicopter crew killed on Knife 13: James G. Kays (Pilot), Lawrence G. Froehlich (Copilot), George E. McMullen (Flight Engineer), Paul J. Raber (Flight Mechanic) plus Robert P. Weldon. The list also includes 2 USAF killed in action during the Koh-Tang operation; Elwood E. Rumbaugh and Richard Van de Geer and 6 USAF wounded in action: Thomas J. Bateson, Howard A. Corson,Jr., Jesus P. Dejesus, Ronald A. Gross, Jon D. Harston and Nick Morales.

I hope that this information is helpful to you.
Terry Sandman
Security Police
Đà Nàng & Đông Hà Air Field, RVN

VSPA Memorial Tribute Page for SSgt Gerald Coyle

VSPA Memorial for the 56th SPS killed in line of duty during the SS Mayaguez Operation Rescue.

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