Edwin E. Axton (1969/06/11)
Sergeant Axton was the boss "from the back of the pilot's head to rear of the bird."
Edwin Everette Axton was born on April 13, 1948. The location of his birth and the names of his parents have not been found. Edwin had a sister, Gail; however, if he had other siblings, their names are not known. Robert Carter, living on Plateau Avenue in Santa Cruz, was identified as his stepfather and Robert Carter Jr. as his stepbrother. Axton attended local schools and entered Santa Cruz High School with the exiting class of 1966, but left school early. During the years prior to his entry into the service, Edwin married Karon and was employed by Pacific Cabinets and Granite Construction Company.
In April 1968 Axton was drafted into the US Army. He received basic training and advanced individual training that qualified him as a helicopter airframe repairman. Following a leave in Santa Cruz, he was sent to Vietnam on November 3, 1968, and arrived in Tay Ninh province where he joined HCC, 2nd Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division.
Axton was initially assigned as a gunner aboard a Huey helicopter, but soon advanced to the position of crew chief. As crew chief he became the senior guy in the back that make all decisions from the back of the pilot's head to the rear of the bird. Floyd Holbrook, who served with Edwin later noted, "It was a privilege to fly with Axton. He taught me the ropes of becoming a crew chief. I will always remember him." Another individual who had reason to remember him was his pilot. When their helicopter crashed at Landing Zone Jamie in March 1969, Axton, who had escaped from the craft, went back to rescue the pilot.
On June 6, 1969, Specialist Fourth Class Edwin Everett Axton's helicopter was flying near the Cambodian border in support of 1st Cavalry ground operations when it was shot down. Axton was pulled from the craft and airlifted to Japan for medical attention; however, on June 11, 1969, he died from his
His body was returned to Santa Cruz and following a military funeral, was interred in Santa Cruz Memorial Park. Edwin Axton was posthumously promoted to Sergeant and his other awards include the Air Medal and Purple Heart.
(SCSn June 13, 1969, September 24, 1969, VVMW; Becoming an Aerial Gunner, Navigator, or Crew Chief; http://www.brunkco.com/articledetail.php,[16 September 2008])