Last Known Activity|
Captain Albert Tijerina was a CH-53 pilot serving for the 21st Special Operations Squadron. He had previously flown the B-52 and was stationed at one time at Wright-Patterson AFB with the Strategic Air Command.
On 1 March 1971, "KNIFE 34", with Major Milton H. Ramsey, pilot, and Captain Tijerina, co-pilot, the CH-53C (# 68-10931) departed Nakhon Phanom RTAFB at 0830 to deliver Laotian troops to Lima Site 20 at Sam Thuong in northern Laos. "KNIFE 34" was hit by enemy fire while enroute, knocking out one engine, but the crew was able to sustain flight until they reached LS20. "KNIFE 34" crashed on landing, spun right, rolled downhill, flipped and burst into flames. Both Captain Tijerina and the pilot were killed in the crash. The flight engineers, SSgt G. Pearson and SSgt F. Deck, were able to escape the aircraft and were rescued.
5 Oct 2004
Captain Tijerina was a 1961 graduate of San Angelo Central High School in San Angelo, Texas. He was in the band and played sports. After high school, he attended Texas A&M University, where he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and the Aggie Band. He loved Texas A&M and his favorite phrase was "If you think someone is a Texas Aggie, don't ask them, if they are, they will tell you." After graduation in 1965, he accepted a commission as a 2LT in the Air Force where he was trained in fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. He married his high school sweetheart in San Angelo, April 16, 1966 while in flight school. That marriage produced three children.
Captain Tijerina began his Vietnam tour as a helicopter pilot flying CH-53's. He was assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron. The group flew highly classified missions ferrying personnel in and out of Laos. On such a mission on March 1, 1971, he was the co-pilot and the aircraft was shot down. Both Captain Tijerina and the pilot were killed in the crash. The flight engineers were able to escape the aircraft and were rescued.
Captain Tijerina's brother Andres is a professor at Austin (Texas) Community College. His sister, Sylvia Ann, and wife Amanda still live in San Angelo.
He is remembered by the Tom Green County Area Vietnam Memorial located in San Angelo, by San Angelo Central High School, by the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, and by the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans' Memorial located in Midland, Texas.
From a PBVVM representative,
Billy M. Brown
01 Jun 2005
You were a great influence on all your classmates of the Class of '65 in the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M. You definitely impressed me. You were a fitting tribute to our Corps mentor, Lawrence Sullivan Ross, Soldier, Statesman, and Knightly Gentleman.
I look forward to our reunion at the Muster in Heaven.
Your sacrifice wasn't in vain. The Vietnam War was won with the dissolution of the USSR in the 1990's. Every effort made to combat the cancer on the soul of mankind - communism, from WWII on, was justified along with your sacrifice.
God Bless You.
B. Glenn Bryson SP/5
5th Battalion, 4th Artillery
5th Infantry Division
Quang Tri, Viet Nam
July 1969 - May 1970
01 Mar 2007
Capt. Tijerina's sacrifice is remembered today, the 36th anniverary of his death.
10 Jul 2007
Albert and I went to Junior High School together, and I did not see him again until I got out of the Army in 1963. He used to hang around with my cousin Joel, and Joel told him I had made a 190 degree turn in my life. When we met again we became good friends, and he would come home from A&M, and look me up and say, "Let's go kill some brain cells". We went to California together and had great fun. We went to visit Narciso "Nacho" Fuentes in San Francisco, and we picked green beans in San Jose. We lived with the braceros in Salinas, California, while picking onions. Someday I hope to write a book so I can mention all the adventures we had.
From a friend,
Leon S. Martinez
422 Ironbark Dr. Webster, Tx. 77598