Tijerina, Albert, Jr., Capt

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1970-1971, Detachment 1, 56th Special Operations Wing
Service Years
1965 - 1971
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Mike Tijerina (Captain)-Family to remember Tijerina, Albert, Jr. (KNIFE 34), Capt.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
San Angelo, Texas
Last Address
Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand

Casualty Date
Mar 01, 1971
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Calvary Cemetery - San Angelo, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
04W 015

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Gold Star

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Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Strategic Air Command (SAC)21st Special Operations Squadron - Dust DevilsDetachment 1, 56th Special Operations Wing
  1966-1968, 1115C, Strategic Air Command (SAC)
  1970-1971, 99000, 21st Special Operations Squadron - Dust Devils
  1970-1971, Detachment 1, 56th Special Operations Wing
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1971 Non-operation sorties/Reconnaissance missions over Laos
 Colleges Attended 
Texas A&M University
  1961-1965, Texas A&M University
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)  HH-53 Sikorsky (Super Jolly Green Giant)  
  1966-1968, B-52 Stratofortress (Buff)
  1970-1971, HH-53 Sikorsky (Super Jolly Green Giant)
 Additional Information
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


Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo Texas dedicated an enlisted dormitory  to Capt Tijerina in 1987.  The building was named Tijerina Hall.

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