Vietnam War chopper pilot Capt. Scott Alwin honored in Hall of Heroes and in documentary (2024)

Keith Uhlig|Wausau Daily Herald

WAUSAU - The photo shows him leaning against an UH-1 Huey helicopter, his helmet in the crook of his right arm, and he's glancing down at some papers in his left hand. He's wearing a knifeattached to his vest and a pistol and ammunition around his waist.

Capt. Scott R. Alwin cuts a dashing figure in the photo — slim, square jawed and handsome like Robert Redford. He looks exactly like the type of guy who served five tours of duty in the Vietnam War as a helicopter pilot, believed to have logged more time in the air than any other American. He would be bestowed more than 100 medals, including the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart with three Oak Leaf Clusters.

He survived the war, which killed more than 2,200 helicopter pilots, only to die in automotive crash caused by a drunken driver in 1976. Alwin is buried in the small cemetery of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, nestled in farm fields and woods of the town of Berlin in Marathon County. His parents moved to the area when he was an adult, and helisted their home as his last permanent address.

Alwin will be inducted in the Madison Veterans Administration Hall of Heroes at 11 a.m. Friday.The Hall of Heroes is located on the first floor of the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, and the event will be live-streamed through the hospital's Facebook

A total of 12 veterans have been honored by induction onto the Hall of Heroes since 2002.

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Meanwhile, a Wausau-area video production company, Clear Focus Media,is in the midst of creating a documentary about Alwin's life, called"Honor in the Air: Remembering Captain Scott Robinson Alwin."

The company is led by Susan Reetz, who is the writer, director and producer of "Honor in the Air." Alwin's younger sister, Pamela Alwin Fullerton, a retired attorney and writer, is part of the production team as associate producer.

The two met in 2019 when they sat together on an author's panel. When Reetz learned about Alwin, she immediately knew his story needed to be told and would rivet people.

Alwin was an extraordinary person even as a child growing up in Fort Atkinson, Fullerton said. He read about military leaders throughout time, including Caesar and Hannibal.

She talks about whenshe was about 10 and he was about 12, she told him that she was doing a school report about David Livingstone, the English explorer who famously searched for the source of the Nile.

Alwin immediately told Fullerton they needed to find the source "of our own Nile," the Rock River. They built their own raft, using logs, barrels and their mother's clothesline, and started poling down the Rock. They swamped after hours of toil, but got about 10 miles from home.

They were part of a large family of 16 children, and Alwin was the oldest boy. The four oldest children were adopted.Their father was a minister, and the children were steeped in their parents' values of caring, community and honor.

"He grew up into a big, strong, honest man who loved and cared about other people," Fullerton said. "If you have no honor, you have nothing."

That led to Alwin becoming a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and his intent to do multiple tours. Fullerton said the men he served with loved him because he listened and cared about them, and because he was a terrific pilot.

"He was so in tune with that machine," Fullerton said his fellow service members said. "He could set it down and you wouldn't even know."

While serving in Vietnam, he met a South Vietnamese woman, Du Thi Duong or "Tess,"and fell in love. He married and they had two children.

"I think what is going to capture people's attention initially is the number of medals he was awarded," Reetz said. "They speak to his dedication to the job, his fellow soldiers and the people they were there to protect."

His family life also drew Reetz into the story.

"The core characteristic of the entire familyis honor, integrity and service to community or humanity," Reetz said. "That's what intrigued me about this, every aspect of his life is connected to that."

Learn more

Reetz said that the documentary "Honor in the Air: Remembering Captain Scott Robinson Alwin" will likely be completed in spring 2023. People can find out more and donate money to help fund the production by

Contact Keith Uhlig at 715-845-0651 or Follow him at @UhligK on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook.

Vietnam War chopper pilot Capt. Scott Alwin honored in Hall of Heroes and in documentary (2024)


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