John Joseph Wilson

1946 - 1970

Vietnam War

Their Story

John Joseph Wilson was born on August 23, 1946, to Frederick Dale and Flora Doreen (Instone) Wilson.1 He attended Central High School in Davenport, Iowa, after which he continued his education at Elmhurst College in Chicago, Illinois.2 In March of 1965, Wilson entered the U.S. Army to serve in the Vietnam War. Two years later, at the rank of second lieutenant, Wilson served as an infantry mechanic platoon leader for Company C, 218th Infantry, 4th Infantry Division.3

On September 12, 1967, Wilson married Margaret W. Anderson at the Fort DeRussy Chapel in Honolulu, Hawaii.4 After serving in Vietnam with the 4th Infantry Division for about a year, Wilson returned to the United States in May of 1968. He remained at home with his family on a thirty-day furlough before leaving to attend Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.5 By January of the following year, Wilson had been promoted to captain, and soon returned to Fort Rucker as the assistant director of the overseas replacement training committee.6 In March of 1970, Wilson completed 16 weeks of helicopter training at the Army Primary Helicopter School at Fort Wolters, Texas.7 On June 16, he was awarded his wings, after completing Officer Rotary Wing Pilot training at the Army Flight Training Center, in Savannah, Georgia. A week later, he completed a course in flying Cobra helicopters. Afterwards, Wilson went home for thirty-days leave.8

On August 29, 1970, Wilson began his second tour of duty in Vietnam. He was assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Aviation Group, 101st Airborne Division, United States Army Republic of Vietnam (USARV).9 On December 16, 1970, Wilson was shot and killed by friendly fire while out on patrol. It was reported that he was mistaken for an enemy soldier while checking on the perimeter. He was survived by his wife, Margaret, and their two young daughters, his parents, a sister, and two brothers.10


1“John Joseph Wilson: 1946-1970,” ancestry, n.d., John Joseph Wilson – Facts (

2“Lt. J.J. Wilson Weds In Hawaii,” Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 16 September 1967, p.11, 16 Sep 1967, 11 – Quad-City Times at

3Sharon Neilson, “Our GIs,” Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 3 July 1967, p.5, 03 Jul 1967, 5 – Quad-City Times at

4“Lt. J.J. Wilson Weds In Hawaii,” Quad-City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 16 September 1967, p.11.

5Sharon Hagedorn, “Our Men In Service,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 27 May 1968, p.4, 27 May 1968, 4 – Quad-City Times at

6Sharon Bogosian, “In Service,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 9 January 1969, p.9, 09 Jan 1969, 9 – Quad-City Times at

7Marilyn Spies, “In Service,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 18 March 1970, p.19, 18 Mar 1970, 19 – Quad-City Times at

8Elizabeth VanLauwe, “In Service,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 22 July 1970, p.18, 22 Jul 1970, 18 – Quad-City Times at

9“John Joseph Wilson,” The Virtual Wall, n.d., Profile accessed 26 September 2022.

10“Davenport Army Officer Killed In Vietnam Action,” Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa, 21 December 1970, p.1, 21 Dec 1970, 1 – Quad-City Times at