The City of Hoquiam last night voted against committee recommendation and renamed a portion of Queets Avenue to McQuade in honor of a fallen Vietnam veteran who’s chopper was shot down while searching for missing soldiers under fire.
“On June 11th, 1972 the 23 year old pilot from Hoquiam Washington, [his gunner] and the copter was right above their leader’s chopper when it was shot down itself.” Dan Discher grew up on Queets Avenue with James McQuade, he told the council last night that McQuade left the Harbor to become a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, and flew for the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade.
McQuade was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1974. “Col. Jack Kennedy, McQuade’s Commander was there, and he said ‘In the 25 years and two tours of Vietnam I never met a braver man than Jim McQuade’.”
City Councilman Paul McMillan got choked up when he explained that 5 other Hoquiam residents died during the conflict in Vietnam, “but only one got the Distinguished Service Cross, and that’s why we wanted to honor him, cause Jimmy volunteered to go into that, I think he needs to be honored tonight.”
Councilman Ron Tibbets suggested they send the report back to the Historic Preservation Committee, noting the time and effort put into the decision by the voluntary group. The council instead voted unanimously to reject the committee report that recommended against the rename.
McMillan noted that the street addresses won’t change, the new names will be placed over the existing street signs similar to Art Pocklington Way on a portion of 7th Avenue, and Roger Jump street on a portion of Cherry Street near Olympic Stadium.
First Lieutenant James Russell McQuade of Hoquiam, Washington, was 23 when his Light Infantry Brigade helicopter was shot down over Vietnam on June 11, 1972; his remains were found and his family notified in October, 1999.
“Lieutenant McQuade’s voluntary participation in a desperately dangerous mission demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.”
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to First Lieutenant (Infantry) James Russell McQuade, United States Army (Reserve), for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Troop F, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade. First Lieutenant McQuade distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 11 June 1972 while serving in support of the 1st Army of the Republic of Vietnam Division in the Thua Thien Province, Republic of Vietnam. Lieutenant McQuade was participating in a rescue mission of a downed helicopter crew in an extremely hostile area. Lieutenant McQuade, knowing that the downed aircraft had received intense automatic small and heavy anti-aircraft fire, volunteered to go into the heavily infested enemy territory to search for possible survivors. Upon initial entry into the enemy held terrain, Lieutenant McQuade reported taking heavy automatic weapons fire from all sides. With complete disregard for his own safety, he continued flying towards the crash site. As he proceeded to the area of the downed aircraft, he reported taking further anti-aircraft fire. At approximately 750 meters from the crash site and completely engulfed in hostile fire, Lieutenant McQuade reported taking numerous hits and, shortly thereafter, was hit with a missile of unknown type. His aircraft disintegrated in mid-air. Lieutenant McQuade’s unselfish concern for the welfare of his fellow soldiers resulted in the loss of his own life. He was well aware of the risks involved but refused to give up the search in the face of the fanatical enemy resistance. Lieutenant McQuade’s voluntary participation in a desperately dangerous mission demonstrated extraordinary heroism in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 56 (December 31, 1974)