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Update: 29 Jan 23
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Roland “Hap” Happersett Lutz Jr., CMSgt. USAF (Retired)23 June 1929 – 25 Jul 2014
Chief Master Sgt. Roland H. “Hap” Lutz Jr. (retired) resided in Fort Walton Beach and Mary Esther since 1963, as member of the U.S. Air Force Air Commando’s, and the U.S. Post Office.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Shirley; eight children; 19 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren; four brothers; two sisters; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
He is a member of the U.S. Air Force Hall of Fame, served in 10 countries and the Air Commando Medic of the year award is named in honor of Chief Lutz; as well as, Royal Laotian “Doc Lutz Hospital” in Savannakhet Laos. At his request no service is planned. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Air Commando Association or the American Legion. He always gave credit for his family’s success to his loving wife, Shirley.
~ Condolences ~
August 04, 2014There’s a big hole in my heart with you leaving our world to go to your heavenly place where I know you are received with many open arms and blessings for all the good you did with your time here. Thank you for taking in this stray. Thank you for being such a role model, and I’ll try to follow it every day. You are such an American hero, and one of the two greatest men I’ve ever had the privilege to know and love. Rest in peace, knowing you are loved and honored.~Susan (Surber) & Michael Brogniez
August 04, 2014Thank you for teaching me, for hearing me, for walking with me, for talking with me, for loving me, and for being my father. I will miss you forever, and then some.~Hap Lutz III, Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan
August 02, 2014I knew “Hap” Lutz since 1968 and during the times that we worked or visited together I never heard a harsh word about others nor did I hear him use profanity or display anger. He was a very good man and friend and carried himself as a gentleman crew member. May he rest in the arms of God eternally.~John Civick, Choctaw, Oklahoma
August 02, 2014We’ve lost a great warrior and a good man! Chief Lutz was my mail man for years. Always with an infectious smile, he was liked by all that knew him and will be missed. My sincere condolences to both family and friends.~Floyd “Buck” Watson, Fort Walton Beach, Florida
August 02, 2014I have one paramount regret in my life and that is that I didn’t have the opportunity to have known you longer. You were / are my father, mentor, and great friend. My love and honor for you will never wane. All of your life you have served and protected our great nation as well as your family and loved both as dearly. Patriot, hero, father, grandfather…. You have always been there any time, any place. It is now time for you to rest. Stand down and at ease CMSGT. Well done good and faithful servant. I will always love you and you will always be my hero.~Kevin Brady, Goodlettsville, Tennessee
August 02, 2014You are my forever hero dad. I love you and miss so much. Thank you for all the love and care you gave mom until the end. You always put everyone else first and I will always cherish your love and memories. I am blessed for our special time together and the laughs we shared. I love you the most!~Bunny Brady, Goodlettsville, Tennessee
~ Biographical Data: ~
Roland Happerrsette “Hap” Lutz, Jr.
~I entered the US Navy on 1 October 1947 as a USNHA (US Navy Hospitalman Apprentice). I attended “Boot Camp” and US Navy Hospital Corps School at the US Naval Training Station, San Diego, California.
~My first duty station, after training, was at the US Navy National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.
~Next duty station (mid 1948) was to the USS Repose, Auxiliary Hospital 12, Tsingtao, China. Enroute to assignment on the USS Mann, mine spotted off starboard bow. Marine 5.8″ gun crew alerted to destroy mine. First volley resulted in gun blowing up, killing 5 marines. Assisted in clean up.
~I experienced onset of acute appendicitis and was repaired to USN Hospital, Agana, Guam for emergency surgery. Lt. Gerber (Gerber’s Bay Food) performed surgery, setting up mirrors for me to watch! Continued on to Tsingtao after rehab.
~Chased out of Tsingtao circa 15 April 1949 when Nationalist China fell to Communist Chinese. Rescued all available Priests, Nuns, Missionaries, White Russians, and Chinese Loyalists desiring to leave and repaired to Hong Kong. Returned to Shanghai for further evacuation of refugees. While in anchored in Shanghai, first combat action entailed the rescue of 36 seriously wounded British Sailors from the besieged British Sloop Amethyst, sand barred in the Hoangchee River, Shanghai, and being shelled from both sides. Went in on LCM’s to rescue and return the wounded back to USS Repose. HMS London (heavy cruiser) arrived area with intent to return fire to entrenched Chinese combatants. Went on full 36 hour alert treating wounded and repaired them to the British Naval Hospital, Hong Kong, China.
~Decommissioned the USS Repose, circa late 1949, and assigned to the US Naval Shipyard Dispensary, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii. ~Married sweetheart Shirley Mae Witham at US Naval Base Chapel, Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, 6 May 1950, following long hospitalization siege for amebic hepatitis contacted in China.
~Discharged from US Navy 23 September 1952 and returned home to St. Petersburg, FL with pregnant wife Shirley and one son, Roland III. Worked for US Postal Service as Temporary Carrier. Also performed as a team bicycle acrobat, doing gigs around the nation at parades and on TV shows. Stayed in active USN Reserve. Returned to active USNR-R service at US Naval Station, Glenview, IL as Independent Duty Hospitalman 2nd Class. Discharged USN Reserve and enlisted in USAF 1 June 1958 as Staff Sergeant. Selected for duty at USAF Hospital, Holloman AFB, NM, with duty as NCOIC, Flight Surgeon’s Office, Rescue Aircrew Member, and Sled Test Subject, Physiology Branch, under direction of Colonel (Dr.) John Stapp, AFMDC. Also worked with Captain Joe Kittinger on his non-dirigible aerostat programs (Balloon Training) and high altitude parachute jumps. (Rescued him and two others from classified unplanned balloon ejection at Roswell, NM.)
~Then assigned to 13 month duty at USAF Hospital, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia with classified TDY assignment to Tehra, Iran, Addis Abba, Ethiopia, and Kabul Afghanistan. Imprisoned in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 1960, for taking pictures of Military Installations. Furiously interrogated by Afghan Police. Seemed endless. Finally released next day and declared Persona Non-Grata. Released because (his story) Kabul Afghan Chief of Police, Mohammed Akbar, received his finger print training expertise in Rochester, NY.
~Reassigned to Holloman AFB, NM, 1961, with duties as before. In September 1961, Top Secret assignment advertised (Project Jungle Jim) for Sergeants in my career field (901X0) and (902X0) requested. I immediately applied. Had to be interviewed by USAF Colonel or above. Asked 15 questions and a no answer to any of them disqualified applicant. I answered all positively, but was rejected with no appeal. Major General Benjamin Hooks, Commander of AFMDC was a patient of mine with crippling arthritis. He came to the office weekly for gold injections. Told him my tail of woe and asked him to intercede. Accepted the following week.
~Selected applicants (four from Holloman) sent to Lackland AFB for psychiatric and psychological testing, then on to Stead AFB for survival training. After passing all requirements, sent to Eglin Aux Fld #9 for further training and duty.
~TDY to Bien Hoa AB, SVN 179 days 10 July 1962. Among other duties, attended parachute training with US Army SF Troops at Tudoc, SVN. Completed training, but required jumps not accomplished due to SAWC Commanders order. “There will no Bootleg Jumping in Vietnam.” Flew C-47 missions kicking flares.
~VOCO orders to visit all outlying SF Stations and Camps to give plaque vaccine due to outbreak. Traveled via US Army Otter. VOCO orders to Ban Me Thout, SVN to replace SF Medic KIA. Joined Combat Controllers Joe Orr and Charlie Jones. First day on station, five seriously wounded, 2 fatally. 15 October, U-10 shoot down, 3 KIA. Captain Billie Chambers and Captain Robert Walker flying T-28 cover as we recovered bodies. Chambers shot down during melee; survived. Recovered Chambers and sent him to Saigon for treatment. Returned to Field #9 23 December 1961
~July 1963, Operation Swift Strike, Laurinberg-Maxon, NC.
~Successful Parachute Training, Ft. Benning, GA., August 1963.
~Member TAC Rifle Team. Sent to Norcross, GA for pre 1964 World Olympic qualification target shoot. Did not qualify. Honor to be selected. ~TDY for 179 days circa June 1964 to Project Water Pump, Udorn AB, Thailand. VOCO orders to Lima Site 39, Savannakhet, Laos (Military Region III). Also worked out of Savannakhet in Nongbulao, Laos for Royal Lao Army L/Col Nheuphet, caring for wounded. (Verifiable by ACA members Joe Holden and Roy Dalton).
~Ordered by General Ma, Chief of RLAF to go via AA H-34 to village wrongly bombed by USAF aircraft to care for wounded. Took generator and movie equipment to appease villagers also. Pathet Lao sappers hit while showing movie. Had 23 seriously wounded. Repaired them to my tent area in old Japanese Field ambulance. Lost our ambulance after hitting land mine. Also lost my two Lao Medics due to mine concussion blast breaking both their legs. Of 23 seriously wounded, lost one due to extensive small arms and grenade shrapnel injuries. (Helped build pyre and burn body next day along with Buddhists Monks). Called in Lao C-47s to take other wounded to French Hospital at Seino, Laos.
~Flew C-47 kicking 250lb bombs while holding arming wires. (Verifiable by ACA Member Joe Holden). Conducted sick call for Royal Lao AF and Royal Lao Army Hospital, Savannakhet. Sent mostly activity reports to USAF Air Attaché, Vientiane, Laos. Returned to Hurlburt December 1964.
~Again TDY to Project “Water Pump,” 179 days TDY, March 1965, with duty in Thailand and Laos. Returned in October 1965. Turned around and sent back to Project “Water Pump” with duty in Thailand and Laos. Back to Hurlburt in March 1966. Wing moved to England AFB, LA June 1966.
~Volunteered for SEA duty and sent to USAF Hospital, Cam Ranh Bay, SVN with VOCO duty at Det. #8, 38th ARRS. Flew as FE/MT.
~Returned to US with duty at Reese AFB, TX. NCOIC, Flight Surgeon’s Office and flew as FE/MT rescue duty.
~PCS to Wurtsmith AFB, Oscoda, MI with 6 months TDY duty at World Medical Relief, Inc., Detroit, MI., as Military Representative. (Verifiable by wife Shirley and oldest son, Hap III). Duty was to ascertain bona fide of requests for medical drugs, supplies, and equipment to be used in Military Medical Civic Programs being conducted in SEA. Also to determine accuracy and completeness of proposed or in-service plans.
~Following duty at WMR, PCS to USAF Hospital, Selfridge AFB, MI. with duty as NCOIC, Flight Surgeon’s Office and Rescue and Recovery Aircrew Member.
~Nominated as ADC NCO of the Year. Rejected because I could not (and would not) verify my duty and CS missions in Laos.
~TDY to Osan AB, South Korea with 94th FIS (F-106) to set up small dispensary following capture of USS Pueblo.
~Inducted in to Air Commando Hall of Fame.
~PCS back to Hurlburt by Order of the Chief of Staff, USAF for a “Palace Dog” Project 404 assignment. Reported back circa 3 June 1970 and deployed 7 June TDY to Vientiane, Laos (Lima Site 08) for duty at Savannakhet, Laos. Resumed previous duty. Former field officer L/Col Nheuphet now Major General MRIII Commandeer. Interfaced with him on many occasions to upgrade medical facilities and services. Flew as Rescue and Recovery MT for Lao and American shoot downs. Air America primary source of transportation. Hired a Laotian Medical Technician (Naly Daranakhon) to assist in sick call routines. I paid him at first. Agency took over paying him after I extended coverage to them. Returned to Hurlburt. Turned around and back to Project 404. Resumed flying and rescue duties, sick call routines. Visited Pilipino Operation Brotherhood Hospital (under direction of Dr. Bing Bing.) at remote location. Provided some excess medical supplies. (Wanted to establish a rapport in case of need.) Continued to work with RLAF and RLA medical staffs. Returned to Hurlburt.
~Returned again to Project 404, Savannakhet, Laos. Resumed flying and rescue duties, sick call routines, RLA Hospital visits. My interpreter and medical assistant, Nally, blown up on EOD jeep that he had borrowed. Took to Dr. Bing Bing’s hospital next day by Air America. (CBU bomb placed under the hood of jeep. Lost one eye with numerous other wounds. Companion killed).
~Along with locally other 404 assigned personnel and TDY EOD personnel, and with permission of Royal Lao Air Force Commander Colonel Concy Phimavong, established a Royal Lao Air Force 30 bed hospital at Savannakhet, Laos. All equipment and supplies provided by World Medical Relief, Inc., Detroit, MI. Building provided by Colonel Concy. Had grand opening and ribbon cutting with all local and away interested parties attending. Following with great dinner at local diner. Toast and speeches, etc. A tribute to my grand friends and colleagues in the RLA and RLAF medical business. (Verifiable by ACA member and former Intel Officer Charlie Felsenthal).
~Returned to Hurlburt after final mission to Laos or anywhere.
~Retired from active service on January 1974 after being wooed by Agency. Submitted AP. Not accepted. Returned to US Postal Service.
~Returned to Savannakhett, Laos visit in 1999 along with former Combat Controller Roger Klair. Attempted to see hospital. Pathet Lao guard would not permit us to visit. (Verifiable by ACA member Roger Klair).
~Learned in November 1999 from former RLA General that hospital was named the “Doc Lutz Hospital.” (Verifiable by wife Shirley and Khemphone Somchith).
I sware and affirm that the information provided in this document is true and factual to the best that I remember.
Roland H. “Hap” Lutz, Jr., CMSgt., USAF, Retired.
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