Just like the commercial for Dos Equis Beer, Rev. Bill McDonald is a most interesting man. He is a Vietnam Veteran and was a crew-chief/door-gunner on a Huey helicopter for the famed “Tomahawks” – 128th Assault Helicopter Company in Phu Loi, South Vietnam in 1966-67. He was wounded, shot down several times and almost captured. His awards include The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star, The Purple Heart, 14 Air Medals, and other medals and ribbons.
Today, he is an inter-faith/non-denominational minister who helps veterans, the homeless, inmates and others seeking his services and advice. He performs chaplain services for several non-profit organizations, is an author, award winning poet, International Motivational Speaker, documentary film advisor, veteran advocate, artist, yoga meditation teacher, actor and a frequent radio and TV show guest.
In 1967 he was a crew-chief/door-gunner with The 128th Assault Helicopter Company out of Phu Loi, S. Vietnam. He had a vision that foretold what would happen to Huey #744 and tried unsuccessfully to prevent it from happening.
Rev. Bill is the founder and past president of both “The American Author’s Association” & “The Military Writer’s Society of America”, has written many books and helped other authors with contributions to dozens of their books (forewords, book cover blurbs, contributing stories and chapters to their books etc.).
My veteran brother has a YouTube channel where he has published over 50 different videos – some detailing his experiences during the Vietnam War. I did find two of his videos quite interesting and have posted them here for this article. I highly encourage visiting his page and looking over his collection…there’s something for everybody. His page address: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXUVf8UOT237rw2RfsB9haA
In his first story, Rev. Bill McDonald talks about the visions he had on April 5, 1967 predicting the crash and the deaths of those flying on Huey #744 (his aircraft) on the following day. He refused to fly in that helicopter and warned his company commander and those in charge that it was going to crash the next day and that men would be killed.
Crew members lost that day: CPT Richard Newton, WO1 James Darcey and door-gunner Al Durell. Four passengers were also killed in that April 6th crash. Cause of crash was later determined to be from a trunnion bearing failure. This story is told in even greater detail in Rev.Bill’s book “Warrior A Spiritual Odyssey.”
In his second story, Rev. Bill McDonald tells how he and the door-gunner on his Huey faced a horrible choice – obey a direct order order from a Major, or face a charge of mutiny. In the military when two or more people choose to disobey a lawful order they can be courts-martialed. They could have been sent to prison for up to life, or even put in front of a firing squad for the most serious offense that you can be charged with in the Army – mutiny.
So, when Rev. Bill and his fellow door-gunner refused to fire at a formation of 30 “enemy” troops with their M-60 machine guns – they were making a life changing decision. Whatever way they choose, it will be life altering.
His first published book is “A Spiritual Warrior’s Journey” and followed by two poetry books and an autobiography titled, “Warrior a Spiritual Odyssey”. Rev. Bill is currently awaiting publication of his newest book about detailing his spiritual experiences of the last six years and is titled “Alchemy of a Warrior’s Heart”.
The Reverend volunteers with many non-profit organizations and spends some of his time each year in overseas countries like India, Germany, Peru, Bolivia, Canada, and The United Kingdom. He married his high school sweetheart, has two grown children and 6 grandchildren.
Rev. Bill McDonald stands in front of the Black Virgin Mountain (Nui Ba Den) during one of his many trips back to Vietnam. This is the area of operations where Bill’s helicopter unit flew support for those units on the ground.
Bill founded Spiritual Warrior Ministries as way to help the veteran community and works with veterans, battered woman, police and first responders on issues of PTSD and “Moral Injuries. If you wish to contact him, Rev. Bill’s email address is Huey576@gmail.com
Rev. Bill McDonald’s autobiography book cover is shown below – click on the photo to read a sample portion of his story without leaving this page.
Thank you brother for allowing me to post your incredible stories on my website. Thank you also for all you’ve done and for all you continue to do! God Bless!
Here is a second article written by JC Pennington that is well worth reading: I had published in Air Facts Journal about a “gut feeling” that saved my life…and three others. https://airfactsjournal.com/…/gut-feeling-might…/…
Did anybody else have a similar “inner voice” in Nam – one that you listened to and saved your life?
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That inner voice is the Holy Spirit which abides in us all. It has guided me throughout my life, and has never misled me.
I am familiar with Reverend Bill as we are both members of Military Writers Society of America. Thanks for sharing his story, John!
I had a great aunt and my mother who prayed for me EVERY day of their lives!
I had “weird stuff” happen to me in Vietnam………..stuff like…… I froze and stopped and their in front of me was a booby trap in the ho bo woods.
I am convinced that their prayers…..and GOD of course…..kept me alive.
you can read all kinds of “war stories” here
My “Inner Voice” , after some degree of experience let me know that we were “always’ being watched and would only be messed with when it was on their terms. Mechanized companies patrolling through the jungle made a lot of noise, but then on foot senses turned up I felt I was listening with my eyes and seeing with my ears. Smells of fish in the jungle, cooked rice, body order, rotten clothing were all giveaways.
when ever I see Black Virgin Mountain, I can always recognize the two humps from the side or even the front side from Tay Ninh. I wonder if anyone who has been in the military ever forgets times of combat and the inbetween times.
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