Obituary Record

Doyle R (Major US Marines) Sprick
Died on 6/24/1974


(Larger Photo in the Veterans Book at the Blair Public Library at Blair, NE)

Enterprise 27 Jan 1966

Cpt. Doyle Sprick Missing In Viet Nam Action

Captain Doyle Sprick formerly of Fort Calhoun is listed as “Missing in Action.”

Word was received Tuesday by his wife, the form Lola Hultberg of Blair. The Spricks now live in Santa Anna, California.

Captain Sprick has been in the Marines for twelve years and is now serving in the Viet Nam war. The plane on which Capt. Sprick was flying is listed as missing.

Captain Sprick is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Ervin Sprick of Fort Calhoun. Mrs. Doyle Sprick is the daughter of Mrs. Cliff Hultberg of Blair. Captain and Mrs. Sprick have four children.

Pilot Tribune 8 July 1985

One from Washington County on MIA List

A state-wide moment of silence will be observed at 11:59 a.m., Friday, July 19, in honor of the 401 Nebraska POW-MIAs who have not yet returned home. Washington County has one listed on the Nebraska POW-MIA list. He is Doyle Sprick, of Fort Calhoun. The date of his loss has been listed as January 24, 1966.

Washington County Veterans Affairs Director, Gus Nelson in Blair, said that at the present time the various veteran groups of the Washington County area do not have any special ceremonies planned for the week. The groups will observe the Friday noon moment of silence however.

The observation and activities planned across the state for POW-MIA Recognition Week, July 15-20, were announced today by J. Gonzales, Jr., Director, State Department of Veterans’ Affairs, acting as coordinator for an ad *hoc committee composed of several representatives from State and Federal agencies and other interest groups.

POW-MIA Recognition Week activities will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Monday, July 15, with a proclamation signing ceremony by Governor Bob Kerrey on the north side of the state Capitol. The ceremony includes the proclamation signing, raising of the POW-MIA flag by ex-POWs, and re-dedication of the Harold Kahler memorial tree.

The POW flag will fly the entire week of July 15-20, the anniversary of the days Nebraska servicemen were reported lost and at any other time so desired by the office or agency, as directed by the Nebraska State Legislature earlier this year when they passed Legislative Resolution 250.

A fly-by of RF-4C Phantom jets and UH-1H Huey helicopters will be provided by the Nebraska National Guard. The 43rd Army band and a multi-service color-honor guard composed of representatives of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines will also participate in the ceremony.

According to Gonzales, the State of Nebraska has 401 men still listed as prisoners of war or missing in action from major conflicts the United States has been involved in.

Some groups in the state believe that some of these men may still be alive.

*Was the way the article read.

Pilot Tribune 16 Feb 1959


Doyle Sprick Ends Course At Quantico

One of 570 Second lieutenants who completed the seven-month officers’ course at the Marine Corps School, Quantico, VA Feb. 7, was Doyle R. Sprick, son of Mr. and Mrs. Erwin Sprick, Sr., of Fort Calhoun, and husband of the former Miss Lola M. Hultberg of Blair.

Included in the course was personnel administration, first aid, map reading, weapons, field sanitation, and leadership techniques.

In the field, practical map reading, live firing of weapons, drills, and ceremonies, phases of communications and employment of supporting weapons were applied.

The basic course is compulsory for all newly commissioned Marine officers, including former enlisted men, college graduates, or graduates of the Naval Academy.

From the Virtual Wall Notes;

From the Navy hymn (“Eternal Father”)

Lord, guard and guide the men who fly Through the great spaces in the sky. Be with them always in the air, In darkening storms or sunlight fair. O hear us when we lift our prayer For those in peril in the air.

Virtual Wall Notes

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 (VMFA-314) operated from Danang with Marine Air Group 11 before shifting to Marine Air Group 13 at Chu Lai Air Base in September 1966.

On 24 January 1966, VMFA-31 lost two F-48 Phantom aircraft and four air crewmen. Available information from the POW Network and Task Force Omega sites is in some conflict and the latte site incorrectly identifies the squadron as “Fighter Squadron 315”, a non-existent unit. The four men lost that day were:

Capt. Doyle R. Sprick, pilot, and 2nd Lt Delmar G. Booze, radar intercept officer, in one aircraft, and Capt. Albert Pitt, pilot, and 2nd Lt. Lawrence N. Helber, radar intercept officer, in a second F-4B.

The two aircraft were believed to have gone down in enemy-held territory 8 to 10 miles south of Hue. Extensive air searches failed to locate the wreckage or crew of either aircraft and the four men were classed as Missing in Action. Over time, the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Finds of Death for the four men. Captain Helber’s status was changed on 07 December 1977.

As of 09 May 2002, the remains of the four men have not been repatriated.

The following is information provided by Lola January 28, 2004 to Pat Hunsche

D. R. Sprick; Born 29 Nov 1932; Enlisted USMC 3 March 1952; Commissioned 7 June 1958; Missing In Action (Captain) 24 Jan 1966; Killed in Action (Major) 24 June 1974

Family: Wife – Lola has remarried and lives with her husband in central California

Daughter – Debra is a school psychologist and lives with her husband in Ohio. They have three children. Their son, a lawyer, lives in Oregon with his wife. They are expecting their first child. Two daughters are single and live in California and Oregon.; Son Doyle Jr. is in construction and lies with his wife in California; Son Eric died in 1990; Son Ken has a design business in Washington state where he lives with his wife and daughter.

Report of Casualty

Report Number 1658A-66 Final TLD/vfg and Type 2

Date: 24 June 1974

13. REMARKS *The exact date and place of Major Sprick’s death are not known. The following is a brief description of the facts in his case including the basis for this determination which terminates his MIA status and for the finding that he is dead. Major (then Capt.) Sprick was the Pilot of an F4B assigned along with three other aircraft to attack a target near Hue Phu Bai, northwest of Danang Air Base, on 24Jan66. Major Sprick’s aircraft and one other delivered the ordnance, checked out with the Forward Air Controller, and departed the area. While enroute to Danang Air Base, the two aircraft made a routine radio check-in with the tactical air control center. There were no further radio transmissions, signals, or visual sightings from Major Sprick’s or the other aircraft. Search operations were initiated on 24Jan66 and continued thru 27Jan66 with negative results. No information to supplement the above which indicates that Major Sprick survived after 24Jan66 has been received. On the basis of the foregoing, the absence of information from all sources that he survived, and the elapse of time without indication of survival, it was determined that Major Sprick is dead. This finding of death was made by me as designee of the Secretary of the Navy under Title 37 U.S. Code, Section 555 on 17Jun74. Accordingly, continuance of Marine Corps pay and allowances under Chapter 10 Title 37, U.S. Code terminates on that date.

Casualty Record for Doyle Robert Sprick (source: Casualty Search Page

Home Fort Calhoun, Nebraska; Birth Date 1932-11-29; Sex Male; Race Caucasian; Married/Single Married; Religion Protestant – No Preference; Citizen Yes

Service Marine Corps; Rank MAJ; Serial Number 507364603; Component Regular; Grade O4; MOS 7307; Length of Service **; Start of Tour 1966-01-24

Casualty Date 1974-06-17; Casualty Type Hostile, Died Missing; Reason Air Loss, Crash-Land; Air or Ground Fixed Wing-Pilot; Country South Vietnam; Province Quang Nam; Posthumous Promotion No Change; Body Recovered Body Not Recovered; Location on The Wall Panel 04E-Row 085

More Information:

3-3-52 Enlisted USMC at Ft Omaha; Basic training in San Diego; Radio School in San Diego

9-52 Camp LeJeune, N.C. While stationed there he was deployed to Puerto Rico and Europe. He was a jeep radio operator.

8-53 After Korean War truce he was shipped to 29 Palms, CA. 1st AAA AW Battalion Fleet Marine Force.

3-54 Naval Station Treasure Island, CA. Attended Electronics Technicians Class – Received certificate for class.

7-54 Naval Ordnance Plant, Pomona, CA. Attended Naval Guided Missile School – Received certificate for class.

1-55 1st Provisional Marine Battalion US Naval Ordnance Test Station, China Lake, CA.

3-58 OCS Quantico, VA

6-30-58 Commissioned 2nd Lt.

2-59 Completed Basic School at Quantico

3-59 NAS Pensacola, FL. Student Naval Aviator. After ground school he was one of the students who entered a new program which had the students skip prop time and went directly to jets. He flew a T2V.

6-60 Kingsville, TX. Advanced training in F9F and F11F.

9-60 Received his wings.

11-60 MCAS El Toro, CA. VMF (AW) 513. Flew F4B. While there he received certificates for Evasion, Escape and Survival Training Course, F4B Aircraft Familiarization (Pilot), F4B Aircraft Radar Intercept Operator and Nuclear Weapons Orientations.

10-61 Japan. VMF (AW) 513 deployed to replace VMF (AW) 314.

12-62 El Toro, CA. 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, MAB 515-MAG15. While there he flew F6A, T1A, C47, A4, C117, F4B

11-63 Transferred to VMFA 542. While there he completed many Aviation Safety Courses including one at the Univ of Southern California.

6-65 Became an Aviation Safety Officer

8-65 Atsugi, Japan VMFA 314, MAG 13 1st Marine Aircraft Wing FMFPAC

12-65 He ferried aircraft in and out of DaNang and other bases to Japan to be repaired and returned to Vietnam.

1-66 Da Nang, Vietnam. VMFA 314, F4B

1-24-66 MIA

Posted on line: Tuesday, June 9, 2015; Published in The Pilot Tribune, Tuesday, June 23, 2015

. (Photo)

. Fort Calhoun High School Alumni: The one who didn’t make it back Tammy Bain

. This is one of a three-part feature on Fort Calhoun High School alumni, in honor of the school's alumni reunion June 6, as well its 150-year anniversary.

. Like many other Fort Calhoun High School alumni, Doyle Sprick, a 1950 graduate, didn’t make it back for the class reunion Saturday.

. But it wasn’t because he had other commitments.

. Sprick is considered missing in action after a plane he was flying in the Vietnam War was struck down.

. His younger brother, Roger, remembers Doyle from when they were children.

. “He was always outdoors,” Roger said, describing his older brother as a hunter and a catcher in baseball who once accidentally trapped a skunk instead of a mink with his twin, Duane, and friends.

. All four boys in the family were Eagle Scouts; their sister was a Curve Bar in Girl Scouts.

. While the twins both flew planes, Doyle went straight to the Marines within a year after high school, while Duane went to Reserve Officers’ Training Corps from what is now the University of Nebraska at Omaha, later joining the Air Force.

. But Doyle served some years before he was sent to Vietnam at age 33. He was only there for about 18 days when his plane was shot down, and he was considered MIA.

. Roger’s parents never gave up hope for their son, even after Fort Calhoun Presbyterian Church later held a memorial service.

. “They expected him to walk in the door at any time,” Roger said. “They never accepted him being gone.”

. Still, Roger said, MIA just means there’s “no physical evidence” of being killed. A Vietnamese man was said to have identified Doyle in a photo, and claimed he was in a prisoner-of-war camp.

. But, “that was never corroborated,” Roger said.

. Roger remembers exactly where he was at the plant where he then worked when he heard the news. Duane later told him that he remembered getting home to where he lived in Texas, and having a sense even before he received the news.

. “It just felt eerie,” Roger remembered his brother telling him.

. Roger enlisted in the Army Reserves to avoid being drafted to Vietnam, but Duane was ready to go and fly. Instead, because of his twin’s MIA status, he was sent elsewhere.

. Later, Roger became closer to friends than brothers with Duane, and became emotional when remembering what they shared about their lost brother.

. Roger visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and found his brother’s name, though Duane never would, Roger said. A book, “Phantom over Vietnam,” is dedicated to the four who were killed or are missing between the two planes that were shot down that fateful day. It describes Doyle as “plucky and sincere.”

. “He was serious,” Roger said. “He was a gung-ho Marine.”

. Later, Roger gave Doyle’s daughter away at her wedding. Doyle’s son, Kenneth, has seen his father’s name on a memorial in Blair, and Doyle’s namesake, Doyle Jr., “took it very hard,” Roger said.

. Doyle “was really too old to go to Vietnam,” Roger said. “He shouldn’t have been over there.”

. Note: One report of casualty said date of death as June 17, 1974 and the other said June 24 1974.

~~~ Obituary courtesy of the Washington County Genealogical Society. Newspaper clippings on file in the Blair Public Library at Blair, Nebraska.~~~

Printed in the Washington County Enterprise on 1/27/1966