Jerry Pask succumbed to cardiac arrest in his sleep on 19 March 2017 in Park Forest, IL. Jerry served with the 498th Medical Company at An Son Vietnam from January 1969 to May 1970.
During his 18-month tour (913 flight hours) in Vietnam, Pask earned a Purple Heart for being wounded in action and received three Air Medals, Army Commendation Medal (for Meritorious Service), Vietnam Service Medals (both American and South Vietnamese), Enlisted Personal Flight Crew Wings, Combat Medic Badge and National Defense Service Medal.
His Air Medals included the first for Meritorious Service (first 25 mission/flight hours) and two additional for Heroism and Valor with “V” Device while participating in aerial flight against hostile forces.
After graduating from Berwyn’s Morton West High School in 1967, Pask joined the U.S. Army and completed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and his 10-week Advance Individual Training as a Medical Corpsman at Fort Sam Houston in Texas.
Upon arrival in South Vietnam, Pask volunteered to serve with the 498th Medical Company (Air Ambulance Helicopters), which was located about 10 miles west of Qui Nhon on the South China Sea, and received only two days of on-the-job flight training.
One of the most famous combat support elements was universally known as “dust off,” the medical evacuation helicopters, which were identified by a large Red Cross on a field of white. Rescue missions covered Landing Zones (or LZs) and hoists along rugged shorelines, white sandy beaches and mountain highlands. From time on injury to arrival at a hospital ranged from less than15 minutes up to two hours of flight time. On occasion, Pask’s crew was called upon to rescue and recover fellow aviators who were shot down or killed in action.
Prior to his military service, Pask had a passion for photography and hoped to attend still photography school. Once honorably discharged, he first attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale seeking a degree in forestry. Then he enrolled at the University of Illinois in Champaign on the G.I. Bill and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Landscape Architecture.