Lawrence man, killed in Vietnam, to be inducted into military hall of fame

First Lt. Arlen Richardson, a Lawrence man killed in combat in Vietnam nearly 40 years ago, will be one of five Kansas National Guard officers inducted into the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Salina Saturday.

Richardson was killed on Feb. 17, 1970, when the helicopter he was piloting on a reconnaissance mission over the Quang Ngai region in South Vietnam crashed after experiencing mechanical problems.

Richardson grew up in Lawrence and is a 1961 graduate of Lawrence High School. Richardson’s son, Ryan Richardson, a father of three who now lives in Colorado, was 6 months old when his father was killed.

Clarice Patchen, who lives in the Lawrence area, said several family members will be attending the ceremony in honor of her brother.

“We’re very proud,” she said. “It was such a sad event. It never really goes away.”

Richardson joined the Kansas Army National Guard in April 1965, and became a pilot after attending aviation school. When he was killed, Richardson was assigned to Company B, 123rd Aviation battalion, 23rd Infantry Division as a Huey pilot.

Richardson is the recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Basic Aviation badge, Marksmanship Badge with carbine pistol, and Sharpshooter Badge with rifle.

In order to be nominated for the Hall of Fame, officers must have attained the rank of colonel or higher, received the Silver Star or a higher award, or been killed in action, died in a combat zone, or been held a prisoner of war.

The ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. in Building 365 at the Great Plains Joint Training Center, 2929 Scanlan Ave., in Salina.

Other Kansas National Guard officers to be inducted today:

• Retired Col. Everett Weaver, Topeka.

• Retired Col. Robert Bloomquist, Topeka.

• Retired Col. James Trafton, Kansas City.

• First Lt. Kerry Hess (killed in action in Vietnam), Topeka.