HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – A Hall of Heroes veteran died Wednesday, September 16, but family members tell News 19 he left a legacy of service to the community.
Larue Dwain Wisener, 72, originally from Cullman, attended college in Texas and was working two jobs when he was drafted into the Army for the Vietnam War.
He went into Army Flight School, and eventually ended up training to fly on the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter at Fort Rucker. He also attended Officer Candidate School and was appointed a warrant officer.
Family members say his passion for helicopters went back to the time he rode one at a state fair when he was a kid.
In his spare time, his passion for flying continued. He would read manuals about flying and the engineering of the machine.
In Vietnam, Wisener received five Distinguished Flying Crosses, 10 Air Medals (one for heroism), and one Bronze Star, among other medals.
Wisener also made friends with allied Vietnamese soldiers, soldiers in his unit (the 361st Aviation Escort), and others across special forces, the Marines, and the Navy.
His tours of duty also included stops in Korea, Germany, as well as travels throughout Asia and Europe. He trained countless pilots; had a son in Korea’ and also flew in airshows for the Army’s parachute team, the Golden Knights.
Wisener retired after 25 years in the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer 4, but he didn’t stop flying! He went to work as a civilian pilot for the Department of Defense at Redstone Arsenal.
10 years later, medical issues forced him to retire from that job, but he became a physical security inspector for the Army, working his way up to the chief of that office before retiring again.
In total, Wisener spent an additional 16 years in civilian DOD service.
But his son, also named Larue, said some of his best lessons were the ones he taught his family.
Wisener would almost always help stranded motorists on the side of the road, always finish any job fixing no matter how long it took, and volunteered for things when nobody else would.
Wisener is survived by his wife Prachum, his son, mother, and four grandchildren.