Captain Arthur Joseph delaHoussaye volunteered for the United States Marine Corps soon after graduation from USL in 1964. In 1965, after starting his pilot training in Pensacola, Florida, Arthur was transferred to Meridian, Mississippi. There, he married Mary Agnes Hardy. They had two children: local business owner and ophthalmologist Dr. A.J. delaHoussaye (Dr. D) and his sister, Monique Breaux.
After Arthur received his pilot wings in Kingsville, Texas, the delaHoussaye family moved to Cherry Point, North Carolina. At Cherry Point, Arthur trained in the F-4B Phantom jet. He was then deployed to Vietnam on October 15, 1967. He flew 89 missions, which totaled just over 91 hours, during his service as a Marine pilot.
Arthur’s exceptional bravery in one particular mission led him to be awarded the highest honor a pilot in the military can receive, the Distinguished Flying Cross. While in route to an objective, Arthur and his wingman received an emergency request to help a platoon-sized unit of Marines who were severely outnumbered on the ground. Vietnam forces on the ground managed to damage the jet of Arthur’s wingman, injured his co-pilot, and forced them to abort the mission with their antiaircraft fire. With just his jet in the mission, the courageous young pilot still continued to navigate through the antiaircraft barrage to successfully complete 11 bombing runs over the area, which silenced the enemy and saved the Marines trapped on the ground.
“I’m really proud of him. I think that says a lot about his spirit because I’m sure there was a lot of radio chatter at the time that said, ‘Abort, abort, abort.’ He chose to stay in the fight,” Dr. D says.
On January, 30, 1968, the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese People’s Army of Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive against the United States Armed Forces. Unfortunately, Arthur was killed during these series of surprise attacks during the early morning hours of January 31, 1968. He died when the bunker he was taking shelter in was directly hit by a rocket.
“It takes a special person … to say, ‘I’ll sacrifice everything I need to, including my life, for my fellow countrymen and for what I believe in,’” Dr. D says.