SP5 Betuel Angel Perez was killed on 8 June 1964. SP5 Perez was assigned to 36th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), Fort Clayton, Corozal, Canal Zone, Panama. SP5 Perez was mortally wounded when he was disassembling a pipe bomb that was made out of a cast iron sewer pipe detonated. The pipe bombs were roughly two inches in diameter and four to five inches in length. They were fused with a drinking straw filled with powder for a delay estimated to be four to five seconds. CPT Charles R. Perry and SP4 John W. Fisher had picked up 12 to 13 pipe bombs from a civilian bomb maker’s place. They all were destroyed by a controlled detonation at the demolition range, except two of the pipe bombs were taken back to the detachment’s shop to be disassembled for collection purposes. SP5 Perez had emptied the first pipe bomb successfully and placed the second pipe bomb in a vise. He was attempting to remove the pyrotechnic type filler when it did a flash/detonation. SP4 Fisher was working near SP5 Perez when the detonation occurred. SP5 Perez died in the operation room at the hospital at 1315 hours. SP4 Fisher received the Soldier’s Medal for providing medical aid to SP5 Perez. SP5 Perez had a traumatic hand amputation, lacerated liver, and died due to internal bleeding (#).
Additional Facts: Service Number: RA50190008; Enlisted (Drafted): 8 January 1952; Age: 36; Born: 10 April 1928; Panama; Buried: Corozal American Cemetery and Memorial, Corozal, Panama.
The “#” means his name was on the original EOD Memorial when it was dedicated;.
Note: This inerting of the pipe bombs was not an authorized procedure.