Incident Date 19680329 HMM-165 CH-46A 152524+ - HMM-165 CH-46A 151922+ - Hostile Fire, Crash
Sands, Kenneth Earl Cpl Gunner HMM-165 MAG-36 1968-03-30 (vvm 47E:016)
Hinz, David Lee Cpl Crew HMM-165 MAG-36 1968-03-29 (vvm 47E:004)
Barr, Michael McKee LCpl Gunner HMM-165 MAG-36 1968-03-29 (vvm 46E:061)
HMM-165 Command Chronology - 29 March 1968
Submitted by: N/A, 20030818
"29 March 1968. Four 'Space' [HMM-165's call sign at this time] CH-46's launched from Phu Bai in support of operation Samurai IV led by Capt. P.J. Montague. Their assigned mission was to insert troops in a small jungle clearing northeast of the enemy infested Ashau Valley. YW-16, piloted by Capt. J.E. Morgan, was the first A/C to be downed by the withering enemy fire. Capt. Morgan and his crew were quickly rescued by Capt. John C. Jones' crew, and all 'Space' A/C returned to Phu Bai, having inserted 87 troops. Later in the day it was decided to continue the troop lift and Capt. Montague returned to the operation with Capt. R. W. Romero flying his wing. It should be noted that on the first sortie into the zone that morning all 4 A/C had been hit by the intense and highly accurate enemy fire. Fully aware of the dangerous situation, Capt. Montague and his wingman returned to the embattled zone a second time with a load of badly needed troops. This time the enemy guns were more deadly and both A/C were shot down. Capt. Romero's A/C never made it out of the zone and his gunner, LCpl. Barr, was killed in the zone. Capt. Montague and his crew were shot down on take off. Capt. [Paul] Montague and his co-pilot Lt. [Bruce] Archer, were killed in the crash [actually they were wounded and later taken prisoner] and his gunner, Cpl. Sands, died from enemy fire. Also aboard Capt. Montague's A/C was an 8 man recovery team [HMM-165's helicopter recovery team to retrieve the aircraft shot down earlier]. One of the recovery team members, Cpl. David L. Hinz was killed later in the evening as he attempted to help an injured comrade aboard a helicopter. All of the recovery team members were wounded."
"The unwavering courage of every individual involved in this operation is worthy of the highest praise. Their sacrifice and devotion to duty is to be remembered."
Additionally, I talked with both Bruce Archer and Paul Montague. Their recollections were that they were shot down in the foothills east of the Ashau. Submitted by Gary "Zimmy" Zimmerman and Mike Wagner.
HMM-165 Command Chronology - Casualties - 29 March 1968
HMM-165 Command Chronology - Casualties - 29 March 1968:
"Capt Paul J. Montague was killed in action on 29 March 1968 when his aircraft was downed by enemy ground fire. [He was actually wounded, later taken prisoner and released in March 1973].
2ndLt Bruce R. Archer was killed in action on 29 March 1968 when his aircraft was downed by enemy ground fire. [He was actually wounded, later taken prisoner and released in March 1973].
Corporal Kenneth E. Sands was killed in action on 30 March 1968 as a result of wounds received on 29 March 1968 when he was struck by enemy fire.
Lance Corporal Michael M. Barr was killed in action 29 March 1968 when he was struck by enemy fire.
Corporal David L. Hinz was killed in action on 29 March 1968 while helping one of his wounded comrades to an awaiting helicopter."
The wounded were Cpl Sammy R. Burson, Cpl Larry E. Bacon, Cpl Tommy R. Bimat, GySgt Dale T. Parry, Cpl Thomas E. Donnelly, Cpl Frederick E. Wayand and Sgt David A Geene.
Mike Barr, the pilots and I were downed sometime around 1500. One might say that technically we were not “shot-down”, since we were over the LZ [Landing Zone] when control of the A/C was lost due to the heavy gunfire sustained while approaching the LZ, causing us to overshoot a few yards and land in undergrowth and a little into the tree-line. The LZ was a relatively small area which appeared to have been cleared by bombs that had been dropped at some earlier (but recent) date, between two hills.
Going into the LZ, we could return fire only on the right, as we had friendly troops in the tree-line at the top of the hill on our left. Therefore, Mike was returning fire from my side of the A/C while I was attempting to ensure rotor blade clearance and help guide our landing. Under the circumstances, my actions were of little or no benefit. We managed to get in a bomb crater for cover after the Huey that picked up Mike, the pilots and me was forced to auto-rotate back to the LZ. As the fixed-wing a/c started in on each of their bombing runs on the NVA positions, we (the Vietnamese Rangers and their advisers) headed up the hill, in groups of 3 to 4 of us at a time, for better cover in the tree-line with other friendlies. All of this occurred during the afternoon of 29 March 68.
We remained on the aforementioned hill that night, which is where we were when Mike died, sometime around 2000 to 2100 hours. During the early hours of the morning of 30 March 68, (long before daylight) we left the hill and finally reached a secure LZ around 1800 the evening of 30 March 68. Our pilots carried Mike's body in a poncho (one on each end of the poncho) that day from that hill to the secure LZ.
From www.pownetwork.org - MONTAGUE, PAUL J.
Name: Paul J. Montague
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Marine Corp
Unit: HMM 165
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Anthony KS
Date of Loss: 28 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160600N 1072300E
Status (in 1973): Releasee
Tail Number: 151922
Incident: Refno 1111
Other Personnel in Incident: Bruce Archer, Returnee
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 15 March 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: Released 03/16/73 by PRG
March 29, 1968, while piloting a helicopter, Major Paul J. Montague was
captured with Captain Bruce R. Archer (1st MAW). They were reported dead at
the time. Montague's weight dropped below 100 pounds due to treatment,
humiliation and degradation in 1969. Very sparse food, little water and
severe corporal punishment made imprisonment most miserable. Upon realizing
their release might be imminent, their captors gave them more food, some
sunshine, and set about making them look presentable to the world. On March
16, 1973 Archer was released weighing 145 pounds and a few months later was
at 170 pounds.
Paul Montague left the military after his release. He resides in Kansas and
is an member of NAM-POWs Inc.
From www.pownetwork.org - ARCHER, BRUCE R.
Name: Bruce Raymond Archer
Rank/Branch: 03/United States Marine Corps, co-pilot
Unit: HMM 165
Date of Birth: 06 March 1942
Home City of Record: Rochester NY
Date of Loss: 28 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160600 North 1072300 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A, Tail # 151922
Incident No: Refno 1111
Other Personnel in Incident: Paul Montague, returnee
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: 730316 RELEASED BY DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
BRUCE R. ARCHER
Captain - United States Marine Corps
Shot Down: March 29, 1968
Released: March 16, 1973
"I left this country in 1967 at a time in which few Americans were proved to
be called patriotic. I understand that today my friends who were with me
these past years are now a symbol of national unity. It is hard for us to
understand, because we are proud of you."--Captain Archer on arrival in the
Bruce R. Archer was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 6, 1942, but later
moved to Rochester, New York. He attended RPI (Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute) in Troy, New York. He joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 1964 and
after his initial training, was sent to Pensacola where he met and courted
Carolyn Corinne Cahoon. With the romantic courtship of three months and a
frantic engagement of four months they were married on April Fool's Day
In November 1967 he left for Vietnam and on March 29, 1968, while
co-piloting a helicopter, he was captured with Major Paul J. Montague. They
were reported dead at the time. In 1969 his weight dropped below 100 pounds
due to treatment, humiliation and degradation. Very sparse food, little
water and severe corporal punishment made imprisonment most miserable. Upon
realizing their release might be imminent, their captors gave them more
food, some sunshine, and set about making them look presentable to the
world. On March 16, 1973 he was released weighing 145 pounds and now is at
170 pounds. An ability to laugh even in the dark days helped pull him
On March 19, Captain Archer and his wife of six years renewed their wedding
vows, less than one hour after his arrival from Clark AFB in the
Philippines. Captain Archer said it marked "the re-birth, re-beginning of
their life together." The ceremony was filled with much emotion. A wedding
cake was baked by the hospital dietitian and with champagne, a reception was
held in the solarium of the hospital.
Captain Joe Hoagland and his wife, who were groomsman and bridesmaid in the
original wedding were also guests. Captain Hoagland had caught the garter
which Captain Archer threw, and in October of that year, Captain Hoagland's
wife-to-be wore the garter, as the something old "in their wedding." Later
when Captain Archer was declared killed, Captain Hoagland was sent to
Vietnam and was assigned to Captain Archer's former squadron and quarters.
Later he too was shot down and severely wounded. At the new ceremony, that
original garter was given to Captain Archer--a model Marine, intelligent,
rugged, and loyal.
A new life has now begun.
Bruce Archer retired from the United States Marine Corps as a Major. He and
Carolyn reside in Florida.
This is for Capt Archer and his family.
I have always been a believer in our country and what we stand for. In 1968 I was a young mother (26) of 3 and unfortunately on the road to divorce. I was in support of our troops and their mission in life and the war, and in my small way wanted to contribute by obtaining a MIA bracelet which I wore faithfully and still have in my jewelry box. My bracelet is for Capt. Bruce Archer dated 3/29/68, and only today after searching Google did I realize that Capt Archer had made it home alive. That means my prayers for him in 1968 and the years following were answered, I'm only sorry that it took me so many years to find out.
If you would like to have my bracelet I'd be glad to send it to you in memory of your bravery and honor to our country. Again, it was an honor to wear your bracelet and I'm so very thankful that you were rescued.
My mother (Yvonne Baker) also received and wore the bracelet until your release. She was a very prayerful woman - she made sure we all prayed for you and your safe return. Please be assured, that while you were in captivity - you were never alone. My mother had a faith so strong and a way of caring so deeply. I can only hope that at some time throughout your ordeal, you felt the warmth of the love and respect she had for you. She passed away in 1995, but I have the bracelet bearing your name - very worn on the inside based on the number of years she wouldn't let it leave her wrist. Please let me know if you would like me to forward it.Submitted by: Joanne Baker Rupprecht, daughter of recipient of MIA bracelet, 20080121
I wore the bracelet bearing the name of Major Paul Montague faithfully until the day I read he had been released and returned home. I then put it away in a secure place hoping to some day get it to him. Well it was so securely placed that I just found it today while going through some old photos, love letters and mementos. If anyone can help me find this hero or his family I would sure appreciate it. Thanks.Submitted by: Bob Scully, Bracelet recipient for Maj Paul Montague, 20081102
I wore the POW bracelet of Bruce Archer for approximately 2 years, until his release in March 1973. I was just about to turn 14 when I read in the newspaper that Captain Bruce R. Archer was being released. We somehow found out that the return of these brave men would be televised, so my dad and I were able to watch their emotional return to American soil together. I got in trouble a couple of times in school because I refused to remove the bracelet for gym class. My mom spoke to the principal and told them to quit picking at me about it because there was no way they would get me to take it off! I still have that bracelet, a little worse for the wear, but it is part of a modest patriotic display in my home. I also remember going door to door in the neighborhood with bumper stickers that said \"POWs never have a nice day\". Bruce Archer has never been out of my thoughts for long, nor have I ever forgotten his name or his bravery. Many times over the last 35+ years I have wondered if I should try to contact him, always choosing to leave him in peace. In recent years, I have thought about contacting him again as I now have two nephews, my future son-in-law as well as countless neighbors and acquaintances in the armed forces. Words cannot describe the fear or helplessness that one feels as a civilian, nor can words do justice to the pride that is felt in the commitment of our service personnel. Mr. Archer, I continue to pray for your health and welfare, to thank you for your service, perseverance and belief in our country and I wish you only the best in life. May you and your family be always under God\'s careful watch.Submitted by: Karen Greenwood, bracelet wearer for Capt Bruce Archer, 20090910
SILVER STAR - Capt Paul J. Montague
Captain Paul J. Montague received the Silver Star on 29 March 1968. Major Paul J. Montague later received a second Silver Star for his time as a POW between June 1970 and March 1973.Submitted by: Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association, 20090911
SILVER STAR - GySgt Dale T. Parry
I have heard this story a few times. My dad was part of the recovery team. I believe he received the Silver Star for this. [GySgt Dale T. Parry, USMC, received the Silver Star on 29 Mar 1968 as a member of the HMM-165 Recovery Team that was shot down in the LZ] I am very proud of my dad and everything he did for our country. "The Few, The Proud, The Marines" Daughter.Submitted by: Brianna Parry, daughter of GySgt. Dale T. Parry, HMM-165, 20090429
Thanks so much for this information, I have been reearching my brother\'s deathsince 1969. This information fills in some of the gaps I had in my research. I was sole surviving son and could not follow his path so I joined the Fort Worth Police Department and retired from their after 31 years. Again thank you for the information. I\'ll share it with my two sisters and David\'s son.Submitted by: Dale Hinz, Brother of David Hinz, 20070826
I received the POW bracelet with Major Paul Montague's name on it. I wore the bracelet until the end of the war. I did not find out until today that Major Montague had not been killed in action, that he had survived!
As I read the details of Major Montague's career, I was amazed at an interesting coincidence. When I received the bracelet I did not know that the Major was a Marine helicopter pilot. My niece is now a Marine helicopter pilot.
I am so happy that Major Montague is alive. If anyone knows how to contact him please let him know he was always in my heart and mind.
I have a MIA bracelet with the name Bruce R Archer,shot down on March 29,1968. I got the bracelet when they were offered back in the late 60's. I wore the bracelet and always wondered if Capt. Archer returned safely. I just recently found this website and was really excited to find out that he did return home safely. I want to say Thank you for your service to our country.
I wore the bracelet for about 2 years. I wanted to do my part. So,I joined the USAF in 1971 despite having a high draft number, 203. My friends thought I was nuts. It was the best thing I could have done. I met my wife in the Air Force and retired after 20 years.
It was only today, May 24, 2010, that I found the bracelet amongst old pictures my Mom had saved. Thank you Major Archer for your service and effect on my life.
When in elementary school, I received a POW bracelet with the name of Capt Bruce Archer. I wore the bracelet everyday until he returned home. I remember that mother helped me look up his name in the newspaper in March 1973 as they were printing the rolls of the names of POWs returning home.
I cannot comprehend the horrors Capt Archer must have endured during captivity. But I hope it is some comfort to him to know that a 10 year old girl thought about him every day while he was in enemy hands.
My mother recently gave me two MIA bracelets that we wore in the early 70s. Being in an Air Force family, and realizing the sacrifice all of our service personnel make, my mother, sisters and I all wore them. I found out both service men came home. One bracelet was for Capt. Bruce Archer, the other for LCdr Robert Flynn. I would love to return the bracelets to these gentlemen and their families.Submitted by: Leslie Lewis, MIA Bracelet, 20110717