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USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION - KIA DATABASE
USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION
Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter Squadrons in Vietnam



680108   HMH-463     Vietnam

Incident Date 680108 HMH-463 CH-53A 153710+ Crash, Instrument Meterological Conditions

[CREW]
Chapman, John Thomas Capt Co-Pilot HMH-463 MAG-16 680108 (vvm 33E:080)
Olson, Bennett Walfred SSgt Gunner HMH-463 MAG-16 680108 (vvm 33E:091)
Schram, Frederick Lloyd Capt Pilot HMH-463 MAG-16 680108 (vvm 33E:093)
Strand Jr., Philip Stanley Cpl Crew Chief HMH-463 MAG-16 680108 (vvm 34E:001)
Venegas, Vernon Bernabe Cpl Gunner HMH-463 MAG-16 680108 (vvm 34E:002)

[PASSENGERS]
Bardach, Alan Jensen 1stLt Passenger HHC 507thTransGrp USARV 680108 (vvm 33E:078)
Barry, Kenneth Donald PFC Passenger H&SCo/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:079)
Curry, Hovey Rice PFC Passenger A/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:082)
Cyr, Lawrence Joseph SgtMaj Passenger HQBtty/4/12 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:082)
Day, Michael Robert Sgt Passenger A/3rdTankBn 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:082)
Diaz, Daniel PFC Passenger HQCo/3rdMarines 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:083)
Dietz, Gary Philip Cpl Passenger B/1stAmtracBn 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:083)
Dornak, Leonard Edward 1stLt Passenger CommSuptBn/7thCommBn 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:083)
Eaddy, Ishmell PFC Passenger E/2/9 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:083)
Ellis, George Walter Col Passenger H&SCo 3rdMAF 680108 (vvm 33E:084)
Fennell, Alton Jimmy PFC Passenger 3rdMAF 680108 (vvm 33E:084)
Fox, Ronald Lee LCpl Passenger BattI/1/12 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:084)
Freeman, Glenn Wayne Cpl Passenger 3rdMAF 680108 (vvm 33E:085)
Fulwider, Daniel Raymond Sgt Passenger 3rdMAF 680108 (vvm 33E:085)
Garza, Vicente Sgt Passenger 3DATCo/3TANKBn 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:085)
Grimes, Thaomas Allen SSgt Passenger K/3/26 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:088)
Hall, Michael Jennings 2ndLt Passenger H&SCo/FLSG"B"/ForceLogCom 680108 (vvm 33E:086)
Hetland, Ronald Lee LCpl Passenger BttyE/2/12 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:086)
Jackson, Donney Lyrce HM3 Corpsman-Pass 4/12 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:087)
Jones Jr., Halcott Pride HM2 Corpsman-Pass 1/4 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:087)
Kirschner, Stephen Benjamin PVT Passenger HQBtty/1/12 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:088)
May, Craig Nolan LCpl Passenger H&SCo/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:089)
Miller, James Irvin LCpl Passenger C/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:089)
Nicholson, David Donell Cpl Passenger E/2/9 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:090)
Patrick, Jerry PFC Passenger H&SCo/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:091)
Pintar, James Albert LCpl Passenger H&SCo/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:092)
Price Jr., Millard Ernest WO Passenger HQCo/HQBn/3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:092)
Protano Jr., Guy Jerry LCpl Passenger G/2/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:092)
Rumley, Richard Allen Cpl Passenger A/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:093)
Schautteet Jr., Louis L LCpl Passenger A/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:093)
Shaffer Jr., Wallace Clair HM3 Corpsman-Pass 3rdMedBn 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:094)
Sigmon, Harold Wayne Sgt Passenger B/1/4 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:094)
Skarman, Orval Harry LCpl Passenger L/3/3/3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:056)
Smith, Charles Herbert LCpl Passenger H&SCo/3/2 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 33E:094)
Teeter, Gary Alan LCpl Passenger C/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:001)
Ugino, John Joseph PFC Passenger M/3/26 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:001)
Vaught, Michael Eugene LCpl Passenger A/1/4 3rdMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:002)
White, Craig Preston LCpl Passenger C/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:003)
White, Raymond PFC Passenger A/1/1 1stMarDiv 680108 (vvm 34E:003)
Wilson, Robert Charles PFC Passenger 1/D/1/1, 1stMARDIV 680108 (vvm 34E:003)
Zirfas, Ewald Capt Passenger 507thTransGrp/TMA/MACV 680108 (vvm 34E:004)


BARDACH ALAN JENSEN : O5538073 : US Army (HHC, 507TH TRANS GRP, USA SPT CMD SAIGON, 1ST LOG CMD, USARV) : 1LT : O2 : 2162 : 24 : NOBLESVILLE : IN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 01 : 19430726: Cauc : single : 33E : 078 : Generically reported as PROVINCE UNKNOWN, MILITARY REGION 1 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

BARRY KENNETH DONALD : 2325949 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0341 : 19 : PORTLAND : OR : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19480122 : Cauc : single : 33E : 079 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

CHAPMAN JOHN THOMAS : 091527 : USMC : CAPT : O3 : 7564 H-53: 25 : RIVER FALLS : WI : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Copilot : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :03 : 19420206 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 080 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

CURRY HOVEY RICE : 2347035 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 23 : PHILADELPHIA : PA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19440418 : Negro : Protestant/single : 33E : 082 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

CYR LAWRENCE JOSEPH : 304572 : USMC : SGTMAJ : E9 : 9999 : 45 : MADAWASKA : ME : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :26 : 19221123 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 33E : 082 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

DAY MICHAEL ROBERT : 2152524 : USMC : SGT : E5 : 2861 : 21 : ASHLAND CITY : TN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19461004 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 082 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

DIAZ DANIEL : 2347916 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 20 : LONG BEACH : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470825 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 33E : 083 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

DIETZ GARY PHILIP : 2333088 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 2542 : 21 : MIAMI : FL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19460731 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 33E : 083 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

DORNAK LEONARD EDWARD : 094247 : USMCR : 1stLT : O2 : 2502 : 24 : EL CAMPO : TX : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :03 : 19431226 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 33E : 083 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

EADDY ISHMELL : 2346280 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 20 : BRIDGEPORT : CT : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :00 : 19470831 : Negro : Protestant/single : 33E : 083 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

ELLIS GEORGE WALTER : 010697 : USMC : COL : O6 : 9906 : 49 : HAYWARD : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :26 : 19180830 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 084 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

FENNELL ALTON JIMMY : 2307930 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0353 : 18 : WARNER ROBINS : GA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19490517 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 084 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

FOX RONALD LEE : 2225199 : USMCR (draftee): LCPL : E3 : 0846 : 21 : GIRARD : IL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19461106 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 084 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

FREEMAN GLENN WAYNE : 2200577 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 0351 : 20 : BRIDGEPORT : WV : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue): 02 : 19471203 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 660927 : 33E : 085 : Incorrectly reported as Quang Tri : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

FULWIDER DANIEL RAYMOND : 2097375 : USMC : SGT : E5 : 2851 : 22 : WABASH : IN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :03 : 19450518 : Cauc : single : 33E : 085 : interred at Arlington National Cemetery, section 53 site 98

GARZA VICENTE : 2185603 : USMC : SGT : E5 : 0353 : 25 : HOUSTON : TX : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19420221 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 33E : 085 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

GRIMES THOMAS ALLEN : 1880979 : USMC : SSGT : E6 : 0369 : 26 : PERU : IN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :08 : 19410307 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 088 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

HALL MICHAEL JENNINGS : 0101118 : USMCR : 2ndLT : O1 : 3501 : 24 : SOUTH BEND : IN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19431008 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 086 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

HETLAND RONALD LEE : 2276372 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0811 : 20 : CHICAGO : IL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470517 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 086 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

JACKSON DONNEY LYRCE : 980154 : USNR : HM3 : E4 : HM3 : 21 : LOS ANGELES : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger – Corpsman : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 01 : 19460615 : Negro : Protestant/single : 33E : 087 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

JONES HALCOTT PRIDE JR : B306696 : USNR : HM2 : E5 : HM2 : 23 : ATLANTA : GA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger – Corpsman : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 01 : 19440825 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 087 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

KIRSCHNER STEPHEN BENJAMIN : 2309802 : USMC : PVT : E1 : 3051 : 20 : MANTUA : NJ : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470622 : Cauc : Hebrew/single : 33E : 088 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

MAY CRAIG NOLAN : 2336731 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0341 : 20 : NEW CASTLE : PA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470606 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 089 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

MILLER JAMES IRVIN : 2326978 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 18 : COLUMBUS : OH : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :00 : 19490710 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 089 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

NICHOLSON DAVID DONELL : 2323079 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 0311 : 20 : ROCKFORD : IL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470717 : Cauc : single : 33E : 090 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

OLSON BENNETT WALFRED : 1631749 : USMC : SSGT : E6 : 6242 : 30 : CALDWELL : ID : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :12 : 19371003 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 091 : Burial site unknown

PATRICK JERRY : 2356905 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0341 : 21 : ST LOUIS : MO : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19460926 : Negro : Catholic/single : 33E : 091 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

PINTAR JAMES ALBERT : 2250622 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0351 : 21 : CROWN POINT : IN : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19461119 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 33E : 092 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

PRICE MILLARD ERNEST JR : 099241 : USMC :WO : W1 : 3410 : 42 : FRUITLAND : MD : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :20 : 19251126 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 092 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

PROTANO GUY JERRY JR : 2266513 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 20 : WORCESTER : MA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19471206 : Cauc : RomanCatholic/single : 33E : 092 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

RUMLEY RICHARD ALLEN : 2168634 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 0331 : 21 : CANOGA PARK : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19461224 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 093 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

SCHAUTTEET LOUIS L JR : 2313468 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 20 : GONZALES : TX : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19471220 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 33E : 093 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

SCHRAM FREDERICK LLOYD : 091884 : USMCR : CAPT : O3 : 7564 H-53: 29 : DENVER : CO: 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : AircraftCommander : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :06 : 19381009 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 093 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

SHAFFER WALLACE CLAIR JR : B406032 : USNR : HM3 : E4 : HM3 : 21 : KITTANNING : PA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger – Corpsman : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 02 : 19461018 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 33E : 094 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

SIGMON HAROLD WAYNE : 2064664 : USMC : SGT : E5 : 0141 : 23 : AKRON : OH : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :04 : 19440427 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 094 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

SKARMAN, ORVAL HARRY : 475527715 : SGT : E5 : 0311 : USMC : Duluth : MN : 19470311 : Male : Cauc : Single / Protestant : 19680108 : Hostile, Died Missing, reason unknown : Ground Casualty (suspected) : Location Not Reported : Quang Tri : Body not recovered : 34E : 056 : enroute to R&R : declared KIA 19751128

SMITH CHARLES HERBERT : 2278011 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0141 : 20 : ELBERTON : GA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19470430 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 33E : 094 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

STRAND PHILIP STANLEY JR : 2214120 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6311 : 20 : RIVERSIDE : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19470818 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 34E : 001 : Burial site unknown

TEETER GARY ALAN : 2311717 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 20 : MORENCI : MI : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19471206 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 34E : 001 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

UGINO JOHN JOSEPH : 2345370 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0331 : 19 : MOUNT MORRIS : NY : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19480119 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 34E : 001 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

VAUGHT MICHAEL EUGENE : 2185067 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 21 : CORPUS CHRISTI : TX : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :02 : 19461004 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 34E : 002 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

VENEGAS VERNON BERNABE : 2250667 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6321 : 19 : JOLIET : IL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19481111 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 34E : 002 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

WHITE CRAIG PRESTON : 2279814 : USMC : LCPL : E3 : 0141 : 20 : PHILADELPHIA : PA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :01 : 19471004 : Negro : Protestant/single : 34E : 003 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

WHITE RAYMOND : 2353781 : USMC : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 20 : SLOCOMB : AL : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :00 : 19470308 : Negro : Protestant/single : 34E : 003 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

WILSON ROBERT CHARLES: 2320273 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 21 : DOBBS FERRY : NY : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 01 : 19461007 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 34E : 003 : Incorrectly reported as Quang Tri : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968

ZIRFAS EWALD: O5419523: US Army (507th Transportation Group) : CPT : O3: 1193 : 27 : LOS ANGELES : CA : 19680108 : Air Loss Crash Land : Passenger : body recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 06 : 19400814 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 34E : 004 : Generically reported as PROVINCE UNKNOWN, MILITARY REGION 1 : interred at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, St Louis, MO : Plot 81 0 270-272, bur. 07/23/1968


Comment on Incident:

According to the HMH-463 Squadron Command Chronologies for Jan and Feb 1968, the crew was reported as MIA on 8 Jan 1968. The crew was reclassified as KIA/DAI on 26 Feb 1968.

Personal Narratives:
CH-53/Dye-marker Mission

Compiled By Joe Jackson

On Jan 8, 1968 a CH-53A helicopter assigned to Marine Helicopter Squadron HMH-463 crashed in the Hai Lang Forest at YD 225275. The crew of five and 36 passengers were killed in the crash. Of particular interest was the presence on the aircraft of a Marine Corps Major known as, “Mr. Dye-marker”. The Dye-marker Project was a part of Defense Secretary Robert S. McMamara’s plan to construct a barbed wire and electronic barrier across South Vietnam to cut the infiltration of North Vietnamese soldiers and supplies across the Demilitarized Zone. The Major had the Top Secret plans in a briefcase chained to his wrist.

Team 6-1 Eagle Eye of the Third Force Reconnaissance Company was assigned the Search/Rescue mission. The Patrol was led by Staff Sergeant William Effinger. The members of the team were:

Sgt. Joe Jackson Team Leader
Cpl. Ken Smith Assistant Team Leader
L/Cpl Randy Michaux
HN Authur Lodahl Corpsman
Cpl Joe Zachery
PFC Joe Jennings,
L/Cpl Dave Gally
L/Cpl Conrad Dazal
In addition two combat engineers from A Company 3rd Engineer Bn were assigned.
These are the reflections of those involved as they were shared with me. They were collected through personal observations, personal discussions, e-mails and official documents. The intent is to relay this information in the words of the men who were involved. I have tried to be as accurate as I could but I sometimes took my memory over others when there was some disagreement concerning the facts. Like all good war stories I don’t and cannot swear to any of it.

Captain Jon Shebel
S-3 3rd Force Recon Co
Third Force Recon was tasked with dropping into the crash site to recon for possible survivors and KIA's. The site was covered with debris and papers and the aircraft was almost totally demolished. Some of the other pilots from the squadron later told me they felt the aircraft hit the mountain at full cruising speed in the fog. This was speculation on their part.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
This CH53 helicopter was to fly from Quang Tri to DaNang. It was my understanding many of the marines had finished their tour and were rotating home. There was one officer in particular that needed to be found. He had chained to his wrist a brief case that contained a drawing of all the dye marker positions in I Corps. The helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain due to lack of elevation. The elevation assigned by Quang Tri was not quite enough to clear this hill mass. An additional 500 meters would have put them clear of the hill. The air wing searched for quite a while in a remote mountain area before finding the downed aircraft.

Capt Digger O’Dell
S-2 3rd Force Recon Co
There was a great deal of high-level interest in the operation. This was due to the fact that one of the passengers had a briefcase full of top secret plans. These plans had to do with the McNamarra Line, the operational and proposed string of bases that were going to line the DMZ (or a good part of it) and either stop the NVA infiltration or force it further west toward Laos. So there was some real pressure to not only find out if anyone survived the crash but to find out what happened to those plans. From my point of view, I was the S-2, there were several things that made this a very risky operation.

First, there was a good chance that the NVA were at the crash site and our team would be rappelling into a hot zone.

Second, the weather was terrible. The same conditions that caused the CH 53 to fly into that mountain were still present. This made me think that, once in, the weather might preclude an extraction if the team needed it.

Third, as I recall, the altitude at the crash site made it right on the
outer edges of the operational envelope for the CH-46's that would insert the team.

Last, the only fire support that could reach the team was 175 mm guns. As I recall, we used these when we went into the Hai Lang forest and they were hardly precision weapons.

Major Olan Seay
XO, 3rd Force Recon Co
They rappelled into position because it was inaccessible by any other means. The jungle was so thick that we couldn’t get in there. It was steep and higher headquarters had encouraged us – well, encourage is not the word; had threatened us almost that we better get in there and get those guys out, particularly the briefcase that Mr. Dye-Marker had on his person when that helicopter had crashed. We formed a patrol from the 6th Platoon and because the 6th Platoon was low on staffing – well, we were low on staff NCOs all over. A staff NCO by the name of Bill Effinger was selected.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
The way I came to be associated with this particular patrol on the recovery was that Major Anderson who was the Commanding Officer of 3rd Force at that time captured me and said that, “You’re going to be leading this patrol in.” So, Lieutenant Pete had already been tasked with this responsibility of providing a team.

Lt. Guy Pete
Platoon Commander, 3rd Force Recon Co
I was a Platoon Commander of 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Bn/26th Marines for nine months prior to volunteering for and reporting to 3rd Force in Oct67. The nine months with a great grunt platoon that spent the previous six/seven months at Khe Sanh I believe gave me a different perspective than other Lieutenants in 3rd Force that came in country with 3rd Force or reported into 3rd Force directly from Basic School. I had prior enlisted experience. I had been tested as a commander in combat. I was aware of the dangers and consequences. I was given a chance to learn my trade as a Marine Officer in a more supportive and forgiving environment than Force Recon. And this perspective gave me an even greater appreciation for the demands and responsibilities that 3rd Force placed upon young Corporals and Sergeants. It gave me an appreciation for small units deploying alone with little immediate support or command structure.

As Platoon Commander, 6th Platoon, 3rd Force Teams Eagle Eye and Penguin, there was never any reservation from any of the Marines and Corpsmen for any mission assigned and in particular this mission. What I can recall is that once we received the alert for this mission, we immediately began training the team in rapelling for the Observation Tower in the Dong Ha Company Area. I am told that originally, Penguin was also trained and designated to go, but it was later changed to Eagle Eye. I have no personal recollection of this. We trained from the tower and then from CH46's in the company area in Dong Ha. We practiced rigging the chopper for rapelling troops and equipment. The weather was terrible and unpredictable this time of year, particularly in the mountains where the crash site was located.

As Platoon Commander, I have always felt I should have led this patrol. However, because I was a short timer (around three weeks), I was told by the Company Commander (Major Anderson) that Gunny Effinger would lead the patrol. My belief has always been that the decision was made based upon Gunny Effinger's long recon background and time with the company. I have always respected Effinger as the professional Staff NCO he is, have served with him on follow-on tours, and consider him as a great friend. However, to this day I have always personally questioned and regretted why I did not insist on leading this patrol - I should have.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
The next day or two we were able to make an over flight of the area. We had a briefing with Lt. Co. Kent, 3rd Recon Bn. Commanding Officer. There was another Marine Colonel from the air wing present, who piloted the huey. The air wing Col. Seemed to be in charge of the briefing. What I gathered most from the briefing was they wanted us to check the crash site for survivors. Shortly after the briefing we loaded the CH46 helicopter to proceed to the crash site for an over flight.

After a short flight we arrived at the crash site and with a quick look-see I knew we were in trouble. We were in the Hai Lang Forest, which has steep hills and valleys with plenty of tall trees and thick vegetation. The area primarily belonged to Charlie. On the ridgeline just above the crash site there was a foot trail that showed signs of use. Just below the crest of the hill there was a bomb crater, which we put to good use. To compound problems further, no one knew exactly where we were. By using the Tacan the pilot and co-pilot could give us a close fix but even they didn't agree. We were close to 25 miles south of Quang Tri, which means the only supporting arms available would be 175's. This distance was at their maximum range; we would not even consider using 175's for close support. I figured to myself we would primarily be a mission for the air wing, which meant we would be well supported by air. Even to this day I feel the Marine Corps air wing would have taken good care of us but over 60-70% of the time this area is covered by fog. Fixed wing will not drop bombs, and helicopters will not fire into areas they cannot see. It didn't take a genius to determine we were going to have to be self- sufficient.

L/Cpl Don Anderson
Team Penguin 3rd Force Recon Co
Team Penguin 6-2 was originally assigned the mission to rappel into the crash site, check for survivors, recover documents and blow an LZ. If my memory is right, the team included Charlie Johnson, Scott Butterworth, Ron Kienest, Rick Serrianne, Chris Ward, John Kaulu, Doc Tollefson, Gunny Effinger and myself. We did practice rappelling from the tower with four guys from engineering battalion. As I recall, we loaded cases and cases of extra M-60 ammo, C-4 and M-72 rounds. We flew several days and each time aborted due to weather. I remember one time we went to Phu Bai for chow and fuel and circled the site some more. It seems like we tried for more than a week to get in before the mission was re-assigned to Eagle Eye. I vividly remember Gunny Effinger being there. He talked the pilot into letting us rappel into the company LZ when we got back. I'll never forget when one of the guys started down the rope and his M-14 got hung up in the square hole in the deck of the Ch-46. Effinger grabs the hand guard, yanks it up, almost taking the guy's head off, and shoves the butt-plate back down through the hole.

Dave (DOC) Tollefson
Corpsman Team Penguin 3rd Force Recon Co
Penguin was in standby due to weather; Effinger was to take us out. We practiced rappelling onto the Helo pad until we all had rope burns. As I recall we stayed on standby 24-7 till we were all freaked. Eagle Eye took over and went out shortly after.

Cpl Charlie Johnston
Team Penguin 3rd Force Recon Co
After that "long week" of waiting, Lt Pete asked me if we would rather go out on patrol instead of keep waiting and we agreed. I was the guy who got my M-14 hung up and thanks to the Gunny I got down and hit the ground with more speed than I wished.

Sgt Joseph H. Jackson
Team Leader, Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
Our team had hit a booby trap on Jan 4 and lost two guys. We got two replacements and were put right back in the bush (to get back on the horse). We ran a couple patrols and were told that because Penguin had been on stand-by for so long we had the mission. None of us had rappelled before so we practiced on the observation tower in the company area. We did not get to practice on a helo.


Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
Well, basically corporals are like mushrooms. Keep them in the dark and feed them a lot of bullshit; and that’s where we were at this particular time. Of course, we were told the entire NVA Army was at the bottom of this hill and we were going in on the top of it. So, you can imagine the pucker factor that we were experiencing at the time. And if anybody’s ever rappelled out of the bottom of a helicopter at peace, then if you’ll magnify that about a thousand times going into an unknown area, an area that you’ve never been in before, an area that is so highly vegetated that you can’t even – you can’t see the ground and here you’re dangling from the bottom of this helicopter on a rope and knowing that – or not knowing really how many people are aimed in on you, and here you’ve got to go down this rope and get on the ground and then have to stay there for a couple of days, well, you can imagine, you know, again the stress that we were under to get this mission accomplished.

Joe Jackson and myself carried machine guns with four thousand rounds of ammunition. We had no support whatsoever. Once we went in, we were on our own no matter what we ran into. And it was totally an unknown factor because nobody really had been in this area or operated in this area; and I can remember when we rappelled in. We were rappelling into the clouds sometimes and the fog and it was just the visibility was terrible, but we had a good team.

Sgt Joseph H. Jackson
Team Leader, Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
I was told that the enemy situation was unknown and that the only support we could count on was air support and for that reason they did not want to leave us on the ground if the fog came in.

Lt. Guy Pete
Platoon Commander, 3rd Force Recon Co
I remember three inserts into the mountains. The first insert we rappelled four to the ground, but had to immediately pull/extract them by hoist back up into the chopper because of the weather. The second we got everyone in on the ground for about two hours. They checked out the crash site for survivors and attempted to recover data. I believe Patrol Report dtd 191407ZJan68 was generated for this second insert.

On the third insert, everyone got on the ground. We lower supplies down to them via rope. After everyone was on the ground, it was recommended that we extract the team, due to weather. Gunny Effinger and the team decided that it was too dangerous and compromising to be extracted again without completing the mission.

FIRST INSERT

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
When we first got on the ground, it was one afternoon - late one afternoon, Colonel Kent our Bn Commander was in the aircraft. There was another Huey that was chasing us. It was some Colonel from the air wing who also had a great interest in this here as far as getting the body recovery exercise underway, who was in a Chase Huey. But that afternoon there was four of us, the best I recollect, that went down. We had to rappel into the zone, as there was too many trees and so forth and that there for the chopper to land. So, we rappelled in. After a couple of passes over the area we got our Swiss seat on and deployed the rappelling line. Myself, L/Cpl. Galley, Sgt. Jackson and L/Cpl. Michaux rappelled into the bomb crater. The crater made it nice to rappel into, it gave us a ready made fox hole and kept us out of the trees and vegetation to keep from fouling up the lines. We used a double rappelling line for safety but this caused a slow decent. Our jungle utilities were made to fit loosely which sometimes caused the blouse to become tangled in the snap link. Now, this was probably a week, maybe two weeks or so after the aircraft had ran into the side of the mountain out there. So, it wasn’t likely that anybody would have survived for that period of time and that type of a crash and so forth.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
Gunny was the first man out and I was the second. I had a M-60 with two thousand rounds which made braking during the rappel difficult. I kept waiting for the gooks to open up on us. There was so much noise and the Hueys were buzzing doing some recon by fire it was difficult to tell what was going on.

Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
The weather was a tremendous factor. The fog was – the fog would move in on you at strange times. It wasn’t like you could say, well, you know, a few hours we’re going to have fog. It would hit you all of a sudden, and you’d be fogged in. And then what we were afraid of, obviously, is we have no support whatsoever at that time. You know, they couldn’t come and get us out.

Major Olan Seay
XO, 3rd Force Recon Co
From being in the S3 and listening to the radio, I can remember someone say, I think, Gunny Effinger was on the radio at that time saying, you know, “Here comes the fog. If we don’t get out now, it will be a overnighter,” or something to that effect.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
The fog started closing in and since we only had four guys on the ground the decision was made to abort the mission and get us out.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
So, we then went back aboard the aircraft there. We had to be hoisted up. We went back to Dong Ha. So, we probably had, oh, maybe a day or two and so forth of practicing, on getting everybody ready to be able to repel. And we had some difficulties encountered with this and the fact that we were using a double rope for the purpose of safety purposes, and you could tell that the jackets were loose at that time. They kept getting tied up there; hung up in the snap-links and so forth and that. So, we had to do some rigging and so forth in order to get it to where we could get the men down as quickly as we possibly can with all of our gear and so forth and that. So, that’s what we did for the next couple of days to prepare for this.

L/Cpl Randy Michaux
Pointman Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
All I can remember about the CH-53 mission was the trouble we had repelling into the site due to our utilities and gear. Also distinctly remember that once on the ground my M-16 was completely inoperable due to the dust. There I was, walking point with a jammed M-16.

SECOND INSERT

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
But this area now, and at that period of time, and the weather pattern, there was a lot of fog and this being at a high elevation up there, often that site was inaccessible. You couldn’t get to it because of the fog, having obscured the zone and so forth and that. So, we tried, I guess - I’m saying probably four or five, maybe six times and so forth. When we finally got on the ground, we established communications with the "46" helicopters. The huey slick with the air wing colonel hovered over the crash site.

Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
When we did get on the ground, Gunny Effinger split us up into two teams. One team that he took down to the crash sight, which was pretty much totally obliterated from the helicopter crashing into the mountains, and then the team which Joe and I were on and a couple of other guys and the engineers set up perimeters up on the top of the hill and we were, of course, going to be the main defense.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
Within fifteen minutes we were at the crash site. The crash site was not nearly as charred as I envisioned. There was some burning but all the bodies there were enclosed inside the helicopter except the two pilots. They were thrown clear of the helicopter and still belted into their seats. Their skin appeared to be boiled with ¼" holes in it, kind of weird looking. We made a 360° pass around the helicopter with Cpl. Michaux taking pictures from different angles, he would lay a rifle or bayonet down to use as a scale. We spent 30-45 minutes at the crash site, and then proceeded back to the bomb crater, we were hoisted up to the CH46 then flown back to Quang Tri for debrief. The air wing colonel and our BN Commander, Lt. Col. Kent, had a heated discussion about who was going to debrief. Lt. Col. Kent won the discussion and we flew to Dong Ha to be debriefed. I know of nothing that was discovered at the debrief.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye
After we went in the second time, checked the crash site and looked for the papers we were told that we had to go back and blow an LZ for the body recovery.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
We went back aboard the aircraft to go back to Dong Ha to prepare our gear and so forth and to do additional training on getting the team ready to deploy in for the purpose of blowing the zone there. The next day was spent practicing rappelling from the tower. We found that by wrapping an ace bandage tightly around the mid section, the blouse could be taken out of play, and by adding an extra snap link the rappelling rope could be disconnected quickly. The rest of the day was spent rounding up gear, test-firing weapons and attending to the last minute details. I determined a basic load of ammo for each patrol member would be 10 frag grenades; 16 magazines for the M-16 rifle with 20 rounds in each magazine; two M-60 machine guns with 2000 round each; an M-79 grenade launcher with 100 rounds of flachette; added to this was 10 claymores. I figured to use the trees removed from the LZ to fashion some kind of bunker for defense. It was crude but for one night it would have to do. I was well aware of the fact that we were on our own but this bunch of ass holes were as good as they come. They were prepared. There wasn’t no lipping. There was no problem or nothing. They were ready to go on this job and they did an excellent job.

The next day the choppers arrived early in the morning and we loaded our gear to head for the crash site. When we arrived at the crash site it was socked in. We were above the cloud cover waiting for an opening in the clouds. We stayed on station until the gas situation forced us to leave. There appeared to be no opening in the clouds so the pilot called off the mission for the rest of the day. We were to try again the next morning.

The next morning the same routine was repeated with the same results. The clouds would not leave the area. After we were able to get on the ground we could determine the clouds did indeed leave the area but only for a short time. In order to take advantage of this opening we would have had to stay on station for long periods of time. With the limitations of the helicopter this was not possible. We would make our pilgrimage each morning only to be disappointed and return to Dong Ha.

This routine was extremely depressing. During the daylight the waiting was not so bad, but sleep at night was hard to come by. It was taking at least 20 minutes to unload the chopper, but during this time the chopper was a sitting duck. The CI-I46 helicopter is not a small aircraft, while we were unloading, here is this big fat turkey stationary, just waiting to be shot out of the air. A helicopter is very vulnerable during this time. You could add to this the noise we were making, plus all the fly-overs of this area. A whole lot of attention was being paid to this small piece of real estate; surely someone would get concerned and come to investigate.

Sgt Joseph H. Jackson
Team Leader, Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
For over two weeks we would get up everyday and get ready for the mission. We had to move all the gear to the LZ by 0700. It got old, sometime during the day they would tell us that the birds were on the way. We would get geared up and they wouldn’t show or they would and we would get on the helos and start out only to have to abort due to the weather. We just wanted to get it over with. I really believed they were waiting for us. One morning the Company Gunny jumped me because we didn’t fall out for police call that morning. I tried to explain that we were getting ready for a patrol. He would not listen or didn’t care because he made us do PT in front of our hooch as punishment.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
The pilots and CH46 helicopters were stationed at Marble Mountain in DaNang. Each morning the pilots would make the trip from DaNang to Dong Ha. In doing so they would fly over the crash site and were able to observe the crash site was always clear.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co.
Based on this observation it was determined that since Phu Bai was a lot closer to Da Nang and to the crash site the patrol would go to Phu Ba, spend the night and be picked up and fly to the crash site early in the morning. We packed all our gear in the chopper, flew to Phu Bai, spent the night with the air wing and left early the next morning.

THIRD INSERT

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon Co
Luck was on our side; finally the crash site was clear. We immediately deployed, the rappelling lines and debarked the helicopter. We got all personnel and gear on the ground, which took quite some time. I would guess 20-25 minutes. To my understanding it takes some nifty flying on the pilot's part to keep the helo stationary. We had a great crew. We again used the bomb crater to off load into and the rope barely moved, which indicated the helicopter remained stationary.

Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
The rope got tangled up in one of the stumps. And, of course, the helicopter didn’t realize the rope was connected to this stuff and the helicopter was trying to pull out into the air and he went full powered and figured out that something had him hung up. Lieutenant Pete luckily saw what was happening.

Lt. Guy Pete
Platoon Commander, 3rd Force Recon Co
Finally, we got everyone on the ground to clear a zone for the grunts. We lowered a lot of ammo and supplies down the ropes after everyone was on the ground. I had a crew helmet on the intercom. Finally, the pilot told me he had reached max power and we had to immediately pull out. No one realized that the ends of two lengths of 9/16th nylon ropes on the ground had been wrapped around a stump by the prop wash. As the helo struggled to lift off, I had my knife by the hell door which the crew chief probably thought was "hot dogging it" until I reached for it and luckily cut the ropes before we plowed in.


Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
After we got everyone on the ground, it was recommended that we be extracted due to weather. Gunny Effinger didn’t really believe in a democracy but we discussed it and decided that it was too dangerous and compromising to be extracted again without completing the mission.

Lt. Guy Pete
Platoon Commander, 3rd Force Recon Co
The only fire support the team had was two 175m guns which were to be turned and dedicated to them after they were on the ground. I had the helo pilot call the helo COC at Phu Bai to have the guns turned. After we returned to Phu Bai, I went to the COC to find that the COC forgot to turn and dedicate the guns. I guess my tirade in expressing my displeasure with the team not having fire support, got me thrown out of the COC by a Col. But I did not leave until the guns were turned and dedicated.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
The first thing the Gunny had me do was take a man and do a recon of the ridgeline we were on. There was a well-defined trail that ran up the ridgeline, through the LZ area and on to the crash site, but it did not appear to have been used recently.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
Once all the patrol members and gear was on the ground the machine guns were deployed on the backside of the work zone. Cpl. Zachary was in charge of both guns. The rest of the patrol, along with the two engineers went to work clearing the zone. I thought work progressed rather quickly. C-4 charges would be set and blown trees would then be removed and a bunker fashioned. This routine was repeated until late afternoon. The chopper was on station some times checking on us to see if they could give assistance. At this time the chopper was called in to check out the zone, the pilot determined there were some stumps that would need to be re-blown. I wanted to finish the landing zone and get extracted before dark, but it wasn't to be. We needed some more blasting caps to finish the job. If we were going to spend the night we would need some additional supplies. We radioed the list to the pilots and they departed for Dong Ha to obtain the supplies. The pilots returned just before dark and belayed the gear down.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
Since the engineers had estimated it would only take 3 hours to blow the LZ we didn’t have enough food or even ponchos to keep dry.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
Prior to the choppers departure we were given the option of leaving and returning the next day to finish work. This option was immediately shot down. There was no way we were going to leave and return. With the knowledge we were going to spend the night, work on the LZ was ceased and work commenced in making our log bunker livable. We knew the night would be long and cold.

Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
We stayed out overnight, which again is when you’re in an area where the – that the NVA controlled this area. So, we had no fire support whatsoever and we had to rely on our team. And by this time we’d been – helicopters had been flying over this area for days - trying to get in for days. So, I’m sure the NVA was thinking what the hell is going on up there; you know, we need to go see what’s happening up there. But for whatever reason, they didn’t show up.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
We lucked out in that the night was uneventful. The sun rose early the next morning and work on the LZ was resumed. Somewhere around mid morning we called the chopper in for a look-see of the LZ. He was reluctant to come in; reluctant to land because of the fact some of the stuff he thought was a little bit too high. They re-supplied us again, it was roped into us.

Cpl Ken Smith
Assistant Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
They did re-supply us and we had to blow a few more of the trees out and the stumps out, and I can remember that we ran out of blasting caps. So, we were taking our grenades apart and sticking the blasting caps for the grenades down into the C4 that we had wrapped around those stumps, and then we’d run like hell before they blew up; and that’s about my take on it.

So, once he left the area then we went ahead and done some cleanup and so forth and got rid of some of the taller stuff and probably within a couple of hours, somewhere around noon or something like, he was able to come back and then be able to land his aircraft and pick us all up for an extraction out of there.

Staff Sgt William Effinger
Platoon Sgt, 3rd Force Recon
Upon landing the pilot determined the LZ was sufficiently clear to serve its purpose. We hurriedly loaded our gear aboard the chopper and departed. Now, the grunts came in about two days or so after we left. They were able to get them organized and get them in; and they had no difficulty coming in. And they did then recover everything from inside of the aircraft. And was able to find the dye marker information that they needed.

Sgt Joe Jackson
Team Leader Eagle Eye 3rd Force Recon Co
Several months later after Lt. Pete and the Gunny had rotated I was sent to attend a briefing to plan an operation to recover more of the remains. Part of the discussion concerned the fact that the crash site was just wasn’t on the map.

Submitted by Joseph H. Jackson, Team Leader of EAGLE EYE, 3rd Force Recon

Personal Narrative:
As a platoon commander with A/1/3, it was my unpleasant task to command a reinforced platoon that was dropped above the crash site to hike down to where the actual aircraft came to rest. There was more to the story than just a body recovery operation, as I found out later. I thought the flight commander was a Major at the time, I found his flight jacket with name patch. We had CID, graves [registration] and a Colonel from MAG-? in Da Nang there with us. Seems some important documents were on board.

Col. Ellis was traveling with the "Die Marker" plans, McNamara's defensive positions in I Corps. I searched his wallet and found his CA driver's license. SgtMaj Cyr is a mystery. One of the SSgts, SSgt Grimes, I knew from OCS at Quantico.

The aircraft literally slammed into the side of a mountain, in the fog and was off course. Bringing Marines back from R&R, I believe. Found part of WO Price wrapped around a tree. Most of the bodies were unrecognizable. Col. Ellis' body was remarkably intact. It looked like he was stretched out sleeping near part of the aircraft. It is my understanding that the aircraft had been there three weeks before we went after it. Spooky area, Hai Lang Forest, R&R for NVA. I was there on 28 Jan.

There was an arty FO [Artillery Forward Observer] with us and he took a few photos, but I don't remember his name. The graves people put bodies in bags. Don't know if anyone went in after we left. I wasn't told to look for a briefcase with the "Die Marker" plans. Found out about it a few days after we returned to Quang Tri.

Submitted by Bruce S. Lewy, A/1/3, platoon commander, recovery platoon

Sgt Orval Skarman, MIA/KIA:
Sgt Orval Skarman was enroute to R&R on 1/7/1968 from his unit near the DMZ at Alpha 3. It was assumed that he was going to China Beach by his fellow Marines, but his Company Commander indicated that he was going out of country on R&R. He was MIA when he did not return to his unit. It was assumed that something had happened to him enroute.

There is a strong possibility that he may have been aboard the HMH-463 helicopter that crashed on 1/8/1968, although he was not on any manifest. He is, therefore, being carried on our casualty list with the other men from this flight, many of whom were also going on R&R.

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

POW Network (1973):
SKARMAN, ORVAL HARRY

Name: Orval Harry Skarman
Rank/Branch: E5/US Marine Corps
Unit: L/3/3 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 11 March 1947
Home City of Record: Duluth MN
Date of Loss: 15 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164902N 1065235E (YD100600)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0987
Others in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS: NO RETURN FROM R & R

SYNOPSIS: Orval Skarman was a Marine stationed in northern South Vietnam
near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). To the west, at Khe Sanh, his fellow
Marines were battling what was to become one of the most publicized battles
of the war. The battle for the city of Hue was one Skarman would not be
around for.

Skarman went on R & R at China Beach on January 4, and did not return. What
happened to him was never discovered. He just disappeared. The Marines did
not doubt his honor; they knew something had happened to Skarman that
prevented his return. Perhaps he was captured or killed. He was classified
Missing In Action. Like nearly 2500 other Americans, his fate remains
unresolved.

Since the end of American involvement in Southeast Asia, over 10,000 reports
relating to Americans have been received. Nearly 1000 of these reports are
first-hand, eyewitness reports. Many concern American prisoners who were not
released at the end of the war. Collectively, they present a compelling case
that Americans are still held against their will by an enemy many of us have
forgotten.

Whether Skarman was killed or taken captive is unknown. But, as long as
there is even one man alive, held captive in Southeast Asia, we must
consider that Skarman may be alive. We must insist that every effort is made
to bring him home.

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Personal Recollection:
There were two Marines that were manifested on this flight out of Dong Ha. While in the boarding line on the tarmac, I looked up and saw a C-130 coming in. I knew it was not spending the night and that it was most likely going to Da Nang. My Marine buddy and I got out of line and went over to ask the crew of the C-130 if they were heading to Da Nang and if so, could we board. The answers were affirmative.

We got on and watched the CH-53 lift off. We did not want to get on the chopper because it was going to stop at Phu Bai, it was crowded, and it was a mail run. Big bags of mail and other papers. Besides, we would not have made beer call in Da Nang if we took it.

The Marines knew that two persons manifested for the flight were not on board. They called me to the front of the plane in Hawaii and did the same for my buddy in Hong Kong.

When it lifted off at Dong Ha, it appeared to struggle to gain altitude.

Submitted by James Smith, I was manifested for this flight

Research Information:
As you are aware, there was no physical evidence ever presented for any of these guys listed as on this flight. And 45 years later it is still a veritable black hole. I have uncovered the following EVIDENCE of/for at least NINE of the US Marines listed as on this flight.

visit the following link, Page 16:
http://www.1stbattalion9thmarines.com/Vietnam/Chronology/1968_12DEC.pdf

Command Chronology Reports for the A/1/9 on December 19, 1968 during Operation Dawson River Afton they found a downed CH-53 that went down in May of 68. On this site they found the following PHYSICAL EVIDENCE: Charred remains, considerable assorted equipment, boots, helmets, lighters, etc.

Also found the FOLLOWING IDENTIFICATION TAGS:
White, Raymond 22353701
Protano, Guy Jerry 2266513
Barry, Kenneth Donald 2325949
Day, Michael Robert 2152529
Diaz, Daniel 2347416
Nicholson, David Donnell 2323079
Freeman, Glen Wayne 2200577

Uniform name patches for the following:
Schram, Fredrick lloyd (also his engraved watch)
Ugino, John Joseph

Submitted by Jeffrie Hunter, Blood Relative-SGT. Michael R. Day B/3rdTnk 3rd Di

Capt Alan Bardach, 1stLt Ewald Zirfas, USArmy:
The following two men died while missing as a result of an unknown helicopter crash on January 8th, 1968. I have no record of any other helicopter crashes, Army or Marine, on that day. Neither was a helicopter crewmember. They were reported as helicopter passengers downed in "province unknown, Military Region 1 and died while missing.

They are being carried as casualties from this flight as that is the most likely scenario.

[Passengers - US Army]
Bardach, Alan Jensen CAPT(US Army) Pass HHB, 108th ARTY GRP, USARV 680108
Zirfas, Ewald 1Lt(US Army) Pass 507th Transportation Group, USARV 680108

Submitted by Alan H. Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Family Narrative:
I have not contacted any body from my dad's squadron. This accident date of 680108 HMH-463 MAG-16 was the worst helicopter crash during the Vietnam War. I was 10 months old at the time of crash. I still have all my dad's medals etc. My mother Lynn Lloyd had saved all of Fred's things for me.

I would like to talk to somebody to say hello from his squadron or somebody from the recon team that finally made it to the crash site. I did read the site recon report just today. Just wanted to say hello to any of Fred L. Schram's squad buddies out there. My roots are still in Pensacola, Fla. area. Hopefully I will hear from someone in his squadron. Thanks very much.

Submitted by Erik L. Schram (Manthei), son of Pilot Capt. Frederick L. Schram

Personal Narrative:
A good and dear friend of mine died in that crash. Tommy “Grumpy” Grimes as we called him. We served together as Marine Security Guards at our Embassy in Lima, Peru in 65-66. The funny thing here was that Tommy was from Lima, Indiana. He told all of the women that his home town was named after Lima, Peru it made him quite a hit.

I have a lot of Grumpy story’s I could share, but the one that stands out is the day that Senator and Ms. B. Bayh from Indiana called on us at the Marine house in Lima. The Senator was on a fact finding trip, and when he found out that one of our Marines was from Indiana he wanted some photos. Tommy could not make up his mind if he should wear his Dress Blues or civvies. Grumpy was in rare form. I can not reprint his words here. In the end all hands had a good time. He took a lot of ribbing from the rest of us about sucking up to the Senator. Tommy was a fine Marine and a good leader. He is missed. PS: We all wore civvies.

Submitted by Jim Rutherford, SSgt. USMC

MIA Report - PFC Kenneth Donald Barry, Passenger:
Tacoma News Tribune
Tacoma, Washington
13 Jan 1968

"Marine Helicopter Rams Slope in VN; 41 Aboard; No Sign of Life By Robert D. Ohman Saigon (AP)

A big U.S. Marine helicopter crashed into a mountain south of the demilitarized zone five days ago and all 41 Americans aboard are feared killed, the U.S. Command reported today.
Rescue parties were waiting for the weather to improve before setting out for the rugged crash site. If they found all the men on the craft dead, it would be the worst helicopter disaster of the war.
Pending further reports, the U.S. Command listed as missing the five-man Marine crew and 36 passengers - 31 Marines, three Navy men, one Army man and a civilian employe of the Army's post exchange system.
Viet Cong guerrillas are known to operate in the area and the command declined to give a detailed report on the crash because, it said, "additional information might endanger the lives of the survivors, if there are any."
The command said the hump-backed CH53 helicopter, the largest troop-carrying type, operating in South Vietnam, crashed Monday night on a trip from Dong Ha, 11 miles south of the DMZ to Phu Bai, 49 miles farther south. One spokesman said poor weather was a factor in the crash.
The wreckage was spotted Friday morning by an observation plane. An Air Force rescue helicopter hovered over the site for a few minutes but had to leave because of worsening weather. The rescue crew reported no sign of life on the ground.
Hampered by Fog A Marine spokesman in Da Nang said fighter-bombers have blasted a small landing zone in the overhanging forest. But efforts to get rescuers in by ground or air were thwarted by rain and fog.
One officer said the CH53 helicopter had slammed into the side of a peak so steep that rescuers might have to lower themselves to the wreckage on ropes."

SOURCE: http://www.facesfromthewall.com/OR1968jan.html

Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

MIA Report - SSgt Bennett W. Olson, HMH-463:
The Oregonian
Portland, Oregon
12 Jan 1968

Salem Marine Lost In Action Salem (Special)

Marine S. Sgt. Bennett W. Olson, 30, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. B. Olson, Salem, has been reported missing in action since Monday in Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, his parents were notified Thursday. Military authorities in Washington D.C. said the helicopter in which Olson was riding was reported missing while returning from a resupply mission.

SOURCE: http://www.facesfromthewall.com/OR1968jan.html

Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Family Information:
My Uncle, Vicente Garza, was in this helicopter crash in 1968. I am wanting to find out any infomation I can about the day that recovery went in. This has been heavy on my mind, because from what I understand it was never really confirmed that my Uncle was pulled out of there, even though he went from MIA to KIA. If anyone has any info it will be very much appreciated.
Submitted by Ann Marie Garza-Douglas, neice of Vicente Garza

Pictures from Recon Unit Training:


Submitted by Barry Butterfield, PEQUIN 6-2

Personal Commentary:
My brother, LCpl James Irvin Miller, USMC died in this very suspicious crash as did many others. I spent 6 years investigating this incident.

My report has many variances of members aboard this craft ranging from 42 to one report of 61 aboard at the time of the incident. Craft had a manifest...and other reports show no manifest.

The DOD report has many discrepancies. CBS 60 minutes had agreed to show and interview what I had uncovered during my 6 years of full time investigation. CBS was notified the airing was to be cancelled and reported to be "Classified" under the FOI act.

Any person interested in this report please send me an e-mail.

Submitted by Lee Miller, Younger Brother


USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION