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Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter Squadrons in Vietnam

690809   HML-367     Vietnam

Incident Date 690809 HML-367 UH-1E 155339+ Crash

Janousek, Ronald James 1stLt Co-Pilot HML-367 MAG-36 690809 (vvm 20W:118)
Kane, Bruce Edward Cpl Crew HML-367 MAG-36 690809 (vvm 20W:119)

JANOUSEK RONALD JAMES : 319389025 : USMCR : 1stLT : O2 : 7561 : 24 : POSEN : IL : 19690809 : hostile, crash, land : CoPilot : body NOT recovered : Laos : 01 : 03 : 19450721 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 20W : 118

KANE BRUCE EDWARD : 057425922 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6351 : 20 : DEER PARK : NY : 19690809 : Hostile, crash land, drowned : Crew : body NOT recovered : Laos : 01 : 02 : 19490707 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 20W : 119

Comment on Incident:
A Scarface HML-367 huey gunship crashed on a Prairie Fire Mission. Were reportedly killed, but their bodies were not recovered. A "Kingbee" H-34 piloted by Captain Ahn (AFVN 219 Squadron) landed at the site, rescued 2 crewmen and air taxied 100 yards to attempt recovery of the bodies of the apparently dead crew. The remaining flight crew, a Major and an enlisted crewmember survived the crash. Another squadron a/c was flying wing.

POW Network:
LOSS COORDINATES: N16 38 19 E106 46 43 (XD960180) [SW of Rockpile]

SOURCE: Compiled 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 in 1998.

SYNOPSIS: When U.S. military personnel were in Vietnam, they were frequently asked to participate in classified missions. Some of these missions were secret because wide-spread knowledge of them might possibly give the enemy information we did not wish them to have. Others were classified to conceal the fact that the U.S. was conducting warfare in denied areas.

The most notorious denied area was, of course, Laos. Prevented by Geneva Accords from having a large military presence in Laos, the U.S. first established a CIA cover for anti-communist covert actions. One activity, begun in 1958, used Meo tribesmen for a small pilot guerrilla program, which grew to over 40,000 guerrillas within 10 years. The CIA's covert airline, known as "Air America" supported the Meo as well as numerous other CIA-backed clandestine guerrilla armies.

When ground operations were indicated or intelligence needed, the U.S. used the CIA-directed armies, sent U.S. troops in covert MACV-SOG teams, or airlifted in indigenous troops, often using the air capabilities of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. Pilots were asked to alter flight records to reflect a mission in allowed territory. If they were lost, families were misinformed about the location of loss. As a result, several case files of men missing are a tangle of inconsistencies - some records reflecting the "doctored" loss information, while other records are accurate.

1stLt. Ronald J. Janousek and Cpl. Bruce E. Kane were U.S. Marines attached to units of the 36th and 11th Marine Aircraft Groups, respectively [both were attached to HML-367, MAG-36]. On August 9, 1969, the two were killed in the crash of a UH1E helicopter. Theirs is one of the cases in which reliable factual public information ends with this data.

Defense Department records indicate that Janousek and Kane were lost at Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri Province. The U.S. Marines state that Janousek's helicopter was hit by heavy enemy fire and crashed and burned. The U.S. Marines state that Kane's helicopter disappeared on a night reconnaissance mission [see previous Comment on Incident]. Joint Casualty Resolution Center records (considered by some analysts to be the most accurate of all records) indicate that the loss occurred in central South Vietnam.

Information obtained from family and other sources indicate that Kane and Janousek's aircraft crashed and burned in the Se Kong River near the border of Laos and South Vietnam north of the A Shau Valley, and that they had been on a secret mission in Laos. The U.S. State Department lists both men as killed in a hostile action, and further lists Kane as drowned and Janousek as a crewmember of the aircraft. No public records indicate the fates of the rest of the crew, including the pilot and any passengers aboard.

Task Force Omega File:

On 9 August 1969, 1stLt. Ronald J. Janousek, co-pilot; and Cpl. Bruce E. Kane, crewman; were assigned as two of the four-man crew aboard a UH1E helicopter returning from a combat mission in Laos. While returning to base, the Huey was struck by heavy hostile automatic weapons fire and crashed into the Se Kong River approximately 46 miles west of Hue, South Vietnam; 13 miles northwest of Tavouac and 3 miles west of the Lao/Vietnamese border, Salavan Province, Laos
Cpl. Kane jumped free of the aircraft landing in the stream near the bank. Other survivors saw him exit the water, then re-entered it to save other Marines who were injured in the crash. The other survivors reported they saw him alive, well, and assisting the other wounded crewmembers, including 1st Lt. Janousek.

Search and rescue (SAR) aircraft responded immediately to the Mayday call from the downed aircraft. When they arrived on site, they recovered the injured survivors and began searching for Bruce Kane and Ronald Janousek, but could find no trace of either one in the immediate area of the wreckage or on the river bank. Because of the hostile threat, no extensive ground search was possible. None of the survivors knew for sure what happened to the two missing crewmen, and the Marine Corps believed they probably drowned in the mountain stream's fast moving current. Ronald Janousek and Bruce Kane were both listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered and probably not recoverable.

The Se Kong River was quite muddy with jungle growth flourishing along both banks. Tree limbs and vines overhung the winding mountain stream's edge. Because no remains were found, there is a chance both crewmen surfaced out of sight of the rest of the Americans only to be captured by Communist forces operating in the area.

In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list included Bruce Kane. In 1992 Cpl. Kane's family was informed that he was included on this list, but gave them no explanation for this inclusion.

Ronald Janousek and Bruce Kane are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords, which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

Cpl Bruce Edward Kane, HML-367:
Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Reference Information:
While researching some of the SOG mission at "", I ran into an article entitled "A FEW GOOD MEN" by Michael J.Brockovich. He was envolved with the operation that Kane became missing. It is a very interesting article,with relevence to this MARINE.
Submitted by Ken Carlson, reasearch

Family Information:
When my brother [1/Lt Ronald J. Janousek] was 12, I was born; when I was 12, my brother died. As a naive, young child, I always hoped he was captured, so he could be released and sent home to me and my family. I would lie awake at night and think that "I'll come home from school tomorrow, and he'll be there." Well, I'm 51 years old now, and he's becoming a faint memory, since I had so little time with him. I wonder, like so many other survivors, how our lives would have been different if he was still here. And I think how he'd be surprised at how the world has progressed if he were to walk into the room right now. But nothing really changes, does it? He's still gone and I miss him very much.
Submitted by Adrienne Janousek McClendon, Sister of Ronald Janousek