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

661115   Other     Vietnam

Incident Date 661115 Other U-6A 541723 (USArmy) Crash 138thAVCo

Ravenna III, Harry M Maj (PP) Pilot Other 138th AvnCo, 1stAvnBde 661115 (vvm 12E:072)

Keiper, John Charles Cpl (PP) OB Pass MAG-16 661115 (vvm 12E:074)

KEIPER JOHN CHARLES: 174360416: USMC : CPL (posthumous promotion to SSGT) : E6 : 6637 : 32 : RENOVO : PA : 19780104 : Hostile, died while missing, Air loss, - Crashed on land (Passenger - Fixed wing aircraft) : BNR : Thua Thien(Hue) : **: 19450918: Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 12E : 074

RAVENNA HARRY M III : 452660239 : USA : CAPT (posthumous promotion to MAJ) : O4 : 1980 : 37 : SAN ANTONIO : TX : 19750603 : Hostile, died while missing, Air loss, - Crashed on land (Pilot - Fixed wing aircraft U-6A) : Body Not Recovered : Thua Thien(Hue) : ** : 19370929 : Cauc : Single : 12E : 072

U-6A Beaver:
U-6A photo
Submitted by Wally Beddoe, POPASMOKE webmaster

ESTIMATED LOSS COORDINATES: N16 25 35/E107 46 19 (ZD150045) [NE of Hue Phu Bai]

Comment on Incident[POW NETWORK]:
Name: Harry M. Ravenna III
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: 138th Aviation Company, 224th USASA Battalion, USASA Group, Vietnam
Date of Birth: 29 September 1937 (Houston TX)
Home City of Record: San Antonio TX
Loss Date: 15 November 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162535N 1074619E (ZD150045)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: U6A
Other Personnel In Incident: John C. Keiper (missing)
Name: John Charles Keiper
Rank/Branch: E4/USMC
Unit: HAMS 16, Marine Air Group 16
Date of Birth: 18 September 1945
Home City of Record: Renovo PA
Loss Date: 15 November 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162535N 1074619E (ZD150045)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: U6A
Refno: 0523
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: On November 15, 1966, US Army Capt. Harry M. Ravenna, pilot; and US Marine Corps Cpl. John C. Keiper, passenger, were flying a U6A aircraft (serial #541723) on a routine flight from Dong Ha to Da Nang. Keiper was assigned to Helicopter Attack Maintenance Squadron 16 [Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron 16], Marine Air Group 16.His role on this mission is unclear from public record.

Ravenna was assigned to the 138th Aviation Company, 224th U.S. Army Security Agency Battalion (Aviation), U.S. Army Security Agency Group, Vietnam. All missions of this agency were highly classified during the war, and secret cover designations (Radio Research Units) were used instead of the actual unit designations on station lists and reports. The 138th was based at Da Nang.

Ravenna filed a VFR (visual flight rules) flight plan, but ran into poor weather conditions. He radioed Dong Ha and requested radar guidance. At 1430 hours, he passed into Da Nang airfield radar control and radioed, "Lonely Ranger 723, heading 125 [degrees], 3000 feet [altitude], estimating Da Nang at 40 [minutes after the hour], request radar [location and steer]. Presently on instruments."

Having trouble bringing him onto radar screen, Da Nang instructed Ravenna to activate his transponder, but this did not improve radar contact, so they asked his location, which he gave as 45 nautical miles from Dong Ha. Da Nang instructed him to recontact Dong Ha (believing he was out of Da Nang range and still in that of Dong Ha). Ravenna acknowledged the transmission; radiocontact was broken, and never resumed.

Ravenna and Keiper were last believed to be in South Vietnam about halfway between Da Nang and the city of Hue. Later investigation concluded that on his present course, had it been followed, Ravenna's aircraft would have impacted with the side of a mountain in that vicinity. The hostile threat in the area prevented extensive search, and all efforts to discover the fate of Ravenna and Keiper have failed.

Information Update:
A few clarifications to the above data:
1. CPL Keiper was on the flight as a passenger to get to Da Nang for further transport back to the states as he was on emergency leave.
2. The aircraft type was more specifically an RU-6A.
3. The unit's official name was the 138th Army Security Agency Company (Aviation) but used the covername of 138th Radio Research Company (Aviation) while in Vietnam.
4 The callsign for the aircraft of the 138th would have been Lonely Ringer (not Ranger) which was on the unit crest of the 224th ASA Bn (Aviation).

Submitted by William Hoffman, Historian, 138th ASA Veterans Group

Personal Narrative:
Back in the early '70's the POW-MIA bracelets were becoming popular and I went to a persons house that was selling them. You could sift thru them and take your pick and I came across what I thought was the highest rank I had seen and thought, "this is it", Maj. Harry Ravenna III, 11-15-66, something was special about it.

Many years later I visited a moving wall memorial and found out he was MIA, not knowing what his status was before. Now, thanks the the amazing world of the internet I have been able to find out the story behind his disappearence. Interesting but sad, too.

I still have the bracelet stored in a lockbox of personal memorabilia. I can't help but wonder if he and his passengers remains are still out there on a mountainside in the wreckage undiscovered. Wouldn't it be something if they could be found and returned?

Submitted by Frank Randall, Maj. Harry Ravenna III Bracelet holder

Personal Recollection:
I bought Cpl. Keiper's bracelet on a Boy Scout trip to Offut AFB when I was 14 years old. That bracelet - made of aluminum - eventually disintegrated so I had a new one made in stainless steel. I have worn one of these two bracelets every day since I bought it 26 years ago - it only comes off for metal detectors. I feel honored to carry on the memory of Cpl. Keiper and all veterans who sacrificed so much for my freedom. It is a great conversation starter to remind people the price paid for our freedom.

Submitted by Eric Gabrielson, Wearer of John Keiper's MIA Bracelet

Personal Request:
I have a bracelet I bought maybe ten yrs. ago, i've never taken this bracelet off, I would like now to have a family member have this item, If this is somthig you would say yes to please get back to me, 215-256-1434 thank you,
Submitted by KEITH BROOKE,