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


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Incident Date 19720711 HMM-165 CH-53D 156658+ - Hostile Fire

Nelson, Clyde Keith SSgt Crew HMM-165 MAG-15, 9thMAB 1972-08-09 (vvm 01W:062)
Hendrix, Jerry Wayne SSgt Gunner HMM-165 MAG-15, 9thMAB 1972-07-11 (vvm 01W:055)
Crody, Kenneth Lloyd Cpl Crew Chief HMM-165 MAG-15, 9thMAB 1972-07-11 (vvm 01W:055)

NELSON CLYDE KEITH : 173366845 : USMC : SSGT : E6 : 6113 : 25 : CONNELLSVILLE : PA : 19720809 : Hostile Crash Land (died of wounds): Crew : body recovered : Quang Tri : ** : 19461213 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 01W : 062
HENDRIX JERRY WAYNE : 509441056 : USMC : SSGT : E6 : 3261 : 29 : WICHITA : KS : 19720711 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri : 10 : 19421227 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 01W : 055 : remains buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Sect 60 Site 7956
CRODY KENNETH LLOYD : 304589968 : USMC : CPL : E4 : 6113 : 18 : GRIFFITH : IN : 19720711 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri : 01 : 19530803 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 01W : 055 : remains buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Sect 60 Site 7956

Declassified CIA Files

On 11 July 1972, as part of Lam Son 719 Phase II, a total of 34 US Marine helicopters and their aircrews participated in a major troop insertion operation into to LZ Blue Jay and LZ Crow. These landing zones were located close together in a densely populated and hotly contested sector of northeastern I Corps approximately 2 miles southwest of the coastline, 6 miles north-northeast of Quang Tri City and 11 miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Numerous hamlets and villages dotted the coastal plain to the north, south and west of the LZs while marshes with scattered rice fields were located to the east of them. The Dam Cho Chua River, which was a major tributary that branched off of the Cua Viet River, flowed roughly ¼ mile west of the planned landing zones and Highway 560 was located ½ mile west of them.

The aircrews were assigned to either HMM-164 from the USS Okinawa or HMM-165 from the USS Tripoli, and the Americans were transporting a total of 840 Vietnamese Marines, who were assigned to the 1st Vietnamese Marine Battalion, along with their equipment, rations and 12,000 rounds of ammunition. The troop carriers, which totaled one half of all helicopters participating in this mission, were protected by AH-1G Cobra and UH1H Huey gunships.

SSgt. Clyde K. Nelson, crewchief; SSgt. Jerry W. Hendrix, door gunner; Cpl. Kenneth L. Crody, door gunner, and an unidentified pilot and co-pilot; comprised the crew of a CH-53D helicopter (serial #156658) assigned to the USS Tripoli. Also onboard this aircraft was a US Marine combat photographer from Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 1st Battalion, 9th Marines and 50 Vietnamese Marines.

After picking up the Vietnamese troops and their gear, all aircraft proceeded toward LZ Blue Jay and LZ Crow in an assault formation. Before the troop transports arrived onsite, the entrenched NVA positions surrounding the designated landing zones were subjected to an intense barrage from artillery and air attacks. Once the barrage was lifted, the Cobra and Huey gunships fired upon any visible enemy position while the Sea Stallions raced toward the LZs to unload their passengers.

As the transports approached the their respective LZs, they came under intense NVA ground fire from entrenched bunkers and firing pits. The vulnerable Sea Stallions were exposed to an intense crossfire from small arms, heavy weapons, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) and missiles.

As the battle raged around them, the helicopter that was crewed by Kenneth Crody, Jerry Hendrix and Clyde Nelson, approached the LZ. The pilot flared it, then descended toward the landing zone. When the Sea Stallion reached an altitude of 100 feet above the ground, the well-armed communist forces fired a ground-to-air missile at the vulnerable aircraft. The missile, which was either a SA-2 or an SA-7, struck it in its right power plant sending engine turbine fragments down and forward into the passenger compartment devastating its occupants and igniting fuel and ammunition. The pilot auto-rotated the flaming aircraft to the ground in a controlled "crash and burn" procedure. As he did so, the heat and fire continued to ignite more ammunition causing a series of explosions within the fuselage. As soon as the helicopter touched down, only a few surviving crewmen and passengers were able to escape the intense inferno.

According to witnesses, Jerry Hendrix, Kenneth Crody and the majority of the Vietnamese Marines were killed outright and their remains incinerated in the fire that literally consumed the Sea Stallion. Once on the ground Clyde Nelson was on fire as he exited the helicopter's wreckage. The pilot and co-pilot, who were already out of the burning hulk, put the fire out and then pulled him into the relative safety of a nearby bomb crater. The combat photographer and 7 passengers were the only other survivors of this incident.

The seven Vietnamese Marines successfully escaped and evaded enemy forces to reach the safety of friendly lines. The four Americans stayed together in the bomb crater. As the battle continued all around them, the Sea Stallion's wreckage burned until very little of it was left. When the wreckage cooled sufficiently, the Americans watched NVA troops poke through the twisted wreckage and ashes. Fortunately, their hiding place remained undetected.

At dusk a Vietnamese Marine search and rescue (SAR) patrol successfully reached the bomb crater. After treating their wounds, the Marines transported the Americans to friendly lines. Afterward, a US Army medivac helicopter evacuated Clyde Nelson to an American hospital and the pilot, co-pilot and combat photographer to their ship. Later SSgt. Nelson was moved to a special burn unit where he died of his injuries on 9 August 1972. At the time of loss, Kenneth Crody and Jerry Hendrix were immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

Submitted by: N/A, 20030801

Personal Narrative

I was 1st Mech. on YW-21 and flew the missions the previous days but was pulled off the a/c and assigned to mess duty the morning right before the mission and the loss of the a/c. I could never understand why and it has really bothered me why I was spared.

After reading the comments on the board I realize that an NCO was to be a part of the crew on each aircraft. I believe SSGT Clyde Nelson took my place that morning. That decision left me with a lot of questions and a hell of a lot of guilt. I arrived overseas in Okinawa 22 Apr 1972 and joined HMH-462. I was assigned to a/c #17 where I met SSGT Nelson who I believe was my section leader. The crew chief was Lester \"Sonny\" Cox who was my running mate at New River, NC. We were transferred to HMM-165 along with #17 when the squadron was in Okinawa. The a/c # was changed to # 21.The dates are fuzzy but that happened May or June. We hadn’t been with the squadron very long when the ac was lost.

Sonny Cox survived the mission and I believe got a Silver Star and Purple Heart. He lives in West Palm Beach, FL and could provide you with events on that day. I have only talked to him a couple times.

Submitted by: Bill Durrett, HMM-165, 20030801

Personal Narrative

Sgt Cox, Crew Chief of a CH53D from HMM-165 involved in operation in July 1972 along with HMM-164 (Lam Son Phase II). His aircraft was hit by an SA2 going into the zone and he came out on fire being rescued by the Pilot and Copilot of the aircraft. I think they were hit with an SA2 but I have also rec'd info it was an SA7 fired at an AH-1G in front of them. Both door gunners were lost in the air I currently do not remember their names one was a SSgt from the S section and the other a LCpl or Cpl from paraloft I think. However, the surviving crew had to spend the night in the zone with RVN troops until next day. Other crewmember may have died of his injuries later in a stateside burn center.

Submitted by: Jim Albro, MSgt(ret), 20030801

Official Narrative

Thirty-four American helicopters from HMM-164 off the USS Okinawa and HMM-165 off the USS Tripoli carried 840 Vietnamese Marines of the 1st VNMC Battalion with 12,000 rounds of ammunition and rations into the attack … into LZ Blue Jay and LZ Crow approximately 2000 meters North of Quang Tri City.

Losses by the 9th MAB were a CH-53 [destroyed] and two CH-46s (both recovered), two Marines killed, and seven wounded. The four survivors of the CH-53 Sea Stallion were recovered later.

The US CH-53 carried 50 Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer from BLT 1/9. It was struck on its approach to the landing zone while 100 feet above the ground. The detonation of the SA-7’s 5.5 pound warhead in the helicopter’s right power plant sent engine turbine fragment down and forward into the passenger compartment. The pilot autorotated the flaming aircraft to the ground in a hopeful controlled “crash and burn” procedure. Two crewmembers were killed outright and a third seriously injured. Of the Vietnamese onboard, most were killed, with only seven returning to friendly lines. The helicopter was completely destroyed by fire and the detonation of ammunition carried by the Vietnamese. The surviving Americans took shelter in a nearby bomb crater and “hunkered down” as the wreckage cooled and NVA soldiers poked through the remains. At dusk, a VNMC patrol located them and brought them to the friendly lines and American Army helicopters returned them to their ship.

[The bodies of two Marines, Cpl Kenneth L. Crody and SSgt Jerry W. Hendrix, were incinerated in the burning H-53, and thus not recovered] [SSgt Clyde K. Nelson was rescued and died one month later of wounds]

Submitted by: US MARINES IN VIETNAM 1971-1973, 20030801

Personal Narrative

The night before this tragic crash, SSgt Hendrix came to my shop, S-3/Operations, aboard the USS Tripoli. He asked me if we could switch crews. He was scheduled to fly on a CH-46 the next day, and I was scheduled to fly on the CH-53. He wanted to fly the mission with his friends. He told me he was supposed to fly with Tom O'Halloran, and asked if I knew Tom. I said yes and that I had no problem switching. I liked Tom, he was an experienced Sergeant and Viet Nam veteran, who flew many missions. Sadly Tom was killed in a crash in California in the 80's.

I've read some of the other personal notes that have been posted. It is obvious that a lot of switching in crew assignments occurred the night before the mission. Apparently SSgt Nelson wanted someone else to fly one of the guns, and SSgt Hendrix wanted to fly the other gun with SSgt Nelson. Cpl Crody may have been asked to fly on that bird that day, I don't know.

I have lived with this for 36 years, and only just discovered this web site. I apologize to their families for bringing this up again. I have been wearing a POW/MIA patch for along time, because of that day. I'm glad that they were recovered and placed at Arlington.

SSgt Hendrix was not a close friend of mine, he was just one of the guys that came over from HMH 462. I was the Squadron Ops Chief for HMM-165. I was a buck Sergeant. I flew the next day with Tom O'Halloran, and it was a busy day. We all got shot at, and we all shot back. There were a lot of helos that day, and a lot of them got shot up. We counted the holes in all the birds when we got back. We looked at each other and wondered how we got through it without getting shot or shot down. I remember looking at the ARVN's we were hauling, and how small they looked, with all the combat gear they were carrying, and the look in their eyes. You could tell some of them did not want to get off when we landed in the LZ.

Even though I did not know SSgt Hendrix well, he was a great Marine in my eyes. SSgt Hendrix did his job that day, along with SSgt Nelson and Cpl Crody. They died doing their jobs and for this Country. They will always be the best of the best, Marines.

Sergeant R. L. NEWMAN USMC HMM-165 August 1971-July 1972 Viet Nam
CWO3 Randy L. Newman USMC Retired (1990).

Submitted by: Randy Newman, Gunner, 20061029

Correction to Comments

The survivors (Keyes, Bollman, Lively, etc) were pulled from the bomb crater later that night by 1Lt Wesley Franklin (Frank) Walker, F Troop, 4th Air Cav, 1st Aviation Bridage, NOT by ARNV. Walker was nominated for MOH; received DCS (

Also, see Flight Journal December 2014 "The Rescue of Lady Ace" for full accounting of events.

Submitted by: Michael Bodner, Friend of Rescue Pilot, 20141016

Personal Recollection

As I write this, it is 11 July 2017, exactly 45 years since this incident. I was an AH-1G Cobra pilot assigned to the Joker Guns of the 48th AHC, 1st AVN BDE, based at Marble Mountain AAF in Da Nang. Along with 2 other Joker Cobras and 3 Centaur Cobras from F/4 CAV based at Tan My, we were assigned the duty of escorting the USMC ships on this mission. We were on the right, and the Centaurs were on the left.

In my recollection, it was a very windy day, leading to much of the LZ prep being off-target. The last prep was from Cobras of F/79 ARA from 1ST CAV. The plan was to pick up each flight of 3 Marine birds at the beach, escort them into LZ, provide cover on the ground, and then escort them back to the beach and pick up the next flight.

As usually happens in combat, the plan quickly fell apart. We encountered intense fire approaching the LZ. Shortly after the start of the op, the Jokers lost one of our birds when the AC was wounded in the face by plexiglas shards when his canopy was shot out and he had to return to Tan My. Not long after, my bird suffered serious damage, losing one hydraulic system and the main armament, a 20 mm Vulcan cannon. With all other armament expended, I was reduced to pointing my nose at muzzle flashes and flashing the landing light to simulate my own muzzle flashes to try to draw fire from the lift ships and my fire team lead. I was, needless to say, very frustrated.

I was directly behind the CH-53 when the missile struck the right engine. I always thought it was aimed at me, but was attracted to the larger heat signature of the 53. I'll never forget hearing the calm voice of one of the pilots saying "We've just lost the right engine" before they hit the ground and a huge fireball erupted. I'm still amazed that anyone survived.

That we were not able to provide better cover for the lift ships has always gnawed at me. My friend and fellow Army Aviator COL Mike "Nails" Williams, USMC (RET) has been urging me to recount this memory, and this seems the best way to do it. Mike and I served in sister units in RVN.

We did the best we could, I just wish we could have done more. My condolences to the families of those who were lost.

Submitted by: M. George Kerr, Escort on mission, 20170712

Personal Recollection

On 11 July 1972, I was flying an army RU-21 on a reconnaissance mission in the area of Quang Tri. I responded to an emergency beeper signal on the guard frequency and made the first contact with the downed crew of Lady Ace 72. I descended to an altitude where I could make direct observation of the crew and searched the area for approximately two and a half hours for them. I asked if they had anything that they could use to mark their position other than smoke grenades and the pilot advised that he had an orange marker panel which he opened.

I spotted it immediately and in the mean time, I had been in contact with the air force rescue aircraft, call sign King, and they requested that I go out to the coast and escort the Jolly Green rescue helicopter into the crew's location which I had marked on my aircraft's inertial navigation system.

As we flew over the position I had marked, I advised the "Sandy" escort pilots that we were over the crew and when they responded that they had the target, all hell broke loose with air bursts from anti-aircraft fire all around us. The Sandy's rolled over top of me and began suppressing the anti-aircraft and since I had both low fuel warning lights glowing and being in a fixed wing aircraft, there was nothing else that I could contribute, so I returned to Phu Bai air field.

I later learned that the air force rescue attempt failed because of the intense ground and anti-aircraft fire and didn't know the final result of this incident for over forty years. I have subsequently been in contact with the aircraft commander and he has come up here to the state of Washington to visit with me on two occasions.

Submitted by: Gary D. Knapp, Army aviator - made first contact with downed crew, 20170905

Official Narrative

LOSS COORDINATES: N16 34 33 E107 22 50 (YD345644)

SOURCE: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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.

SYNOPSIS: Kenneth Crody attended Griffith High School and enlisted in the Marine Corps during his sophomore year. His final training before being shipped to Vietnam was Gunner Training. He was assigned to be a gunner onboard a CH53D helicopter based onboard the USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10)

On the morning of July 11, 1972, the helicopter to which Crody was assigned launched from the USS TRIPOLI to participate in combat operations in support of operation LAM SON 72 (Phase II) in Vietnam.

LAM SON 719 had been a large offensive operation against NVA communications lines in Laos in the region adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The operation was a raid in which ARVN troops drove west from Khe Sanh on Route 9, cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, seized Tchepone, some 25 miles away and then returned to Vietnam. The ARVN provided and commanded the ground forces, while U.S. Army and Air Force furnished aviation airlift and supporting firepower.

Losses were heavy. The ARVN suffered some 9,000 casualties, almost 50% of their force. U.S. forces incurred some 1,462 casualties. Aviation units lost 168 helicopters and another 618 were damaged. Fifty-five aircrewmen were killed in action, 178 were wounded and 34 were missing in action. There were 19,360 known enemy casualties for the entire operation lasting until April 6, 1971.

Phase II of LAM SON included inserting South Vietnamese Marines behind enemy lines near communist-occupied Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam. This was the mission of Crody's helicopter.

While approaching the drop zone, the helicopter was struck by a heat-seeking SA-7 missile in the starboard [right] engine. The aircraft immediately burst into flames and crash landed moments later. Several aboard received injuries and were taken back to the USS TRIPOLI for treatment [see Nelson, Clyde Keith SSGT]. The bodies of Crody and another crewman, SSGT Jerry W. Hendrix, could not be recovered because of the intense heat of the burning aircraft.

Crody and Hendrix are listed with honor among the missing because their remains were not returned home. Witnesses believed they were both dead in the aircraft.

Submitted by: Homecoming II Project, 20030801

Research, USMC Sources

The following Marines were on board CH-53D YW-21 when it was shot down by a missile fired by hostile North Vietnamese forces along the coastal plain northeast of Quang Tri, South Vietnam on 07/11/1972 while in support of Operation Lam Son 719 Phase II. The mission was a trooplift in support of the 1st Vietnamese Marine Battalion behind enemy lines.

Four survived the night in a nearby bomb crater. One of the four died a month later of burns received during the incident. There were also 50 Vietnamese Marines on board the CH-53D. Seven of the Vietnamese Marines survived the crash and escaped to friendly lines.

• The pilot of the CH-53D was Capt Bruce G. Keyes of HMM-165.
• The copilot was Capt Henry C. Bollman of HMM-165.
• The combat photographer was L/Cpl Stephen G. Lively of H&S Co, BLT 1/9.
• SSgt Clyde Nelson, a gunner, survived the night but died 30 days later in Texas from his wounds.
• Cpl Kenneth Crody, the crew chief, was killed instantly by the missile and resulting crash.
• SSgt Jimmy Hendrix, the gunner, was killed instantly by the missile and resulting crash.

Capt Bollman received the Silver Star and Purple Heart for action on 11-12 July, as well as the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. L/Cpl Stephen G. Lively received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for action on 11-12 July 1972. Cpl Kenneth Crody and SSgt Jerry Hendrix received the Purple Heart and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry posthumously. SSgt Nelson received the Purple Heart.

Submitted by: Alan H Barbour, Historian, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association, 20090310

Distinguished Service Cross - 1/Lt Wesley Franklin Walker, USA

Distinguished Service Cross
See more recipients of this award

Awarded for actions during the Vietnam War

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918 (amended by act of July 25, 1963), takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to First Lieutenant Wesley Franklin Walker, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force while serving as Pilot of a Light Observation Helicopter in Troop F, 4th Air Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade, on a voluntary rescue mission behind enemy lines north of Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam, on 11 July 1972. Lieutenant Walker was serving as the wingman of a Scout Team on an emergency rescue mission when he and his Team Leader were engaged by extremely intense small arms, automatic weapons, 23-mm. and 37-mm. anti-aircraft fires, and heat seeking missiles. In spite of the intensity and ferocity of the hostile fire, he continued his flight, constantly returning fire for fire with deadly accuracy covering his Team Leader and assisting him in the search for the downed American crew. After the survivors were located in a bomb crater, he flew to their position laying down extremely accurate suppressive fire, landed and picked up three of the survivors. Although his aircraft was greatly overloaded with the additional weight, he skillfully utilized every remaining ounce of power in his straining engine and departed the area. First Lieutenant Walker was responsible for the rescue of five American air crewmen and one Vietnamese Marine, all of whom were severely burned or wounded, and prevented their certain capture or death at the hands of the enemy. Lieutenant Walker's conspicuous gallantry, extraordinary heroism and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, were in the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
General Orders: Department of the Army, General Orders No. 47 (October 2, 1974)

Action Date: 11-Jul-72

Service: Army

Rank: First Lieutenant

Company: Troop F

Regiment: 4th Air Cavalry Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade

Source: Military Times, HALL OF VALOR
Submitted by: N/A, 20141016

Personal Narrative

Jerry Hendrix and Kenneth Crody's remains have been recovered, identified, and will be buried in Arlington (in 2004) although a firm date has not been set. Their bones were fused together from the intense heat of the fire and will be buried together. From what I have been told, SSgt Hendrix tried to shield Cpl Crody from the flames and they died together.

Submitted by: Larry Hall, brother-in-law to SSgt Jerry Hendrix, 20040519

"Closure After 32 Years"

Closure after 32 years

Remains of local Vietnam vet finally identified, returned for proper burial.

Times Staff Writer

The name of Kenneth L. Crody is chiseled into Griffith's War Memorial as "missing in action" since 1972.

He's not missing anymore.

After 32 years buried under foreign soil, the U.S. Marine corporal's remains were excavated from South Vietnam on Aug. 29, 2000.

Crody's tiny, fragmented skeletal remains were finally identified April 23 of this year, along with remnants of some personal items -- his double-edge razor, nail clippers, part of a comb, part of his watch and a standard, military-issued fork and can opener.

And his dog tag. The only thing left intact.

The Griffith teenager was three weeks from his 19th birthday when he died.

'Don't worry, Mom'

On the morning of July 11, 1972, Crody was flying in a CH-53D helicopter carrying 50 South Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer.

The chopper was launched from the USS Tripoli, its mission to drop the Marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City.

Crody, who enlisted at 17, served that day as the chopper's door gunner.

"Don't worry, Mom," he told his mother, Wilma Crody, weeks earlier. "Marines aren't ever sent into Vietnam. I'll be fine."

Those were his last words to her.

As the chopper approached the drop zone, still 100 feet above the ground, a heat-seeking SA-7 missile hit the aircraft's starboard engine. The missile's 5.5-pound warhead exploded engine turbine fragments into the passenger compartment.

Crody, along with another crewman, Marine Staff Sgt. Jerry W. Hendrix, died at the scene. A third Marine was rescued but died of his injuries a month later. Seven of the 50 Vietnamese Marines made it out alive.

Back in the states, Wilma Crody, driving to her job at Purdue University Calumet that day, clicked on the car radio and heard a special report: A U.S. helicopter was shot down by hostile gunfire in South Vietnam. Dozens of casualties. Crew presumed dead.

"Those poor guys," Wilma sighed to herself.

Later that day, two Marines walked up to Wilma at work. That's about all she remembers from that day. That's about all she cares to remember.

'I always had hope, but ... '

Shortly after Crody's death, the family held a memorial service for their "Kenny."

"We had to do something for him ... for me... for us," Wilma said. "It helped some."

A couple years later, Crody's father, Guy, lost his job at a local plant. Guy and Wilma, who came to Griffith in 1949, left the region to find work in Texas.

The years peeled away. Five, 10, 20. Then they moved back to Indiana, to downstate Linton, about 80 miles south of Indianapolis, to be near family.

The Marines sent occasional letters to the couple, informing them that efforts were being made to find their boy's body, along with 1,859 other MIAs from the Vietnam War.

In 2000, Crody's sister, Beverly O'Brien, was asked for a DNA sample by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military and civilian group based at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The high-tech group conducts recovery and forensic identification efforts of missing soldiers.

The family got its hopes up. But another year peeled away. And another and another.

"I always had hope, but ..." said O'Brien, who lives in Texas.

The last time she saw her brother was at her wedding, almost a year before his death. He assured her that he was being shipped to the Philippines, not Vietnam.

"He was only in Vietnam for a month before he was killed," O'Brien said.

A town kept the light on

Marthann Gatlin has lived in Griffith for 35 years. She's a member of the town's war memorial committee, which erected the Central Park War Memorial to honor local soldiers.

"I feel like I've come to know Ken Crody through the years," she said.

She never honestly believed his remains would be found, but she prayed for it each night, she said.

Delford Jones, chaplain for the Griffith VFW Post 9982, said he will have a hard time finding the words today to express how the town feels about Crody's homecoming. At 10 a.m., the VFW will honor Crody during its annual Memorial Day ceremony.

"To find a soldier's remains after all these years is so special," Jones said. "To know that soldier is from Griffith makes it so much more."

Wayne Govert, a Griffith businessman who knew Crody in high school, said, "This means so much to this town. Especially to the people who remember Kenny. He's finally coming home."

A joint burial

Five weeks ago, Crody's remains were identified, along with the remains of Hendrix, who was from Wichita, Kan. It turns out that DNA comparisons were not used in the "group identification," officials said.

Both Marines will share a joint burial this summer at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The soldiers' families are choosing a date.

"Families live for this day, for closure if nothing else," said Hattie Johnson, head of the Marines' POW/MIA Affairs Headquarters in Quantico, Va.

It was Johnson who visited Crody's parents last month at their Linton home to tell them the news in person.

In the past three years, Johnson has visited with seven families of soldiers whose remains were found. Everyone treated her like family, she said.

This summer, Crody's remains, escorted by a Marine, will be flown from Hickam Air Force Base to Arlington National Cemetery for a proper military burial.

"It will be so comforting to know our Kenny will be finally buried right," said Wilma, who's in poor health and unable to attend the burial in Virginia. "It's OK, I guess. At least I have his dog tag and his class ring."

Crody's sister, however, will attend with her family, including her first-born son. His name is Kenneth.

"I got pregnant right after my brother died. It just seemed right," O'Brien said.

Submitted by: JERRY DAVICH, Times Staff Writer, 20040606

Personal Narrative

I was on the USS Tripoli and remember the news of the chopper being shot down. I remember the rescue chopper with survivors returning later to the Tripoli.

I was a friend of the Combat Photgrapher; his last name was Lively - the last time I saw him was in Okinawa. He suffered burns and other injuries.

God Bless the Crody family and Hendrix Family.

Submitted by: Donald J. Steinert, Marine with 1/9, 20071124

Family Narrative

The Co-Pilot was my maternal uncle (Uncle Buck/Uncle Bucky). His name is Henry Clyde Bollman III. His nickname, which might have also been his call-sign, was Buck or Bucky. He did fly two tours in F-4 Phantoms in Vietnam before being forced transition into helicopters after being an IP down in Kingsville, TX. This incident occurred during his third tour and affected him, like so many others, in so many ways for many years after Vietnam.

For his actions on the ground after the crash (Organizing the survivors and surviving the night.), he was indeed awarded the Silver Star. In addition he was also awarded the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. For his actions in controlling the A/C to a contolled crash and pulling the other pilot and survivors from the wreckage, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross and an Air Medal. For his burns and wounds, he received the Purple Heart. He passes awy in February '97. If anyone knew my uncle or would like to know more information about this incident, I have his Award Citations, his Hand-written Statements and the After Action Reports and pictures of him receiving his awards aboard the Hospital Ship.

Semper Fi and God Bless the Marines!

Submitted by: J.M., Nephew, 20080527

Personal Recollection

I was involved in that same mission that day. WE made our drop in the LZ letting out 50 south Vietnamese Marines. Like others said it was a lot of shooting going on and we made our drop. If I remember correctly we had our radios and instruments shot out and got back with no one hurt, amazing because we counted over 57 bullet holes in our aircraft. Three main rotor blades had to be replaced, all the electrical harnesses on the port side of the a/c. Lt. Warner was our copilot and Capt. Martin was our pilot that day. They were simply amazing and calm throughout the whole ordeal. Kudos also to Major Frank Bell who I had served with in H&MS-30 MCAS SANTA ANA LTA. God Bless both crews from the USS Tripoli and USS OKINAWA, I served on both LPH'S that year and knew crew members from both ships.

Submitted by: sgt richard quinn, I was a door gunner on yt-25 uss okinawa, 20130609

Personal Recollection

I was a LCPL who was assigned to MAG-36 out of MCAS(H) Futema, Okinawa, when I was re-assigned to work in Operations of HMM-165 aboard the USS Tripoli (LPH-10). I joined the unit at Okinawa on 16 July 1972, then went with them (on the Tripoli) to Subic Bay, R.P., for about 30 days where we participated in Operation Saklolo (flood relief). Everything I know about the incident is hearsay: what I heard from my brothers-in-arms via scuttlebutt, plus what I read in the after-action reports in our files in the Squadron Operations office.

I want to emphasize that I am NOT an eyewitness, that I only know what I heard from my fellow enlisted squadron members and from reading some reports. Everything I've read on this web site about this incident seems to be true, based on what I've heard and read. There are some inconsistencies, however:

1) I'd always heard that ALL occupants of the '53 were killed except the pilot and co-pilot: 4 USMC enlisted crewmembers, one of whom died later of his injuries (at the FT Sam Houston AMC Burn Center) and approximately 65 South Vietnamese Marines. So it's a pleasant surprise to me to learn that there were 7 survivors I previously knew nothing about.

2) The pilot was Capt. Erickson. The co-pilot was Capt. Bowman [Henry C. Bollman], a former F-4 pilot. Capt. Bowman supposedly earned a Silver Star [confirmed] for reacting quickly when the '53 was hit. He was reported to have safely landed the bird, thus saving the lives of the survivors.

Since I joined the unit about 5 days after the incident, I never met any of the participants except Captains Erickson and Bowman. I knew and respected both of these fine gentlemen. If my memory serves me correctly, I think Capt. Erickson was the Assistant S-3 (under Major Stansfield) and Capt. Bowman was our Squadron Legal Officer.

Any further information about this incident MIGHT be dredged from my memory if someone wishes to contact me about it -- but it was over 33 years ago, of course, so the accuracy of my memory is suspect, at best. Semper Fidelis, fellow White Knights!

Submitted by: Wes Brummitt, joined HMM-165 five days after the incid, MOS 7041, 20051003


This is a better picture of my friend Kenneth Crody. We met in Memphis Tennessee at Basic Helicopter School....went to North Carolina and ended up HMH 461 together . I received orders to HMH 463. Ken received orders to HMM 165. That was the last time I saw him but we corresponded alot. The picture of him does not do him justice ...please crop and change

Submitted by: Thomas Allen Null, his friend, 20181129

Request for Information

If anyone can help me, I would like to learn the identities of the HMM-165 Pilot, Co-pilot, as well as the Marine Combat Photographer from BLT 1/9's H&S Company, who were on board YW-21 when it was shot down by hostile North Vietnamese forces within Quang Tri province, South Vietnam on 07/11/1972 while in support of Operation Lam Son 719 Phase II. They were the only American survivors of this crash, and were rescued the next day, 07/12/1972, after hiding in a bomb crater overnight. All 3 subsequently received medals for their actions and bravery during this operation, yet it appears that their names are inaccessible for some reason...

I have been told that the Marine Combat Photographer's name may be Corporal Steven Lively. I was an acquaintance of said photographer, however, I cannot remember his name at this late date. I do remember that he had blond hair, and was indeed a Corporal at the time. This incident was just brought to my attention by someone who is conducting research for a family member, and now I vividly recall the details of same.

If anyone can help me out here, it would be sincerely appreciated. Semper Fi!

Submitted by: Murrie L. Hubbard III, former L/Cpl, USMC, 20090303

Cpl Kenneth Lloyd Crody

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Submitted by: POPASMOKE Admin, 20050207

SSgt Jerry Wayne Hendrix

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Submitted by: POPASMOKE Admin, 20050207

For so many years I have heard from my mother about her brother’s tour in Vietnam and the loss he suffered on July 11 1972. My uncle, Capt Bruce G. Keyes of HMM-165, was the pilot on this mission. He has never spoken a word about that dark day to any of us. We only know what we have read and heard from others. Bruce is a fine mine. My mother hasn’t heard from Bruce in almost 2 years. He went off the grid. If anyone knows him or where he is, we would greatly appreciate any information.

Submitted by: Laura M Sinacori, Family, 20190414

I was a crew chief door gunner on this operation starboard side. SSGT Tom O Halloran commented that in his previous tour of Vietnam that this operation was the worst shit sandwich he ever saw.

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Submitted by: Guy Alden Bouck, Crew Chief door gunner, 20190806

Personal Narrative

I was a young RTO with 1/4 on the Okinawa flying in support of VNMC & ARVN Comm. I befriended Clyde Nelson while HMM-165 was onboard for short. We quickly became friends, being from small towns in PA. On 11 July 1972 I was aboard one of the 2 CH-46s that went down shortly after Clydes 53 kind of disintegrated. Watching, I was sure all were deceased. It wasn't til later I learned Clyde died about a month later of injuries received that day. Since 11 July 2002, the 30th anniversary, I've been trying to obtain as much info as possible to help confirm this one stressor. I've confirmed 2, but the VA seems bent on making me prove this one in particular. Being Comm. I have all the YT and Spanish Fly info, but can't seem to get the tail #s for either of the 2 46s we went down in that day. They were salvaged, but I can't find the info.

Please, anyone that can help me get any of this info or if there is anyone out there that remembers me from those days, your assistance will be greatly appreciated. I work as a Veterans Service Officer for Vietnam Veterans of America here in Massachusetts and will assist anyone who needs it, help or no help with my dilemma.

Submitted by: Marshall R. Mudge Jr. Nickname; SMUDGE, Participant w/HMM-164, 20071113

Personal Recollection

Sorry to hear Buck Bollman died recently. He was a great pilot, fine Marine Officer and good friend. SF,

Submitted by: David B Meyers, Pilot, HMM165, 20101118