Name: 1LT James Russell McQuade
Status: Remains were returned on 1999 from an incident on 06/11/1972 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 23.0
Date of Birth: 06/03/1949
Home City: Hoquiam, WA
Service: IN branch of the reserve component of the U.S. Army.
Unit: F/8 CAV, 11 CAG
Major organization: 1st Aviation Brigade
Flight class: 71-28
Service: IN branch of the U.S. Army.
The Wall location: 01W-040
Short Summary: Exploded in the air (possible SA-7) while trying to land at the crash site of CPT Arnold E. Holm's OH-6A.
Aircraft: OH-6A tail number 67-16275
Call sign: Blue Ghost
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 1981 = 19 Rotary Wing Aviator (Unit Commander)
Major attributing cause: aircraft connected not at sea
Compliment cause: vehicular accident
Vehicle involved: helicopter
Position in vehicle: pilot
Vehicle ownership: government
Started Tour: 11/24/1971
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
The initial status of this person was: missing in action - interim
Length of service: *
Location: Thua Thien Province I Corps.
Military grid coordinates of event: YD562138
Additional information about this casualty:
I'm writing a broadcast letter to bring as many people up to date on the status of two of our Vietnam War MIA's; 1LT James (Jimmy) R. McQuade and his scout observer SP4 James E. Hackett, both of F Troop, 8th Cavalry. While searching for possible survivors in the crash of scout platoon leader CPT Arnold (Dust) E. Holm and his two observers, Wayne Bibbs and Robin Yeakley, McQuade's OH-6A, tail number 67-16275, was shot down in the middle of a sizeable NVA force west of Hue on 11 June 1972, during the Easter Offensive. None of the bodies were recoverable at the time due to high intensity, concentrated enemy fire. Knowing it was unlikely any crewmembers had survived the two explosive crashes was little comfort to those of us who had to abandon them. But it was the only rational decision considering the overwhelming odds F/8 found on the battle field that day. As many of you know, Jimmy's mom, Patty, and I were pen pals for many years, but never actually met until the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend this year. Along with Jimmy's surviving brothers Jack and Jeff and sister Judi, we had a wonderful time enjoying smoked salmon, salad and wine on a cool, sunny spring day. We promised to all get together again soon after. Sadly, Patty passed away unexpectedly a few weeks later, right after I returned from the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association annual reunion in Nashville. Wife Lynn and I joined the family at Patty's memorial in hometown Hoquiam, Washington; a small logging community on the Pacific coast. We took comfort knowing she had learned the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting office had tentatively identified Jimmy's remains in a recovery effort in Vietnam before she died. Jack and Judi had recently given blood samples to the Army for DNA analysis and we were waiting for the final results, but other hard evidence, such as the data plate from his aircraft and personal effects, indicated they had found her son. Yesterday, Saturday October 16, Lynn and I were invited to Judi's lovely West Seattle house for another special occasion, when a representative from the Army's Mortuary Affairs office would present the official findings of the Central Identification Lab-Hawaii (CILHI) to the family. Like the gathering over Memorial Day, the day was perfect and the mood festive as we enjoyed good food and spirits waiting for the big news to arrive. Instead of a stiff military officer arriving in an OD sedan, we were surprised to see a civilian arrive in a rented coup dressed in a fine double-breasted suit. John was a bit stiff and formal at first, but was quickly put at ease with a plate of appetizers and glass of Reisling as the group made small talk on the deck outside the kitchen. After an hour or so it was time to convene around the fireplace in the living room to review the findings. John produced a 1" spiral binder containing all information leading to McQuade and Hackett's final disposition. He apologized in advance for the heavy dose of technical lingo and acronyms, but was required to read several pages from the report verbatim. We listened intently as he described the DNA and dental comparisons and circumstantial evidence. It was soon evident that, twenty-eight years since their final heroic mission, both men's remains had been successfully recovered. Then John hesitated and reached into his brief case, pulling out a small plastic bag. He then presented Judi with Jimmy's St. Christopher medalion; the same she and her mom had presented him at graduation ceremonies at Ft. Rucker when Jimmy graduated from flight school. They'd ended up in New Orleans in a grand celebration before he departed for Vietnam. The personalized inscription on the back was unmistaken. We took it out of the bag and slowly passed it around for each to inspect. I was last and held it for moment, visualizing it as hung ever present around his neck. It had been next to his breast when the LOH exploded. After a Q&A session, the family accepted the findings as official, thus ending more than a quarter century of mystery. Satisfied, Judi signed the forms on behalf the family. Then we all convened to the dining room for a wonderful dinner. Later, John informed us that Jimmy's gunner Hackett's family had also accepted the report, so funeral arrangements would be the next step. Of the hundred-plus bone fragments and teeth recovered, some were Jimmy's and some James' but some were co-mingled and will be buried at Arlington on a future date. The families must now decide on dates and locations where the identified remains will be put to rest. It will take a couple weeks to a month at least for the military to review the families findings and make it official, but that's just a formality John said. I will inform you all on dates/locations as soon as arrangements are made so you can plan to attend if possible. Though this is not 'official' until reviewed by an official board to make sure all the i's and t's are dotted and crossed (about 3 more weeks), I wanted to give you all the good news now as it unfolds. So please raise a glass in a silent moment to a couple more heroes who are finally coming home! My best, Mike Austin Blueghost 41/23 1971-2
Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - died while missing
single male U.S. citizen
Religion: Roman Catholic
Burial information: SUNSET MEMORIAL PARK, HOQUIAM, WA
The following information secondary, but may help in explaining this incident.
Category of casualty as defined by the Army: battle dead Category of personnel: active duty Army Military class: officer
This record was last updated on 06/01/2000
Additional information is available on CD-ROM.
Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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