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Name: 1LT John Anthony Prombo
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 02/07/1969 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Age at death: 25.6
Date of Birth: 07/12/1943
Home City: Chicago Heights, IL
Service: reserve component of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Unit: HMM-265
Service: U.S. Marine Corps.
The Wall location: 33W-081
Short Summary: Crashed in Da Nang Harbor at night in bad weather. W/CP Ray Glover. Crew chief McCormick swam to beach and survived.
Aircraft: CH-46A tail number 152540
Service number: 095652
Country: South Vietnam
MOS: 7562 = Pilot CH-46 Qualified
Primary cause: Hostile Fire
Started Tour: 05/08/1968
"Official" listing: helicopter air casualty - pilot
Length of service: 06
Location: Quang Nam Province I Corps.

Additional information about this casualty:
John Prombo and Ray Glover were pilots of a CH-46 on the way back from Phu Bai after a day of missions down south. Somewhere near Da Nang they got disoriented and hit the water in Da Nang harbor. McCormick the crew chief had managed to get out. Seeing the lights off in the distance to the southwest, he started to swim in that direction. He had been swimming for nine hours and they found him exhausted, but alive, on the beach the next morning. If he had gone to the north he would have been on the rocky shore in only a few minutes but there was no way to tell in the dark of night. He swam all the way across Da Nang harbor. The helicopter was just south of the big mountain at the north side of the harbor. The pilots were still in their seats as the helicopter rested on the bottom. The emergency doors on the sides of the cockpit had been opened, their shoulder harness was released, and their armored seats opened ready for exit. from Bruce Lake's book, "1500 Feet over Vietnam".

I joined HMM 265 in January. And as I recall John joined at nearly the same time. As pilots, we shared the same hooch at Phu BAI. His bed was 4 down from my side of the Quonset Hut.

The day he disappeared was so mysterious. We heard he vanished in the Danang harbor, but knew nothing more. He was so very new to the squadron and then he was gone.

The crew chief who survived swam ashore, walked into USMC HQ and reported the accident. No one could believe he survived. He disappeared for a drink or two. The MPs threw him into the brig in Danang and didn't send him back to 265. We never knew for 2-3 months that he was alive.

From: Jim Berg

Reason: aircraft lost or crashed
Casualty type: Hostile - killed
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Roman Catholic
This record was last updated on 08/14/2014

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Date posted on this site: 05/16/2021

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