Helicopter UH-1D 66-00811

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-00811
The Army purchased this helicopter 1066
Total flight hours at this point: 00001298
Date: 12/02/1967 MIA-POW file reference number: 0933
Incident number: 67120210.KIA
Unit: 48 AHC
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: CQ248362 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 49PCQ248362)
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Also: 0933 ()
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

REFNO Synopsis:
On December 2, 1967, WO Wallace Leeper, aircraft commander; WO Floyd W. Strange, co-pilot; SP4 Manuel J. Moreida, crew chief; and SP4 Richard A. Crosby, door gunner, were crew members aboard a UH1D helicopter (serial #6600811). The helicopter departed Phu Hiep airfield, Phu Kanh (formerly Phu Yen) Province, Vietnam, in marginal weather, to return Captain Woo Shik Pak, a Korean, to his unit which was located about 25 miles south along the coast. When the aircraft did not return to Phu Hiep at the scheduled time, a communications and ramp check was initiated without success. Further unsuccessful search and rescue efforts were conducted along the coastal and mountain area from December 3-9. The aircraft was last seen as it departed Phu Hiep airfield and headed in a southeasterly direction along the coast. Subsequent information indicates that the aircraft crashed and burned in the mountains north of Vung Ro Bay. On September 3, 1973, a source reported that 3 local villagers of Hoa Xuan village reported that they discovered a U.S. helicopter with 2 or 3 remains in uniform at the crash site. Other reports were received that possibly correlated with this incident, but were resolved to other cases. Information from the POW Network.

War Story:
They left Tuy Hoa on the night of 2Dec67 in low ceilings and driving rain to carry a Korean captain back to Ninh Hoa, the home base of the 48th, and the division headquarters of the 9th ROK. Their choice in leaving Tuy Hoa on the coast was to (1) head due south, climb to at least 5,000 feet to clear the mountain at Vung Rho, then some where on the way to Ninh Hoa, to let back down to sea level, or (2) head southeast, fly far enough out over the ocean to get around the mountain, then head back in to the coast line, turn south for Ninh Hoa. Leeper selected the latter. The next morning, the news that I received was that the Tuy Hoa tower reported watching their Grimes light flash on a southeasterly heading until it disappeared in the rain. That was the last heard or seen of the 811 crew. The company put up only 6 ships for missions for 7 days (4 slicks and a light fire team), and used every other flyable aircraft to search for 811, until after 7 days, the search was called off. For the next 10 months that I was in country, myself and every other pilot searched the Vung Rho area, and for that matter, 40 miles on the coastline in both directions from Vung Rho, every time we had a little extra fuel and time. When I left in October of '68, the 811 crew was still MIA. I was their platoon leader. After joining VHPA, and just before the Denver reunion, the Blue Star (48th AHC) Reflector Group through Yahoo discovered Wally Leeper's sister, Sherry. I met Sherry in Denver and found out that the crash site of 811 had been found on the ocean side of the Vung Rho mountain by a Vietnamese hunter in 1993. The hunter had brought out some dog tags for proof. It took the Army until this past winter of 2003 to sort things out, verify the bodies, and schedule a burial service in Arlington for the crew. I attended the funeral service, along with about 40 other Blue Stars. from Larry Gardner, 48th AHC, Oct 67-Oct 68, 1st Platoon Ldr, Service Platoon Ldr, 2nd Platoon Ldr On December 2, 1967 904, the chopper Bob McFadden and I were assigned to, was in for the routine 100 hour maintenance. Because of that McFadden and I were flying on 811 and just doing re-supply to the Koreans in the local area. We did that all morning and came back to base camp to refuel and have lunch. While we were eating someone from maintenance came up to us and told us that 904 was back in service so we transferred our equipment back on to 904 and flew on her for the remainder of the day. Ironically that afternoon was when 811 turned up missing. Moreida the CE slept on the bunk next to me and Crosby the G on the bunk across from me. I had know both of those guys for about 9 months. I knew the pilots also but not that well. We scoured those hillsides for weeks looking for them but never found a trace. Jack Chlapowski, August 2000 I WAS THERE THE NIGHT THE CREW TOOK OFF.RAY CHAN AND I WERE CREW CHIFE AND GUNNER ON JOKER 093. WE ALL KIND OF JOKED A BIT ABOUT THE WEATHER. IT WAS BAD!!!! I WAS DOOR GUNNER ON 811 WITH MOREIDA BEFORE I WENT TO 3rd PLT. I RECOMMENDED DICK TO TAKE MY PLACE.WE DID SEARCH & SEARCH BUT WITH NO LUCK IN THAT NASTY WEATHER! I DID'NT KNOW THE SITE HAD BEEN LOCATED UNTIL A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. I MISS THOSE GUYS AND I THINK OF THEM OFTEN!!! FOREVER A BLUE STAR! DAN CRANCE

This record was last updated on 02/17/2011

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