Helicopter UH-1H 66-17027

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 66-17027
Date: 02/12/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1046
Incident number: 680212211ACD Accident case number: 680212211 Total loss or fatality Accident
Unit: 50 MED DET
The station for this helicopter was Tuy Hoa in South Vietnam
Number killed in accident = 4 . . Injured = 0 . . Passengers = 1
costing 514554
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. Army Aviation Safety Center database. Also: 1046 ()
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

REFNO Synopsis:
From the Senate Select Committee on POW-MIAs: Area: South Vietnam. People: Alan W. Gunn, Wade L. Groth, Harry W. Brown, Jerry L Roe. Refno: 1046.

Summary: On February 12, 1968, Gunn, Groth, Brown and Roe were members of a UH-1H on a night medical evacuation flight. Their aircraft disappeared in Darlac Province. A search and rescue effort failed to locate them. The four crewmen were initially declared missing.

In July 1971, a Vietnam People's Army defector identified a photograph of First Lieutenant Brown as an individual he had seen at a POW camp near Vinh City in August 1970. U.S. POW returnees were never able to confirm that Lieutenant Brown and the other crewmen.

In July 1974, the wreckage of the UH-1H was located by a woodsman, but there was no trace of the crewmen. All four crewmen were declared dead/body not recovered on different dates between October 1973 and September 1978. The following is from the POW-MIA database:

SYNOPSIS: On February 12, 1968, SP5 Harry Brown, medic; 1Lt. Jerry Roe, aircraft commander; WO Alan Gunn, pilot; and SP4 Wade Groth, crewchief, were flying a UH1H (tail #66-17027) dispatched on a night medical evacuation mission (dustoff). Dustoff 90 departed Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam for Gia Nghai Special Forces camp.

As U.S. Air Force Tactical Control Radar operators at Ban Me Thuot tracked the flight, the blip that was the UH1H dustoff chopper disappeared from the screen at 2019 hours. The helicopter apparently went down 20 minutes outbound from its base in a mountainous region of Quang Duc Province.

An Army Infantry unit searched the apparent crash site near the Cambodian border for 36 hours, but found neither the helicopter nor its crew. Snipers were not known to be in the area, and it is not believed the helicopter was shot down, according to an Army report, indicating possible mechanical trouble.

In April 1969, CIA was asked to analyze the positive identifications made by a rallier of a number of photographs of missing Americans. The rallier selected the photos of both Harry Brown and Jerry Roe as two men he believed to have been prisoners of war. CIA could not determine why the source selected them.

In 1979, Sean O'Toolis, an Irish-American, was touring Bong Song Camp, 40 miles south of Hanoi, on an IRA gun-buying mission, when he alleges he met and spoke with American prisoners, Brendon Foley and Wade Groth, a prison workmate of Foley's. He also claims to have talked to men named MacDonald, Jenning and an O'Hare or O'Hara. He brought a message to Foley's brother and fingerprints of Foley and O'Hara. He identified old photos of Groth, and gave believable descriptions of Foley and Groth. Neither family knows whether or not to believe O'Toolis, as much of his account of his travels seems incorrect.

Accident Summary:

The aircraft was on a medevac mission. The aircraft was reported missing. A search continued through 24 February with no results.

This record was last updated on 05/25/1998

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Date posted on this site: 11/13/2023

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