Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter CH-53A tail number 153278
Date: 02/19/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1055
Incident number: 68021999.KIA
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
UTM grid coordinates: ZD050295
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: 1055, David Schill, MAG-16 CC ()
Summary: Reported overdue and missing at 1915H enroute to MMAF on an IFR clearance.
Loss to Inventory
P CPT TESSIER LUCIEN CHARLES KIA
P CPT DEETZ BILL WAYNE KIA
C SGT EHNIS KENNETH PAUL KIA
C LCP JOHNSON BENJAMIN F III KIA
C SGT TORRE FRANCIS SAN NICOLAS KIA
Passengers and/or other participants:
CPT UPLINGER BARTON JOHN, MC, PP, KIA
HM2 BRIDGES ROBERT JAN JR, NA, MD, KIA
TSG MCCULLOUGH SYLVESTER, AF, PX, KIA
PFC TYNER ROBERT EMMETT, AR, PX, KIA
The MAG-16 Command Chronology states that at 1915H this aircraft was declared overdue and missing after being last reported at 092 degrees/20 NM from Channel #69 enroute to MMAF on an IFR clearance. Search and rescue operations were instigated and continued on a daily basis through the end of the month. From Ken Davis: McCullough was an Air Force medic; Tyner was an infantryman with A/1/12th Cav. Ref (i) addresses both the question of BuNo 153278's mission and why PFC Tyner and TSgt McCullough were aboard the CH-53: "The following is what R.E. [Tyner]'s family told us that the military told them concerning R.E. the day that the helicopter crashed: R.E. was wounded in the neck/shoulder area while fighting in Hue. He was placed on a helicopter and was to be sent to a medical facility in Da Nang for treatment of his wounds. There were 13 men onboard the helicopter and several were Vietnamese soldiers. The flight time was supposed to take about 20 minutes from where they took off to where they were supposed to land. The helicopter had been in the air about 10 minutes when all contact with it was lost. All were delcared MIA. Sometime later the Tyner family was contacted and told that the helicopter had been found and the men declared dead. They were told that of the 13 men on board that only enough remains of bodies were found to put in 3 coffins." Mrs. Johnson grew up with "R. E." Tyner and knew him and his family well. Her husband entered the service at the same time as R. E. Tyner and went through training with him to include initial in-country indoctrination with the 1st Cav Division. They separated at that time, with Tyner assigned to A/1/12 Cav and Johnson to D/2/7 Cav. From the above it appears that BuNo 153278 was on a medevac mission to/from Hue when it went down. Given the ref (d) "last position" data of 092/20NM Channel 16 the CH-53 was nowhere near NVN waters - and the wreckage certainly wasn't. It appears that an error was made in the initial coding of the casualty reports or at some point thereafter ... and that no corrections were made after the wreckage was located in June 1968. The medevac mission itself is indicated by the presence of a Corpsman (HM2 Bridges from the 3rd Med Bn, Danang); Mrs. Johnson's information; and the presence of a USAF medic, TSgt McCullough.
This record was last updated on 06/05/2003
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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017
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