Helicopter UH-1D 66-01209

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 66-01209
The Army purchased this helicopter 0367
Total flight hours at this point: 00001088
Date: 04/21/1968 MIA-POW file reference number: 1138
Incident number: 68042110.KIA
Unit: 17 AVN
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YD481033
Casualties = 06 BNR . .
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: 1138 ()
Summary: This was Fosdick 5, maintenance chase ship for the 17th Avn Co. It was shot-down in marginal weather near A Luoi on a recovery mission.
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: On April 21, 1968, Capt. Floyd W. Olsen, aircraft commander; WO1 Robert C. Link, pilot; SP5 Frankie B. Johnson, Jr., crew chief; SP4 Larry C. Jamerson, door gunner; SSgt. Lyle E. MacKendanz and SP4 James E. Creamer, passengers; were aboard a UH1H helicopter (serial #66-16209) which was flying a combat mission with other aircraft in South Vietnam. The aircraft remained with the assault aircraft during most of the operation until it was required to depart from Phu Bai, South Vietnam with rigging equipment for a recovery from LZ Veghel. During the flight, Capt. Olsen acknowledged a radio transmission which stated the aircraft's secondary mission, the recovery operation at LZ Veghel, had been cancelled because of the tactical situation and inclement weather conditions. Following acknowledgement of the cancelled mission, the aircraft was lost. Although there were several unsuccessful attempts to contact him, and ramp checks of all airfields and camps in the area were conducted, no further contact was made with Capt. Olsen. On April 22, an extensive, though unsuccessful air search was conducted from dawn until 1830 hours. On May 8, elements of the 8th ARVN Airborne Division found the ID tags of SP5 Johnson in a 3/4-ton truck, non-U.S. On May 25, a UH1C gunship of the 101st Airborne Division sighted a tail boom of a crashed helicopter. On May 26, the downed aircraft was positively identified by its tail number by a gunship of the 17th Armored Calvary Armored Helicopter Company. On May 27, an on-ground inspection was conducted by Company A, 1st Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry. The Company found the main rotor blades of the missing helicopter in a river bed 200 meters west of the tail boom. The area became insecure, and a search team came under enemy fire, curtailing search efforts prior to finding the main cabin section of the UH1H. Further investigation revealed that the helicopter was downed due to anti-aircraft artillery fire. Although the cabin section was not located, and no remains were found, the families of the men were informed that all aboard had been killed. No explanation was given as to why Johnson's dog tags had been found in a non-U.S. truck. In the fall of 1985, a CIA document was declassified which contained drawings of a Viet Cong detention center which held U.S. servicemen in 1969 prior to their being sent north to Hanoi. It was located just 20 miles southwest of Camp Eagle, a major American base near Hue, South Vietnam. In the document were greatly detailed drawings, lists of personnel and lists of U.S. servicemen identified from photographs. Lyle MacKedanz' name was on a list of positively identified prisoners. Along with MacKedanz were the names of several POWs who were released in 1973. One of them has verified the authenticity of the report as far as the camp itself is concerned. The MacKedanz family was given the document by a private citizen who had obtained it through the Freedom of Information Act. They had never been told there was even the remotest possibility that Lyle had been captured. The Defense Department maintains that the report was a fabrication.

War Story:
THIS IS A RECONSTRUCTION OF REPORTS OF 26 MAY 1968 GIVEN TO MAJ PARKER, BOARD OF INQUIRY PRESIDENT BY, CPT FITCH, AND CPT EDWARDS CONCERNING THE LOSS OF 17th AHC, UH-1H, FOSDICK 5, TAIL # 66-16209. S T A T E M E N T 26 May 68 As the Operations Officer of the 17th AHC, I recall that on the morning of 21 Apr 68 that Kingsmen 5, the Command & Control aircraft (C&C) departed at approximately 0730 hours from Camp Eagle. Their purpose was to pickup the C&C party located at Fire Support Base (FSB) Bastogne. Kingsmen 5 had Major Tuttle as the air mission commander and Captain Peterson (Major Tuttle's assistant) as pilot. After Kingsmen 5 reached FSB Bastogne and picked up the C&C party, which consisted of a command element of the 1st of the 502nd, they proceeded to the landing zone (LZ) at Veghel to check the weather. At approximately 0750 we received a call from Major Tuttle that a one hour weather delay was initiated and to hold the flight at Camp Eagle. Major Tuttle indicated the weather was too marginal to start the mission. At approximately 0800 we received a call at company operations from Battlefield Circulation Control (BCC) to send the first flight of 5 UH-1H aircraft, plus one Light Fire Team (LFT) of two UH-1C gunships, to FSB Bastogne and to standby there until the weather improved. The LFT, callsign Lancers, departed at approximately 0810 for FSB Bastogne. At approximately 1045 hours I recall hearing a transmission from Lancer 6 (LFT Commander) that the weather had improved enough to start the operation. At approximately 1100 hours the second flight of five UH-1H aircraft plus one LFT and the maintenance (613th Transportation Detachment) UH-1H chase aircraft, Fosdick 5 (Tail # 66-16209), departed Camp Eagle en route to the pick-up zone (PZ) which was FSB Bastogne. Fosdick 5 had Captain Olsen as the Aircraft Commander and WO1 Robert "Smitty" Link as pilot. As I recall, three lifts of 15 sorties were made at the time from PZ Bastogne into LZ Veghel. During the conduct of the three lifts I recall hearing a transmission from Fosdick 5 to Kingsmen 5 that he was going into LZ Veghal to check for rigging the downed 17th AHC UH-1H. Later I heard that Fosdick 5 was back out of the LZ and was orbiting overhead. The next transmission that I recall from Fosdick 5 was that he had penetrated the cloud layer and was flying VFR on top. I asked him what his altitude was at this time and he indicated he was flying at 3500ft, and that his intentions were to fly back toward the coast by using the Hue Phu-Bai non directional beacon as a navigational aid. I then requested of him to keep me informed of his progress and he answered that he would. The next transmission that I received from Fosdick 5 was that he was over Hue Phu Bai and was proceeding to the north east toward the coast and that his intentions were to descend below the cloud layer in that region. Approximately 3 minutes after this, Fosdick 5 called and said that he was underneath the clouds and that he was proceeding back to Camp Eagle. While Fosdick 5 was returning from LZ Veghel to Camp Eagle, I monitored transmissions from Kingsmen 5 to the flights telling them that the weather had become marginal again, and advising them to return back to the previous status. This meant that one flight would go to the FSB Bastogne and the other flight would go back to Camp Eagle. My recollection is that the flights started again around 1400 hours. At approximately 1420 the flight from Camp Eagle departed and shortly thereafter, maybe 2 or 3 minutes, Fosdick 5 departed Camp Eagle. I recall that Fosdick 5 said that they could not catch up with the flight and that he would orbit in the vicinity of the check point and follow the next flight into LZ Veghel. The next transmission that I recall involving Fosdick 5 was from Kingsmen 5 in which he told Fosdick 5 that the ground commander was interested in also extracting the Marine gunship from LZ Veghel because he felt like it would hamper his operations. The time for this was around 1435 or 1440. During this time span, between 1420 and 1450, the discussion was brought up between Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and myself, by land line, that a possible extraction of our (17th AHC) aircraft that had gone down the previous day would be made, and it would be accomplished by using a Chinook (CH-47) on a backhaul mission. I in turn relayed this information to Fosdick 5 that a possible extraction of the 17th AHC aircraft would be performed. Black Adler 3A, Major Balberde, then came on the radio after that transmission and stated that there may be a possibility of extracting the Marine gunship after the 17th AHC UH-1H aircraft had been extracted. Then I received a call by land line from the BCC, that they would coordinate to get an Explosives/Ordinance Demolition (EOD) team to go along with the maintenance aircraft to check the downed aircraft. I requested from them that for simplicity the EOD team come to the Black Adler pad (308th Combat Aviation Battalion). Shortly after this Fosdick 5 called and said that he was en route from LZ Veghel back towards the vicinity of Camp Eagle to the 200th ASMC area at Phu Bai to pickup another sling for the downed Marine gunship. I advised Fosdick 5 that before we extracted the Marine aircraft we would have to receive approval from the Marines who owned the craft. I also informed the BCC of this by way of land line. At approximately 1510 hours, I received another call from Fosdick 5 regarding the disposition of the EOD team. At that time I called BCC by land line to find out where the EOD team was and when they estimated that they would be at the Black Adler pad. After a discussion with Black Adler 3A, Major Balberde, it was decided that by then the extraction of the 2 aircraft could not be accomplished this day and that they would try again another day. The reason for this was because the prevailing tactical and weather conditions were too bad to risk putting the CH-47 in the area of LZ Veghel. Right after that, at about 1515, I called back Fosdick 5 and informed him that the evacuation of the two aircraft had been canceled and that we would try to get them out in the near future. Fosdick 5 acknowledged this transmission. This was the last contact that I or anyone else had with Fosdick 5. At approximately 1530 or 1540 the weather was again becoming marginal and it was difficult to hear anything on the radio at that great distance, however I did recall hearing a call from Black Adler 6 to Kingsmen 5. Black Adler 6 ask that if it was possible, it was desired to have the mission completed. Then I heard Kingsmen 5 acknowledge this. Monitoring the radios was difficult because the aircraft were flying low and most of the radio signals were masked by the mountains. The flights did continue into LZ Veghel from PZ Bastogne, and they did complete the mission, and were released around 1720 or 1730 returning to Camp Eagle. At approximately 1750 Kingsmen 5 reported that he was en route from PZ Bastogne to LZ Sally. He had received another mission from BCC and was told that he should report to LZ Sally for coordination of this new mission. At approximately 1800 hours, I recall the fact that we had not heard from Fosdick 5 and I contacted Kingsmen 5 to see if he had any knowledge of Fosdick 5 whereabouts. Kingsmen 5 said that he had not received any transmissions from Fosdick 5 for some time and at the same time requested that the two flights at Camp Eagle be sent to LZ Sally. The flights were dispatched to LZ Sally and I contacted both Kingsmen flight leaders and the two Lancer Light Fire Team gunship leaders to find out if they had heard from Fosdick 5. All of them answered that they had not. I then requested that they try to make radio contact with Fosdick 5 at this time. They did try to contact him on the radio and they tried on emergency UHF and emergency VHF and received no answer. I then informed the 17th AHC company commander, Major Andrews, that I thought we had an aircraft that was unacconted for. Major Andrews, the 17th AHC company commander, then informed the BCC that we had an aircraft missing. At this time, battalion sent out an alert by land line, I believe, to Phu Bai, Red Beach, Marble Mountain, 101st Avn Bn, FSB Bastogne, and LZ Veghel to make a check of their ramps to see if Fosdick 5 was sitting down on the ground at any of these locations. BCC also called Da Nang and requested that they have a ramp check of their ramps to see if Fosdick 5 was there. During this time the 17th AHC aircraft were on a combat assault supporting the 2nd Brigade. This operation continued well after sunset. The aircraft did not return home until 2010 or 2015 hours, and thus, no immediate search and rescue (SAR) could be initiated. During the night I retraced everything I could remember that Fosdick 5 had done and where they might have gone. The search of the ramps of all the surrounding airfields took the biggest part of the night. I immediately, that night, began formulating a plan for the initiation of a search and rescue mission for the following morning. We received permission from the BCC to use our company (17th AHC) aircraft for a search and rescue mission on 22 Apr 68. The complete area Fosdick 5 might have gone into was sectioned off and areas were assigned to each of the platoons to search. We had approximately eleven UH-1H's (Kingsmen Slicks ) and five UH-1C's (Lancer Gunships ) conducting the search. The search continued from dawn until dusk and we had no sightings of Fosdick 5. There were also no emergency radio signals from Fosdick 5 to my knowledge. The search and rescue operation terminated that day at approximately 1830 hours with negative results. We continued to search the area every opportunity for the next several weeks, also with negative results. The crew and passengers of the 17th AHC UH-1H aircraft tail number 66-16209 are as follows: Aircraft Commander; Captain Floyd Warren Olsen; Pilot, WO1 Robert "Smitty" Link W3155937; Crew Chief SP/5 Frankie B. Johnson Jr., US53609232; Door Gunner, SP/5 Larry C Jamerson; Technical Observer SSG Lyle Everett Mackedanz, RA17522043; Passenger, SP/4 James E Cramer Jr., RA11800818. SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO THIS 26 DAY OF MAY 1968. KENNETH L. FITCH JAMES H. EDWARDS HENRY B. PARKER Captain, Infantry Captain, Infantry Major, MI 17th AHC 17th AHC 308th CBT AVN BN Operations Officer Investigating Officer President, Collateral Board The following is a reconstruction of all known facts and reports concerning the investigation and recovery of the 17th AHC helicopter # 66-16209 with the below listed personnel aboard. The six personnel Missing In Action (MIA) and Body Not Recovered (BNR) was the first loss of life incident for the "KINGSMAN", 17th Assault Helicopter Company. Date of Loss: 21 April 1968, 1515 hours Vehicle type: UH-1H "Huey Slick" maintenance helicopter A/C Serial Number: 66-16209 Engine Type: T53 Crash Type: Enemy Action Call Sign: FOSDICK 5 Loss Coordinates: 161810N 1071956E (UTM: 48Q-YD 481033) Loss Area: Binh Tri Thien (formerly Tua Thien-Hue), approx. 24k South SW of the village of Ap Thanh Tan and 5k West of route 547. Mission District: A Luoi (remote area) A/C Commander Cpt. Floyd Warren Olsen unknown REFNO 1138-0-02 ACCNO 0208 Pilot WO1 Robert "Smitty" Link W3155937 REFNO 1138-0-06 ACCNO 0164 Crew Chief SP/5 Frankie B Johnson Jr. US53609232 REFNO 1138-0-03 ACCNO 0142 Door Gunner SP/5 Larry C Jamerson unknown REFNO 1138-0-05 ACCNO 0138 Technical Observer SSG. Lyle Everett Mackedanz RA17522043 REFNO 1138-0-04 ACCNO 0169 Passenger SP/4 James E Cramer Jr. RA11800818 REFNO 1138-0-01 ACCNO 0051 22 APR 68 The 17th AHC received permission to use the complete company assists for a search and rescue mission on the 22 Apr 68. The complete area where Fosdick 5 might have gone into was sectioned off and areas were assigned to each of the platoons to search. Eleven UH-1H's (Kingsmen Slicks ) and five UH-1C's (Lancer Gunships ) conducted the search. The search continued from dawn until dusk of the 22nd but there were no sightings of Fosdick 5. There were also no emergency radio signals picked up from Fosdick 5. The search and rescue operation terminated that day at approximately 1830 hours with negative results. The 17th AHC continued to search the area at every opportunity for the next several weeks, also with negative results. 08 MAY 68 On 08 May 1968 at 1245 hours elements of the 8th ARVN Airborne Division found the identification tags (dogtags) belonging to the Crew Chief of Fosdick 5. The dogtags of SP/5 Frankie B Johnson Jr. were in a "non US ton truck" at grid coordinates YD 484023, approximately one kilometer South of the ultimate location of the tail boom. It has never been established if this truck was allied or enemy, why the dogtags were on the truck, nor what, if anything else, was found in or around the truck. 25 MAY 68 On 25 May 1968 a gunship of the 101st Airborne Division sighted a tail boom of a crashed helicopter at coordinates YD 483033. 26 MAY 68 On 26 May 1968 a gunship of the 17th Assault Helicopter company made positive identification of the tail boom markings of the unidentified helicopter as #66-16209, Fosdick 5. The tactical situation and the enormous enemy anti-aircraft weapons in the area prohibited further air or ground reconnaissance of the area at that time. 27 MAY 68 On 27 May 1968 at 1630 hours, A Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry arrived at the main rotor blades of the missing aircraft, Fosdick 5, in a river bed 200 meters west of the identified tail boom. 28 MAY 68 On 28 May at 1400 hours, the same unit (A Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry) discovered the tail boom of Fosdick 5. Friendly artillery fire in the area seemed to have caused grass fires and the tail boom was burned and partially destroyed; however, the serial number of the tail pylon was identified as 66-16209. Due to the tactical situation the friendly forces withdrew. 31 MAY 68 On 31 May 1968, members of the accident board flew to the vicinity of the accident site. After walking 30 minutes, escorted by a platoon of infantry for security, they arrived at the tail boom. Positive identification was established as follows: SN: 66-16209 COORD: YD 481033 Aircraft: Scattered in a 300 meter area. Parts Identified: Tail boom from syncronized elevator aft with pylon and red t/r blade. Right cargo door. Part of aircraft heater. Tail pipe assembly. White tail rotor blade. Main rotor blades (200 meters West from tail boom). Parts not found: The remainder of aircraft to include cockpit and cabin section. Crew: No personal effects, signs, nor indication of graves were found. The search party was on the ground for two hours and received hostile fire twice. The helicopters that evacuated the search party received anti-aircraft fire and one of the helicopters was hit. By evaluating all available Intelligence Reports, anti-aircraft incidents, expended shell casings, and captured equipment confirming the presence of numerous anti-aircraft weapons (50 cal. And 23mm) present in the area, it was suspected that the aircraft came apart in the air when hit by hostile anti-aircraft fire. The crew was still missing and presumed dead. Live sightings and CIA documents As a result of OPERATION HOMECOMING debriefings and captured or provided Vietnamese documents it has been determined conclusively that two prior POW cases (5 POW's and 2 POW's each) regretfully did not pertain to any of the Fosdick 5 crew members. Also the identification of SSG. Lyle Everett Mackedanz' photograph is very suspect due to the credibility of the identifier and lack of any other collaborating evidence. 04 AUG 87 and 30 MAR 92 NEGOTIATION ACTIONS Case narrative folders were passed on by JCRC on 04 AUG 87 to the SRV Embassy in Bangkok pursuant to agreements reached between General Vessey and Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach. Case narrative folders were again passed on to the Vietnamese during the 30 MAR 92 Technical Meeting in Hanoi. During the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to, or ground inspections of, the sites involved in this case. All of the crew and passengers are currently carried in the presumptive status of Dead, Body Not Recovered. 04 JUL 93 On 4 July 1993, during the 24th Joint Field Activities (JFA), a joint team of twenty personnel investigated Fosdick 5, Case REFNO 1138-0, in Hong Ha Village, A Luoi District, Thua Thien Province. The team interviewed two witnesses who provided firsthand information on the shootdown of a helicopter in July 1967 (one year prior to Fosdick 5), just prior to the whole village evacuating to Laos for safety reasons. When they returned to the village in 1974, the witnesses discovered a helicopter wreckage, which they believed to have been from the one shot down in 1967. Neither witness ever found remains or personal effects nor knew of anyone who had. The witnesses then led the team to one of the locations where wreckage was found, in the vicinity of YD48330306. Some small unidentifiable pieces of wreckage were found, but no remains or personal effects. The witnesses next took the team to a second location in the vicinity of YD47920296 where they claimed the tail boom was found in 1974. No evidence of wreckage was found in this site. The team traveled to the vicinity of YD481033 which is the location held in USW records for Fosdick 5, but found no signs of a crashsite during a detailed skirmish search. No remains or personal effects were obtained during this investigation because all sites have been thoroughly scavenged over time. Due to this fate we are offered very slim hope of ever finding any human remains in the wreckage area, therefor a crashsite investigation is irrelevant to resolution. 01 SEPT 93 PAVN Group, 559 Report On 1 SEPT 1993, the Vietnamese provided the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA), Detachment Two, US MIA Office, Doc Ngu Street, Hanoi researchers with a 58-page handwritten air defense document in tabular form titled "Downed Aircraft Record of Enemy Aircraft Shot Down >From 1965-1975". The document was compiled by the PAVN Group 559 which had responsibility for the Ho Chi Minh Trail. On page 22, line four is a reference to a shootdown for which details exactly match the loss of Fosdick 5 with regards to aircraft type, date of shootdown, location, and number of individuals involved. The 559 document lists the C-4th Heroic Company as the unit which shot down Fosdick 5 using 37mm guns. The units hand written logbook specified the correct type of aircraft, the correct date of the incident, the correct location, and the correct number of individuals lost (the document states "6 americans died"). The entry further noted that cameras were confiscated from the crew, indicating someone from the unit found some of the wreckage and confiscated some personal effects. On 08 May 1968 elements of the 8th ARVN Airborne Division found the identification tags (dogtags) belonging to the Crew Chief of Fosdick 5, SP/5 Frankie B Johnson Jr. in a "non US ton truck" one kilometer from the crash site. All of these facts are clear indications that this Viet Cong unit saw something and may know the burial location of the crew. It is was officially requested in 1993 by the JTF-FA that this lead be pursued unilaterally. If witnesses from this unit can be identified, a joint team should interview them for leads as to the burial locations. CONCLUSION The KINGSMEN helicopter UH-1H, tail #66-16209, Call Sign Fosdick 5, with all six warriors aboard appears to have undergone a violent mid-air explosion with bodies and aircraft parts wildly strewn throughout a 300 meter area and all aboard instantly killed. The weather that day was very marginal and visibility was very poor. Best guess is that the aircraft traveled into the wrong valley due to poor visibility thereby taking on heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. If anyone requires copies of the original documents used for this summary or can provide any additional information please contact: Max Mizejewski, max@pe.net, 305 State College #132, Anaheim, CA 92806

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