Information on U.S. Air Force helicopter CH-3E tail number 66-13295
Incident number: 68052333.KIA
Unit: 21 SOS
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Logistics Support mission for Resupply , Air Drop.
Unknown this helicopter was Unknown at UNK feet and UNK knots.
UTM grid coordinates: XD812544
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 06 MIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, SIF, 07109, Dept of AF Report of Death (Incidents converted from the fixed-wing data base. Operations Report. )
Summary: Crashed into mountain in bad weather while on a classified ordnance delivery mission.
Loss to Inventory
AC CPT MCCOLLUM JAMES PATRICK KIA
P CPT TAYLOR WILLIAM HENRY KIA
FE SGT ALBANESE JOHN ERNEST JR KIA
FE SSG COON JOHN LEMOINE KIA
G SGT FINK ROBERT ALTON KIA
Passengers and/or other participants:
SGT BUHR THOMAS FREDERICK, AF, C , KIA
The following was extracted from the Department of Air Force Report of Death - Case #2 dated 21 Jan 69. Circumstances: These six personnel comprised the crew of the lead helicopter #6613295 in a flight of three CH-3s which departed Nakhon Phanom at 0654 hours, 23 May 68. The flight, escorted by two A-1Es, was on a classified ordnance delivery mission in the vicinity of Khe Sanh. Upon arrival in the target area, all aircraft descended through a cloud break to locate the target. The terrain of the area consisted of rugged mountains and dense jungles, and the low cloud ceiling prevented the flight members from locating the target. Temporarily aborting their mission, they began their ascent through the clouds, while maintaining radio contact. The number two and number three helicopters reached the top of the clouds, the two pilots gave their positions, and a report from the lead helicopter revealed that it was still in the clouds. Moments later, one of the escort pilots observed an explosion under the clouds. Since the lead helicopter was still out of sight and all efforts to make further contact with the crew were unsuccessful, the escort aircraft descended through the clouds to search the area. However, clouds prevented their locating the crash site, and further attempts to contact the crew of the lead aircraft were to no avail. Search was continued by the remaining flight members until they were forced to depart due to shortage of fuel, leaving other aircraft in the area to search. At no time had hostile ground fire been noted, nor were there allied artillery strikes into the area. Search Efforts: Numerous aircraft arrived in the area. When the cloud cover cleared, a smoldering wreckage was seen from the air and several parts of a CH-3 helicopter, which were widely scattered, were noted. Portions identified in one area were rotor blades, horizontal stabilizer, and the fuselage section aft of rear doors; and 150 meters up a 30 degree hill were the forward portion of the fuselage, nose, and main gear. The impact point was located on the slope of a 5700 foot mountain, about 500 feet below the peak. No signs of survivors were observed, and no beeper signals were heard. The helicopters could not go into the area due to severe turbulence which precluded lowering a man to examine the crash site. During the next three weeks, attempts by Marine ground forces to reach the crash site were unsuccessful. Supplemental Information: A message from the 366 Combat Support Group, Da Nang dated 11 Jan 69 stated that a ground party had reached the crash site on 2 Nov 68 and five remains were found. A copy of the Report of Processing Remains, dated 15 Jan 69 concluded that only the remains of Captain Taylor could be identified. Six separate remains were accounted for but the remains of the other five individuals should be interred as a group burial. Discussion: Not only were six separate remains recovered but it is also safe to assume that the large amount of ordnance being carried on the helicopter would have exploded at the time it crashed, thereby precluding any changes of survival for those aboard. The following was submitted by someone who served with the 20th SOS. A flight of two (2) CH-3E's departed Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, NKP Thailand on 23 May 68 on a mission. Escort was two (2) A-1E Skyraider Aircraft also from NKP RTAFB. I do not know which squadron. Report was that the AC (SN 66-13295) impacted the ground at a high rate of speed. Only other word we got (all unofficial) was that there were no survivors. Nothing more was ever said about the loss. Our Squadron Yearbook is dedicated to them. Jim Henthorn, 21st S.O.Sq, Nov '67 - May '69, Knife/Dusty, NKP RTAFB, VHCMA 1117.
This record was last updated on 08/07/2007
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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017
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