Helicopter UH-1B 63-08603

Information on U.S. Navy helicopter UH-1 tail number 63-08603
The Army purchased this helicopter 0464
Total flight hours at this point: 00001518
Date: 04/28/1969 MIA-POW file reference number: 1434
Incident number: 69042810.KIA
Unit: HA(L)-3 DET 3
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XS179936 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48PXS179936)
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: 1434 ()
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

REFNO Synopsis:
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.

SYNOPSIS: LTJG Richard J. Reardon was a pilot assigned to Helicopter Attack (Light) Squadron 3, Detachment 3 "Seawolves" in Vietnam. He flew the UH1B "Huey" attack helicopter gunship with his co-pilot LTJG Castle, and two enlisted gunners.

On April 28, 1969 the Detachment 3 fire team was based at the Special Forces Camp, Moc Hoa, and sent on a patrol of the Vam Co Tay River. This location is in Kien Tuong Province, right on the Cambodian border. The river was notorious as a Viet Cong infiltration route and a large number of abandoned sampans were targeted.

During the attack run, intense enemy fire was encountered and suppression fire was called for. LTJG Reardon was seen to impact in a near-vertical crash and become engulfed in flames. One enlisted crewman was either thrown or crawled clear of the wreckage and was later rescued by the lead helicopter only after engaging heavy ground fire.

With the crash circumstances as they were, and the visual concensus of other helicopter crews in the flight, there was little to no likelihood that anyone else could have survived. The crew, including Reardon, was listed Killed in Action. In later recovery attempts, the remains of two crewmembers, including Castle's, were recovered. Reardon's remains were never found.

War Story:
The Seawolves did loose a Huey on this day. It was from Det. 3 and was Seawolf 320, a UH-1B or C. While operating inside Cambodia it was hit by heavy auto weapons fire and crashed. Killed in the crash were the pilot, LTJG Richard Ardon (sp?), the copilot, LTJG Hal Castle, and the gunner, AO3 Michael E Schaffernocker. The crewchief, AN James B. Page, Jr. was severely injured. The second team member, Seawolf 305 was hit in the engine oil system and made a forced landing near the wreck of Seawolf 320. They recovered Page under fire and held out to be picked up by a slick from the 175th AHC, Outlaw 29 after several attempted landings. While taking off, the pilot of Seawolf 305 was shot by ground fire and killed. He was LtJG Joseph F. Hart and a crewman/observer also rescued (AN Charles Larsen) was seriously wounded on take-off as well. Location of this incident was approximately Grid XS153986. The bodies of LtJg Castle and AO3 Schafernocker and a third body were returned by Cambodian officials on 20 Feb 70. The third body was not identified at the time. from Pete Harlem Feb 1996.

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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