Information on U.S. Marine Corps helicopter UH-1E tail number 155339
Date: 08/09/1969 MIA-POW file reference number: 1478
Incident number: 69080911.KIA
Unit: HML 367 MAG 36 15TMAW FMFPAC
UTM grid coordinates: XD960180
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: 1478 ()
Loss to Inventory
CP 1LT JANOUSEK RONALD JAMES BNR
G CPL KANE BRUCE EDWARD BNR
AC MAJ HILL THOMAS B RES
CE LCP DEAN JOHN O RES
On 9 August 1969 1LT Ronald J. Janousek, co-pilot, CPL Bruce E. Kane, gunner, MAJ Thomas B. Hill, pilot, and LCPL John O. Dean, crewchief, were crew members aboard a UH-1E gunship, (buno #155339), as flight leader for a flight of several helicopters on an emergency extraction mission in Laos. The aircraft was making an approach to a 3,400 foot ridge when it received intense automatic weapons fire. With the engine failing, the pilot commenced autorotation for a valley floor. Passing thru about 1500 feet, a severe explosion occurred and the cabin and cockpit were immediately engulfed in flames, with the majority of the fire in the co-pilot's side of the aircraft. The co-pilot was on fire and in extreme pain. MAJ Hill headed the aircraft for a pool in a swift flowing mountain river. The aircraft landing was made on the water estimated to be twelve feet deep with current so swift that it immediately pulled the aircraft backwards and rolled inverted in the vicinity of grid coordinates XD960180, in Laos. MAJ Hill exited the aircraft and made it ashore. At that time he saw three people in the water, but they could have been personnel from the helicopter that followed the downed aircraft. CPL Kane jumped from the aircraft just prior to impacting the water and somehow made it ashore. However, as the pilot came to surface the first time, he saw CPL Kane re-enter the water to assist the remaining crew members. MAJ Hill and LCPL Dean were rescued but never saw CPL Kane again. Shortly thereafter, because of moderate enemy small arms fire, the other helicopter lifted and searched throughout the area, but without success.
This record was last updated on 07/09/1998
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