Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 68-15262
The Army purchased this helicopter 1268
Total flight hours at this point: 00001731
Date: 03/24/1970 MIA-POW file reference number: 1578
Incident number: 70032410.KIA
Unit: 170 AHC
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Unarmed Recon
While Enroute this helicopter was at Level Flight at 0100 feet and UNK knots.
UTM grid coordinates: YB484003
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Explosive Weapon; Non-Artillery launched or static weapons containing explosive charges. (RPG-7, 7.62MM)
causing an Explosion.
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 12 DOI . .
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 Reference Notes. Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: 1578, LNNF, CRAFX, JSIDR, SOG by Plaster P:245 (Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Joint Services Incident Damage Report. Crash Facts Message. )
Loss to Inventory
CE SSG BECERRA RUDY MORALES RR
G SSG GANOE BERMAN JR RR
P CW3 HOSKEN JOHN CHARLES RR
AC CPT ODONNELL MICHAEL DAVIS RR
Passengers and/or other participants:
SFC HARNED GARY ALAN, AR, PX, RR
SFC BORONSKI JOHN ARTHUR, AR, PX, RR
CPT POOL JERRY LYNN, AR, PX, RR
Personnel in Incident: Rudy Morales Becerra; Berman Ganoe; John C. Hosken; Michael O'Donnell; John Boronski; Gary A. Harned, Jerry L. Pool (all missing) SYNOPSIS: Kontum, South Vietnam was home base to what was known as FOB2 (Forward Observation Base 2), a classified, long-term operations of the Special Operations Group (SOG) that involved daily operations into Laos and Cambodia. SOG teams operated out of Kontum, but staged out of Dak To. The mission of the 170th Assault Helicopter Company ("Bikinis") was to perform the insertion, support, and extraction of these SOG teams deep in the forest on "the other side of the fence" (a term meaning Laos or Cambodia, where U.S. forces were not allowed to be based). Normally, the teams consisted of two "slicks" (UH1 general purpose helicopters), two Cobras (AH1 assault helicopters) and other fighter aircraft which served as standby support. On March 24, 1970, helicopters from the 170th were sent to extract a MACV-SOG long-range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) team which was in contact with the enemy about fourteen miles inside Cambodia in Ratanokiri Province. The flight leader, RED LEAD, serving as one of two extraction helicopters was commanded by James E. Lake. Capt. Michael D. O'Donnell was the aircraft commander of one of the two cover aircraft (serial #68-15262, RED THREE). His crew consisted of WO John C. Hoskins, pilot; SP4 Rudy M. Beccera, crew chief; and SP4 Berman Ganoe, gunner. The MACV-SOG team, Recon Team Pennsylvania, included 1LT Jerry L. Pool, team leader and team members SSG John A. Boronsky and SGT Gary A. Harned as well as five indigenous team members. The team had been in contact with the enemy all night and had been running and ambushing, but the hunter team pursuing them was relentless and they were exhausted and couldn't continue to run much longer. When Lake and O'Donnell arrived at the team's location, there was no landing zone (LZ) nearby and they were unable to extract them immediately. The two helicopters waited in a high orbit over the area until the team could move to a more suitable extraction point. While the helicopters were waiting, they were in radio contact with the team. After about 45 minutes in orbit, Lake received word from LT Pool that the NVA hunter team was right behind them. RED LEAD and RED THREE made a quick trip to Dak To for refueling. RED THREE was left on station in case of an emergency. When Lake returned to the site, Pool came over the radio and said that if the team wasn't extracted then, it would be too late. Capt. O'Donnell evaluated the situation and decided to pick them up. He landed on the LZ and was on the ground for about 4 minutes, and then transmitted that he had the entire team of eight on board. The aircraft was beginning its ascent when it was hit by enemy fire, and an explosion in the aircraft was seen. The helicopter continued in flight for about 300 meters, then another explosion occurred, causing the aircraft to crash in the jungle. According to Lake, bodies were blown out the doors and fell into the jungle. [NOTE: According to the U.S. Army account of the incident, no one was observed to have been thrown from the aircraft during either explosion.] The other helicopter crewmen were stunned. One of the Cobras, Panther 13, radioed "I don't think a piece bigger than my head hit the ground." The second explosion was followed by a yellow flash and a cloud of black smoke billowing from the jungle. Panther 13 made a second high-speed pass over the site and came under fire, but made it away unscathed. Lake decided to go down and see if there was a way to get to the crash site. As he neared the ground, he was met with intense ground fire from the entire area. He could not see the crash site since it was under heavy tree cover. There was no place to land, and the ground fire was withering. He elected to return the extract team to Dak To before more aircraft was lost. Lake has carried the burden of guilt with him for all these years, and has never forgiven himself for leaving his good friend O'Donnell and his crew behind. The Army account concludes stating that O'Donnell's aircraft began to burn immediately upon impact. Aerial search and rescue efforts began immediately; however, no signs of life could be seen around the crash site. Because of the enemy situation, attempts to insert search teams into the area were futile. SAR efforts were discontinued on April 18. Search and rescue teams who surveyed the site reported that they did not hold much hope for survival for the men aboard, but lacking proof that they were dead, the Army declared all 7 missing in action. For every patrol like that of the MACV-SOG LRRP team that was detected and stopped, dozens of other commando teams safely slipped past NVA lines to strike a wide range of targets and collect vital information. The number of MACV-SOG missions conducted with Special Forces reconnaissance teams into Laos and Cambodia was 452 in 1969. It was the most sustained American campaign of raiding, sabotage and intelligence gathering waged on foreign soil in U.S. military history. MACV-SOG's teams earned a global reputation as one of the most combat effective deep penetration forces ever raised. Michael O'Donnell was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on March 24, 1970. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart as well as promoted to the rank of Major following his loss incident. O'Donnell was highly regarded by his friends in the "Bikinis." They knew him as a talented singer, guitar player and poet. One of his poems has been widely distributed, but few understand that the author remains missing. If you are able, save them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have left and what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind. Major Michael Davis O'Donnell 1 January 1970 Dak To, Vietnam
Special Operations.Com Into The Killing Zone (CPT. O’Donnell & RT Pennsylvania) March 24, 1970 By Col. Donald Summers, Edited by Robert Noe. src="http://www.specialoperations.com/MACVSOG/Tales_from_SOG/Killing_Zone/ODONN1.jpg" width=327 border=2> Captain Michael Davis O’Donnell A NOTE TO THE READER: All of the stories compiled for the 170th and SOG are verified through as many different sources as available. In this case After Action Reports, Aircraft Incident Reports, as well as interviews with personnel present, and POW/MIA reports were consulted. However, in this story I asked CWO James Lake to write the story in his own words for me and I would extrapolate the data and use it, as is my custom. Jim’s own writing was so vivid and well written, that a good bit of the above story was merely copied over from Jim’s own writing and used verbatim. Jim and Mike O’Donnell were close friends, and that passion of friendship shows through in the telling of this story. The NVA had enjoyed years of sanctuary in Cambodia and Laos, free from the war in Vietnam, with the exception of the ever present threat of SOG Teams who roamed the rugged mountains in search of them. Major hospitals, training centers, and rest and recuperation areas had been established in these areas, free from artillery barrages, attacks by ground troops, and while subjected to bombings, free of the massive bombing runs that racked North Vietnam daily. 1970 was to be the year the NVA were to lose their sanctuaries, as well as their safety from enemy forces of the Americans and South Vietnamese Armies. With the Prince of Cambodia deposed, and the new Prime Minister an avid enemy of the NVA, movements began immediately to seize control of the Cambodian countryside, thus securing the NVA supply routes and sanctuaries. Back in Washington, there was little doubt of what was going to happen, nor the NVA reaction to the events. Plans were already underway to invade Cambodia with joint forces of American and ARVN Forces later in the year. SOG Teams from all three sectors, CCC, CCN, and CCS, were to recon the interior of both Cambodia and southern areas of Laos in preparation for the invasion. Some of the most concentrated efforts of these initial reconnaissance missions were aimed at the Ratanakiri Province of Cambodia, a major sanctuary for NVA and Viet Cong troops. The Ratanakiri Province area was covered with triple canopy jungle, shielding most ground activity from aerial view. This coupled with the high and treacherously steep mountains that covered the province, made ground reconnaissance a necessity, as well as a dangerous and often fatal venture. Insertions and extractions into the area nearly always consisting of hover holes which required tight maneuvering and weaving to enter and exit, rope and ladder extractions, or landing zones inside of canyons and narrow valleys that were custom built for cross fire ambushes that no amount of aerial coverage could prevent. Three days after Prince Schanouk was removed by the parliament, and Lon Nol was inserted as Prime Minister, a flight of Bikinis lead by CWO James Lake inserted RT Pennsylvania into Ratanakiri Province with the assignment of determining the size and movements of the NVA build up of forces seizing control over the province, and suspected NVA movements to seize control of neighboring provinces. The team was led by 1Lt. Jerry Pool, and consisted of SFC John Boronski as One-One, SSG Gary Harned serving as One-Two, and five Montagnard Commandos. Within an hour of being inserted, Pool and his team were on the run with NVA Counter-recon Hunter teams on their trail. Moving in a southwesterly direction from their insertion they fought the heavy jungle terrain and steep mountain sides at an exhausting pace. Each time they stopped, the pursuing NVA would catch up with them and they would have contact, pushing them further into the mountains to avoid capture. The first night they managed to set up and gain some much needed rest, but by first light they were on the run again, this time the NVA closer than before, seemingly right on their trail. By night fall of the second night, Pool and his team were on a constant dodge and ambush routine with a large force of pursuing NVA. But nothing was working. Unable to shake their trail, and unable to rest they began to reach a point of exhaustion, then the trackers incorporated dogs into the search. Exhausted and losing ground fast, Pool called for a Prairie Fire Extraction on the third morning. His team had gone as far as they could. They would have to either abort the rest of the mission, or face death or capture. They could not evade much longer. Relaying their emergency situation to SOG, they resume their evasive tactics up the side of the next mountain. The morning of March 24, 1970, the crews of four UH-1 slicks from the 170th and four AH-1G Cobras assembled at B52 for a brief of the situation in the field and to review the plan for the day. Red Lead, the flight lead for the slicks, was WO1 James E. Lake, flying with veteran pilot and former Green Beret Jonny Kemper. Lake had been in country for over 11 months, making him the senior AC in the unit. Kemper, too, had been in country for many months, but, for much of his tour, he flew Buccaneer guns. He was relatively new to slicks, but he was a steady and capable veteran of many fierce battles. CPT Michael Davis O’Donnell, the Red platoon leader, flew Red Three. While senior in rank, he was junior in experience, so he flew wing rather than lead. On SOG missions, experience equated to survival for the crews and the teams. By mutual agreement, the most experienced aircraft commander led the mission, regardless of rank. O’Donnell’s copilot was WO1 John C. "Hippie" Hoskin. Shy and retiring, he earned his nickname from the little round glasses he wore. In the back, was the crewchief of aircraft 68-15262, SP4 Rudy Becerra , along with doorgunner SP4 Berman Ganoe. Both men were veterans of many missions over fence. The briefing that morning focused on the situation faced by RT Pennsylvania. At brief time, Pennsylvania had declared a "Prairie Fire," or tactical emergency. As soon as the team moved close to an extraction LZ, the Bikini’s would be called upon to pull them out. After the brief, the Bikini’s and the Panthers flew north to Dak To, landed, and began to wait. In the sky over RT Pennsylvania, circled the Covey FAC flown by Air Force CPT Melvin Irvin accompanied by MSG Charles Septer, the Covey Rider. Septer was in constant radio contact with Lt. Pool and SGT Boronski on the ground. Pool reported that they had been running and ambushing all morning, but their pursuers were right behind them. Septer knew he had to get relief for the team, or they were not going to make it. He called for TAC air and soon a flight of A1-E Spads arrived on the scene. On the ground, the arrival of the Spads were a welcome sight, and RT Pennsylvania made some distance between them and the advancing enemy, as the Spads dropped CBU and napalm around the team to give them some breathing room. The napalm slowed down the NVA, but it also started numerous fires in the dense growth of the jungle, these fires soon becoming as much of a threat as the advancing NVA. Pool reported that now, both the fires and NVA were closing in on them. As the Spads had been working their area, Septer had been working on an extraction plan. He radioed back to Pool, directing the team to move to the nearest available extraction LZ which was southwest of their position, near the bottom of a narrow valley with steep canyon walls. Pool recognized the transmission and again emphasized the NVA were closing in, he was going to need more aerial coverage if he as to make it to the LZ. AT about 1130 hours, Septer called Dak To and called for the Panthers to provide close air support. The Panthers scrambled, accompanied by Lake and O’Donnell as chase birds for the guns. After an approximately 20 minute flight, the four Cobras and two slicks arrived at the team’s location. The Spads still circled in the sky above. Below them, the Covey Rider pointed out Pennsylvania’s location to the gun team, and then gave coordinating references to the enemy positions based on the reports from Pool. Immediately, the lead fire team dove down to fire rockets, 40 mm, and mini guns at the NVA positions around Pennsylvania. The other fire team and the two slicks orbited 1500 feet above the site, waiting for the team to reach the extraction LZ. The first fire team soon expended their rockets and ammunition, and withdrawing from the area, turned back to Dak To to rearm and refuel. On the ground, the situation facing RT Pennsylvania was deteriorating. Pool reported that they were back in contact with the enemy. They were moving as fast as possible, but the NVA were right behind them. To reach the LZ from their position they were having to descend into the valley floor, and then move southwest some distance. In the sky above, Lake noted that he had a bit more than one hour of fuel remaining. Considering Pennsylvania’s progress, he judged that it would reach the extraction LZ at about the time the two slicks would be forced to return for fuel. He instructed O’Donnell to remain on station as long as possible to cover the guns. He, meanwhile, would return to Dak To, refuel and collect the other two slicks for the extraction of RT Pennsylvania. Racing back to Dak To, Lake and Kemper discussed the best way to perform what was sure to be a red hot extraction. Landing in Dak To, Lake briefed the other two slicks on their situation. Not only was RT Pennsylvania in desperate need of extraction. By the time they would return, O’Donnell and the other Panthers would need to leave the area to refuel. Time was critical. Approximately 45 minutes later, Lake and the other two Bikini’s were en route back to the LZ. Aboard one of the slicks was WO William H. Stepp, while the co-pilot (Peter Pilot) WO Alan Hoffman was at the controls of the other. Neither pilot had extensive experience at FOB, and Hoffman was even new to country. Neither of the newer pilot totally appreciated the situation until they were airborne and across the fence, but the reality was coming home fast, and as the somber flight raced towards the LZ, they monitored the calls between the FAC and Pool, as the teams situation deteriorated even further. Those 45 minutes, Lake and Kemper had been gone, had been harrowing ones for Pool and RT Pennsylvania. In continuous contact with the enemy, they were running through the dense jungle toward the LZ. Lake and the extraction birds were now ten minutes away. As Pennsylvania stumbled down a steep slope towards the valley extraction LZ, Pool fell, and injured his ankle. He reported that the enemy was right behind them, the fires were closing in, and he could not move further. He asked Septer where the extraction birds were. Septer replied that they were on their way. Pool looked up to the sky, and saw O’Donnell orbiting the LZ, he desperately called out to him, "you ain’t got no balls at all if you don’t come down and get us right now!" The Bikini’s had a credo they lived by. "You take them in - you get them out!" Without hesitation, O’Donnell told Septer that he would make the extraction alone. Lake intercepted, telling O’Donnell they were minutes away, to wait. O’Donnell’s reply was simple, RT Pennsylvania didn’t have a few minutes, he was going in. Followed by the gun team, O’Donnell swooped from the sky. Dropping down between the canyon walls he slowed and hovered over RT Pennsylvania. He waited at a hover while as the team scrambled through the dense undergrowth towards his bird. As the minutes ticked by, Lake and the other slicks arrived overhead. After about four minutes on the ground, an eternity, O’Donnell started away from the LZ. Slowly gathering speed, he climbed toward the sky. At about 200 feet above the ground he reported, "I’ve got all eight, I’m coming out." Lake, Kemper, and the others heaved a collective sigh of relief. Suddenly, without warning, O’Donnell’s slick exploded in flames. Raining parts, its momentum carried it forward some three hundred meters, where it crashed in the jungle. After a moment of stunned disbelief, the first voice over the radio was that of CPT Michael Jimison, Panther 21, who was following O’Donnell down the valley. He said, "I didn’t see a piece bigger than my head." Jimison stated that he would move in for a closer look at the crash site. Making a wide, high speed orbit of the site, the two Cobras flew back to the head of the valley, and began a run down the valley at a speed of close to 200 knots. Suddenly, the canyon walls lit up with muzzle flashes and tracer rounds. From the northern wall of the canyon, Lake watched a white streak flash behind the lead Cobra exploding against the far wall of the canyon. At the end of the run, Jimison reported that he could see nothing in the heavy jungle of the valley floor except smoke and fire. Suddenly, a red flash of light followed by a column of dense black smoke rose from the crash site. Fires began to burn furiously in the jungle in and around it. Lake decided to make a closer investigation of the crash site. He ordered the two chase ships to remain high, and leaving the other slicks in a high orbit, he descended through the veil of smoke toward the crash site. As he approached the valley, he watched thousands of tracer rounds begin their seemingly lazy looking arcs from the jungle on the canyon walls, to flash by all sides of his aircraft. The crash site was at the bottom of a valley with steep walls populated by hundreds of NVA soldiers, who were pouring out small arms fire. From their position on the walls of the canyon, the NVA could shoot down at any aircraft attempting to fly through the valley near the crash site. Lake’s friends, his comrades in arms, lay somewhere ahead in the midst of a maelstrom of fire and smoke under the thick jungle canopy. There was nowhere to land, and hovering was certain death. Lake and Kemper agreed there was nowhere to go, and nothing left they could do. From what they saw on the pass through, with what lay below them in smoke and fire, neither man believed that any person could have survived the explosion aboard O’Donnell’s aircraft or the 200 foot fall that followed it. Lake made a max power climb-out from the valley, and reluctantly turned away and ordered the flight to head back Dak To. O’Donnell, Hoskins, Becerra and Ganoe plus all of RT Pennsylvania were listed as MIA. Army records show no indication that another team returned to the area of the crash until long after war. On November 16, 1993, during JFA 94-2C, a joint team investigated the location of crash site. The team landed by helicopter on the top of the small hill about 500 meters south of the valley. The team moved to the reported location of the crash site, but the one kilometer movement took two and one half hours. The team searched the area, but no evidence of a crash site was found. On January 18, 1994, a joint team interviewed Le Thanh Minh, of Kontum. Minh reported that in April 1993, while looking for aluminum, he found the crash site in Cambodia. He said he found human remains, three dog tags, a first aid kit and a rucksack. He heard that people from Laos had discovered a watch, a gold ring, and an AR15 gun. He said that the crash site was spread over a 100 meter area. He said that the tail section was visible and was engraved with the number "262". He gave the dog tags to the team, two were Ganoe’s and one belonged to Hoskins. The remains consisted of 15 bones. In January of 1998, the joint search teams again entered the area of the crash site, and this time were successful in locating the aircraft. The remains of all of the crew and team members inside were recovered, along with dog tags, weapons, and other personal effects. These remains are at the Hawaii Veterans Remains Identification Station now awaiting final verification, and transport to their respective home of record for proper burial. After 29 years, the brave men of the 170th and RT Pennsylvania are coming home in honor. Special Operations.Com NO NAME CREEK RECOVERY OF REMAINS 30 YEARS LATER OF RT PENNSYLVANIA & BIKINI RED THREE src="http://www.specialoperations.com/MACVSOG/Tales_from_SOG/No_Name_Creek/262.jpg" width=576 border=0> The tail boom of UH-1H 262 (photo taken in 1997) This story details the recovery of the remains of RT Pennsylvania and Helicopter Crew of UH-1H 262, 170th AHC, "Bikini Red Three" lost on 24 March 1970. See Chronological KIA/MIA list for detailed narrative and also see "Into the Killing Field, Mar 24, 1970" in the Tales from SOG. RT PA men lost: John Arthur Boronski, SSG, Team's 1-0; Gary Alan Harned, SGT, Team's 1-1; Jerry Lynn Pool, 1Lt, Team's 1-2. 170th Aircrew Lost: Michael Davis O'Dannel, Cpt, Pilot; John Charles Hosken, WO1, Co-Pilot; Rudy Morales Becerra, SP/4 & Berman Gande, Jr., SP/4. Also lost: an Unknow Number of Special Commando Scouts. Finding the secrets lost down No Name Creek by Michael Hayes NO NAME CREEK - The original operation on March 21, 1970 in the remote jungles of Ratanakiri was top secret. The six-man American Special Forces team, including Montagnard comrades-in-arms, had been ferried in from Vietnam and dropped off by helicopter on a reconnaissance mission that didn't exist "officially". The highly-trained commandos, who carried no US-made equipment and bore no military insignia, were part of a clandestine US operation obliquely named the "Studies and Observations Group" or "SOG" for short. Set up back in 1964 at the request of then-US Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, SOG would develop, according to "SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam", by John Plaster, into "the largest covert military unit since World War II's OSS". The Americans were desperate for on-the-ground intelligence as Hanoi was pouring men and material down through Laos and Cambodia into South Vietnam, along an elaborate network of jungle tracks. Plaster writes that by 1967 "NVA forces in Laos and Cambodia had climbed above 100,000 with 40,000 of them detailed as Ho Chi Minh Trail security; another 100,000 NVA passed down the Trail that year en route to South Vietnam". With SOG fielding about 40 Americans at any one time in Laos and Cambodia, it was their job "to penetrate enemy redoubts to wiretap, ambush, kidnap, mine and survey the North Vietnamese". The task was a dangerous one. SOG casualties ran over 50 percent and many of the Green Berets never made it home (See MACVSOG'S KIA/MIA CHRONOLOGICAL LIST). The team in Ratanakiri spent three in the dense jungle just a few kilometers from the Lao Border, evading North Vietnamese trackers and collecting what information they could in an area that was teeming with NVA troops. By the time they reached the point where they were to be picked up, they'd taken two casualties. A Huey UHIH helicopter hovered while the weary men scrambled aboard. It rose to abut 100 feet and then was hit by a RPG round that blew it apart, the chopper crashing to the ground in a ball of flames. Seven Americans were lost. Fast forward almost three decades. The "Vietnam War" is ancient history for most, but the Ameicans still want to bring their boys home. Dr. C. E. "Hoss" Moore stands knee-deep in the muck of the creek he calls "No Name" near the Lao border, surveying the wreckage of the Huey UH1H. He's one of eight Americans and an 80-man Cambodian crew that spent four weeks recently looking for remains of the seven GIs lost back in 1970. The late-fortyish, barrel-chested Kansan didn't serve in the Vietnam War, having been exempted by a hearing defect. Hoss now feels like he's "doing his bit" to help close the final chapter of the war effort. The nearest Cambodian village is about 30 kms away, perhaps seven days walk on foot through some of the Kingdom's densest, seemingly pristine jungle, and it's hard to imagine that war has ever touched this quite land, now designated a National Park where tigers, wild elephants and sun bears are said to roam freely. "Inside the grid, Hoss is King", says US Army Capt Matt Fuhrer of the team's anthropologist, who decides where and how deep to dig, and who may have to testify in court years down the road if someone contests the US military's efforts. On paper the concept is simple: identify a sight where it's believed there are remains of Americans lost during the war, dig it up and shift through the dirt. In reality the work is painstaking and tedious. "Everyone thinks we come out and dig up femurs", says Fuhrer, reflecting on the fact that the team would be lucky if they found a few charred bone fragments to take back to a lab in Hawaii for exhaustive examination. The effort in Ratanakiri was particularly complicated and involved the cooperation of the Vietnamese, Cambodians and the Americans. The Americans knew abut the crash but were unsure of its exact location. An initial tip came from an 80-year old man who had hunted in the region and remembered seeing the helicopter wreckage. In March 1997, a joint Cambodian-Vietnamese team entered the Dragon's Tail from the Vietnamese border on foot. After a seven-day trek, including four on a make-shift rafts, the hunter led them directly to the crash site. "One of our team members was crying", said RCAF Col. Korm Sokhon, who took part in the mini-expedition and remembered his crew wondering if the old man was leading them on a wild goose chase. With the site identified, a landing zone was carved out of the nearby jungle a year later so that the recovery operation could begin in earnest in mid-January. The Americans set up shop in Ban Lung, hired the work crews and security forces, and contracted the services of Lao West Coast Aviation to ferry people by helicopter to and from the remote dig area. At the end of the day, remains were discovered, as they were at another recovery operation at an F4 Phantom jet crash site outside of Ban Lung. However, US officials are reluctant to speculate on any details of who may or may not be identified. That process may take several more years back in the states. As for the political debate surrounding the POW/MIA quest and the money being spent on the effort, the boys in the field are happy to let others wrestle with it. Quipped Cap. Fuhrer: "We leave all that to echelons above reality". The article is from the English language Phnom Penh Post, Volume 7, Number 4, February 27- March 13, 1998. This back issue is not on their web site, but see their site anyways at http://www.newspapers.com.kh/phnompenhpost See:( http://www.oneworld.org/globalwitness/reports/GoingPlaces/mr1.htm ) for a review of local conditions in these areas today. Addition Submitted by Clyde Sincere On 24 March 1970, RT Pennsylvania, MACVSOG OP-35 from CCC consisting of three U.S. and five Indigenous long-range reconnaissance patrol members were being extracted while under heavy enemy contact by a UH-1H helicopter flown by members of the 170th Aviation Company, 17th Aviation Group, lst Aviation Brigade. Immediately following the extraction, aircraft commander Major Michael D. O'Donnell transmitted that he had the entire eight-man team on board and was departing the area. As the aircraft began its ascent, there was an explosion in the aircraft. The helicopter continued for about 300 meters when another explosion caused the aircraft to crash. Aerial search and rescue efforts were initiated, however, there was no sign of life at the crash site. In January of 1994, a joint search team interviewed Le Thanh Minh of Kontum. Minh reported that in April 1993 while searching for aluminum, he located a crash site in Cambodia. He stated he found human remains, three dog tags, a first aid kit and a rucksack. He also heard that people from Laos had discovered a watch, a gold ring and an AR15. He further indicated that the crash site was spread over a 100 meter area. He stated that the tail section of the aircraft was visible and engraved with the number "262". He gave the dog tags to the team, two were Berman Ganoe, Jr. and one belonged to John C. Hosken, (both crew members of the Huey). In January of 1998, a joint search team entered the area of the crash site and this time they were successful in locating the aircraft. The remains of all of the crew and team members were recovered, along with dog tags, weapons and other personal effects. After many years, the brave men of Bikini Red Three and RT Pennsylvania were on their way home. At 1300 hours, 16 August 2001, A group funeral service was conducted at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, Virginia the for fallen soldiers. Interment at Arlington National Cemetery followed the funeral service. There was one casket containing the remains of some of the above honored men. There were some family members who elected to have their loved ones remains interred near their homes of record. For instance, SSG Rudy Beccera's family is having him interred at Greenlawn Cemetery in Rosenberg, Texas with full military honors on Sunday, 19 August 2001 at 1400 hours. Family members of both the aircraft crew and RT Pennsylvania participated in the services with full military honors. Seven National colors were presented to family members in a very somber interment service. A number of Special Operations and Special Forces Association members were also present to honor these fallen comrades: Michael Ash, SOA # 1432-GL; Robert Bechtoldt, SOA # 146-GL and his son John.; Neil Coady, SOA # 565-GL and his wife Kathy; William Deacy, SOA # 1303-GL; R.J. Graham, SOA # 184-GL and his wife Joan. Also two friends of R.J. came: John and Ryan Long. Wally Johnson, President, Chapter XI, SFA; Robert Jack, SOA # 414-GL; Al Keller, SOA # 1488-GL; William Lueders, SOA # 664-GL; Gene McCarthy, SOA # 256-GL Lloyd O'Daniel, SOA # 1469-GA; Clyde Sincere, SOA # 010-GL; Michael Wilson, SOA # 1338-GA; James L. Young, Pending SOA Membership, his wife Candy and daughter; Elizabeth. Additionally approximately 60-75 family members and guests were in attendance. Content-Location: http://www.specialoperations.com/MACVSOG/Tales_from_SOG/No_Name_Creek/262.jpg
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