Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 68-16203
The Army purchased this helicopter 0869
Total flight hours at this point: 00000788
Date: 04/15/1970 MIA-POW file reference number: 1594
Incident number: 70041515.KIA
Unit: 170 AHC
UTM grid coordinates: YB895442
Casualties = 03 DOI . .
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: 1594 ()
Loss to Inventory
AC CW2 BARTHELME ALBERT LEWIS JR KIA
P WO1 RA MILLER REL
CE SP5 DC SUMMERS RES
G SP4 VS DAVIS RES
Passengers and/or other participants:
SSG BIVENS HERNDON ARRINGTON, AR, PF, BNR
SP5 MONTANA ROSENDO, AR, PF,KIA
SYNOPSIS: On April 15, 1970, Cpl. Herndon A. Bivens, a pathfinder with a security detachment, 52nd Aviation Battalion, was riding in the lead helicopter as elements of the 52nd Aviation Battalion attempted to insert the 3rd Battalion, 42nd Regiment, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) into an area a few miles north of Dak To in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. Cpl. Bivens and another pathfinder, Sgt. Rosindo Montana and 6 ARVN soldiers were successfully inserted by the lead helicopter without receiving fire. The second aircraft, UH1H (serial #68-16203) was hit during its approach to the LZ and crashed on the landing zone. Aboard this aircraft were WO Albert L. Barthelme, Jr.; WO1 Roger A. Miller; SP4 Vincent S. Davis; SP5 Donald C. Summers and 6 ARVN soldiers. Two of the ARVN died in the crash of the aircraft. When the second aircraft hit the LZ, Cpl. Bivens was near the landing zone. Three unsuccessful extraction attempts were made to rescue the survivors of the second aircraft and the passengers of the first, then in a fourth attempt, a helicopter managed to retrieve SP4 Davis and SP5 Summers before being driven off by ground fire. Later attempts by Air Force Search and Rescue (SAR) forces were also unsuccessful in rescuing the survivors. At the time Summers and Davis were rescued, they reported that WO Barthelme was badly wounded, and that one of the pathfinders was dead. Two ARVN survivors from the first helicopter were able to evade capture. Before they left the LZ that night, they asked Cpl. Bivens and WO Miller to go with them, but the Americans chose to stay on the LZ and await rescue. WO Miller was captured by the Viet Cong and subsequently held in and around Hanoi until March 1973. When he was released, he reported that he and Bivens had spent the night on the LZ, and on the morning of April 16 attempted to return to friendly lines. At an unknown location they were ambushed by two enemy squads. WO Miller saw that Bivens had been wounded in the chest 5 or 6 times by small arms fire. After their capture they were separated and given medical attention. The last Miller saw of Bivens was when he was taken from the site of the ambush on a stretcher. At that time, Bivens was still undergoing medical treatment. About four days later, the camp commander where Miller was being held told him that Bivens had died about 2 hours after capture. On April 29, 1970, a U.S. search and recovery team was able to examine the crash site and recover the remains of WO Barthelme and Sgt. Montana.
This record was last updated on 07/25/1998
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