Helicopter UH-1C 66-00700


Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1C tail number 66-00700
The Army purchased this helicopter 1266
Total flight hours at this point: 00002609
Date: 02/20/1971 MIA-POW file reference number: 1708
Incident number: 71022010.KIA
Unit: 48 AHC
Laos
UTM grid coordinates: XD562198
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: 1708 ()
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
G SSG ACALOTTO ROBERT JOSEPH BNR
CE SFC JOHNSON RANDOLPH LEROY BNR
P CPT MAY DAVID MURRAY RR
P CW3 REID JON ERIC RR


REFNO Synopsis:
Personnel In Incident: Robert Joseph Acalotto; Jon E. Reid; Randolph L. Johnson; David M. May (all missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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: Lam Son 719 was a large-scale offensive against enemy communications lines which was conducted in that part of Laos adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese would provide and command ground forces, while U.S. forces would furnish airlift and supporting fire. Phase I, renamed Operation Dewey Canyon II, involved an armored attack by the U.S. from Vandegrift base camp toward Khe Sanh, while the ARVN moved into position for the attack across the Laotian border. Phase II began with an ARVN helicopter assault and armored brigade thrust along Route 9 into Laos. ARVN ground troops were transported by American helicopters, while U.S. Air Force provided cover strikes around the landing zones. During one of these maneuvers, W1 Jon E. Reid was was flying a UH1C helicopter (serial #66-700) with a crew of three - 1Lt. David M. May, co-pilot, SP5 Randall L. Johnson, crew chief, and SP4 Robert J. Acalotto, door gunner - on a mission providing gun cover for an emergency resupply mission about 20 miles southeast of Sepone, Laos. The aircraft was hit by hostile fire and crashed. When the helicopter landed, it was upright on its skids, with the tail boom broken off and the right aft burning. Witnesses stated that it was certainly a "survivable crash." Two people were seen exiting the aircraft on the right side, running towards nearby trees. Witnesses noted that the left pilot door was jettisoned and that both forward seats were empty. Several attempts were made to rescue the downed crew, but were unsuccessful because of heavy enemy fire. The 1st ARVN Division was to assist in a ground rescue attempt, but the tactical situation changed before the infantry could reach the area, and the unit had to be pulled out. No contact with the crew was ever established after the crash. According to information received by his family, John Reid was known to have been captured and was seen alive by other U.S. POWs in March of that same year, again in May and once in June. Whether the rest of the crew was captured is unknown. When the POWs were released in 1973, Reid was not among them, nor was the rest of the crew. The communist governments of Southeast Asia claim no knowledge of the fate of the crew of the UH1C that went down February 20, 1971. David M. May was promoted to the rank of Captain, Jon E. Reid to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, Randolph L. Johnson to the rank of Sergeant First Class, and Robert J. Acalotto to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the period they were maintained missing.


War Story:
Army Capt. David May, Hyattsville, Md.; and Army Chief Warrant Officer Jon E. Reid, Phoenix, Ariz. (Both from 48th AHC Bluestars) when Feb. 20, 1971, their UH-1C Huey Gunship was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. MG (USA Ret'd) Ben Harrison was at Khe Sanh when they were lost. Bob Bunting Blue Star 6 during Lam Son 719. From SY Berdux , Mbr#06310, January 2000. "The remains of two American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam war have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial in the United States. They are identified as Army Capt. David May, Hyattsville, Md.; and Army Chief Warrant Officer Jon E. Reid, Phoenix, Ariz. (Both from 48th AHC Bluestars). On Feb. 20, 1971, May and Reid were flying their 48th AHC UH-1C Huey Gunship providing armed escort for other helicopters on an emergency resupply mission over Laos when they were hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. A search and rescue mission was repulsed by hostile forces. During the invasion of Laos within a thirty-nine day period the 48th AHC lost 11 airmen killed or MIA due to hostile fire. In 1994, 1996 and 1998, U.S. and Lao investigators interviewed villagers in the area of the crash, then initiated an excavation which recovered human remains as well as portions of an identification tag with the name "May, David M." Analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed the identification of each of these servicemen". These two Army Aviators will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, 14 January after being MIA for twenty-nine years. Information currently available is still subject to change. A Chapel service will be held for both CW3 Reid and CPT May at 0845 hours, 14 January 2000, at the Old Post Chapel, Fort Myer, VA. A procession to the grave site will take place immediately following the service. Many former fellow unit members are planning on attending. If you are in the Washington area that day and you like to attend, your presence would be welcome. Ken Bording, CW5, FLARNG, 48th AHC '66-'67, BordingK@AOL.COM

This record was last updated on 01/06/2000


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