Helicopter OH-6A 67-16645

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 67-16645
The Army purchased this helicopter 0269
Total flight hours at this point: 00001343
Date: 03/08/1971 MIA-POW file reference number: 1721
Incident number: 71030820.TXT
Unit: B/2/17 CAV
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Recon
Unknown this helicopter was Unknown at 1500 feet and 070 knots.
North Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YD199129 (To see this location on a map, go to https://legallandconverter.com/p50.html and search on Grid Reference 48QYD199129)
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (12.7MM)
Systems damaged were: PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 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: 1721, LNNF, CASRP (Lindenmuth New Format Data Base. Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: On March 8, 1971, 1Lt. John D. Hale, pilot, and Cpl. Robert E. Grantham, observer, were on board an OH6A helicopter (serial #67-16645) on an armed reconnaissance mission with an AH1G Cobra gunship and a UH1A helicopter as a control ship. The OH6A aircraft was attempting to start a fire on a hilltop by dropping incinerary grenades. When 1Lt. Hale's aircraft later made a pass over the area to see if the fire had started, it began receiving ground fire. The crew of the AH1G gunship saw the ground fire and engaged a target while instructing Hale to break away. Lt. Hale called after he broke away, "I'm taking fire from 3 o'clock." The AH1G gunship then broke away from the first source of gunfire to engage the second. At that time both the OH6A and AH1G pilots reported taking fire. In the next radio transmission, Hale's OH6A reported that he was hit and was going down, and asked if he was in sight. The AH1G gunship did see him and called the UH1H control ship to confirm the sighting, but the control ship could not spot Hale's aircraft. The gunship began dropping white phosphorous grenades to help illuminate the area of Hale's aircraft. At the time Hale called that he was going down, his aircraft seemed to come apart and begin spinning, as if it had a tail rotor failure. Numerous objects were flying out of the aircraft while it was spinning. The spinning slowed at about 500 feet above the ground, but increased again prior to impact. The aircraft exploded upon impact with the ground. The chase control ship went over the crash site and hovered there, looking for survivors, but due to the intense enemy fire, it had to leave the area. The control ship returned, but saw no survivors on either hover. The largest part of the aircraft that could be seen was what appeared to be the left engine door. An electronic search was unsuccessful. No ground search was possible because of the intense enemy activity. Hale and Grantham went down in an area so hot that no one could go in for them. Because of this, the U.S. believes there is a strong probability that the Vietnamese know exactly what happened to them and to their aircraft. By 1973, aerial photographs revealed no sign of the aircraft; presumably, the aircraft parts had been salvaged by villagers or soldiers.

War Story:
Shot down at the northern end of the Ashau Valley. The aircraft spun down then was hit by SA-7 heat seeker missile. Intelligence told all involved "there were no SA-7 missiles in RVN". We soon found out differently. from William W. Jones, Banshee 29, July 1997.

This record was last updated on 08/22/2000

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Date posted on this site: 09/12/2022

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