Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 67-17607
The Army purchased this helicopter 0668
Total flight hours at this point: 00002430
Date: 05/17/1971 MIA-POW file reference number: 1747
Incident number: 71051710.KIA
Unit: C/158 AVN
UTM grid coordinates: YD048268
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: 1747 ()
Loss to Inventory
P WO1 PEARCE DALE ALLEN BNR
P CW3 SOYLAND DAVID PECOR BNR
SYNOPSIS: W1 Dale A. Pearce, pilot; W1 David P. Soyland, aircraft commander; SP5 Harold E. Parker, crew chief; and SP4 Gary A. Alcorn, door gunner, comprised the crew of a UH1H helicopter on an assault/extraction mission on May 17, 1971. The aircraft departed Camp Evans in South Vietnam as the assault aircraft of a helicopter team attempting to extract a reconnaissance team that was under heavy fire by an unknown size enemy force about 10 miles northeast of Khe Sanh in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Upon approach to the target, WO1 Pearce's aircraft began taking heavy enemy fire. The aircraft began to bank to the right and was hit, causing the helicopter to start to turn over. An RPG hit and severed the tail boom, and the violence of the explosion threw Alcorn from the aircraft just before it crashed. After impact, the aircraft slid to the bottom of a slope. On May 18, a recovery team was inserted in the area to recover the remains of the original reconnaissance team and to search the aircraft wreckage for survivors. At this time, both Parker and Alcorn were discovered alive, and remains which were assumed to be those of Pearce were found. Without tools, the recovery of the remains was impossible, as they were wedged beneath the aircraft debris. The left pilot seat was completely intact, and no sign of blood on it or in the immediate area was found. All harnesses in the aircraft had been unfastened. Alcorn reported that he saw a man in a white t-shirt running across the ridge line. A search aircraft in the area reported hearing a loud beeper distress signal. It was concluded that the man had been W1 Soyland, who would have been the occupant of the left pilot seat. From the way the aircraft impacted, on its right side, Soyland, seated on the left side of the aircraft, would have had a high probability of surviving the crash. Searches continued until May 27, 1971 for Soyland, but no trace was found of him. It was concluded that he survived the crash and was probably captured. It was concluded that W1 Pearce died in the crash. The following is from the Congressional committee report: South Vietnam David P. Soyland (1747) On May 17, 1971, Warrant Officer Soyland was the aircraft commander of an UH-1H extracting a reconnaissance team from Quang Tri Province. The helicopter took hostile fire and began to turn over in the air as a rocket propelled grenade round severed the tail boom. A recovery team deployed in the area on May 18th located two crew members alive and recovered remains associated with the aircraft's pilot, Warrant Officer Pearce. The search and rescue forces did hear a loud beeper and saw a man in a white T-shirt running along a ridge line. They lost contact with him. The search continued through May 27th but was unable to locate Warrant Officer Soyland. Enemy documents captured later that were dated May 1971 indicated a Vietnam People's Army unit had captured one American. The date and the circumstances did not permit a specific correlation to Warrant Officer Soyland. Warrant Officer Soyland was declared missing in action. He was not reported in the Vietnamese prison system by returning U.S. POWs and, after hostilities ended, was declared dead/body not recovered.
This record was last updated on 08/22/2000
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Date posted on this site: 05/26/2019
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