Helicopter AH-1G 68-15002


Information on U.S. Army helicopter AH-1G tail number 68-15002
The Army purchased this helicopter 0169
Total flight hours at this point: 00001884
Date: 06/01/1971 MIA-POW file reference number: 1752
Incident number: 71060110.KIA
Unit: D/158 AVN 101 ABN
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
for Close Air Support
Unknown this helicopter was Unknown at UNK feet and UNK knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XD855454
Count of hits was not possible because the helicopter burned or exploded.
Unknown groundfire.
Systems damaged were: MULTIPLE, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 02 MIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft Destroyed.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Burned
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: 1752, CASRP (Casualty Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:
P CW2 WANN DONALD LYNN RR
P 1LT MAGERS PAUL GERALD RR


REFNO Synopsis:
SYNOPSIS: On June 1, 1971, 1Lt. Paul Magers, pilot and CW2 Donald L. Wann, aircraft commander, were aboard an AH1G Cobra gunship (serial #68-15002) on a mission in northwest Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, about 5 miles south of the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Another helicopter had just successfully extracted a Ranger team from a landing zone, and Magers' gunship was to destroy some ammunition that had been in the area. CW2 Wann started his rocket pass at about 1500 feet above the ground, and at about 40 feet, before commencing fire, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Witnesses saw a tracer round hit the underside and the tail section of the helicopter and saw fire from escaping fuel. The aircraft nosed up, gaining from 100-150 feet in altitude, then lost air speed. The aircraft appeared to shudder as it started a vertical right descending turn in flames. As the aircraft fell in a spiral pattern, 6 calls were made by CW2 Wann on both FM and UHF radio. None of the calls was answered. The aircraft crashed and slid down a steep hill some 100 feet. All witnesses stated that the crash was non-survivable. The following was collected at the 9th VHPA reunion in Atlanta on 1LT Paul Gerald Magers: Hit by 51 cal fire making a practice run for Magers to fire weapons. The 51 cal position opened up. CCN team had just been extracted. Up to that point there had been no enemy fire. Magers was on his 1st or 2nd mission after arriving in country. From Defense Intelligence Agency Refno 1752: A Ranger team had just been successfully extracted from a landing zone and CW2 Wann's gunship was to destroy some ammunition that had been there. CW2 Wann started his rocket pass at about 1500 feet above the ground and at about 40 feet, before commencing fire, the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Witnesses saw tracer rounds striking the underside and tail section of the aircraft, and saw fire from escaping fuel. The aircraft nosed up, gaining 100 to 150 feet of altitude, and then lost airspeed. The helicopter appeared to shudder as it started a vertical right descending turn in flames. As the aircraft was falling in what appeared to be an uncontrolled spiral, six calls were made to CW2 Wann on both FM and UHF radios. None of the calls was answered. The aircraft crashed, and slid down the steep hill some 100 feet at grid coordinates XD 855 454. All witnesses to the incident stated the crash was not survivable.


War Story:
These documents are unclassified scrub sheets from a Vietnamese officer that was interviewed by DPMO Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office. I didn't expect them, they just came in the mail today without warning, so I was totally shocked to my core. I barely could read them when I started with the 1st page. The data is raw from the field, JPAC report: Peoples Army of Vietnam Veteran describes shoot down of U.S. Helicopter in June 1971 associated with case 1752 unclassified. Summary: On November 5, 2007 at the Vietnamese office for seeking Missing Persons (VNOSMP) Ministry of National Defense 2 personnel participated in the unilateral interview of a new witness they discovered for case 1752 Donald L. Wann. The witness, the Political Officer of Company 5, 5th Infantry Battalion, Tri Thien Military Front, described a helicopter shoot down in June 1971 in the Ong Tri Mountain area of Quang Tri Provence. At the crash, the witness observed both the burning aircraft wreckage and the burned body of an aviator. He put the body, uncovered, into a shallow crater adjacent to where he found the body. This information correlates well with the circumstances of loss associated with case 1752. The witness also provided limited information regarding the capture of a U.S. Soldier in 1971 new Dong Tri Mountain. This information probably correlates with case 1753. Mr. Pham Thiet Hung age: 62 years old, occupation at time of incident: Political Officer, Company 5, 5th Infantry Battalion, Military Front Thua Thien. Details: Mr. Hung joined the military in 1963 and began by serving in Quang Binh Province in 1965, he went to Quang Tri Province and he stayed in that area until the end of the war. His unit, Company 5, 5th Infantry Battalion, was charged with ensuring the transportation routes were open, including the areas adjacent to Khe Sanh (48Q XD 850 383) and Ta Con (TAF COWN;48Q XD 845 417). The 1971 siege of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces (RVNAF) and U.S. Forces on High Point 950 (48Q XD 839 458) occurred liberation phase(Sept-Oct), and the occupation phase(Nov-Dec). During the siege phase, around noon on an unrecalled date in June 1971, his unit shot down a U.S. Helicopter, which was attempting to attack his unit's forces on High Point 1015. (48Q XD 805 856). The aircraft was shot down with AK-47 assault rifles, and it crashed below the peak of the High Point. The next morning Mr. Hung, who was in an observation post approximately 20 meters from the crash site, went to the site. The crash was on the southeastern slope of High Point 1015. The aircraft wreckage was still burning, preventing him from approaching. He could not tell exactly what type of aircraft it had been, but surmised it was a two-man attack helicopter, due to the fact it had been preparing to attack High Point 1015. Mr. Hung saw the burned body of an aviator twenty to thirty meters northwest of the crash site. The fire had burned everything from the body including clothing, boots, equipment, and identification media, but when Mr. Hung turned it over he could tell it was caucasian. He rolled the body into an adjacent shallow mortar crater and left it there, uncovered. Mr. Hung did not see a second crew member, but he assumed another person had either perished in the aircraft wreckage or had been thrown away from the immediate area of the crash. He returned to the observation post because his unit was still involved with the siege of opposition forces on High Point 950. He believed no one other than himself observed the body because the tactical situation was too fierce for anyone to venture into that area without permission. He and his unit were stationed in the area until the fighting finished, in approximately December 1971. At the time, as far as he knew, the aviator's body and the aircraft wreckage remained in place, undisturbed. There were no streams or deep draws in the immediate area of the crash and aviator's remains location. The terrain there was not extremely steep, because it was on a relatively flat portion of the mountainside. The most prominent landmark in the area was a very tall hardwood tree in the area and it was still intact after the fighting and bombing in the area subsided. The site can be reached by walking from the former Ta Con airstrip, new Khe Sanh. If Mr. Hung locates the crash site, he believes he can locate the aviator's remains site. He recommended the former deputy Commander of Company 5, who is familiar with the are, accompany him on any future site investigation. In addition to the information on the aircraft crash, Mr. Hung said that in approximately September or October 1971, his unit captured a U.S. Senior NCO or Warrant Officer and an RVNAF Military member on High Point 950. The rest of the U.S. and RVNAF Forces had departed the area and the two Soldiers were hiding in a cave. The Company 5 Forces used flame thrower fire to force the pair to abandon the cave. Mr. Hung personally captured the American. After a brief tactical interrogation, during which they learned the rank of the American but nothing else of significance, CO 5 turned the prisoners over to the Thua Thien-Hue Military front. Mr Hung could provide no information on the ultimate disposition of the prisoner. CRS Comments: Mr. Hung's statements were credible, and he spoke without coaching or prompting from the VNOSMP. He spoke in an articulate and confident manner, and seemed eager to assist in resolving the case. The VNOSMP Personnel conducted the interview, but allowed the CRS to pose questions freely. Their interview was relatively thorough; the results were sufficient to support the VNOSMP's recommendation for Mr. Hung to participate in a future unilateral survey of the case 1752 crash site. JPAC Evaluation: The information Mr. Hung provided regarding the helicopter shot down near Dong Tri Mountain correlates with case 1752 based on the timeframe, location, general aircraft type, and circumstance of loss. Case 1752 involves the loss on 1 June 1971 of an AH-1G Gunship during a multi-aircraft extraction mission to recover a Ranger Team north of Khe Sanh Base, Quang Tri Province. The aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft artillery and crashed and exploded in the vicinity of grid coordinates 48Q XD 855 454, near Tan Hop Village, Hunong Hoa District. Both crew members are unaccounted for. The information concerning the captured American on High Point 950 near Dong Tri Mountain probably correlates with case 1753 based on location, general timeframe and fate of one of the Soldiers involved. Case 1753 involves the loss on 5 June 1971 of Two Soldiers during fighting at the Dong Tri Base near Tan Hop Village, Huong Hoa District, Quang Tri Province. Vietnamese forces captured one soldier and later returned him to U.S. custody. The other Soldier is still unaccounted for. I only got pages 11-14, I have just written a letter to Lieutenant Colonel Julius H. Smith asking for pages 1-10 if they were accidentally left out. Of course they didn't say in the documents on where or when they will return to the crash site. But this is the most information to date on the crash site and the Vietnamese releasing their documents. So I see this as a great step forward. From: Shannon

Bringing him home: Don Wann died in 1971. It took 39 years to get him back to the country he loved Kirk Kramer Phoenix Staff Writer Skip Butler can recall clearly the day 39 years ago when he heard that Don Wann’s attack helicopter had been shot down near Khe Sanh in South Vietnam.+ “I was flying my helicopter back to base for the night,” Butler said. “On my radio I heard, ‘Give me the tail number of the aircraft that went down.’ When it came back ‘002,’ somebody said, ‘Was that Don?’ The company radio operator said, ‘It was Wann and Magers.’” But in 2008, Wann and Magers were found. On Aug. 21, the remains of Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann of the United States Army — missing in action no longer — will be laid to rest with full military honors at Fort Gibson National Cemetery. The Cobra helicopter flown by Oklahoma native Chief Warrant Officer Don Wann and Nebraskan Lt. Paul Magers came under enemy fire above a dense jungle on the side of a mountain in Quang Tri Province, according to an official military account. “The (helicopter) crashed, burned, exploded, and slid down a steep hill, before the ammunition on board started tearing apart what was left of the aircraft. “All witnesses stated that the crash was non-survivable. The hill was under heavy fire and no recovery attempts could have been made.” Unexploded ordnance surrounded the crash site, and fighting raged on in the jungle nearby, so it was impossible to search for Wann’s and Magers’ remains. The two soldiers were declared missing in action. The war came to an end, Vietnam was closed to the West, and the jungle swallowed up the crash site. Wann and Magers were shot down June 1, 1971, the day after Wann’s 34th birthday. A few days later, soldiers in dress uniforms arrived at the Midwest City home of the Wann family to deliver a telegram with the news that Wann was missing in action. Shannon Wann Plaster, his elder daughter, who was 10 at the time, remembers the day. “I was sitting on the couch watching TV,” said Plaster. “Someone knocked on the door. When Mom answered the door and saw them in their dress blues, she just started bawling. They didn’t have to say anything. When military people come to your house in dress blues, you know something has happened.” On March 20 of this year, Plaster was at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas, for an Army update for family members of soldiers missing in action. When Plaster got to the banquet room where the briefing was to be held, she was hoping to see Carolyn Floyd, the civilian casualty officer assigned to Wann’s case. Plaster had known Floyd for more than 10 years. “Carolyn walked over to my table,” said Plaster. “She said, ‘Shannon, we’ve got your dad. We’ve found him.’ She hugged me, and she told me they’d found Paul Magers, too.” Off that mountain Plaster’s road to that meeting in San Antonio and to Fort Gibson National Cemetery has been long and painful. “Not knowing the truth left a blank void,” she said. “It drove me to the point where I had to find out. It’s something I had to do. I had to get him off that mountain.” Plaster’s search began with a 1990 letter addressed simply to “The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.” “I said in my letter that I wanted to know if my dad is alive or dead,” said Plaster. “A lieutenant colonel called me from the Pentagon and said, ‘I can’t answer the question, Shannon. But your dad’s case is open.’” In 1993, a crash site that correlated to her father’s was found by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), the military agency charged with accounting for servicemen missing in action. The same year, Plaster traveled to Washington, D.C., for one of the annual government briefings with the National League of POW/MIA Families. “I had felt alone my whole childhood,” Plaster said. “I met all those people in the same boat. I thought, ‘My God, I’m not alone.” In about 2000, a brigadier general told her that JPAC would not continue the search for her father’s remains, saying the crash site was too dangerous. During one search for another site, an aircraft carrying JPAC personnel crashed, killing all seven people on board. “When he told me, I was crying, but I said I understood,” Plaster said. Then five years later, Plaster received a letter saying that JPAC had decided to start looking again. The effort was aided by a lead from an unexpected source: a North Vietnamese soldier whose unit had shot down Wann and Magers’ helicopter. The former soldier, Pham Thiet Hung, told searchers that he had approached the wreckage the day after the crash in 1971. About 20 meters from the crash, he found the burned body of an aviator, and placed it in a nearby shallow mortar crater. With Hung’s help, Vietnamese and American search teams located the remains of Wann and Magers in July of 2008. Using DNA and dental records, Wann and Magers were identified at JPAC’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii. Last March in San Antonio, Plaster finally received the answer to the question she had asked in her letter to the Pentagon 20 years before. A special place in my heart Don Wann was born in Kosoma, grew up in Fairfax, and after high school considered Shawnee his home. He never lived in Muskogee. But his daughter has formed strong ties with the community. Pat Davis, historian for the James F. Smith American Legion Post 15, invited Plaster to Muskogee last year during a controversy over placing flags at the Muskogee Civic Center. Davis arranged for Plaster to explain the significance of the POW/MIA flag to local officials. That association turned into a love affair. “Muskogee has become a very special place in my heart,” Plaster said. “These people opened their arms to me.” Plaster has given the museum at the USS Batfish and War Memorial Park her father’s uniforms and much else associated with his life and the attempt to bring him home. “People can go to the museum to see my dad’s things,” Plaster said. “He’ll be just down the road at the National Cemetery.” Some time next month, Plaster will fly to Hawaii, then accompany her father’s remains back to Oklahoma. Wann’s funeral will be held at Southeast Baptist Church at 10 a.m. Aug. 21. Plaster, a divorced mother of two and Yukon resident, will be joined at the ceremony by her mother, who remarried several years after Wann’s death, and by her sister Michelle Wann. Butler plans to travel to Oklahoma from his home in Virginia for the occasion. Many other friends and old comrades-in-arms from all over the country are also expected. The funeral is open to the public. Reach Kirk Kramer on 684-2901 or kkramer@muskogeephoenix.com.

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 716-10 August 11, 2010 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Soldiers Missing in Action from Vietnam War Identified The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. U.S. Army 1st Lt. Paul G. Magers of Sidney, Neb., will be buried on Aug. 27 in Laurel, Mont., and Army Chief Warrant Officer Donald L. Wann of Shawnee, Okla., will be buried on Aug. 21 in Fort Gibson, Okla. On June 1, 1971, both men were flying aboard an AH-1 Cobra gunship in support of an emergency extraction of an Army ranger team in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. After the rangers were extracted, helicopters were ordered to destroy claymore mines which had been left behind in the landing zone. During this mission their helicopter was hit by ground fire, crashed and exploded. Pilots who witnessed the explosions concluded that no one could have survived the crash and explosions. Enemy activity in the area precluded a ground search. In 1990, analysts from DPMO, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and their predecessor organizations interviewed both American and Vietnamese witnesses and produced leads for field investigations. In 1993 and 1998, two U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by JPAC, surveyed the suspected crash site and found artifacts and debris consistent with a Cobra gunship. In mid-1999, another joint team excavated the site, but it stopped for safety reasons when the weather deteriorated. No remains were recovered, but the team did find wreckage associated with the specific crash they were investigating. The Vietnamese government subsequently declared the region within Quang Tri Province where the aircraft crashed as off-limits to U.S. personnel, citing national security concerns. As part of an agreement with JPAC, a Vietnamese team unilaterally excavated the site and recovered human remains and other artifacts in 2008. The Vietnamese returned to the site in 2009, expanded the excavation area and discovered more remains and additional evidence. Forensic analysis, circumstantial evidence and the mitochondrial DNA match to the Magers and Wann families by the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory confirmed the identification of the remains. For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169. U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) On the Web: http://www.defense.gov/releases/ Media Contact: +1 (703) 697-5131/697-5132 Public Contact: http://www.defense.gov/landing/questions.aspx or +1 (703) 428-0711 +1 Update your subscriptions, modify your password or e-mail address, or stop subscriptions at any time on your User Profile Page. You will need to use your e-mail address to log in. If you have questions or problems with the subscription service, please e-mail support@govdelivery.com.

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