Helicopter UH-1H 69-15619

Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1H tail number 69-15619
The Army purchased this helicopter 0870
Total flight hours at this point: 00001709
Date: 01/08/1973 MIA-POW file reference number: 1978
Incident number: 73010810.KIA
Unit: 62 AHC
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: YD324528
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: 1978 ()
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

Passengers and/or other participants:

REFNO Synopsis:
 South Vietnam Richard A. Knutson Mickey A. Wilson William A. Stinson Manuel A. Lauterio Elbert W. Bush William L. Dean (1978) On January 8, 1973, a UH-1H helicopter from the 62nd Aviation Company with a crew of four and three passengers from the Military Assistance Command Army Advisory Group departed Landing Zone Sally in Quang Tri Province en route to Quang Tri City. It was later reported to have flown across the Thach Han River into hostile territory and circled twice with its guns firing at an unknown ground target. It was then fired on by the People's Army of Vietnam using SA-7 ground to air missiles. The first missile missed and the second hit the helicopter's boom. A third hit the helicopter proper prior to its crash in the area of the South Vietnamese Army's Ai Tu Combat Base. Multiple SA-7 launches drove off SAR forces in the area of the helicopter shoot down. The seven servicemen were declared missing in action. Subsequent to their loss, CIA forwarded hearsay information from a Vietnamese source reporting a helicopter had been shot down on January 8, 1973, in the area of this loss incident. Four U.S. pilots were reportedly captured and the fate of two other crewmen was unknown. DIA later determined that CIA had terminated the source due to possible fabrication of information. DIA In August 1973, DIA received a hearsay report of a helicopter crash site in the area of this loss incident. Two remains were reportedly in the crash site area in Trieu Phong District, Quang Tri Province. Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the precise fate of the missing servicemen. After Operation Homecoming, all were declared dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death. SYNOPSIS: WO1 Richard Knutson, pilot; WO1 Mickey A. Wilson, aircraft commander; SP5 William S. Stinson, gunner; SP5 Manuel A. Lauterio, crew chief; and SSgt. Elbert W. Bush and Maj. William L. Dean, both passengers; were aboard a UH1H helicopter (serial #69-15619) that flew in support of the American Senior Advisor to the Vietnamese Airborne Division in Quang Tri and Thua Thien Provinces, working between the provincial capitals of Hue and Quang Tri. On January 8, 1973, at about 1430 hours, the aircraft had departed a landing zone en route to other LZs without making radio contact with the 2nd Battalion Technical Operations Center. When no radio contact was received by 1500 hours, the other LZs were queried. The helicopter did not go to either of the two designated LZs, nor had any communication been established with them. The helicopter's intended route would have taken it northwest toward Quang Tri, with a left turn to an LZ south of the Thach Han River. Although the helicopter failed to contact either LZ along the route, it was later seen flying northwest toward Quang Tri City and crossing the Thach Han River into enemy held territory. While in this area, the helicopter was seen to circle with door guns firing. Enemy automatic weapons fire was heard, and a direct hit was made on the tail boom by a missile, reportedly an SA7. Aerial searches of the suspected crash site on January 8 and 9 failed to locate either the wreckage or the crew. The aircraft was shot down less than three weeks before American involvement in the war came to an official end.

This record was last updated on 06/01/2000

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Date posted on this site: 09/23/2017

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