Name: William Michael Konyu
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 18 March 1947
Home City of Record: Phillipsberg NJ
Date of Loss: 16 April 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 155349N 1073414E (YC752591)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
On April 16, 1969, WO William M. Konyu was the pilot of a UH1H helicopter on a combat mission in northern Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, about 10 miles from the border of Laos.
As WO Konyu made his short, final approach to the landing zone (LZ), he received intense enemy fire. The windshield on the pilot's side was shattered. Konyu was seen to throw up his hands and slump forward over the controls. The co-pilot was wounded in his legs, and lost control of the aircraft. The helicopter subsequently crashed, rolled over on its side and burned. Attempts to reach the helicopter by personnel on the ground were impossible because of the intense heat of the burning aircraft.
U.S. ground teams inspected the aircraft later, and reported a burned form in the pilot's seat. Three crewmen and passengers had been rescued. (If other personnel were aboard and killed, no mention is made in public record.) The team was uncertain how to recover what they believed were the remains of the pilot, and left the area, but returned later in the day to prepare to extract the remains.
When the extraction team arrived four days later to recover the remains, they had disappeared. Evidence that enemy forces had been at the site were discovered, and it was assumed that the enemy buried the pilot somewhere nearby, but no graves were located. Konyu was listed among the missing because his remains were never found.
William Konyu, according to all witnesses, died as his aircraft crashed. His family can be as certain as possible without having received his body, that he is dead. For many others listed missing, however, simple solutions are not possible. Many were known to have been captives, but were never released. Others were alive and well the last they were seen. Still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers, describing their imminent capture.
Over 1000 eye-witness reports have been received relating to Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that the number still alive could be in the hundreds. As long as even one many remains alive, we own him our very best efforts to bring him home.