Name: Joseph David Puggi
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: B Troop, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 26 November 1946
Home City of Record: Pleasantville NJ
Date of Loss: 02 February 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161209N 1081006E (AT960937)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident:
Kenneth J. Patton; Joe H. Pringle; Charles Adkins; Donald Burnham (all missing)
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
CRASHSITE/PRINGLE ID FOUND
Donald Burnham was the pilot of a UH1H helicopter (#66-16442) that departed Camp Evans, Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam for Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam on February 2, 1968. Also aboard were SP4 Charles Adkins, SFC Joe Pringle, SSgt Joseph Puggi, passengers; and SP4 Kenneth Patton, crewchief. The personnel aboard the aircraft were all members of B Troop, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.
During a ground radar-controlled approach to Da Nang Airbase, the controller lost radio contact with the helicopter and subsequently lost radar contact. The last positive position of the aircraft was 12 miles north of Da Nang.
After attempts to contact Captain Burnham by radio failed, ramp checks were conducted by another pilot from his unit. Search of the area to the north of Da Nang failed to locate the missing aircraft.
On May 28, 1968, a crashed and burned UH1H helicopter (tail #6442) was located in the appropriate vicinity and a search party recovered an ID tag belonging to SFC Pringle, several weapons, and some human bones. The ID tag and weapons were given to an unidentified major; subsequent attempts to trace the weapons have been unsuccessful.
All human remains were given to the U.S. Army Mortuary at Da Nang, and were subsequently determined unidentifiable. Search attempts terminated on November 16, 1972. Because of the density of the underbrush, no attempt to recover further remains was made. The crash site was photographed in July 1974, at which time it became known that parts of the aircraft had been recovered by a Vietnamese woodcutter. No evidence of human remains were found in the area.
Donald Burnham's photograph was identified by a Vietnamese rallier as having been a prisoner of war. CIA analysis failed to determine why Burnham's photo was selected, as neither he nor the other crew were seen by returned POWs.
If it were not for over 10,000 reports of Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia, the families of the men aboard UH1H #6442 might be able to give up hope of seeing their sons and brothers again. But as long as there is evidence that even one is alive, the possibility exists that any of the crew of the UH1H lost on February 2, 1968 could be alive.